Colourful fish markets, pristine coastlines, impressive landscapes and vineyards... never-ending vineyards. Welcome to the glorious Douro Valley.
What better place to start your experience trip than in the romantic city of Aveiro. With its lagoon peppered with canals, bridges and graceful moliceiros, the city is not called the Venice of Portugal for nothing.
Along beautiful routes, you'll also explore the Dão wine region, one of Portugal's main wine regions. You'll make a stop at the world's most important paleolithic open-air figurations site. And, of course, you will visit historic Porto, the small city that conquered the world with its port wine. Enjoy the cosy atmosphere and taste the very best port in one of the famous wine cellars in Vila Nova da Gaia.
DAY 1 : Flight from Brussels to Porto, then to Ílhavo at about 80 km
Pick up your rental car and depart for Ílhavo, where you will stay at the Vista Alegre Hotel for three nights. On the way to your hotel, you can make a quick stop in Valega, with its typical church whose façade is entirely clad in mostly exceptional and colourful azulejos.
DAY 2 : Costa Nova; Aveiro (about 30 km there and back)
You will start the day with a visit to the colourful fish market of the coastal town of Costa Nova. Its colourful wooden villas exude a true holiday feeling. As a result, it's lovely to stroll along the pristine coastline here. Then on to Aveiro, for a visit to the lagoon which, with its canals, bridges and ornate moliceiros, is also known as the Venice of Portugal.
DAY 3 : Ílhavo: codfish and porcelain
Visit Ílhavo, a town that has a long tradition of cod fishing as far away as the waters around Newfoundland. It is highly recommended to visit the maritime museum (closed on Mondays), where you can learn more about the eventful past. Today, the Vista Alegre factory is Ílhavo's calling card. Its high-quality porcelain items are famous all over the world! You can also visit the museum and buy items here.
DAY 4 : Viseu and the Dão Wine Region (about 185 and 270 km away)
You will enjoy a nice drive via pleasant Viseu, a strategic place for many centuries, halfway between the Serra da Estrela and the Douro valley. Henry the Navigator lived there in the 16th century before it became an important art centre. A visit to the Museo de Grão Vasco is therefore a must. The Dão wine region is one of Portugal's most important wine regions. It is possible to visit a wine cellar. Onwards via Lamego to the meandering Douro, with impressive landscapes and vineyards, where you will stay at a hotel of your choice for two nights.
DAY 5 : Vale do Coa and the mighty Douro Valley (around 128 and 380 km there and back)
Through S. João Pesqueira, a scenic route leads you to Vila Nova de Foz Côa, the world's most important paleolithic open-air figurations site, the Parque Arqueológico do Côa, with an impressive contemporary museum. Upon your return, you may want to stop in Pinhão where the train station is covered in typical azulejos. A boat trip on the Douro is a pleasant diversion in this beautiful region.
DAY 6 : Douro Valley - Porto (around 44 and 126 km)
You will leave the impressive Douro Valley and reach Porto, where you will stay in a hotel of your choice for two nights.
DAY 7 : Porto
Discover the city world-famous for its port wine. Tastings of famous brands such as Sandeman, Croft or Rozes can be done in one of the wine cellars in Vila Nova da Gaia, connected to the old town by a spectacular bridge, the Ponte D. Luis I. The atmosphere in old Porto, around the working-class Ribeira district, with its maze of little streets, is particularly colourful and welcoming. Contemporary art and architecture are also abundant.
DAY 8 : Porto-Brussels
You will return your rental car at Porto airport and fly back to Brussels OR you can prolong your stay at one of the Caractère hotels.
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