This week we were on a city trip in Porto in Portugal for a week. A long one : would you think, but did you know that in the porto region there is much more to see than just Porto itself? On site we did much more than just visit Porto. We had a fantastic time! Read here why you should visit Porto.
Road trip around Porto
The first days of our stay we rented a car through Sunny Cars. This makes it easy to discover the porto area yourself and thanks to the all-in service of Sunny Cars you are fully insured,which always makes a road trip just a little safer. For us it is also important that everything runs as smoothly as possible, because we want to be able to enjoy our road tripas soon as possible. Thanks to renting your car in advance, this is definitely an efficient way. You don’t lose time at the airport or at the rental company itself by looking for a suitable car.
Our first stop was Aveiro about an hour’s drive from Porto.. This city is also called the “Venice of Portugal“. It may be a bit of an exaggeration, but here too you will find similar canals and gondolas that you can sail with on the water. But that’s definitely not the most special thing about Aveiro. We especially liked the nearest beach of Costa Nova, a fifteen minute drive from Aveiro, the most beautiful. The typical colourful houses immediately put you in a summer atmosphere and the food there was also delicious! Should you go to Costa Nova, try to eat fish at the restaurant Bronze on the beach. Highly recommended!
Explore wine region
Porto is of course best known as a wine region. We wanted to know where this delicious wine and postage came from. With our rental car we went to the Douro Valley where the vineyards of these drinks can be found. Remember that this region is huge, you are on the road for hours, and that in some places there may not be much to see. We too have been wrong about this. We saw some beautiful places, such as the Douro River that flows through the landscape as well as the huge vineyards of Sandeman, but we certainly haven’t seen a fraction of which pearls there are to be found. Booking a tour to this area is also a good option. Although we didn’t like sitting on a bus for hours through the winding streets of the valley.
As a last trip with our rental car, we chose the nearby town of Braga. This city is a 40-minute drive from Porto and is known for its countless churches and pilgrimage sites. We had seen on the internet pictures of two impressively beautiful pilgrimage sites that could be found near Braga. After an hour of walking around Braga itself, we went into the woods in search of these pilgrimage sites. Braga itself, we didn’t really like anything. The pilgrimage sites in the forests on the mountains, in turn, were exceptional. The first and most famous of the two is Bom Jesus Do Monte (Good Jesus of the Mountain). This pilgrimage site has a huge ornate staircase leading to the giant church that stands at the top of the mountain. The view of Braga here is phenomenal!
The second pilgrimage site we visited was Sameiro. This church with surrounding park is a 2 minute drive from Bom Jesus Do Monte. So it is perfect to combinetogether. This place is actually even more beautiful and fairytale than the last. We were here on a foggy day which made the place even better. The silence, the atmosphere and the countless beautiful corners make this place a true film setting. We still can’t believe that both monuments are completely free to visit and that there were hardly any tourists to be found. Perhaps this is because of the location, because you definitely need your own car for this.
City on the Douro
After our three-day road trip, it was finally time to discover Porto for yourself. Porto is located on the Douro River which runs from Porto to the Douro Valley, about two hours away. A city trip to Porto had been on our bucket list for a long time because it seemed such an atmospheric place and that image was completely right with reality! There was even more to see in Porto than we initially thought.
Did you know that Porto has countless churches and parks? And not of the least, but all gems. In the evening you have a beautiful view of the city if you like to drink a glass of Porto on one of the many terraces on the water. Could it be more romantic? Maybe on the Ponte Dom Luis, porto’s most famous bridge. Going there to watch the sunset is simply magical. Sigrid even overcame her fear of heights for a moment. Highly recommended!
We filled about two days with all the sights of Porto discovering. There are a lot of them, but most don’t take that much time. Like, for example, a visit to Palacio Da Bolsa. This palace is a must see if you like lushness and architecture. A short tour takes you past the most beautiful spots of the palace with the icing on the cake the golden ballroom. Please note, this tour only lasts about half an hour. Not something you fill a full day with. We have visited just about all the churches of Porto and some unique (souvenir)shops. And of course also the wine cellars of Sandeman.
Sun, sea and beach
The days when the weather was really good, you could find us at the beach. Unfortunately, it wasn’t warm enough to swim. It is to take a nice walk along the water and stare at the huge waves that broke loose on the rocks. The beach of Matosinhos is ideal for this. It is quiet and the waves there are impressively high. Also an ideal place for surfers. Here you can also find Sea Life, but we found that very setbacks. It’s small and not really special. With children it can be a nice trip on a rainy day.
More than a city trip in Porto
As you may have noticed, a visit to Porto is more than a city trip. You can of course stay in the centre, but if you like to explore you can enjoy yourself here for a week. You don’t have to go any longer, because you’ll have seen it all. A week’s holiday is perfect for Porto. We recommend it to everyone because it is a very fine and charming city with something for everyone. And oh yes, if you go, spread your legs well because it is a hilly city and for the most beautiful views you have to climbsome. But that’s the only challenge Porto will face if you ask us. It’s a great city if you like good food and drink and can enjoy cosy alleys and breathtaking views.
Are you going on a city trip in Porto?
Are you also planning a city trip in Porto? We give you 5 trips that you should definitely do when you are there. So you can see even more of this beautiful country!
Have you ever been on a city trip in Porto? Did you find this town as charming as us? Let us know for sure in the comments of on our Facebook page.