For a 2020 holiday that offers a wealth of European culture, alongside beautiful scenery and long sandy beaches, it has to be North Portugal. A playground for adventure sports enthusiasts, its countryside is also dotted with UNESCO World Heritage sites, cities with cobbled streets and plenty of old world charm, plus a staggering amount of picture-postcard beaches. A surfer’s paradise, the breezy Atlantic coast welcomes all types of water sports enthusiasts. Party animals revel in Porto’s bustling streets and clubs, and culture vultures head to the town of Guimaraes, which brings together the country’s culture and heritage in its winding streets.
On a holiday to North Portugal you’ll discover gastronomic delights tucked away in small family run restaurants, see traditional seafaring lives still being lived in the quiet coastal towns, and enjoy some of the very finest European architecture. Historic town squares are home to grand places of worship, hidden quirky cafés and craft stalls selling locally made goods. Long road trips take you through the ever-changing landscape before returning to your hotel. With a huge range of superb places to stay, your only problem will be deciding whether to enjoy a day by the pool, or head out for another day of adventure and discovery.
North Portugal at a glance
Explore the city
Explore Porto with all its old world charm and colourful fine dining spots
Must-visit historical sites
Admire the Baroque architecture in Braga, visit Old Viana do Castelo & see 9th century Castelo de Santa Maria da Feira
Try the local wine
Get lost in the beauty of the Douro Valley and sample the lovely reds the region proudly produces
Lush natural wonders
Get to know the wildlife (and astonishing beauty) of Peneda-Gerês National Park
Discover the best beaches
Atlantic waves crash on golden dunes…we love the beaches of Caminha and Praia de Árvore
Sample the cafe culture
Slowly sip on your coffee as the world goes by in popular Ribeira (Porto’s most recognisable neighbourhood!)
Top resorts in North Portugal
A holiday in Porto will transport you straight into a historical haven, with a unique culture and a vibrant way …from £108 pp
Vila Praia de Ancora
Vila Praia de Ancora in North Portugal, Portugal …from £125 pp
A charming Portuguese city defined by its combination of ancient and modern attractions, boasting stunning, grand buildings, engaging museums and …from £161 pp
Vila Nova de Gaia
Just to the south of Porto lies Vila Nova de Gaia, a beautiful river and sea-front town that rates very …from £185 pp
Guimaraes in North Portugal, Portugal …from £240 pp
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Things to do in North Portugal
Taking a holiday in Northern Portugal gives you the chance to explore the region’s cities, along with their history and heritage. From the large city of Porto to the small town of Aveiro, every stop has a wealth of treasures to discover. No trip to Northern Portugal would be complete without a journey to Guimaraes, a Portuguese city that encompasses a rich blend of the country’s history, gastronomy, culture, art and architecture. With many river cruises, tours and city guides available across the region, there are plenty of ways to explore. Water sports and beach lovers will adore the west coast, with its never-ending beaches and Atlantic breezes keeping the temperatures comfortable in the hot summers.
If you’d rather spend time further inland, the rivers, mountains and wooded areas of the countryside offer a playground for thrill-seekers and visitors who want to enjoy the lush, green views at a slower pace.
Beach-goers looking for sun, sea and sand on a holiday to North Portugal will love the wealth of options on the west coast. Known as the Costa Verde, or the ‘green coast’, much of the shoreline is protected from development, ensuring unspoiled beaches and fantastic views. Beaches and their resorts towards the very north of the country are smaller and less affected by tourism. Still retaining their seaside traditions and ways of life, a beach trip here offers insight into the real Portugal.
Meanwhile, the Atlantic northwesterly winds and swells create a fantastic playground for surfers. Whatever the weather, you’ll find passionate surfers taking to the waves to practice their sport. If you’re staying inland, but are still keen to take to the water, you have a range of options. River cruises take in the best of the north’s riverside towns and sights, while water parks offer visitors of all ages the chance to make a splash in the sun.
Most popular hotels in North Portugal
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