Route by car through the rural north of Portugal (with map)


Looking forward to a rural vacation and in touch with nature but have not yet decided where to throw? You're lucky! You know what we like this type of tours and, this time, we are going to propose a much more unknown area. We take you from route by car through the rural north of Portugal, ideal for making a long weekend or four or five day bridge, by corners where the nature is the great protagonist and hundreds of beautiful corners expect us to discover them.

And if we talk about the rural world, the benchmark to design an itinerary and look for those charming accommodations, not only in Spain but also in the neighboring country and of course in the north of Portugal in this case, puts it Rural Getaway It offers a lot of alternatives in all those locations that we want to incorporate into the itinerary.

Planning a route by car through the rural north of Portugal (with map)

To start planning this route by car through the rural north of Portugal we have to define an essential aspect for our trip ... time!How many days do we have available? Once we have this clear, we can start drawing a route in which we take into account how far we can go and how long it will take us to return home. We decided that we would leave 5 days but this route is easily scalable and modifiable: You can reduce stops, making it shorter, increase with some extra proposal that we offer below or draw it to your liking from the ideas we give you in this article. Knowing we were leaving 5 days and we wanted stops and visits in the middle of nature We decided that our route would be as follows ...

Below we explain how we distribute the days of travel and the stops we would make (in our case entering through Valença but you can raise it by entering the P.N. Duero International):

+ DAY1, Departure to the north of Portugal. We make a first stop at Valença to have breakfast and take a first walk and then continue until Peneda National Park

+ DAY2, We leave the National Park towards Panties, which we will dedicate at least all morning, where we will also take the opportunity to eat. In the afternoon we will take the car back toGuimarães, where we will spend the afternoon and base that night.

+ DAY3, when we wake up we will head to Alvão National Park, a journey of about 65 kilometers, and there we will be all day knowing and walking through the park, which has a lot to offer.

+ DAY 4 and 5, we march to our last stop of this route by car through the rural north of Portugal, the Duero International National Park, to which we dedicate two days on this route but, in reality, you can dedicate all the time you want because the park gives for a complete holiday of how great and incredible it is.

Now that you know how we organize our route by car through the rural north of Portugal we are going to tell you what are the essential stops that you can not miss if you cheer up too.

Essential experiences of this route by car through the north of Portugal

Portugal is a true paradise, but we already knew about the experiences we had lived, and they are uploaded to the blog, in Madeira, Porto or recent Lisbon and Cascais. From what we already knew firsthand that any route we traced through this country was going to be beautiful, but as always we surprised ourselves how beautiful these places are.

1 Stroll through the Fortress of Valença

The fortress of Valença is a must in this town that borders Galicia that should not be missing in your route

The fortress had its origin thinking about the protection of the town (we will see along this route more examples of this style of buildings) and dates from the twelfth century.

2 Peneda-Gerês National Park

Peneda National Park is a great place to practice sports such as kayaking or rafting. In addition, thanks to the purity and non-massification of its landscapes, it is the perfect place for trekking, exploration routes and other outdoor activities, in addition to Rural houses With a lot of charm.

Lovers wildlife You also have an essential appointment in this park because you will have the opportunity to find in Total freedom to Iberian wolves, wild boars, otters, roe deer ... and, as for birds the park does not fall short either: mouse and royal eagles, azores, owls and many other species.What to see inside the Peneda-Gerês National Park?Some of the essential stops within the park are: the Pedra Bela viewpoint, the Arado Waterfall, the Portela do Home Waterfall, Mata da Albergaria.

3 Tour the churches of Braga

Braga is an essential stop. This city is full and full of religious buildings, imposing and majestic. To know the essence of the city we recommend that you take a route through the main churches of Braga: Basilica of Our Lady of Sameiro, Bom Jesus do Monte, Cathedral of Braga (essential), Church of San Adrian, Archdiocese of Braga, Iglesia da Limpet; among many other visits.

Braga is one of those cities where you get lost by the historic helmet It is a highly recommended plan.


When we were in Porto we also visited Braga and Guimarães (which is the next stop we are going to talk about) and you can read all our adventure in the Guimaraes and Braga trip diary from Porto (and Bom Jesus).

Next stop? If you have already eaten (and had a coffee or dessert) we can continue with the route heading to Guimarães, just 25 minutes from Braga.

4 Visit the Castle of GuimarãIt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Since 2001, Guimarães Castle has been considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of those visits that deserve to be tried on your route. The castle was built in the year 900 and was strategically settled on top of a hill. Its location, like almost all the settlements of castles, fortresses and other defensive buildings, is because it was a good position from which Defend the city from Arabs and Normans.

