Porto is one of the most popular travel destinations in Portugal, visited by thousands of tourists every month. Port wine and wine lodges, churches covered in azulejos, a magical bookstore, lovely old town named UNESCO World Heritage Site, picturesque winding streets, spectacular viewpoints, delicious local cuisine, and pastels de nata… All of that makes Porto a very famous place. But what if you would like to be more adventurous? Stay with us, and discover one-day trips from Porto to places in Northern Portugal.
Porto isn’t only a perfect spot for weekend trips or a few days’ stay. This city might also be a great home base for discovering more amazing places in Portugal! So if you’re staying there longer, this post may come in handy.
Today we’ll focus only on one-day trips from Porto to Northern Portugal, to the lush and green Alto Minho region. It’s our favorite region in Portugal. It’s full of breathtaking landscapes, and small charming towns tucked away in lovely green areas, yet undiscovered by many. There you’ll also find the only National Park in Portugal, a truly unique place on Portugal’s map.
We’ve been in the area for almost 2 months and in all mentioned places. So here are our recommendations for great one-day trips from Porto to places in Northern Portugal. All max 1.5h away if you’ll be driving by car. Vamos!
Learn more about Porto: 20+ Best Things To Do In One Day In Porto, Portugal
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One-Day Trips From Porto To Places In Northern Portugal
Ponte de Lima
Ponte de Lima is located about 85km from Porto, which makes it a great one-day trip idea from the city. It’s located in the enchanting Alto Minho region, famous for being home to popular and very tasty Vinho Verde wine, and Caldo Verde soup. Ponte de Lima is Portugal’s oldest village, founded in 1125 by Teresa de Leão, countess of Portugal and the mother of the first king of Portugal – Afonso I.
What is waiting for you in Ponte de Lima? Beautiful stone Ponte Romana bridge behind which lies fascinating legend, charming well-preserved old town, beautiful views, and fancy gardens displays. Not that big, yet not that small, and absolutely worth the visit!
A trip to Ponte de Lima can be easily connected with a trip to Ponte da Barca, which is only 20km away.
Ponte da Barca
Ponte da Barca is located about 100km from Porto. It’s a small and truly charming Portuguese town that sits on the banks of the Lima River and at the foot of Peneda-Geres National Park, in the green and lush Alto Minho region.
Beautiful landscapes, many green areas near the river perfect for relaxing or having a picnic, charming old town with iconic stone medieval bridge and lovely streets perfect to get lost in. Chill vibes, tasty food, and Vinho Verde wine at every step… All of this, and more, can be found there.
Viana do Castelo
Viana do Castelo is located about 75km from Porto, at the mouth of the Lima River. It’s a very enjoyable and interesting Portuguese coastal city, and a popular travel destination ready to win your heart.
A lovely old town where wandering among the streets is a pure pleasure. Lots of historic buildings, and an iconic mountaintop church – Santuario de Santa Luzia. A really fascinating Gil Eannes Hospital Ship museum, and even beaches where you can relax for a moment… All of this and more makes it a great one-day trip destination from Porto.
Caminha is located about 100km from Porto. It’s a small and very pleasant Portuguese town located at the mouth of River Minho in the Alto Minho region. It was founded in the 13th century and for hundreds of years played an important military role in defending Portugal’s northern borders.
Caminha is still not a well-known destination but it has its own charm, and history and for sure offers proper northern-Portugal vibes. Slowly, it’s becoming a popular spot for today’s invaders – travelers and digital nomads. Apart from the lovely old town full of medieval streets and buildings, you’ll find there stunning landscapes with beaches, mountains, river, ocean, forests… Without a doubt, Caminha is a great idea for a one day trip from Porto.
Vila Nova de Cerveira
Vila Nova de Cerveira, or just Cerveira, is located about 100km from Porto. This small and very pleasant Portuguese town is located in the northern part of the country, on the banks of the River Minho, right across from Spain. Cerveira was named after the deer population that used to inhabit the area (cervos means deer).
Stunning viewpoints with magnificent panoramic views over the area, iron deer statue that carefully observes the village from above, huge cerLove swing, a small but charming old town perfect for lazy stroll, a castle and a huge weekly Saturday market – Vila Nova de Cerveira has it all.
Valenca do Minho
Valenca do Minho, or just Valenca, is located about 115km from Porto. It lies on the left bank of the River Minho, right across from Spain. This unique Portuguese fortress town’s history goes back up to Roman times, and over the years it played an important military role in defending the Portuguese northern borders.
Valenca do Minho Fortress is without a doubt the most recognizable highlight of the town. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in North Portugal. Inside the Valenca fortress, among its narrow stone-paved streets, you’ll find many beautiful old buildings, a few churches, historical landmarks, and of course many restaurants and cafes perfect for a short break.
