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Visit Europe's 2012 Capital of Culture then meander through the wine- and art-filled countryside

Word of Mouth"If you go to Porto, drive to the Pinhao and take the train to Pocinho and back," writes Fodorite MFNYC. "The views are spectacular from the train (Douro valley) and the toddlers will probably enjoy the train ride. There are many nice stops between Porto and Lisbon . . . One nice stop for families would be Nazare, a charming beach town. We went in the off season, so with summer crowds it may not be as charming."

Why Go NowPortugal’s struggling economy is a boon for travelers looking for a value vacation this year. Guimarães, with its UNESCO-designated historic center, is the 2012 European Capital of Culture (it shares the title with Maribor, Slovenia), which means visitors can expect a robust roster of musical performances, art exhibitions, and cultural events. Top off your culture fix with an excursion to the Douro Valley vineyards and a stopover in the seaside city Porto, thirty minutes south of Guimarães.

Where to StayPorto’s Yeatman Hotel, a Relais & Chateaux property, gets high marks for its posh accommodations, vinotherapy spa, and the largest collection of Portuguese wines in the world; its namesake restaurant also just received its first Michelin star. The new Radisson Blu Resort & Spa in Portimao and Conrad Algarve, both opening in 2012, give good reason to head to Portugal’s tropical coast. See more Porto hotel reviews.

Insider TipMost festivals in Portugal are held in summer. The season starts in June, with the Festa de Santo António (Saint Anthony's Day), celebrated in Lisbon. Porto's big annual holiday is that of its patron saint, São João, on June 24.

When to GoTravel April through October for the best weather.

Plan Your TripVisit Fodor's Portugal Travel Guide for the latest hotel and restaurant reviews in Porto and beyond.

Photo: gregobagel/istockphoto

Member Comments (5)  Post a Comment

  • fahiniko on Jun 23, 13 at 10:44 PM

    It looks really delicious.

  • alexandercorrie on Jul 24, 12 at 12:24 PM

    I live in Portugal and am sharing a website which recommends charming holiday homes, B&Bs and hotels in beautiful and authentic locations of the country. Included are write-ups and photos of the different regions, to help plan a visit.


  • HolidaysPortugal on Jul 11, 12 at 09:15 AM

    Portugal is realy a nice country to go.
    Portugal combines history, nature, gastronomy and unique heritage. If you want to see a wonderful trip through Portugal from the birds-eye view with spectacular images of Portugal take a look on this 5 youtube videos.

  • amr65London on Jun 2, 12 at 01:19 PM

    Both Lisbon and Porto are really happening places just now, but don't limit yourself to the cities. Portugal has amazingly varied landscapes for such a small country: on the same day you can hike a trail in wooded hills and lounge on a beautiful sandy beach. Based in Lisbon, we took a day-long trip out to the lovely Roman/medieval walled city of Evora, in the middle of the rolling Alentejo, with stops at nearby sights such as the hilltop castle at Arraolos and a circle of prehistoric standing circles, and also a fascinating winery visit and tasting. The company we went with - Have a Wine Day www.enhaveawineday.com - does several similar wine-themed trips in other directions: to Fatima and Batalha, and to Obidos. If we hadn't already been to these places we'd have taken those trips, too!
    If you like wine at all you should get to know Portugal's - they have their own native varieties and are producing some really delicious stuff.

  • Turismo_EnPortugal on Jan 14, 12 at 07:33 AM

    Great article! :)Portugal is a very nice destination.