The wonderful Portuguese culture

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North of Portugal

"A road trip through the north of Portugal"

"Uma viagem de carro pelo norte de Portugal"

Travel through the north of Portugal

With this road trip, we're gonna travel through the north of Portugal. Take your luggage, and visit in around 14 days the Minho region, the home of the Royal family and the UNESCO Douro Valley. Let us introduce you in the cradle of Portugal and the region of the most famous fortified wine, o Vinho do Porto, the Port wine.


#northofportugal, #porto, #minho, #braga, #guimarães, #dourovalley

Estimated read time: 11 minutes

Travel Information

Travel time:

14 days


600 km





Travel through the north of Portugal porto braga douro valley barcelos guimarães bragança lamego road trip round tour

How to travel through the north of Portugal?

Ideal schedule

"Travel in around 14 days"

Personally, I am a big fan of slow travelling. It is ideal to make enough time to discover a city, a region, the monuments and must do's of your destination. Because travelling and vacation have to be fun and relaxed, not a rat race or a rush. Also keep in mind, when you make a road trip, you also have 2 travel days between the different locations. So, when you are travelling to the next destination, you don't have always the opportunity to make a stop and see something. This is why I suggest to make this road trip in around 14 days.

How to travel through the north of Portugal?

"Best way is by car"

The most ideal way to make this toad trip through the north of Portugal is by car. Our start point is in Porto, so you can rent your car at the international airport of Porto for 14 days. Or in case it is possible for you, you can go for your own car.

"By bus"

In Portugal, you also have a large bus network of Rede Expressos. Comfortable travel cars, with WiFi and the possibility to travel with luggage bring you almost everywhere in the whole country. But if you travel by bus or public transport, it is maybe not possible to visit every location of this road trip the easy way. So, for this trip a car gives you more freedom.

"Road trips in Portugal"

It is always a good idea to be good informed when you plan to drive or make a road trip in another country. So, in our post about Road Triips in Portugal, I give you more inside tips and tricks whenyou plan to drive by yourself in Portugal. Because Portugal is a great country to make stunning road trips.

Travel plan through the north of Portugal

"Travel through the cradle of Portugal"

The start and end point of this road trip are both Porto, the city of 6 bridges over the Douro river. We will travel to the north to dive into the cradle of Portugal. Afterwards, we travel to the east where the home of the most successful Portuguese Royal family is situated. To finally go a little bit southward and drive back to Porto through the UNESCO classified Douro Valley.

  • Bragança
  • Douro Valley


"The cradle of Portugal"





Viana do Castelo





As already told, we start this road trip in Porto, the metropolitan city beside the Douro river. We're not going to visit Porto right now. This is for the end of our trip. From Porto, drive directly to the north in the direction of the Minho region. When you take the A3, you will find our first city to make a stop.

braga travel through the north of portugal city park
"Braga as The Rome of Portugal"

Braga is a wonderful student city in the north of Portugal. It is one of the oldest cities of the country and located in the cradle of Portugal. This city houses the oldest cathedral of Portugal and a lot of churches. In Portugal, people say sometimes: "In Lisbon people live, in Porto people work and in Braga people pray".

"Wonderful architecture"

In Braga, you have a lot of architecture to discover. Also the Santuário Bom Jesus de Monte is a must do when you are in Braga. This is an impressive construction with a lot of stairs to reach the church of the Shine at the top.

sanctuary of bom jesus do monte ttravel through the north of portugal braga shine stairs cathedral nature
"The rooster of Barcelos as a symbol of luck"

Other interesting locations in the Minho region are Viana do Castelo and Barcelos. Barcelos is the place of the legend of "the rooster of Portugal". Which is now the symbol of luck and fertility in Portugal. Also the natural park of Gerês is absolutely worth your visit. This is a wonderful area of 695 km² of naure close to the Spanish border.

the rooster of barcelos luck portugal travel through the north of portugal galo legend
Gerês lakes travel through the north of portugal minho region cradle natural park nature
"Guimarães: Aqui nasceu Portugal"

When we travel further to our next stop at the east side, you have absolutely to make a stop in Guimarães. Guimarães was the first capital of Portugal and the place where Pprtugal was born. On the wall of the castle, you see the message "Aqui nasceu Portugal" ("Here is Portugal born"). In 1128, D. Afonso Henriques took over the rule of the County of Portucale and in 1139 he transformed this county in the Kingdom 89,23of Portugal with Guimarães as capital.

guimarães aqui nasceu portugal travel through the north of portugal cradle castle wall


Now we will travel further around 200 km further to the east of Braga and Guimarães. You can take the A7 and A4 to reach or next stop Bragança. If you want to make an extra stop in between, you can go for Vila Real. Or when you take the more northern road, Chaves is also an option. Chaves is the city of the start point of the famous Rota EN2.



"The House of Braganza"









Around 200 km more to the east, we arrive in the Bragança district, in the other corner of Portugal and beside the Spanish border. The city of Bragança is the capital of this district.