Lindoso is located about 120km from Porto, in a very scenic spot in Peneda-Geres National Park, only 4km from the Spanish border. This small, remote, and slightly-forgotten village for many centuries played an important military role in defending the Portuguese frontier. Now it’s a village where you’ll forget what century you live in now.
In Lindoso you won’t find many places to see but will take you on an amazing journey back in time hundreds of years. The well-preserved 13th-century medieval castle from which great views extend, the picturesque cluster of more than 50 granite granaries that date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, and the stone old town with the quaint houses are waiting for you to discover.
Soajo is located about 120km away from Porto, at the foot of Peneda-Geres National Park at an altitude of 1416m a.s.l, and only 10km from the Spanish border. It’s a remote and traditional village and you won’t find many places to see there. But the ones you’ll find will impress you for sure.
24 picturesque granaries that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. These are accompanied by wonderful views of the surroundings and fresh mountain air. Nearby, you’ll find a traditional stone old town with quaint houses and winding streets. There is also an unusual stone pillory with a carved anthropomorphic face… All of that creates a really charming picture.
Peneda-Geres National Park
Peneda-Geres National Park or just Geres, is the first and only National Park in Portugal. It’s located at its northern end, right on the border with Spain. It consists of four mountain ranges: Peneda, Geres, Soajo, and Amarela. Together with Parque Natural Baixa Limia on the Spanish side, they form the UNESCO Geres-Xures Transboundary Biosphere Reserve, a protected territory divided by borders but united by the characteristics of nature and culture.
Peneda-Geres is a truly unique and beautiful place on Portugal’s map, filled with breathtaking landscapes and great places to visit. If you want to learn more about it and discover more than just Lindoso and Soajo villages check out our post about one-day trip ideas in the park.
Guimaraes is located only about 55km from Porto, which makes it a perfect destination for a day trip from the city. This remarkable town is considered the birthplace of the Kingdom of Portugal. Why? It’s a place where Afonso Henrique, the first Portugal king was born! Guimaraes is full of history and its streets invite you to take a step back in time, straight to the Middle Ages.
It’s a pure delight to slowly stroll around Guimaraes Old Town. Without a doubt it’s one of the most beautiful and authentic historic centers you’ll find in Portugal. Narrow streets, old stone houses with typical medieval wooden upper parts, vibrant squares, and a well-preserved castle makes an impressive combination. No wonder Guimaraes Old Town was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Braga is located about 55km from Porto. It’s one of the oldest cities in Portugal and definitely the most religious one. Thanks to a huge number of churches, as many as 47, Braga is often called the Rome of Portugal. It’s also an important stop for many walking Camino Portugues, one of the spiritual routes leading to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. If you are a huge fan of churches you’ll definitely have a blast in Braga.
Thankfully Braga has more to offer than just dozens of churches and spiritual experiences. In its old town, you’ll find a building predating Portugal itself! There are as well a lot of streets and squares full of old buildings and historical landmarks. Magnificent viewpoints are waiting just outside the city (mostly from churches again like the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte or the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro). But still worth taking a look.
Barcelos is located only 60km from Porto, which makes it a fast and great one-day trip idea from the city. What makes it worth visiting? Barcelos is the birthplace of the famous and colorful Rooster of Barcelos. It’s probably the most recognizable and iconic symbol of Portugal, behind which lies a fascinating and miracle legend.
There’s also a pleasant old town that has retained some of its medieval vibes. It’s full of charming and well-kept streets that invite for a lazy stroll while admiring buildings dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries.
Learn more: City Of Famous Rooster Of Barcelos In Portugal
Arcos De Valdevez
Arcos de Valdevez is located 100km from Porto. It’s a small and very quiet Portuguese town that sits on the banks of the Vez River and at the foot of Peneda-Geres National Park. The town was founded in 1515, and despite the passage of time, it has retained lots of its charm and traditional architecture.
19th century four-arches stone bridge, Valdevez Tournament statue depicts two knights on (legless) horses armed with long spears, a small old town full of churches… We think that Arcos de Valdevez isn’t the most interesting or charming town in the Alto Minho region but while in the area, while visiting Ponte de Lima or Ponte da Barca, it’s definitely worth taking a look and wandering around a bit.
Learn more: Best Things To Do In Arcos De Valdevez, Portugal
One-Day Trips From Porto To Places In Northern Portugal – Summing Up
Lots of propositions for one-day trips from Porto to Northern Portugal, right? You definitely won’t be bored if you’re planning on staying longer in the area! Enjoy your trips and let us know which villages, towns, and cities you chose to explore.
One more tip at the end. Traveling by car, without a doubt, is the best and the fastest way of getting to all mentioned places. So if you’re not traveling by car, we recommend you rent one. Some places (Viana do Castelo, Braga, Guimaraes, Barcelos, Caminha, Valenca do Minho, Vila Nova de Cerveira) you’ll be able to reach by train. Most of them, except the ones in Peneda-Geres, you can reach by bus – but it might be a long journey. To check out connections that might interest you visit rome2rio.com website.