Top Reasons To Go
Experiencing the old and the new: Porto may be steeped in history, but it's a country leader in design, gastronomy, and the arts. Beyond Porto, major regional centers, like Guimarães and Braga, juxtapose the old with the new as well, boasting significant historical monuments and a vibrant college-town atmosphere.
Enjoying the outdoors: No trip to the north is complete without a boat trip on the Douro, whose curve after curve of terraced vineyards together form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region also harbors the country’s only national park, Peneda-Gerês, with its many marked trails, as well as coastal bird sanctuaries and the remote uplands of Trás-os-Montes.
Tasting world-renowned port wines: Porto and the Douro Valley are the world hub for those sweet red wines that take their name from the region’s biggest city. Tour port wine bodegas along the river’s banks, and learn about the global wine trade that has shaped this country’s history.
Shopping for handicrafts: The Minho is famous even in Portugal for its pottery, embroidery, and other handicrafts. They’re best viewed at local markets but are also available at shops in Porto and other major centers.
Celebrating at festivals: The biggest party is on the evening of June 23, when Porto residents pour into the streets to celebrate the city’s patron saint, St. John, with curbside barbecues, all-night dancing, and curious customs like shaking garlic fronds in the faces of passersby. Countless village festivals across the region are attended by large numbers of emigrants who head home each summer.
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