Norte region of Portugal; travel guide and places to visit

Photo of Norte (Norte region)

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The Norte or North region of Portugal has beautiful coastal scenery, a rich rolling landscape and lovely small cities and towns with lots of 16th century architecture.

Explore the North region of Portugal

The North, or Norte, is the oldest region of Portugal. The Norte region is located in southwestern Europe and it is one of five main regions.

In addition, the main regions consists of the sub regions Alto Trás-os-Montes, Ave, Cávado, Douro, Entre Douro e Vouga, Grande Porto, Minho-Lima and Tâmega and the Districts Braga, Braganca, Porto, Viana Do Castelo, Vila Real, Aveiro, Guarda and Viseu.

This area is filled with small cities and towns that enjoy mild year-round climates. The Norte region has warm, dry summers as well as mild winters. Take a drive any time of the year along this beautiful coastal region. View the rich Portuguese history reflected in the coastal landscape. Much of the architecture dates back to early 16th century. Feast your eyes on the spectacular wealth of architecture, waterfalls, rolling landscapes, vineyards, and rich Gothic artwork. View these wonders in numerous ways, hike through the mountains or canoe, or even surf the waterway.

Spend time in the capital city of Porto, the derivative of Portugal’s name, and the second largest city in Portugal. Here you will find the bridge known as, Ponte De Luis, built in 1886, and the connection between Porto and Gaia. Spend the early hours at the Torre dos Clerigos or, in English, Clerigos Tower, and take advantage of the viewing deck.

Vila Nova de Gaia on the river opposite Porto is a lovely town and home to the cellars of the famous Port wine. These include Sandeman, Croft, Porto Cruz and Taylor's and you can do a tour of the cellars including a tasting of the different Port wines.

Ponte de Lima, located in the northwest corner of the Norte region, well known for its Market Mondays, has held bi-monthly markets since the 11th century. Imagine strolling through the antiquity rich marketplace, listening to Folk music from a handmade Portuguese guitar. When you are done at the marketplace, it is just a short stroll to an ancient chapel or a historic fountain since they line the land in this area.

A trip to Chaves offers a view of an ancient Roman bridge, fort, or neighboring ruins. While you are there, be sure to enjoy one of many fine spas, with an evening of music and dancing after a fine Portuguese meal.

Douro Valley known for producing fine wines, and the beauty of its landscaped vineyards, mountains, and valleys, is the home of Port wine. Be sure to spend some time at the sampling table.

On Costa Verde, the Green Coast, visit the ancient Town of Braga. While in Braga, you must see Ingreja de Bom Jesus which translates in English to Church of the Good Jesus. This cathedral is a spectacular example of 18th century architecture and artwork.

Take a tour and connect with nature in Peneda-Gerês National Park. Enjoy its beautiful wilderness and wildlife area.

While in Viana Do Castelo stay at the Quinto do Monteverde. This is a 16th Century Farmhome with a 3-star rating. This farmhome boasts of a legendary golf course, and is just a short trip from the coastline.

Whether you are renting a manor home or staying at a hostel, hotel, resort, or lodge, this region of Portugal with its stunning coastline and untouched beaches, is home to cultural and historical beauty. There is so much to see, and so much to do. Visit its museums, art galleries, concert halls, and cinemas. The Norte region is a rare coastal beauty with history that stands time.

See also:

Map of Norte and places to visit

Norte places to visit