Things to Do in Alvaraes Portugal

things to do in Alvaraes Portugal

In the centre of town is a long, pedestrianised square with buildings dating from the 16th century. You can walk to a small urban beach at Praia do Norte or head further north to the heavenly Praia Cabedelo.

Try the traditional dishes at local restaurants such as O Pescador, where cod or hake served with mashed potatoes and chourico are popular. Or go for caldo verde, a soup made from kale and potatoes.

1. Visit the Castle

A visit to Portugal isn’t complete without a stop at Guimaraes Castle. It’s one of the country’s most famous landmarks and is considered a national treasure. You’ll find it perched on top of a hill in the historic center of the city.

Once upon a time, it belonged to explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral and later housed Portuguese nobility. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the main postcard for the city.

You can take a guided tour of the castle or simply explore it on your own. You can also walk along the castle walls, which are a stunning sight. The Keep is especially interesting as it features rare “murder holes,” which were gaps where people dropped objects (like boiling oil or rocks) on enemies.

2. Go for a Walk

Portugal’s coast offers long expanses of fine sand, while its cities are a delight. Lisbon’s outstanding heritage, from the district of Alfama to the Cathedral of Sao Jorge, is well worth exploring and its main museums showcase major works by Picasso, Monet and other great artists.

Porto is a fascinating city and its old town with its grand squares and monumental churches is not to be missed, but it can also be very crowded. For a quieter experience, take the train to Pocinho and enjoy twisting, sighing, soaring riverine views for much of the journey.

Nearby Viana do Castelo is a centre of ceramics and has a museum dedicated to its work. It also sits on the Coastal Portuguese Way of Saint James and makes a good rest day for walkers.

3. Enjoy the Beaches

The town’s sheltered beaches are perfect for lazy days on the sand or a leisurely swim. You can also take the ferry across the Limia to reach the nearby Praia de Cabedelo, a huge sand beach traced by dunes and swept by rolling waves.

You’ll find plenty of accommodation in the area, including villas and vacation homes. For example, the Villa Vieira is less than a 15-minute drive from Shipyards of Viana do Castelo and offers free private parking on site. It has 5 bedrooms, a flat-screen TV, an equipped kitchen, and 2 bathrooms with a tub and bidet.

There are 14 trains per week between Alvaraes and Porto – Campanha, operated by Comboios De Portugal. Journey times vary, but they usually take around 1h 4m.

4. Visit the Museums

Portugal has an excellent coastline and offers many ways to enjoy it. You can go surfing, sailing or just relax on the beach and soak up the sun. The sands of Praia de Cabedelo are especially lovely, being completely untouched by human development.

The old town, with its 16th-century Manueline and Renaissance architecture is also worth visiting. The main square is Praca da Republica and you can find buildings from every era within its confines.

The Museu do Traje is housed in a former bank with a downstairs strongroom for its impressive collection of costume jewellery. There are also mannequins modeling the region’s folk costumes. These dresses are so beautiful that they make local women look like princesses. Other museums worth visiting are the Decorative Arts Museum and the National Archaeological Museum of Spain.

5. Visit the Wineries

The Douro Valley is a great place to sample DOC wines. Visiting the wineries is a popular pastime. The proprietors are often enthusiastic, sharing their passion with the consumer.

In the Cima Corgo, Sandeman does some of the region’s slickest tours (from EUR6pp) at its grand quinta. But for a more intimate experience try Qualifer in Pinhao, a tiny fumeiro where butcher Fernando is part black-clad ninja, part conjuror and, he insists, part naturopath.

Cousins Francisco and Joao Olazabal are among the Douro Boys whose wines are becoming more visible on shelves and menus worldwide. Meet them on DuVine’s Oporto + The Douro Valley Bike Tour. Their wines are a joy to drink. They produce whites such as Vital and Arinto and rosés such as Fernao Pires. They also make reds including Castelao and Camarate.

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