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10 Recommended Travel Destinations in Northern Portugal

  In southwestern Europe, right on the border of Spain, lies the wonderful country of Portugal, which draws millions of tourists each year. Thanks to it numerous places to explore, it’s difficult to choose which restaurant, beaches, and historical sites to visit in order to make sure you have made the most out of your trip to Portugal. To help you with this difficult selection, we have gathered for you 10 amazing locations in northern Portugal that embody all this colorful country has to offer its visitors.
 

1. Porto 

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Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, gets its name from its famous port wine. Here, you can go on a real historical journey by just walking through the streets. You can start off with the fascinating sites of the old town of Riviera and continue to the modern squares in the new areas of the city. Along the Douro River, which passes through the city, you can experience wine tasting tours and enjoy the lively nightlife in the nearby clubs and restaurants. History lovers will also find interest in the Baroque buildings in the Old City, which include a memorial site for King Pedro IV, who once ruled the country.
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2. Douro Valley

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If you want to enjoy a leisurely and relaxing holiday surrounded by breathtaking views, Douro Valley is the place for you. Douro Valley is adorned with colorful vineyards that grow on terraces located on mountainsides, creating a particularly picturesque landscape. While touring the vineyards, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy some wine tasting which will give you the chance to sip both Port and other wonderful wines while surrounded by breathtaking views.
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3. Guimaraes

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This city is considered to be the birthplace of Portugal, and you'll certainly understand why after a short tour of it. In Guimaraes, you can explore Gothic buildings, a medieval town center and stone-paved streets that provide a sense of going back in time. There is a combination of old and new, ancient and modern, which comes about as the result of the assimilation of contemporary culture in the old streets of the city. When you're not visiting historic sites, you can drink coffee at one of the restaurants this city has to offer.
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4. Peneda-Geres National Park

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Peneda-Geres Park, located in between mountains in northwestern Portugal, is the only national park in Portugal. It was founded in 1971 and is there to help preserve the area’s nature. In order for the park to be preserved, tourism is limited, but there are some lovely spots where camping is allowed. There are walking trails that pass through the park, allowing you to admire its beautiful nature, one of which leads to an ancient Celtic monastery. During the trip, you can also see stunning waterfalls and, if the water is calm, the remnants of two ancient villages.
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5. Viana do Castelo

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Viana Du Castello is a historic port city that served as a harbor for pioneers who set out to discover the world centuries ago. Many of the buildings in Viana do Castelo were founded in the 16th century and some even before. These buildings include the Renaissance Fountain of 1535 in the main square, the Museum of the Caravans de Lima, the Romanesque cathedral dating back to the 15th century, and the Flemish church from the 16th century. To take a break from the historic sites, you can take a trip to the famous beaches and enjoy a relaxing soak in the sun.
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6. Amarante
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Amarante is known for its sparkling wine, but there's more to this city than just an alcoholic beverage. A famous bridge, that is believed to have been built by a Christian saint in the 12th century AD, passes over the city, and the Tamega River. On one side of the bridge lies the old city, and on the other, you can find modern centers which are fun to visit. The city also has many religious venues such as the Goncalo Church, which critics say looks spectacular in the sun, especially in June.
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7. Costa Nova do Prado 

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The magical fishing town of Costa Nova is decorated with colorful houses that blend perfectly with the beaches’ blue waters. These houses are characterized by their unique white and colorful stripes. They used to be used as shelter for fishermen, but they now serve as guest houses for travelers from all over the world. Adventurous travelers can enjoy the wonderful waterfalls of Costa Nova, followed by relaxation at the beach.
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8. Braga 

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Braga is the third largest city in Portugal and the most religious. In fact, there are so many religious churches and centers that it's hard to see all of them in one trip! In order to observe the religious history of the place, it's recommended to focus on a number of major sites such as the Bom Jesus do Monte, the city's main tourist attraction. You can also see non-religious sites in the city, such as the Santiago Tower, which served as part of the Old City wall. No matter which site you choose to see, it's hard not to admire the impressive buildings in the city.
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9. The Hanging Bridges of Paiva

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Nature lovers shouldn't miss out on a tour of Paiva’s hanging bridges. The route is about 8 kilometers and includes walking on wooden suspension bridges along the Paiva River, considered to be one of the most beautiful in Portugal. Along the route, you’ll pass through lush greenery, waterfalls, crystal clear river water and perhaps even see some wildlife in the surrounding area. 
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10. Lamego

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Lamego is an ancient baroque town in the area of the Douro River, famous for having some of the most delicious port wine in the country. Besides the wine, the old town is also known for its history - when King Afonso I first ascended to power in the 12th century, he built the first church in the city, Sé Cathedral. Other sites in the town include a 12th-century castle and a 13th-century castle built on a mountain and designed to serve as an observation and protection point for the town. In the inner part of the town there is a water cistern that was cut during the years of Arab rule, and above the city stands a shelter with two bell towers, which completes the ancient landscape in a wonderfully visual way.

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