Explore northern Portugal and the scenic Douro Region on this fantastic trip plan that lets you deep dive into the area's sights, landmarks, culture, and flavors. You'll tour Porto with the help of an expert guide as well as culinary excursion, then you'll head into the spectacular Douro Valley, one of the loveliest wine regions in Europe. Taste flights of Port wines or local table blends and relax by the water's edge. You'll discover the charming towns of Guimarães and Braga, and will spend some time in the fantastic Viana do Castelo, home to a quaint historic core and access to great beaches. Round out your trip with a fantastic excursion to Peneda-Gerês National Park for waterfalls and a picnic with an iconic view. 

Highlights

  • Take a culinary tour through Porto and sample local flavors and Port wines
  • Go Port wine tasting or learn about olive oil pressing in the Douro Valley
  • Visit charming old-world towns like Guimarães and Braga
  • Explore the waterfalls, hiking trails, and bridges of Peneda-Gerês National Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Porto - Culinary Excursion Porto
Day 2 Get to Know Porto Porto
Day 3 Into the Douro Valley Douro Valley
Day 4 Travel to Guimarães via Braga Guimarães
Day 5 Viana do Castelo Viana do Castelo
Day 6 Excursion to Peneda-Gerês National Park Viana do Castelo
Day 7 Depart Porto  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Porto - Culinary Excursion

Porto's Old Town of Foz
Porto's Old Town of Foz

Welcome to Portugal! Upon arrival at Porto's airport, you will be met by a driver who will transfer you to your hotel. Take some time to rest before you start exploring. 

In the late afternoon, you will learn more about Porto and its cuisine with a 3.5-hour walking tour of the historic downtown. Guided by a friendly English-speaking native, this excursion offers a first-hand look at the culinary renaissance that the city is experiencing, including the rebirth of specialty food shops and new restaurants that are adopting old methods.

You'll take part in several distinct tasting locations that harken back to an era of simple, quality products and recipes created by people who love what they do. Learn about these family-owned businesses and why they are an integral part of what makes gastronomy in Porto so unique. Furthermore, you'll witness the revival of Portuguese cuisine while you explore local restaurants, cafes, and stores offering the best of Porto.

The evening, of course, would not be complete without an introduction to the famous drink of Porto: Port wine. As you taste three different versions, including one vintage, you will learn about the history of this drink and why it is a timeless favorite.

Day 2: Get to Know Porto

Night falls on Porto
Night falls on Porto

Today is a great introduction to Porto! After breakfast at the hotel, you'll join a half-day tour of the city with a local guide. This excursion will lead you through the most important landmarks of Portugal’s second most populous city as you travel from place to place in a comfortable private vehicle. 

Your guide will explain the rich history of this city, also called Invicta (the Unbeaten City), with stories of heroes and battles, as you make your way to the trendiest and most cultural area of town. Here you'll explore Boavista Avenue, one of the city's most important streets, and Foz, home to some of the most revered museums and modern local treasures.

Next, you'll head to the city center — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — to admire the most renowned Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Neo-Classical monuments and sites, including the São Bento Railway StationClerigos TowerChurch of St. FrancisLello BookshopSta. Catarina StreetMajestic Café, and Bolhão Market, to name a few.

After visiting the imposing Porto Cathedral with its superb silver altarpiece, you'll finish the tour along the banks of the immense Douro River with views of Ribeira Plaza and the D. Luís Bridge.  

But that's not all: you'll also visit a small scale canning factory, which produces gourmet-quality tinned fishes. What makes this purveyor unique is its hand-made processing techniques, which have been used here for the last century. Tinned fish isn’t only a delicacy in Portugal; it's a traditional way of life that continues to adapt to the times.

In the evening, after you've had some time to rest and relax, head back out into the city for an incredible meal. Your specialist will have some wonderful recommendations for you!

Day 3: Into the Douro Valley

The stunning Douro Valley
The stunning Douro Valley

After you enjoy a delicious breakfast at your hotel, you'll be picked up for a full-day private excursion to discover the enchanting Douro Valley, Portugal's stunning northern wine region. Depending on your interests, you can customize your day based on how you'd like to explore the valley. 

If you're interested in the region's famed wineries, prepare to spend some time tasting. At one of the valley's best vineyards, you'll learn all about history, flavor profiles, and production processes of the local varietals, including Port; you'll then sip and savor wines in a tasting. If Port's not your thing, your specialist will tailor your tour to the area's superb blends and table wines. 

