Three of the best day trips from Porto
One of the oldest cities in the world, Porto has plenty to keep you entertained, from cathedrals to its world-famous port wine. If you’re lucky to have longer than just a few days booked in this gorgeous city, then you should take the chance to get out of the city limits and explore the region with some day trips.
Luckily, Porto is perfectly placed to give you plenty of inspiration and act as a base for your Portugal adventure. Whilst you can get the train easily to other cities like Lisbon, there are plenty of smaller places to capture your attention. Most can be reached by public transport, although some will be significantly quicker to get to if you have a hire car.
Whatever your situation and interest, you’re sure to find something here that will have you packing your rucksack for a day of adventure.
If you enjoy a good glass of wine, visiting the Douro Valley is an absolute must. Douro is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. They have been making wine here for over 2000 years, so you can be assured you’re drinking a product that has been created by years of experience and knowledge passed down through generations.
Even if you’re not a wine buff, the landscape is stunning. To best discover the Douro Valley, you can explore by train, rabelo boat or helicopter, and enjoy views over steep hills covered in vines, the lush green set against the deep blue of the river. Of course, no visit is complete without a wine tour, so if you don’t have a designated driver, then it can be worth signing onto a guided tour from Porto so that you can be sure to get a taste of all that this region has to offer.
What better city to visit than the one that is considered the birthplace of Portugal? Guimarães was also the birthplace of the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, so it’s easy to see why it’s considered a destination of historical importance. The medieval architecture still stands, so if you’re looking for a day trip to transport you back in time, then this is the place to go.
Whilst part of the joy of Guimarães is simply exploring the city, make sure to schedule a visit to the castle, and to the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza. The castle is over 1000 years old, and the palace was built in the 1400s, so there’s enough here to feed the imagination of any history-loving traveller. Despite its age, the palace was restored to good condition and visitors can go inside to marvel at the tapestries, furniture and pottery.
If you’re looking to escape the city and hit the beach, then head to Nazaré. Best accessed by car, this beach is now well-known for its waves, and is a surfing hotspot. The waves are actually some of the biggest on the planet.
In 2018, Maya Gabeira was recorded riding a 20.8m wave here, showing just how big the wall of water can get. This is all due to its unusual geographical makeup – a vast canyon runs under the sea, stopping just before the beach. It’s three miles deep in some places, creating the perfect conditions for big waves.
Whether you’re just coming to watch, are looking to explore the charming traditional fishing village, or are a seasoned surfing professional, then Nazaré is sure to delight.
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