"Dukes of Bragança"
brasao house of bragança braganza north of portugal coat of arms

This is the home of the Dukes of Bragança. In the 17th century, the 8th Duke of Bragança became King D. João IV of Portugal. Now, the Dukes of Bragança where settled at the crown. The House of Bragança became the last and most important royal family of Portugal. Till Portugal became a republic in 1910. In the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora in Lisboa, you can visit the tombs of the Royal family, The House of Braganza.

city of Bragança travel through the north of portugal house of braganza dukes
"Discover the whole region"

The royal presence is immortalized in a lot of churches and the cathedral of Bragança. So, they are a must see when you visit this city. For people who like to walk through the nature and natural parks with impressive landscape views, they have to go to the Montesinho Natural Park in the north of Bragança.

montesinho natural park travel through the north of Portugal nature river lake


We are travelling further. Now, we're gonna drive 70 km more to the south, where we will cross the Douro river. Here we will make a stop in Vila Nova de Foz Côa. Welcome in the Douro Valley, the UNESCO wine region in the north of Portugal.

Douro Valley


"An UNESCO classified wine region"








Vila Nova de Foz Côa

Now it is time to discover the Douro Valley of Portugal. This is an UNESCO classified wine region in the north of Portugal. The Douro Valley is the terroir around the Douro river where the grapes grow and the wines are made. This is the home of the Port wine. We have a specific post about Port wine with all the details of this wonderful classified and protected fortified wine.

"Open-air rock paintings"

The city where we make out stop, Vila Nova de Foz Côa, is located at the Côa river. This small town is known for the many rock paintings found in open air. They are so numerous and more as 12 000 years old, from the end of the Old Stone Age. This collection of open-air rock paintings is unique in the world. So, they are classified as UNESCO World Heritage.

"A Terra Quente"

Vila Nova de Foz Côa is located in the Douro Superior of the Douro Valley. This region has a unique climate with very hot summers. So, the Douro Superior is also called as "a terra quente" (hot earth). Also the climate over here is dryer and with less influence of the wind of the Atlantic Ocean. The landscape is also much flatter as the other regions of the Douro Valley. Of course, these aspects affects the grapes that grow in the Douro Superior.

Douro Valley road N222 travel through the north of Portugal wonderful trip impressive landscape views
Terraces douro valley travel through the north of portugal unesco classified


Now, it is time to travel through the Douro Valley. To do this, we don't take the highway or a tollway. We will take the national route N222. It is a winding road of around 80-90 km to our next stop. During your journey, you will enjoy the wonderful nature of this part of Portugal, as well as the impressive landscape views and the unique terraces of the vineyards beside the Douro river. The real adventurers can also go for the N222-3, which you can already take a little bit earlier and drive a larger part along the Douro river.

pinhão douro river valley travel through the north of portugal

During your ride, make a stop in Pinhão. This is known as the centre of the Douro Valley. Due to its location, it was always the most important place for the transport of the Port wine to the lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia. First by the Rabelo boats, afterwards by train along the Douro river. These days, the wines are mostly transported by tankers on the road. Pinhão is very important as a point of transport and a touristical place to disocver the Douro Valley.




Vila Real




Peso da Régua

Our next stop in the Douro Valley is Peso da Régua. This is a place located in the Baixo Corgo, which is the lowest region of the Douro Valley, but also the wettest. Peso da Régua played a more important role as Pinhão in the transport of Port wine. It was in Peso da Régua that marchants started for the first time with the production and sale of Port wine, as the transport to Vila Nova da Gaia with the Rabelo boats.

peso da regua travel through the north of portugal douro valley
sanctuary of Lamego travel through the north of portugal shine
"The Sanctuary of Lamego"

Not far from Peso da Régua, you find Lamego. Lamego is famous for its wonderful Shine. In the beginning of this road trip, we already went to the Sanctuary Bom Jesus in Braga. Well, also here in Lamego, you can visit a Sanctuary with stairs. A wonderful monument, which is a must do on our trip through the north of Portugal. Also the Rota EN2 from the north to the south passes through this part of the Douro Valley.


Finally, we are almost at the end of our journey through the north of Portugal. It is time to drive back to Porto, the city where we started this stunning road trip. You can take a route along the Douro river or take a faster way and drive the A4.



"The Douro city with 6 bridges"









Finally, we arrive again in Porto. Here we are in the city of 6 bridges over the Douro river and to taste the Port wine in Vila Nova de Gaia. Porto is a compact charming city in the north of Portugal, the 2nd largest city of Portugal. Learn more about this invictible city in the cradle of Portugal in our specific post about Porto itself.

Porto Douro river city overview portugal rabelo boats 6 bridges
"A road trip through the north of Portugal"

We made a road trip of around 600 km through the north of Portugal. Now it is time to ake a break and relax in Porto, before you go back home. Or prepare for your next journey. Maybe you're gonna start now to make this stunning road trip through the north of Portugal by yourself. Have fun!

porto city overview road trip travel time discover cradle portugal
porto letters palacio cristal garden

Plan your own road trip through the north of Portugal

Make your personal road trip through the north of Portugal. Start by selecting your perfect flights and where you want to stay. A good preparation keeps the fun in your road trip. But keep the freedom for last minute changes. Now it is up to you to make this wonderful trip through the north of Portugal and discover the cradle of Portugal as well as the Douro Valley.

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