Via Portugal > Porto and the North

 

Porto

Rustic, colorful and picturesque, northern Portugal is the place where the country was born. The Minho Province is the most fertile of Portugal with green valleys like those along the Lima- and Minho River. Eastern, towards the Spanish border we find the isolated and mysterious Trás-Os-Montes, with his aggressive climate and mountain ranges over 1000m.This hilly area with nature reserves and a numerous heritage, sanctuaries and churches still organizes various processions during summer. In this region, a lot of baroque and granite monuments have an impressive interior of gilded wooden carvings. The surroundings of villages like Viana do Castelo, Chaves or Vila Real are characterized by country houses of noble families, where you still can feel the old authentic atmosphere.

Porto, a dynamic, welcoming and lively city that has been recognized as World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is the gateway and starting point for a trip around the region, The city is not only known for its famous “Port Wine”, but also for its cultural heritage. It is the home of ancient baroque churches and monuments, such as the cathedral or the impressive church of San Francisco, as well as notable contemporary buildings, such as the House of Music, the Serralves Museum or the School of Architecture, where famous names like Álvaro Siza Vieira and Eduardo Souto de Moura studied – both were awarded with the Pritzker Prize –, which turns Porto into the perfect place for events, incentives, lectures and specific routes, such as the wine route.

 

The North

Following the Douro River upstream we arrive at the Douro Valley, world oldest demarked wine region and the unique place where the Port Wine is produced. UNESCO listed this cultural landscape as a World Heritage Site. With us you can discover this area in all his facets. In a private wine-gastronomic trip, a romantic break, an active sporty holiday or either a combination, just tell us your wish and we will make it happen.

The northeastern part of the Minho Province enchants with the sacred city of Braga and the medieval city of Guimarães. It is a patchwork of small vineyards and greenish fields, picturesque landscapes, and attractive towns and villages. Here, tradition, history and folklore, is well preserved and still very important for the locals. In the farm fields you still find the “espigueiro” (storage silos for grains hat look like miniature churches).

This beautiful landscape is the cradle of the refreshing ‘Vinho Verde’, a young, slightly sparkling wine, and a true sample from this region.

For nature lovers, the impressive natural reserve of Peneda-Gerês National Park, formed by 5 mountains, is definitely a must see. It’s the only Portuguese National Nature Park and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Throughout the North we respond to all types of desires. Corporate travel, incentives, cultural and thematic trips, adventure , nature and family-holidays.

 

Central Portugal

The countryside is a rather mountainous area with authentic villages made of granite and shale. Close to the sea, you find fishing villages and cosmopolitan coastal resorts with a wide range of watersport options.

This place is very proud of it’s thousand years old history.

Some places are of such relevance to human kind that they have been included in UNESCO World Heritage List, such as the monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha, the Convent of Christ, in Tomar, and the famous University of Coimbra.

There are the historical granite villages and castles that used to hold the outer frontiers. In addition, you may also see the shale villages and towns with white houses, like Óbidos. Or either, you may visit cities where past, present and future goes hand in hand, such as the college towns of Coimbra, Aveiro, Viseu, Guarda and Castelo Branco, whose architecture is witness of their secular past.

In the mountains of Serra da Estrela, holding the highest peak of continental Portugal, you can find breathtaking landscapes and icy lakes. Going even further, you can see the mountains of Lousã, Açor and Caramulo, where you can explore nature by hiking and cycling at the trails. There are also places to practice mountaineering, rappel, rafting or canoeing, such as in Naturtejo Geopark, a protected natural area with a rich variety of fauna and flora.

Riverside beaches, surrounded by forests, and seaside beaches, with large sand strips by the Atlantic coast, offer a lot of leisure activities. Many people from all over the world are attracted to the perfect waves in Peniche or even the giant waves of Nazaré.

This region also has much to offer in terms of gastronomy, such as cheeses, sausages, fish stew, roasted suckling pig, honey and bakery treats. Wines of protected geographical status also refer to high-qualified products, manufactured by heartfelt and welcoming people that offer visitors only the very best.