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Northern & its Regions

  Northern Portugal
  Douro region
  North East region of Trás-os-Montes
Minho Region

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Northern Portugal

It was in Porto and the northern region that Portugal came into being as a country, which is why the region has such a rich and fascinating history heritage.

This is a mountainous area with rivers, natural parks and steep, sloping hillsides covered with leafy vegetation. The granite from its mountains was used to build many of the region's religious and historical monuments, such as the unpretentious Romanesque chapels and baroque churches.

History surrounds you when you visit the region's castles - the castle at Guimarães was the birthplace of the nation's founder and first king, Dom Afonso Henriques. And at the countless manor houses and palaces emblazoned with coats of arms, visitors are received with an aristocratic display of hospitality.

However, this region also owes much of its character to the great waterway that cuts it in half, the scenic River Douro, whose vine-filled valley is today classified as a world heritage site.

The river was given the name of ouro (gold) because it brings the water that the sun-drenched vines rely on to produce the world-famous Port wine. But also because this was the place from which ships used to set sail in the great period of Portuguese discovery. Or perhaps the name is due to the carved and gilded woodwork of the city's countless baroque churches.

The fact remains that this ancient city gave its name to both Port wine and to the nation of Portugal. Much of its heritage is based on shipping and trade, making it a bustling and passionate city. Porto is also classified as world heritage site. Perhaps these are the reasons why Porto finds its way into the hearts of its visitors.

The Douro region

Pinhão, on the banks of the Douro river.

The Douro river is the longest in northern Portugal. It winds its sinuous way past mountains and cliffs until it reaches the Atlantic near the city of Porto.

Many dams have been built to make the river navigable, which for the visitor means that plenty of pleasure and cruise boats depart from Porto to the Douro region. Between Mesão Frio and Pinhão lies the stretch where the valley sides are lined with terraced vineyards that produce the famous Port wine. But this region is famous for other things besides the wine that is made nowhere else in the world. Signs of prehistoric men are seen in the ancient cave paintings in Vila Nova de Foz Côa. Elsewhere, medieval castles and convents or Romanesque little churches dot the landscape. History, too, is evoked by the manor houses, such as the Baroque mansion at Mateus, near Vila Real, or in the great 17th century sanctuaries, such as Nossa Senhora dos Remédios in Lamego, which plays such an important role in people's devotions.

North East Region of Trás-os-Montes


In this region people keep alive traditions of dance and song (showing strong Celtic influence, as in the Pauliteiros dance at the village of Miranda) and in their secular festivals and processions, which reveals how Christian rituals were grafted onto a much older pagan heritage.

A paradise of unspoiled natural resources, the region is a perfect place for mountain trekking, canoeing or simply resting up in the spa towns of Carvalhelhos, Chaves, and Pedras Salgadas. Vidago has a magnificent park with swimming pools and a golf course

Natural parks of Montesinho and Douro internacional, are really splendid places to contemplate the true essence od this region.

The Region of Minho

Ponte de Lima, on the banks of the Lima river.

Viana do Castelo,Ponte de Lima,Guimarães and Braga are typical cities of these important region. All together, thay  keeps alive traditional values while pushing ahead with a dynamic, innovative spirit in its commercial and industrial life. .

Along the coastline north of Porto runs a coastal road linking Vila do Conde, and Póvoa de Varzim to Valença.
It takes visitors past beautiful beaches, summer resorts and enchanting villages, such as Caminha and Vila Nova de Cerveira.
Inland, one must visit the huge national park area coverin.

Three towns that set the tone for this charming area of Portugal are Viana do Castelo, lying upon the estuary of the Lima river; Braga, rich in ecclesiastical history; and the medieval Guimarães.

Mansions and manorial houses in this region open their doors to bed and breakfast, offering visitors a rare privileged glimpse of aristocratic Portuguese traditions, combined with the best modern hospitality can offer.
g the mountains of Peneda, Soajo and Gerês