The 4 Best Day Trips from Porto, Portugal

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Porto is a beautiful city and you could easily spend half an eternity there, but its surroundings also have a lot to offer. If you need a break from the city, take inspiration from this article and follow in our footsteps. We were fortunate because we were touring the country by car, which made reaching those places fairly easy. You could also opt for public transport, but a rental car is most likely the better option. In this article we’ll present our top 4 picks for getting out of the city, but we are sure there are many more 😉

 

Braga

Braga was one of the places we knew we wanted to visit before we even booked our flights. As the biggest city in Northern Portugal, Braga makes an excellent destination for a daytrip. It is only a short 55 km drive from Porto and easily accessible by car with a few garages in the city centre. However, we started out by visiting the famous sanctuary Bom Jesus de Monte and its imposing Baroque stair case. You get fantastic views over the city from here!

After visiting the church we decided to drive into town and grab some lunch which turned out to be a great decision. Braga’s city centre is quite lively and inviting, albeit small. You can easily just stroll around or sit in a cafe and indulge in some people watching!

The beautiful Bom Jesus de Monte sanctuary just outside Braga, Portugal.

The beautiful Bom Jesus de Monte sanctuary just outside Braga, Portugal (Source: António Amen).

 

Guimarães

Also only 55 km from Porto is the small town of Guimarães which is generally regarded the birthplace of modern Portugal. It is a truly historic town and best explored on foot. The sight which you will want to have a close-up of, is the 12th century castle. The first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, called it his home and together with the historic centre of the town it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The entrance fee is only about 1.5€ so if you are not short on time, we suggest you pop in and take a look 🙂

Guimaraes Castle is your proper knights and kings castle! (Source: SergioPT/Wikimedia)

Guimaraes Castle is your proper knights and kings castle! (Source: SergioPT)

 

Marche de Barcelos

Should you be in the Braga area on a Thursday morning, we recommend you make a stop-over at the market in Barcelos and sample some of the local produce. You can park your car only a few hundred metres away and dive right into the craziness. The market is huge and offers anything from socks to picture frames, but we were mostly intrigued by the produce section. It is definitely a great place to grab some breakfast!

 

Fresh local produce on sale at Barcelos Market (Source: Egien).

Fresh local produce on sale at Barcelos Market (Source: Egien).

Viana do Castelo

Approxiamtely 75 km from Porto lies the sleepy town of Viana do Castelo. Take your car up the hill to the Basilica of Santa Luzia and marvel at its sublime facade. Then turn around and enjoy the wind in your hair as you enjoy the view over the town, its beaches and the deep blue sea. If you are here in the summer, you may even want to pack your swimsuit as the beach here is rather popular and worth checking out!

 

The Basilica of Santa Luzia overlooks the town of Viana do Castelo and its beautiful beaches (Source: tm).

The Basilica of Santa Luzia overlooks the town of Viana do Castelo and its beautiful beaches (Source: tm).

 


Now, what do you think? Is there anything we have missed? Do you have tips on what else to see or do around Porto? What was your favourite sight? Share your thoughts and pictures with us. Let’s stay in touch!

 

13 Comments

  1. Shout out to one of only about 10 people on the whole internet who seems to have also been to Guimarães! Haha. It’s definitely underrated. What a beautiful castle. We loved the whole town and how pretty it was. We will go back to Porto one day and maybe try Braga next time – that also looks good!

    • Haha thank you Caroline 🙂 It is really underrated. Hopefully we’ll inspire more people to visit!

      Jacky 🌞

  2. Some great suggestions here! I like the look of Braga 🙂 We booked a tour into the Douro Valley from Porto but it got cancelled due to bad weather (read: thunderstorms) so we ended up going on an off-road adventure through the nearby mountains instead, which was great fun!

    • Hi Kiara and thanks so much for your comment! It’s too bad your tour to the Douro got cancelled, because it is so beautiful there! But still glad to hear that you had a great time. But I do wonder how one can drive in the mountains during a thunderstorm? We had a hard time in sunshine 😀

      Jacky

  3. I hadn’t heard of any of these places. Can you get to them by train as well? I prefer to take trains as it is less to worry about 🙂

    • Hi Jessica! Yes, they are very small places and often get overlooked, but we find them very charming 🙂 I believe Braga is very easy to get into from Porto by train, but the other locations not so much. Trains don’t run very often and many of the sights are a bit out of the way. That’s why we would recommend the car 🙂

      Jacky

  4. Great trips! Next time you go, I can definitely recommend the Douro Valley. It’s about 100km but we still did it in a day trip. There’s the best wineries, it’s where the port wine and Douro wines are coming from. It’s also really beautiful, so definitely worth the trip.

    • Hi Natalie and thanks so much for your comment! What a great day trip suggestion the Douro valley is! Thanks for your input, we absolutely agree 🙂

      Jacky

    • Hi Natasha and thanks for your comment! Indeed Portugal has so much more to offer than just beaches 🙂

      Jacky

  5. What a great selection of day trips from Porto. I love the look of Guimarães because the castle is very cool and I do enjoy ticking a world heritage site off the list! But Basilica of Santa Luzia looks pretty stunning too, overlooking the bay. Beautiful.

    • Hi Amanda and thanks so much for your comment! Mihir has an obsession with ticking off UNESCO sites, haha, that was the main reason we visited 😉

      Jacky

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