Porto and surroundings

Though this company is called “Lisbon Stories” I’ll be spending the next week quite far from Lisbon: I’ll be doing a tour in Porto and it’s surrounding areas, visiting Barcelos, Guimarães, Aveiro, Viana do Castelo, Régua and Douro valley.

All those who know me fairly well know about my passion for the North of Portugal. Porto, the main city and 2nd Portuguese city is now becoming a fancy “outsiders” destination and won several travel awards. Why is this city so special? Some say it’s because of Douro river; others mention the port wine, aging in its oak barrels not far from the city, many mention the baroque style carved on the granite stone, or even the famous sandwich “francesinha”. I have another reason: the laid-back personality of the inhabitants and the city itself couldn’t care less about this sudden popularity and didn’t change its character.

Being there it worths to pick a car and drive around this green region, discovering “Minho” area. Here you’ll find small scale agriculture, the catle raising and untouched Natural Parks (like Gerês), for the wild life, small rivers, lovely views from its mountains and also for the Green Wine. As for towns to visit, I specially love Barcelos and Guimarães. Guimarães was declared World Heritage by Unesco for its lovely historical center. Barcelos is also worth visiting, specially on Thursdays when its traditional framers market happens and a visit won’t be complete without passing by its open-air archaeological museum, one of my favorite museums in the whole country.

I could keep writing about this region forever, but, it’s time to pack my things and get ready for this trip. Thank you Kristin for booking this tour!

My Easter holidays

After such a long time of pause, it’s fair enough that I start telling you a little bit of my last-week holidays.

Though I love travelling abroad, this time I decided to stay in my own country, going to the north and enjoying Minho region. If there is something that I love about Portugal, is it’s variety. In the range of few kilometres the landscape can change a lot, just like if you were in a different country.

Minho region is not an exception and despite loving my whole vacation, my favourite part was the National Park of Peneda-Gerês. During the same day I visited a 13th century castle, a park with 50 granaries or so, walked by the river and found a 12th century monastery, crossed a Roman bridge, caressed wild horses and discovered an old village, submerged by a dam, in the 70s.

Great food at a ridiculous price was also a constant, and the wine… How could I miss the light, fresh and slightly sparkling green wine, exclusive to this region?!

I just love every minute that I spend in the North of Portugal. Just hope that one day a little dream that might come true (in one or two decades): to create a “Porto Stories”! Sshhh, it’s still a secret!