It’s not really a phrase that rings true today, but there’s certainly an argument to say that Europe’s tourism spotlight is switching its focus from the capital to the north. And with good reason: the regional capital Porto is the perfect short-break destination, and its medieval streets and riverside restaurants have seen a big influx of visitors from across the EU and beyond.
Twin-city Gaia, connected to Porto by the iconic Ponte Luiz I bridge, is the protector of the region’s most famous export: port wine. Head upriver away from the city and you’re into wine country – the slopes of the Alto Douro are criss-crossed with terraced vineyards and secluded quintas.
To the northeast is the Tras-os-Montes – translating as ‘beyond the mountains’, this region sits between the natural river borders of the Douro and Tamega, and is renowned for it’s fabulous olive oil and honey. If you enjoy hiking, kayaking and canyoning, the Peneda-Geres National Park is your playground with it’s granite mountains and rugged rivers valleys.
The 9th century city of Guimaraes, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the birthplace of Portugal as a country. As you’ll see written on the walls of the medieval city: Aqui Nasceu Portugal…Portugal was born here.
Neighbouring Braga is a youngster by comparison: it’s baroque and manueline architecture dates from the 16th century, whilst the impressive hilltop Santuario Bom Jesus do Monte has been a site of pilgrimage for over seven hundred years.
Professional and personal service.
Everything you do, you seem to do it professionally. I know I’m not your only client, but you make me feel like I am. Bryan from Stoke
A really wonderful holiday
We normally travel independently, but I am go glad that we used Archipelago Choice – their insider knowledge was really helpful in making the most of our time. Valerie – Brighton
Brilliant holiday organised by an excellent company!
Friendly, helpful, professional and completely geared to us as individuals. John and Janice
Personal service and efficient!
You really listened to what type of holiday we wanted and tailored our week accordingly. You understood what we were looking for and were so helpful and knowledgeable. Very personal service and efficient! Linda from Norfolk
Very helpful staff, and the trips they organised for us were excellent with knowledgeable guides
Views to die for!
We had the most fantastic time, the accommodation was fabulous, the walks and views were to die for. Insightful tour guides that kept it fun and interesting at all times.