You are wondering what you can do in the north of Portugal… Yes, I know that many people know Lisbon and Algarve more, maybe also Madeira, but Porto and the North are offering many interesting and nice places to visit.
What we did last weekend was amazing and really enjoyable, so I’d like to share it with you. Hope you’ll follow our example and remember it for a long time!
So we started our Saturday early in the morning, approx. at 9am, by visiting Porto center. It was not that hot, so we could walk around, make some pictures and even have a cup of coffee in one of the cafes in downtown. Carmelitas and Carmo churches, park Cordoria, Clerigos, Aliados, Sao Bento train station, Ribeira… Well, I am very lucky to know some people here, so we were allowed to take the boat Rabelos from the Porto side right at the time we arrived there, so we didn’t have to wait. After the boat trip on the Douro river we had a wonderful lunch with fish, green wine of course, ice-creams, and a coffee (“cafezinho”) already on the river-side of the town Villa Nova de Gaia. Normally, such program would be finished in one of the wine cellars, but we loved everything so much that we didn’t want to stop on that. We decided to travel to the Douro Valley and try Portuguese wines there, exactly where they are being produced.
It was +39C there, very dry and hot, but still amazing! Grapes are ready… Not for the wine yet, but we tried a couple – they are very sweet (hope, the owner of the Quinta will allow me back after that). More or less 1 hour drive from Porto and we are in paradise – river, mountains, all possible fruits being sold right near the road (peaches, figs, grapes of course, nectarines and many others). Hills with vineyards on them, almost ready to provide us with the grapes for the wine. However, we tried the previous year wines and of course older wines too. It was a surprise for me to find not only Douro’s typical wines made of the Douro’s typical casts of grapes like Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz etc., but also German Riesling and Southern Moscatel, which are not usual for this region. Moscatel wine was very tasty though, very aromatic but enough to not to be a “perfume”.
After this trip we had only our way back with one stop to buy melon, peach, grapes for our dinner. Great trip! We were not even tired after that. Here they are on the picture.
So the next day we had was only for sports and Porto, although if you have only one weekend, I’d suggest you visit other small cities in the north, like Braga, Guimaraes, Ponte de Lima or Amarante, for instance. So for us Sunday was only for tennis and surfing in the evening. Well, I love sports so it was again a very enjoyable and relaxing day.
My own evening I decided to spend in my favorite cafe near the ocean, writing and relaxing after such an intensive weekend. It’s so inspirational to see many people relaxing, doing some sports, like running, skateboarding, biking… Some of them were dancing lindy-hop right on the beach. People were relaxing too. The waiter in the cafe, named Joao, is always very nice and sweet. This time he lightened a candle only for me, only on my table, which made others stare at me, like at a VIP 🙂
It’s impossible not to fell in love with such a beautiful place and with such amazing and caring people. Hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the North of Portugal as I do every day.