The Best Day Trips from Porto: Exploring the Surroundings
Plan your itinerary for the best day trips from Porto to explore the hidden gems of the surrounding countryside. From wine tours to medieval cities and national parks, discover the top destinations to visit for an unforgettable experience.
Top Day Trips from Porto:
Guimarães - The Birthplace of Portugal
Located just 40 kilometers east of Porto, Guimarães is a charming medieval city that's considered the birthplace of Portugal. The city's historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site, featuring well-preserved buildings and narrow cobblestone streets. Highlights of a day trip to Guimarães include exploring the Guimarães Castle, the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança, and the city's many museums and art galleries. Don't miss trying the local specialty, "Pão de Ló de Margaride," a delicious sponge cake.
Braga - The City of Archbishops
Braga is a historic city known as the "City of Archbishops." It's home to numerous churches and religious sites, including the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary, a Baroque-style church that's a UNESCO World Heritage site. Other highlights of a day trip to Braga include exploring the historic center, visiting the Roman ruins, and trying the local specialty, "pudim Abade de Priscos," a rich pudding made with egg yolks and sugar.
Douro Valley - Wine Tasting and Scenic Views
The Douro Valley is one of the most famous wine regions in the world, and it's only an hour's drive from Porto. Take a scenic drive through the winding roads, and enjoy the stunning views of the vineyards and the Douro River. A wine tasting tour is a must-do, as you'll have the opportunity to taste some of the region's best wines, including port wine. Don't forget to visit the town of Pinhão, a picturesque town known for its historic train station covered in blue-and-white tiles.
Aveiro - The Venice of Portugal
Aveiro is a coastal town known as the "Venice of Portugal" because of its network of canals and colorful boats, called "moliceiros." Take a boat ride through the canals and admire the Art Nouveau buildings that line the waterways. Don't miss trying the town's famous pastry, "ovos moles," a sweet egg yolk dessert.
Costa Nova (near Aveiro)
Costa Nova is a charming coastal town that is known for its stunning striped houses and beautiful beaches. You can stroll along the charming promenade, visit the impressive Capela de Sao Sebastiao, and enjoy the fresh seafood at one of the many local restaurants.
Peneda-Gerês National Park - Nature at its Best
Peneda-Gerês National Park is a nature lover's paradise, located about 100 kilometers north of Porto. The park features stunning landscapes, including mountains, lakes, and waterfalls, as well as a variety of wildlife. Activities in the park include hiking, swimming, and birdwatching. Don't miss visiting the village of Lindoso, known for its historic granaries made of granite.
Vila do Conde
Vila do Conde is a charming coastal town that offers a glimpse into the rich history of the region. It is known for its beautiful beaches, stunning architecture, and rich cultural heritage. You can visit the impressive Convent of Santa Clara, the imposing Castle of Sao Joao Baptista, and the picturesque fisherman's village of Povoa de Varzim.
Barcelos is a small town known for its famous Rooster of Barcelos, a symbol of Portugal. It is also known for its stunning pottery and crafts, and you can visit the impressive Municipal Museum and the charming Igreja do Senhor da Cruz.
Buçaco National Forest
Buçaco National Forest is a stunning natural reserve that is known for its beautiful forests, stunning views, and rich biodiversity. You can hike along the many trails, visit the impressive Palace Hotel do Buçaco, and enjoy a picnic in one of the many scenic spots.
Arouca Bridge and Paiva Pathway
Arouca Bridge and Paiva Pathway is a stunning natural attraction that is known for its impressive suspension bridge and stunning views. You can hike along the scenic Paiva River and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
Some FAQs about the best Day Trips from Porto
Q: What is the best time to visit Porto for day trips? A: The best time to visit Porto for day trips is from March to May or from September to November when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.
Q: How do I get to the Douro Valley from Porto? A: You can take a train from São Bento Station in Porto to the town of Peso da Régua, where you can rent a car or join a tour to explore the valley.
Q: What is the best way to get to Guimarães from Porto? A: The best way to get to Guimarães from Porto is by train or by car. Trains depart regularly from São Bento Station and take about 40 minutes.
Q: How long do the day trips from Porto usually take? A: The length of day trips from Porto varies depending on the destination. Most day trips range from 6-10 hours, but some, like the Douro Valley, may take a full day.
Q: Are there guided tours available for day trips from Porto? A: Yes, there are many guided tour options available for day trips from Porto. These tours provide transportation, a guide, and often include meals and tastings.
Q: Can I visit multiple destinations in one day trip from Porto? A: It is possible to visit multiple destinations in one day trip from Porto, but it may be challenging to fit everything in. Consider choosing a tour that covers multiple destinations or prioritize the places you want to see the most. Q: Is it necessary to book day trips in advance? A: It's recommended to book day trips in advance, especially during peak tourist season. This will ensure that you have a spot on the tour and can avoid any last-minute availability issues.
Q: What should I bring on a day trip from Porto? A: Be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes, a camera, sunscreen, and a water bottle. Depending on the destination, you may also want to bring a hat, a jacket, and cash for souvenirs or snacks.
Q: Can I customize my day trip itinerary? A: Many tour companies offer customizable itineraries for day trips from Porto, allowing you to choose the destinations and activities that interest you the most. Be sure to check with the tour company beforehand to see what options are available.
The surrounding countryside of Porto offers a wealth of destinations for day trips that are sure to leave you enchanted. From the medieval charm of Guimarães to the natural wonders of the Peneda-Gerês National Park, there is something for everyone. So, take a break from the city and explore the best day trips from Porto to experience the beauty and diversity of Portugal's northern region. And don't forget to indulge in the local cuisine and wine along the way! If you're looking for a place to stay, check out our selection of affordable apartments right in the center of Porto. You can easily explore the city and its gastronomical attractions on foot with our convenient location.