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A history and archaeology filled trip for foodies and archaeology-buffs
From the airport just take the subway into town. With Porto card or public transport card it isn't expensive at all!
Get the Porto Card at the Santander office in arrival hall.
Discounts free entrance and public transportation, buy asap to get easy transportation into town and to use the next 3 days, will save you a lot of money.
After checking in (f.i. Pensao Grande Oceano near Avenida Alliados) you can start sightseeing, and why not, while making your way to the Se step into the trainstation to admire the tiles( of course you will see plenty of this station in following days)
By the way: if you are hungry and up for luncheon before sightseeing: the churrasqueira near the pensao in rua Fabrica is great, cheap and fresh food.
It's quite steep, climbing up to the cathedral from the station, but that will be the work out of the day! Visit the cloister next to the cathedral, great view, great atmosphere, nice tiles.
Descending from the Cathedral, making our way to the Palace.
Get a nice tour, just about half an hour. Nice shop though...
Here you get a discount with the Porto Card and it is well placed near the Douro with a nice view on the Portwine-houses in Vila Nova de Gaia.
Day 2 : after breakfast in one of the bars near Alliados (galao and bolo d'arroz or a nice croissant) it's time to make your way to the alley behind the Se
We descent through Ribeira and make our way to this former castle.
Across the street from the entrance you will fins a great bakery with pretty good sandwiches, so lunch is covered
You get a tour through this beautiful building fit for a king on his dieing bed.
Descent towards Douro-river through the village-like area and make your way to the Porto museum.
After taking the bus back to city centre, get of at the Igreja do Sao Francisco. Buy a ticket and first take a look at the splendour of the church, then go back inside and admire the objects in the museum and descent to the impressive catacombs
Well deserved drinks and bites: a nice cheese platter with the amazing flight of 6 different white porto-wines. Great information from the waiter!
Day 3: 09:30 again nice little breakfast near Alliados (Pastel de nata, not from Porto, but still tastes great!) and after that make your way to the nearby Torre dos Clerigos.
10:00 It might take you a while to find the entrance (main gate , to the right) start your day with a good climb
10:45 There are some nice museums near, you can f.i. visit the coin museum and the meralogical museum.
11:30 Take the subway to Vila Nova de Gaia and from there take the Funicular down to the waterfront. With this ticket you get a free tasting at one of the portwine houses
12:15 Climb uphill for your second tasting and first tour, for free with the Porto-card
13:15 Time to have lunch, with the most beautiful vieuw of Porto.
14:30 As dessert take the tour at Taylors. Free with the Porto-card, great tasting, great tour, informative, great view!
15:30 The closing movie at this cave is great. And of course: more tasting!
Before this tour you can also have a tasting at Kopke.
Also: this cave has an own Port-museum with all kinds of examples of Sandeman advertising, very informative and fun (it isn't too big though)
17:30 After this visit you can take the funicular back up again, after which you can take the subway back to Alliados where you can find a nice restaurant or churresqueira in one of the side streets.
Day 4, our first day outside the city boundaries.
Buy a trainticket (reloadable card) at the machine at D. Bento station where you take the train directly up to Guimaraes. Before you board the train: have breakfast at the station bar: love the croissant amendao! Cheap and good!
At Largo do Toural you simply have to look for Pasteleria Clarinha and order de Torte de guimaraes so good!!
Find a supermarket to buy stuff for luncheon.
11:45 Weird modern art in a really pleasant palace. Absolutely a must see in Guimaraes.
13:00 Have a nice picnic in the garden and after that: visit the Castelo
15:00 After the visit to the castle it is time to visit the museum named after one of the most famous archaeologists from this area.
You get a taste of the objects belonging to the sites we get to see tomorrow.
Before returning to the trainstation, go and have a drink at the lovely Oliveira Square
16:30 The nicest old square in town, take your time to admire the architecture, enjoy some petiscos and do some people gazing.
After that make your way back to the trainstation. Not too far from the trainstation you will find a small alley where you can have a lovely meal.
Day 5, time to pick up the car. Of course first have breakfast and than take the subway to the car hire service.
09:00 Pick up the car and make your way to the highway (be prepared to pay some toll)
10:00 First drive to a one of the big supermarkets (follow the signs along the highway) and pick up stuff for lunch.
11:00 Drive all the way up to the museum of Sanfins. There's only a small english brochure, but still: the objects are amzing and you will recognize things from the museum in guimaraes.
11:45 After that make your way to the archaeological sites. There are signposts, but you have to search for them... Don't be fooled by the barricade, when the pole is up, you can just drive through. You need to go to the building and buy a ticket, then walk back and go up the hill.
12:45 After visiting Citania Sanfins this will be our next stop. You can see the Iron age bathhouse vfrom the road, but it pays to really go inside the archaeological site, it is amazing!
Have your picnic here, best views, best atmosphere.
15:30 Great little museum where Martins Sarmento once lived. Not too far from the site and a nice addition to understanding these sites.
16:45 Since we are already near: take the car up to the parkinglot of Bom Jesus de Monte, walk up to the church, admire the stairs.
17:30 Take the oldest elevador in the country, admire the stairs and the chapels from the other side.
When you get back, have a drink on the terrace with the amazing view of Braga.
19:30 back in town, after parking the car, time to have dinner .
Petiscos as a meal, lovely setting, parisien, hip and happening. Leave room for desert, really great cakes!
Day 6 : Its a long drive from Porto but well worth the trip! So start driving at 7 o'clock (pick up breakfast on the way over)
10:00 start of the first tour (you have to make reservations affront!), be aware: the sun can be killing! Make sure you have a lot of sunblock with you, a hat, airy clothes and sensible shoes!
after the first tour, get in the car and drive in the direction of the starting point of the second tour. You will pass a big supermarket where you can purchase luncheon.
