Visitors to the city of Porto in northern Portugal should consider exploring the area surrounding this beautiful city. The following towns are all located just an hour or less from Porto by car:
Guimarães – located just 30 minutes from Porto, this picturesque medieval city was the birthplace of Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal, and the country’s first capital. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and served as the European Capital of Culture in 2012. For more information, click here.
The town is so quaint that many decide to spend a night to truly take in all of its charms. Visitors can stay in the 12th C. Augustinian convent built by King Afonso Henrique’s mother Teresa, which is now the Pousada de Santa Marinha. It is located about 3 km. from the town square on a hilltop overlooking the city. For more information and reservations, click here.
Braga – located 45 minutes from Porto, this beautiful city of Baroque monuments is well known for its Holy Week processions, and is the capital of the Minho region. Here you will find the Bom Jesus Sanctuary, one of the country’s best known sites. This hilltop pilgrimage site can be reached by car, by ascending the monumental stairway on foot, or by old-fashioned funicular. For more information, click here.
Mesão Frio – after visiting some of the port wine lodges in Porto, take a break and drive about 1 hour outside of the city to explore the beautiful countryside and the actual vineyards of Portugal’s Douro Valley wine country. For information on the area and some of the vineyards, click here.
Photo credit: Turismo de Guimarães / Câmara Municipal de Guimarães
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