The North of Portugal hides magnificent cities that are worth visiting. An hour away from Porto, there are beautiful cities with breath-taking landscapes and mouth-watering gastronomy. Discover the 12 most beautiful cities to visit near Porto!
Penafiel is a city known for its historic centre, religious monuments, and well preserved ancient villages. It is worth the visit to Quintadona’s village through narrow paths between shale houses, or Monte Mozinho, one of Portugal’s most important pre-historic hillforts.
Take the opportunity to visit Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade, which hides a wonderful landscape of the city.
The ideal place for taking a walk through nature is Quinta da Aveleda, with paths between ancient trees, blooming azaleas and trimmed vegetation.
From Porto: 38 minutes
Aveiro, a wonderful city, is the Portuguese Venice. Here you can admire the Art Nouveau buildings of the historic centre and sail through Ria de Aveiro on “moliceiros”, the traditional boats of this region.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try the typical sweets of Aveiro, ovos-moles de Aveiro and tripas de Aveiro.
If you still have time, make a detour to visit Costa Nova Beach and the famous Palheiros da Costa Nova, the green, yellow, red and blue stripped houses.
From Porto: 50 minutes
Amarante is a small city with a welcoming historic centre and beautiful landscapes. Walk across the São Gonçalo Bridge and visit the São Gonçalo Convent and Church, whose origin dates back to 1540.
Relax with a walk through the Amarante Forest Park and disconnect from the busy daily routine.
The typical convent sweets of Amarante are delicious. There are various pastry shops specialized in these types of sweets, for example Confeitaria da Ponte.
From Porto: 52 minutes
Guimarães is considered to be the city where Portugal was born, and it is one of the oldest and most fascinating Portuguese cities, especially for its historic centre, recognized as World Heritage.
Visit Guimarães Castle and Paço dos Duques de Bragança, and take a walk on the beautiful gardens of Centro Cultural Vila Flor. Walk through the narrow streets of the historic centre, visit Largo da Oliveira and seize the opportunity by sitting on a terrace on Praça de Santiago.
Monte da Penha is the highest point of Guimarães, and it is the ideal place for admiring the landscapes that this city offers.
From Porto: 55 minutes
Visit Braga, a city with an intense flow of university students and a lot of places that are worth visiting.
Contemplate the colourful Garden of Santa Bárbara and visit the Mosteiro de Tibães. Don’t miss out on the opportunity of visiting the most ancient Portuguese cathedral, Sé de Braga.
During your visit to Braga, it is mandatory to try the delicious Frigideiras de Braga. Stop by the café Frigideiras do Cantinho and try the specialty of this city.
From Porto: 56 minutes
In Arouca, the beautiful landscapes are endless. Climb the Serra de Montemuro or Serra de Freita and be astonished with Frecha de Mizarela waterfall and the Pedras Parideiras, a rare geological phenomenon of stones that germinate from a mother-stone.
It is worth visiting the historic villages from the surroundings of Arouca and enjoy the gastronomic experience of this region, the arouquesa roast veal, the roasted lamb and the convent sweets. Try some excellent restaurants in Arouca, such as Tasquinha da Quinta, Décio and Casa no Campo.
From Porto: 59 minutes
Viana do Castelo
Viana do Castelo is a Portuguese city that offers mountains, beaches and an historic centre. It is a city that has been able to keep its traditions over the time. In its historic centre, you can visit Museu do Traje and learn more about the Portuguese folklore. If you visit this city during August, stay for the parade of the popular festival of Senhora da Agonia, where the beauty and the richness of the typical garments stand out.
In a high point of Viana do Castelo, there is the Santuário de Santa Luzia, whose landscape over the city is impressive, with a view of the whole city and the sea.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity of trying the famous berliner of Manuel Natário, the best berliner of Portugal, which are only cooked a few times in a day and always disappear quickly.
From Porto: 1 hour
Ponte de Lima
Ponte de Lima is an historic village, where it is a pleasure to walk through the streets of this historic centre.
In the centre of Ponte de Lima, admire one of the most emblematic monuments of this village, the Matriz Church.
Ponte de Lima was named after its ex-libris, the bridge, and after the river that runs through the village. Cross the bridge on foot and enjoy the view of Lima River.
Nearby, there is the Capela do Anjo da Guarda and the Portuguese Toy Museum, with thousands of Portuguese toys from old times.
From Porto: 1 hour and 7 minutes
Nearby Viana do Castelo, there is a neighbour worth visiting, Caminha.
In Caminha, the beaches, the lagoons, the green hills and the popular festivals stand out. The most famous popular festival is Romaria de S. João D’Arga, since it is the most genuine of the Alto Minho region, where traditions and entertainment rule.
After diving in the beaches of Caminha, like Vila Praia de Âncora Beach, dive in one of the lagoons of this city, such as Pincho lagoon, and enjoy the serenity of this place.
From Porto: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Gerês is the ideal place to relax, whether it is in the lagoons during the summer, or whether it is in the hot springs during the winter.
Tahiti waterfall is a stunning landscape, bring comfortable clothes and shoes with you to Gerês and walk down through stones and tree roots until you arrive to this waterfall. The waterfalls flow towards crystalline lagoons that, in the summer, are sought-after by bathers.
It is also worth climb up to Arado waterfall, but to admire it you will have to walk a kilometre on dirt from a junction by Ermida. And after crossing a bridge over Arado River, you will have to climb a stairway.
Visit the submerged village of Vilarinho das Furnas. If the water level of Homem River is low, which doesn’t happen frequently, it will be possible to see traces of the village’s granite houses.
Don’t miss the opportunity of contemplating the view over Gerês from the Miradouro da Pedra Bela, which is 829 metres tall.
From Porto: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Coimbra is the city of students and the beautiful city that many writers and singers write and sing about.
Visit the Joanina Library, considered to be one of the most beautiful places of Coimbra and the most famous library in Portugal.
Visit Sé Velha, Igreja e Mosteiro de Santa Cruz and finish that visit in Café Santa Cruz, located in the former São João de Santa Cruz Church.
Stop by Fado ao Centro to listen to the music that best represents Portugal, Fado. The group that sings and plays in this place is formed by students and former students of University of Coimbra.
From Porto: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Douro landscapes are worthy of a beautiful postcard, and Lamego is no exception. Even though Lamego is more than an hour away from Porto, the trip is worth it.
Visit the Murganheira Cellars and discover more about the typical sparkling wine of this region. Visit Sé de Lamego, a gothic cathedral, and the majestic Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios.
In Lamego, try the Portuguese meat bread stuffed with ham and prosciutto from Pastelaria da Sé.
From Porto: 1 hour and 30 minutes