Porto is not only a beautiful city but also a popular tourist destination. Some even prefer it over Lisbon! The breathtaking Beaux-Arts station, retro-cool eateries and bars; your Porto getaway definitely deserves more than a few days.
If you decide to leave this laidback city for quaint small town vibes, we highly suggest stopping by a car rental in Porto where you can find various options for $2/day. From a posh Mini Fiat 500 to a Volvo V40 with automatic transmission, you can cruise through Portuguese towns in style without breaking the bank.
Here’s a list of five cities you can easily plan a road trip for during your next Porto voyage.
Drive time from Porto: 43 minutes
In less than an hour by car towards the north, Braga is one of the oldest cities in Portugal. Constructed 2,000+ years ago, the city was formerly known as “Bracara Augusta” during the Roman Empire. Braga is also where one of Camiños de Santiago passed through during the growth of the pilgrimage cult.
Today’s Braga is considered a major hub, after Lisbon and Porto. Take the iconic Braga photo at Villa Garden Braga (ex-Pousada Sao Vicente). And don’t miss the 12th century Braga Cathedral, which was built by the parents of Portugal’s first King: D. Henrique and D. Teresa. If you’re a history buff, enter the Baroque palace walls at the Biscainhos Museum. For some tasty bites, try Frigideiras do Cantinho restaurant famous for serving local pastries or a great cup of coffee.
Drive time from Porto: 45 minutes
Amarante might be the most fairy-like towns in Portugal. This makes the perfect day trip, seeing that it’s less than an hour away from the northeast of Porto. Since 2017, Amarante has been a part of UNESCO Creative Cities Network. With the fusion of Serra do Marão terrain and Tâmega river, the houses along the water make such scenic photos.
Walking across the Ponte de São Gonçalo is a stunning experience, almost like a dream. With the Tâmega stretched below, Igreja de São Gonçalo church and convent ahead. The most famous past time in Amarante is indulging in its local cakes and sweet pastries. Be sure to write these down: brisas do Tâmega, papos de anjo, toucinho do céu. Beware if you have a sweet tooth, you might just want to grub on all that you’ll see.
Drive time from Porto: 55 minutes
Probably one of the most authentic cities in Portugal is Guimarães, also referred to as the birthplace of Portugal. Did you know that Portugal’s first king, Alfonso Henrique, was born here?
The city Guimarães is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its originality through restorations that is evident in its iron verandas, arches, mansions, granite porticos and tiny alleys. An hour drive from Porto, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped inside a movie set in the Medieval times.
Start your day in the city center at Largo da Oliveira, where an olive tree of centuries old was planted. Look up, and you’ll witness traditional houses surrounding the main square, then let your wanderlust spirit run wild by strolling through ancient narrow streets.
Drive time from Porto: 48 minutes
Take the car and head southward from Porto, within an hour you’ll reach Aveiro – a seaport town resembling the Venice of Portugal. As opposed to the Baroque-style architecture featured in other Portuguese cities, Aveiro highlights Art Nouveau buildings that you should thoroughly enjoy on a boat ride in the city’s channel.
The name came from its origin “Aviarium,” which means “a gathering place or preserve of birds.” If you’d like to know more about the town, then visit the Museum of Aveiro housed in the 16th century Convent of Jesus of the female Dominican Order. Don’t forget to try the famous local treat: ovos moles. These egg-like pastries have crusty wafers and pair deliciously well with a good cup of coffee. Since you’ll be by the water, tasting local seafood is a total must!
Drive time from Porto: approximately 2 hours
For avid students of religion, Fatima is known for its religious heritage. Home to 11,000 people, Fatima was named after a Moorish princess who was kidnapped by a knight. After she fell in love with her kidnappers, Fatima converted to Christianity in order to marry him. The Sanctuary of Fatima is the city’s main landmark, it also includes shrines where many events of the apparitions occurred. It is also the fourth biggest catholic pilgrimage site in the world.
Afterwards, take the car and head to Serra de Aire mountains for some nature fun. At the Natural Monument of Dinosaur Footprints, you can snap photos of the oldest footprints sauropod from the Jurassic Period.
With this list of great road trips from Porto, to rent a car even for a day trip is well worth the ride!