From the 16th century its main function ceased to be to defend the city and, as a consequence of not being necessary and essential as it had been until then, it fell into disrepair. Despite this, it is currently a very careful castle that is in very good condition, even with its over 1000 years of history behind their backs.

More things to see in Guimarães

HePalace of the Dukes Bragança It is also a highly recommended stop, in addition to its beginning dating back to the 15th century, and we would add to your visit a wide walk through the historic helmet from the city to enjoy the atmosphere, its buildings and its history.

5 Alvão Natural Park

New day, new stop. An advantage of this park is its small extension compared to others. And you may ask, why advantage? Because it will allow you a much more leisurely and quiet visit although it still has a surface area of ​​7365 hectares.

It is an ideal park to go from picnic (remember to leave everything as you found it, or even better), with great conditions for bird watching (especially the golden eagle). Another great attraction is the waterfalls and the best thing is that it is allowed to bathe in the water courses, so, if you go in summer or with good temperatures, you know: dip!


Here we believe that the trip can be divided into two very different themes, the purest rural proposal and we are considering this route with nature as the protagonist or a mixed option.

And is that the great alternative is to deviate face Port to enjoy its atmosphere, its streets, its gastronomy ... and extend the days of the getaway

In this proposal we put Heading to our rural house in the Duero International National Park. This journey may be a bit "heavier" because it is 1 hour and a half, but we assure you it is worth it.

6 Duero International National Park

Along the 87 thousand hectares (Now that the Alvão National Park seems small), the Duero International National Park extends, very close to the eastern border with Spain. If you want to read more information about the Duero International National Park you can consult it to better document your trip and route through the park.

Some of the most important points of interest within the park are: the waterfall of Faia da Agua Alta, a work of nature that will leave you breathless; he Castelo Rodrigo Castle, from the end of the 12th century; the Miranda do Douro Cathedral, art and history in one stop.

Various lookouts of those that are worthwhile: Mirador de San Juan de las Arribes, Mirador del Carrascaliño, Mirador de Penedo Durão ...

Practical data to explore the rural north of Portugal

Tips to take into account in a route by car the rural north of Portugal

Some of you have already read them throughout the article or have intuited them, but we are going to make a compilation of Important tips to keep in mind:

1. Try not cover more of what you can afford.
2. Remember that you have no "minimum" to meet: Be flexible with your itinerary.
3. During the trip go writing a list of places you want to go back to or those stops you have left without visiting and that you would like to meet. There is always next time!
4. Take some Warm clothing Although travel in summer. Maybe the summer craving tempts you to wear cool clothes but the north can be very deceptive and more in the middle of a natural park.
5. Remember enjoy each site, to see it through your eyes and not only through the camera viewfinder and take advantage of the time you are there.
6. Don't say goodbye with a goodbye from Portugal ... just a see you later!

Too obvious? Do not believe ... sometimes we forget

Some charming restaurants where to eat

We leave below some recommendation of restaurants of typical and traditional cuisine of Portugal. You already know that we are very much to try the typical product and cuisine of each place we travel, so our recommendations could not be different.

Valença do Miño: In the historic center of Valença, FATUM It is a typical Portuguese food restaurant that is ideal for a first road meal (it depends on where you go out it will fit you better or not) and replenish energies. Solar do Bacalhau, another restaurant in the area ideal for eating for its quality and its typical and traditional recipes, besides being very well located.
Braga:typical, an ideal option a few steps from the great and majestic Braga Cathedral, in addition to working a delicious and highly valued cuisine.
Guimaraães:Duho Restaurant, a restaurant located
Duero International Natural Park:Restaurant or ArturWith very good ratings this restaurant is a safe recommendation within the park. Good price and good quality.

If you have your own recommendations (that go through this route that we have designed) you can leave them in the comments and so we add them to this section. The photos in this article are our own material except for VisitPortugal and VisitValença

What do you think about this proposal of route by car through the rural north of Portugal? Enjoy some Summer vacations in the middle of nature without neglecting some large populations interest, a little activity and total freedom to improvise, a luxury that the Spaniards are lucky to have quite close. Do you like car routes? Do you dare to tell us yours? If you have an essential stop that we have not mentioned, you can leave it in the comments and we will include it in the article to improve its quality.

Isaac, Paula and Oli, with proposals for a new rural summer trip