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 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!
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 🙂
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!
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!
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!