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  • Our Bucket List for a Visit to Northern Portugal

    Planning your next trip is a lot of fun and part of the experience of travelling. While you may not be able to travel at the moment, you can already start looking at all the places you’ll visit when you can fly again. The North of Portugal is a fantastic post-lockdown holiday destination with its historic UNESCO sites and the magnificent Douro Valley.

    Aerial panoramic view of the historic village of Lindoso, with the surroundings mountains and lake, at the Peneda Geres National Park

    And you don’t have to worry about your accommodation either. With Pousadas of Portugal, you have access to amazing properties that will make you fall in love with the country all over again, such as our Hotel Palácio do Freixo.

    Explore Vale do Côa

    The archaeological park of Vale do Côa is a massive prehistoric art site, so you have the chance of seeing images engraved into rocks by humans who lived there over 20,000 years ago. The images (which portray people and animals) were found in the 90s during construction of a dam in the area; this construction was halted in order to preserve the prehistoric art.

    While you can certainly visit during the day, you may want to try and take a night tour instead, since you can see the images better that way – this also makes for an unforgettable experience.

    Visit Peneda-Gerês

    Sure, visiting Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia is a must, especially if you want to try different – but all equally delicious – wines. But no one should miss out on visiting the wilderness of Peneda-Gerês, Portugal’s only national park. The north of the country is rich in natural beauty, from unique fauna and flora to stunning green hills, and this park is truly a gem to admire.

    Located in the Viana do Castelo, Braga and Vila Real districts, the national park came into existence due to efforts in the preservation of natural resources, as well as due to scientific interests, as the goal was to protect the soil, water, landscape, wildlife and vegetation.

    In the park are historic dolmens that date back to 6,000 BC, unique animals like the Iberian wolf, granite structures, lakes and other bodies of water, and more. This area of the country has great floral and phytogeographic importance, so it’s certainly a sight to see.

    View of the Mizarela Bridge with a waterfall at the Peneda Geres National Park

    Discover Fortaleza de Valença

    This is an ancient fortress separated by Portugal’s neighbor, Spain, by the width of the Minho River. Fortaleza de Valença was the site of many battles over the years, so the citadel walls have been destroyed by the Barbarians and the Moors, as well as by soldiers from Spanish and French kingdoms, but they’ve been rebuilt every time.

    The place is not only incredibly scenic but perfect for history lovers as well, especially as you’ll have the opportunity to see many bulwarks from the 17th and 18th centuries; you’ll also find bastions, watchtowers and gateways connected by a single bridge.

    Visit Santuário de Santa Luzia

    The Santuário de Santa Luzia is located in Viana do Castelo and is an iconic monument inspired by Byzantine and Gothic architecture – it is a unique religious monument in the country, also because it’s one of the youngest at less than a hundred years old.

    Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, this fantastic complex draws in many tourists who wish to see the intricate and beautiful church interior; you can even ascend to the top of the domed roof. A funicular takes people up the steep hill, which will give you another chance to admire the scenic landscape around you.

    Walk the Passadiços do Paiva

    This is another unique attraction that you don’t want to miss out on – and which is perfect for those looking for a bit of exercise too! Passadiços do Paiva, or Paiva Walkways, will take you on a nature experience unlike any other through an 8km walk on wooden stairs and suspension bridges.

    Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful sights in the country, you can admire the gorgeous Paiva River and you’ll have the opportunity to walk through waterfalls and vibrant vegetation. The walk is expected to last around two and a half hours.

    Enjoy the Roman Bridge of Chaves

    Another great place to visit if you’re a history – or architecture – buff. Chaves was a very important spot in Roman times, as it connected Lusitania and Hispania and was the meeting point between three crucial roads. The presence of the Romans can still be seen in many cities and locations across the country, and bridges are a superb example of that.

    The Chaves’ Roman bridge was built over the Tâmega River during the turn of the 2nd century. It measures 140 metres in length and has 12 arches. We’re confident that you’ll love this stunning point of interest when you visit.

    Relax on Praia da Costa Nova

    Just because you’re in Northern Portugal doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the beach. One in particular, Praia da Costa Nova, is one-of-a-kind in the country and famous for its rows of colourful houses painted with stripes; the promenade and the sand dunes are the perfect finishing touch.

    Located near Aveiro, the houses were originally built by fishermen as shelters, but they’re now for those on holiday. Praia da Costa Nova is ideal for everyone looking to relax for a few days and for those in search of a great surfing spot.

    Costa Nova, Portugal: colorful striped houses in a beach village

    Portugal has many spectacular places to see, and the North of the country is peppered with them. This list is far from comprehensive, so there is plenty more to find, which you can discover when you visit Portugal on your next trip. Start making your plans and bookings now and you’ll be ready to go when the time finally arrives. Visit our Pousada Belmonte, Pousada Tavira, and hotel Sagres and chose the perfect one for your next holidays.

    Contact us today to learn more about our accommodation options in the North of Portugal or in other regions of the country, and we’ll be happy to answer all of your questions.

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