You also might want to visit the museum in the break between the two tours.
It's quite a long drive back and a search for a parking spot in city centre. Just go for a quick bite near the hotel.
Day 7, get up a little later, have breakfast in a nice bar near your parking spot and be on your way again.
Take a ride to the beautiful castle of Santa Maria da Feira. Here you get a lovely booklet from which you can pick venues in the area. You get a discount with the booklet.
Take a drive trhrough the woods and have a pcnic on your way, end your day at the beach, lots of possibilities!
Find a post office to pay the toll and get the car back to the rental agent. Take the tram and subway back to Porto city centre and have a nice meal at a churrasqueira
Day 8: Have breakfast at S. Bento trainstation (queque noz is sublime as well!) and take the train up to Aveiro (part of the ride is along the coast and part through the swamp, lovely nature)
11:30 Of course make a nice boat tour through the city on a traditional seaweed boat
13:15 Time for luncheon:great food, lovely petiscos, great grill!
14:30 Museum which is mainly about the holy princess, still very interesting
After visiting the museum shop a little, buy the ovos de aveiro en when heading back to the station, don't forget to make pictures of the beautiful trainstation (old part)
Of course: souvenirs: ovos ! (eggyokes confit!)
Day 9 If this is a sunday: don't try to get breakfast near the busstation: not much is open here, so get breakfast near the pensao.
Take the bus to Vila Real,
from there you get to take another bus to Mateus
12:00 while waiting for the bus, go and have coffee and pastry at Gomez, stylish and tasty!
13:00 9 euro entrance fee, walk up the drive way and you will see the famous view that is depicted on the wine bottles (no wine from the premisses though... the Casa makes it's own wine, which is so much better than the mateus rose! You get to try it in the former stables of the palace.
You can have luncheon and a great port or wine tasting at the establishment across the street.
When returning to Vila Real, pay a visit to the Tourist information Centre to pick up a map.
Go the the free archaeological museum. (there are actually 2) and visit the cathedral.
While waiting for the bus back to Porto you can have a drink in the bar next to the busstation, not the nicest service, but it is cheap enough and you can sit outside.
Day 10 Breakfast at the bar at the station (greatgreat almond croissants!!
Take the train from Sao Bento station to Nine , change trains to Viana do Castelo.
First pay a visit to the archaeological museum, which is also a noblemen's house from the 18th century.
13:00 Great place to have lunch, bit touristy, but tasty food and great atmosphere. Have the bacalao a viana
After luncheon you get to visit the textile and traditional wear museum, really good exposition, nice and fresh, modern lay out.
Next, make your way back to the trainstation. Just behind that you will find the Funicular.
The view is supposed to be spectacular, so don't go on a rainy day with lots of clouds, that would be a waist of a good trip.
Much better than the cathedral, in my opinion and even worth the trip up here when it is clouded and lacking view.
Go back down with the funicular and make your way to the docks where you get to visit this hospital boat, amazing!
Go to the supermarket, get some food for the way back. and back to the trainstation.
Same alley where we already ate once. Wow, great food, fantastic atmosphere
Day 11 You can take the bus to Chaves, it's a long but beautiful ride. The bus takes you just to thye edge of town, but you can see the tower and that is where you want to be.
When you go, make sure it's not on a monday, since the museums will be closed on that day.
Of course have lunch at this brilliant Adega, simple but tasty food.
Of course you have to see this piece of history. Really near are the Roman Baths, but when we were there a big fence was built around it....
Day 12 Take the train to Braga and when arriving don't forget to go underneath the trainstation where you get to see the result of excavations: a bathbuilding from the Ironage, a reconstruction and information panels.
First thing: get to the market place, always buzzling!
Time to get some insight in the Braga nobility of the 18/19th century, visit the gardens, pay attention in the kitchen, very historical vibe everywhere.
After a visit to the market and the palace, you need to get your head wrapped around the Roman Braga-idea.
This is the perfect place to do that.
Don't forget to look at the outside of the Cathedral: re-used stones with all kinds of inscriptions. For me the most spectacular was the inscription of the Isis- temple from the Roman period.
Day 13; If you manage to squeeze in a thursday: go to Barcelos by train... visit the market, it is supposed to be a lot of fun. When we were there, trains were on strike, so this is plan B:
Walk through the area surrounding the station to the funicular and enjoy the ride down with the perfect view of the medieval wall.
Via the cais finally to the Douro-boats to make the long overdue boattrip of 45 minutes
After the boattour take the bus up to the Praia, skip Forte S. Jaoa, nothing to see there, just look at it from tghe bus. But you can make it a starting point for a nice walk alont he beach. Have some luncheon at one of the beachclubs.
Ejoy the Fado performance at Calem. Okay, it is touristy, but stylish none the less!!
Again near river Douro for dinner
Day 14 Take the lovely trainride up to Regua, a big part of the ride is with view of the Douro.
Have lunch in a small local restaurant (where only locals sit down to eat... they won't speak english, but that will be no problem at all to get your belly filled with great food and it will cost you next to nothing!
.Of course also a boat trip upstream from Porto!
After this visit of course you have to learn about the area so make your way to this museum, it is big, there is a lot of art, but when we were there , they also had a nice exhibition about one of the most famous lady-porto wine makers Antonia.
Day 15: Our last day
After checking out, leave the luggage at the Pensao and go (by metro) to the Mercado. Have breakfast at one of the bars and after that just stoll around.
Take the bus to this museum from the mercado. A museum with art from the area of Porto, also a great building!
Last meal before leaving