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Paul & Luiza´s World Tour

Portugal - Northern roadtrip - Piodao, Belmonte, Guarda, Trancoso, Braganca etc

PORTUGAL | Monday, 30 November 2015 | Views [665]

Douro Valley and Montensinho National Park

Douro Valley and Montensinho National Park

Portugal - Northern roadtrip - Piodao, Belmonte, Guarda, Trancoso, Braganca, Montesinho National Park, Vinhais, Unhais da Serra, Chaves, Verin (Spain), Lamego & Viseu – Another awesome Road Trip, the best (only) way to see Portugal!

By now, we’ve been living in Portugal for 6 months and it's our anniversary again, this time the 22nd. To celebrate we decide to go on a quick but awesome road trip, a tried and tested way to see Portugal. Our first stop is Piodao, a village that has been on the top of my list even before we got here. Piodao doesn’t disappoint, it is so beautiful and magic, just a small stone village carved into the hills but not like anything you have seen before. Next is Belmonte, where Pedro Alvares Cabral, the man who “discovered” Brazil, was born. It is a lovely town and the castle where he was born still stands amazingly well preserved. The historic town is also lovely and we just walk around the cobblestone streets enjoying the vibe and the surprisingly good weather, as the rest of the country seems to be under water. Next, to Guarda, we’ve been to Guarda before on our previous roadtrip but we thought it deserved another visit. On the way, we stop at a roadside restaurant and have another unforgettable meal. Now we feel like we need to go back to Guarda, yet again, so we can go back to the restaurant. We walk around Guarda and we were right, it deserved another visit, we check out the cathedral, the Jewish neighbourhood and the castle.

Then, it is time to see Trancoso, we are very curious as it has the same name as the place we lived and loved in Brazil, for seven years, before we came to Portugal. Well, Trancoso turns out to be absolutely amazing, it is a walled city with a gorgeous castle, churches, towers, cobblestone streets and lanes and some fabulous architecture, highly recommended. We end the day in Braganca and check in at the very nice Hotel Turismo Sao Lazaro. The following morning, after a lovely breakfast (hotel breakfast, where have you been? I missed you so much), we go sightseeing in Braganca, another beautiful walled town, lovely castle, churches, towers, yeah, absolutely beautiful. We then drive through the Parque Nacional de Montesinho and that is a drive you don’t want to miss, principally when the autumn colours are an attraction in itself, amazing landscapes, hills and lovely backroads. On the road again, there are a couple of places that you just have to check out, Vinhais and Unhais da Serra, amazing little places where you can just take a couple of shots and stretch your legs. We finally arrive at our main destination, the city of Chaves, almost on the border with Spain, where we check in at the simple but nice Petrus Hotel and go out to explore. Chaves is just what we expected and more, some amazing churches, a fantastic Roman bridge, some unbelievable buildings and a magical medieval feel. The castle is also great and overlooks the city, breathtaking, so we take our time walking around. Next morning we zip up to Spain, the city of Verin, and do a bit of shopping, yeah, some things are much cheaper in Spain, and then we start making our way back down.

On the way, another unexpected gem, the city of Lamego. We just see the castle from the road and decide to drive in and check it out and we are absolutely amazed by how much there is to see in Lamego, a fantastic medieval church, castle, fort, monastery and architecture that is definitely worth going back for when we have a bit more time. We just loved Lamego in the little time we were there. On the way back we were supposed to see the city of Viseu but we are so hungry, we make our way to the “Palacio de Gelo” (Ice Palace) Shopping Centre for a very mediocre and overpriced meal. We then decided to make our way home and come back to explore Viseu another time as it is pretty close to home anyway. Wow, what an amazing roadtrip, exactly 1000 ks of beauty, nature and history. Portugal has so much to see and explore and driving is definitely the way to do it, until next time, cheers!

Tags: on the road


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