4 days around Porto

Old May 3rd, 2006, 06:54 PM
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4 days around Porto

My family (53M, 53F, 22F, 20F) will be concluding a 2-week trip from Seville to Salamanca continuing to northern Portugal in early June. We already have 2 days booked in Bucaco and were then planning to use Porto as a base to explore the surrounding area. As we have 4 full days in this area, we were wondering if we should stay a couple of days to the north or east of Porto. Are there any nice towns/villages/hotels/inns which would fit these plans? Or should we simply stay in Porto and take day drives out of the city?
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 07:09 PM
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For one, I would definitely visit the Douro valley. I think the decision is whether to stay in Porto and explore the Douro valley with a boat/train trip or to drive east and stay on the Douro and spend a day or so driving around. We have done both, and both are lovely. I have a slight preference for staying in the valley and then driving around in a car, but you miss the views from the water that way. If you do stay out on the Douro, I would highly recommend the pousada at Mesao Frio. I've stayed in a fair number of pousadas and Mesao Frio is one of the nicest. The old building is beautiful (it's an old mansion), if you stay there make sure you are in a room on the second, NOT third floor, the grounds are very nice to walk around, and the views are stunning. All in all, it's a great place to stay for a night or two. Depending on how much driing you want to do, I think Guimaraes is a nice day trip also, with a 20 km detour to the Citania dos Briteiros, an old iron age settlement in beautiful hills. If by any chance you are a fan of Romanesque architecture, there are several very nice churches in the general area, but that seems to be a kind of specialized taste. Porto itself, is worth at least a day or two. The walk across the bridge to Gaia, where all the port wineries are, is very nice, and the view back over to Portugal is one of the prettiest views anywhere. And Porto has its share of historical sites and churches. It's a nice city to walk around in, has a small town feel in spite of its size. You'll love it. L.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 07:38 PM
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A second for the Douro. We wished we had spent a night somewhere along the river.
Visit a quinta.
Oh well, I guess for the next trip we will stay.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 12:18 PM
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Thanks for the comments on Porto. I have done so much research for all of Portugal and Lisbon that I have ignored the fact we will be in Porto the longest (4 nights) due to my husbands meeings.

We are staying in Pinhao for 2 nights before we head to Porto. Then plan some day trips out of Porto.

We will be there in early June as well!
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Old May 8th, 2006, 02:58 PM
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My opinion:
1.Porto, a beautiful city whith lots of interests (great food, nice people and with several historical places). Right next to Porto you can visit, in
Vila Nova de Gaia, the lodges where Port wine is blended and aged and where you can taste the different varieties, or you may choose to take a river cruise along the Douro for 1; 2 or more days.(http://www.douroazul.pt/douroazul.php)

2.Amarante, Crossed by the river Tâmega and surrounded by mountains, this pretty town proudly displays its 17th century mansions, with colourful balconies of painted wood brightly decorating the narrow streets, its restaurants with terraces overlooking the river or the beautiful bridge of São Gonçalo which leads to the great monastery of the 16th century that bears the name of the same saint.

3.Guimarães, With its historical center declared recently a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Guimarães adds this mark of honour to another title it displays by right, that of birthplace of the nation. Its proud and dominating castle was where Portugalīs first king, Afonso Henriques, was born in the 12th century.
3. Braga, perhaps Portugalīs main religious centre, is known for its barroque churches, splendid 18th century houses and elaborate gardens and parks.
and if you like nature, don't miss the Parque Nacional Peneda-Gerês (National Park of Portugal)!
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