I only spent three nights in Portugal’s second largest city, but this gave me enough time to accomplish two day trips from Porto that were high on my list. One of them involved wine tasting. No surprise there. The other day trip from Porto was a visit to the city of Braga. Host to the oldest archdiocese in Portugal and some amazing architecture. There’s also an incredible little chocolate shop I found that I miss already.
Here’s my guide to day trips from Porto, two of them at least. I wish I’d had more time to explore this area.
Two Day Trips from Porto
Aveiro Wine Region
Aveiro is actually a town and on my day tour, I didn’t spend much time in the town itself. Several notable things on this tour make it fun and interesting. Even though it’s not the tour I originally booked and paid for, I had a great time with my guide Beatriz and another solo traveler from Singapore .
I booked a tour through Viator for the Duoro Region, but I was alone and they didn’t have enough guides, so I joined this tour near Aveiro for the same price of about 90 euros. Beatriz picked me up at my Airbnb, and we picked up Cherine, and headed about 45 minutes outside of Porto to Alianca Underground Museum and Winery. This series of underground tunnels used to be used for wine storage, but when the current owner bought it, he redecorated and is using the tunnels for a very small percentage of his own private collections of artifacts and art from all over the world. It is beautiful, unbelievable, and ends with a very generous tasting of three sparkling wines. I left there feeling pretty good!
Next was a gorgeous lunch of sea bass and more wine tasting at a different winery whose name I did not catch. After lunch we ventured to the canals for a boat ride through Aveiro and a tour of the salt flats, which is more interesting than you might think. This seaside town is known for farming salt. Next, Beatriz took us seaside for a local sweet treat called Tripe (yes, it means intestines, but it’s really a crepe-like sweet). Stuffed with sweets, we then we headed back to Porto. It was a fun and beautiful day.
If you’re interested in booking any tours for this region, please click on the link below or any of the Viator links to explore different options. If you make a purchase through these links, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps me keep the site running and is much appreciated.
Unforgettable Travel Experiences. Unbelievable Deals. Book Now on Viator.com
Historical Town of Braga
Getting here: To get to Braga from Porto, just go to either Sao Bento or Campanha train stations. Tickets are 12 euros, direct to Braga, and it takes about 1 – 1.5 hours depending on the route. There are several trains to and from Braga each day.
Getting around: From the train station, it’s a quick uphill walk to the old city where you can walk everywhere. Just use the crosswalk to the right as you exit the train station and head up the hill to your slight left. Within 5 – 10 minutes you’ll reach the arch at the edge of the old town. Trust me. You cannot miss it!
To visit Bom Jesus do Monte Monastery 6km outside Braga, which you will definitely want to do, you can take the #2 bus (1.65 euros one way), either just across the street from the train station, or from Avenue de Liberdad. Just look at the small sign on top of the bus stop. If you see a #2, this bus will stop there and it says Bom Jesus on the front.
Things to see and eat:
#1 Bom Jesus do Monte Monastery – This is actually much more than a monastery. There are beautiful gardens to explore and what looks like a 5 Star hotel and restaurant. I think the hotel used to be part of the monastery complex and it was converted. This is no longer a working monastery, but it is a stunning sight to visit and photograph. From the bus stop where you get dropped off, you can take a funicular to the top (2 euros round trip, 1.20 one way), but the walk up isn’t that long. I’d recommend walking down, at least, just because it’s in a beautiful area. There is no charge to see the monastery or gardens.
#2 Braga’s Old Town – It’s more modern than you’re probably imagining, but the old churches and wide streets make it architecturally interesting. I didn’t use a map and it’s small enough that you don’t really need one.
#3 A Brazileira – Yes, this 1920’s café has the same name as the one in Lisbon, but a whole different vibe. They have a wonderful full service menu here for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They also have Super Bock, which if you read my post about Lisbon, you know how I feel about Super Bock. Reasonable prices mean a lot of locals come here as well. Sit inside or out and you can relax, get great service, and enjoy the atmosphere. And a Super Bock, of course.
#4 A special suggestion – Fava do Cacao isn’t inside the old city. It’s down the street from the huge arch at the entrance. If you’re facing the arch from outside the old city, turn left. In less than 100 meters, Favo Cacao’s small shop will be on your right. Before I left Braga, I did a Google search for chocolate shops and this one caught my eye.
This small, locally-owned chocolate shop smells amazing. I walked inside to find beautiful, but simple displays of chocolates, and a young woman in the back handcrafting them. She takes great care and pride in her chocolates, offers free samples, and they are not too expensive. You must try the Bailey’s and caramel, orange and praline, and raspberry bombons, as well as the cardamom truffles and cinnamon caramel truffles. She has many more flavors to choose from. The owner speaks some English, enough to describe her chocolates and tempt you with amazing combinations. This was a great end to my day in Braga.