Porto, Braga and Guimarães are cities that have grown considerably in recent years, not only thanks to the number of stores and businesses popping up around these cities but also to their ability to attract both national and international visitors.
The historical relevance of Porto, Braga and Guimarães cannot be underestimated and the beautiful buildings to be found there and the history behind them make all three cities well worth visiting. Given that northern Portugal is renowned for its fantastic cuisine that boasts traditional dishes of unparalleled taste, great food is guaranteed.
But that’s not all, because these cities are much more than just history and past glory. In Porto’s vibrant old town, for example, there are lots of bars and cafés for you to grab a late night bite to eat and terraces for you to enjoy an evening coffee or share drinks with friends both old and new.
But wait, there’s more. It is well-known that people in northern Portugal know how to enjoy themselves so, even if you are traveling alone, finding a group of party goers to enjoy the lively street culture with won’t be difficult.
But first things first: food! Porto has restaurants for all tastes so if you want to indulge your appetite before savoring the nightlife you have the choice of everything from fine dining to the popular tascos (small restaurants that serve traditional regional dishes). So, where can you find such places? The answer is simple: on any street corner you’ll find somewhere to eat. But better still – on any street corner you’ll find somewhere to eat well.
In recent years, Porto has seen an increase in the number of bars, live music venues, gourmet food stores and boutiques, especially in the areas around the Carmo Church, Clérigos Tower, Passos Manuel Steet and in the old town. Many of these welcoming and intimate places occupy old buildings that have been restored, creating an interesting link between the past and the future.
The city’s cultural calendar is always jam packed with a variety of events. There are concerts, theater shows, cultural events… the most difficult thing will be choosing between everything on offer. But if you prefer something more relaxed, you’ll no doubt find a comfortable terrace to take in the spectacular views of the River Douro while you enjoy conversation and drinks with friends.
Braga and Guimarães
Located less than an hour from Porto, Braga and Guimarães are two cities on the up. In 2012, Guimarães was the European Capital of Culture while Braga was named European Youth Capital and is the city with the highest population of young people in Portugal.
Braga has 17,000 university students so it will come as no surprise that there is a lot of activity in the city. In the old town, you will find picturesque bars where you can start your evening by joining the young crowds for a drink. Culture and good times are guaranteed!
Velha-a-Branca (http://www.velha.org/) is the ultimate cultural symbol of the city. This 18th century building promotes creativity and cultural awareness and is a place where people come together for book launches, concerts, exhibitions and, of course, coffee. And don’t forget to visit the garden for an incredible view of the city.
If you want to dance until the early hours then head down to the Sardinha Biba on Praça Dr. Cândido da Costa Pires, which is one of the oldest and liveliest places in the city and is normally the night’s last stop for most party goers. A little bit of dancing never did anyone any harm!
Guimarães also has lots of great “hidden” bars and restaurants. During the daytime, stop at the Largo da Oliveira in the city center and see the Nossa Senhora da Oliveria Church, a building of great architectural and historical value. At night, the terraces in the old town are a great place to head to, where everyone is invited to enjoy themselves as the evening gets started.
As you can see, your nights are certain to be lively. Are you still not sure where to stay? Don’t worry about it, that’s the easy part... pack your bags already because Porto and northern Portugal are waiting for you!