You can also visit a local olive oil producer, as olive oil is also one of the most regarded products in the region; learn about harvesting the fruit, pressing techniques, and of course, sample the goods! Once you've excited your appetite, you can tuck into a delicious lunch at a typical Portuguese restaurant, paired with stellar wines from the valley. 

If nature calls, explore the incredible outdoors on a leisurely boat trip, then stop to take in the magnificent views of the river from above; there are myriad viewpoints from which you can look out onto the valley, so be sure to bring your camera! Tonight your specialist can help arrange a great dinner before you spend the night among the beautiful landscapes by the Douro River.

Day 4: Travel to Guimarães via Braga

The stunning Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga
The Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga

Today you'll hit the road to visit two destinations full of charm and history. First up is scenic Braga, where you'll visit the sanctuaries that comprise the "Triangle of Faith" — the storied Braga Cathedral (one of the most important buildings in the country thanks to its long history and magnificent representations of different architectural styles), as well as the gorgeous Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte and Our Lady of Sameiro, both of which are important pilgrimage destinations.

After you tour the sights, enjoy some free time in the city, check out the great shops here, and fuel up with a traditional and delicious Portuguese lunch before hitting the road to Guimarães, the beautiful town where you'll spend the rest of the day.

Start your exploration of Guimarães with a visit to the imposing medieval castle, then wander around the delightful historic center, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wherever you are in the city, you'll have a great view of the fortified towers of the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, which always loom above the skyline. The architecture of the palace's exterior shows the influence of 14th-century French buildings, but the vibe here is still Portuguese at heart. 

In the evening, enjoy dinner in town and enjoy a stroll illuminated by the city lights, then head to your hotel for a night cap or some quiet relaxation.

Day 5: Viana do Castelo

The romantic cityscape of Viana do Castelo
Viana do Castelo's romantic cityscape

After breakfast this morning, you'll have the day to explore the extraordinary Viana do Castelo, the jewel of the Costa Verde. Explore this beautiful town, its nearby beaches, or the close-by valley however you like, depending on your mood and interests.

If you're itching for exploration, spend the day walking through town; the city showcases a beautiful medieval center and riverfront. In the old quarter, you'll be charmed by leafy 19th-century boulevards, narrow lanes crowded with Manueline manors, and rococo palaces — all under the watchful gaze of the dramatic, pearly white Neo-Byzantine Santa Luzia church, perched on a hilltop high above the town. To visit the top, you can drive, hike, or ride the small cable car up the mountain. 

Stop into the Gil Eanes, a former war hospital ship now open as a museum, then when hunger strikes, line up for one of the city's delectable specialties: bolas de berlim, a mouthwatering custard-filled donut dusted with sugar. The treats sell out twice a day but are definitely worth the wait. 

If you're interested in checking out the areas beyond the city, you have some great options. Viana's setting by the Rio Lima estuary makes the town a great jumping-off point for exploring the lower Lima Valley, and you'll also find some lovely beaches just outside the city center. 

Day 6: Excursion to Peneda-Gerês National Park

One of the stunning bridges inside Peneda-Gerês National Park
A bridge inside Peneda-Gerês National Park

Immerse yourself in Portugal’s wild landscape on a full-day small-group tour of Peneda- Gerês National Park, where you can hike incredible mountains, admire local fauna and flora, drink in amazing viewpoints, and splash around in mesmerizing waterfalls. 

The park will greet you on your drive with incredible views of the lush mountains, turquoise waterways and the park's iconic bridges. You'll lead out on a mellow but gorgeous trek to see beautiful lagoons and stunning waterfalls. If you like, you can also go for a dip in the therapeutic (though cold!) waters. You'll also enjoy a traditional picnic lunch at Pedra Bela, one of Gerês most iconic viewpoints while you rest with the mountain at your feet and admire the incredible surrounding scenery.  

After, you'll be transported back to your hotel; head back out into town for a great dinner — your specialist will have some great recommendations for outstanding eateries! Viana do Castelo is brimming with wonderful restaurants serving up beautiful platters of fresh seafood. Tuck in to dinner and pair it with a glass of wine from the region!

Day 7: Depart Porto

Sunrise in Porto
Sunrise in Porto

It's time to say goodbye to Portugal! Depending on the time of your flight, squeeze in one more walk through the city's gorgeous streets and perhaps pick up some last-minute souvenirs. At the designated time, you'll be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport for your departure onwards.

Map

Map of Portugal: the North & Douro Region - 7 Days
Map of Portugal: the North & Douro Region - 7 Days