LISBON; we’ve told you all about it in a previous article. (if you haven’t read it, click here) But what if after Lisbon, you want to visit the second most visited city in Portugal, Porto? Of course, you could take a plane but you could also go on a road trip in order to visit the lesser-known but equally amazing cities & towns of Portugal.
Obidos is a small town in Portugal. If you are planning on spending time in Lisbon, you can go to Obidos as a day trip. You feel like you are in a novel from the Renaissance period. Obidos Castle, as the name suggests, is located here.
There are walls surrounding the town. The walls can be walked on but it is made up of very narrow roads, so it can be a bit tiring, but if you want to look at Obidos and its surroundings from the top, definitely do it, it is free.
‘Rua Direita’ is the name given to the main street in Obidos. Rua Direita, which stretches 1 km, has very interesting stores, so it’s a good place to spend time.
Also, every March an international chocolate festival takes place in Obidos. If you can go on a weekend in March, go! It’s a bit impossible this year (the festival ends on the 18th of March), but if you are interested, you can start planning for next year.
One thing you need to keep in mind about Obidos: The city can be reached by car, but it is impossible to enter the town by car. So if you are not staying in a hotel with parking near you bring small suitcases!
We stayed in a guesthouse called Torre de Maneys. It was 10 minutes away from the entrance to Obidos (the parking lot). We were especially pleased with the breakfast.
Coimbra is one of the big cities in Portugal. The historical university in the city is so famous that the city is known as the ‘university city’ around the country.
When we asked a local taxi driver what we could find in Coimbra, he said:
‘We have good hospitals and a famous university’
Coimbra University, one of the oldest universities in the world, is undoubtedly the most interesting place in the city. It is in the UNESCO World Heritage List, with its building made in 1290. Located at the top of the historic city, the university has a panoramic view of the city.
Aveiro’s nickname is ‘The Venice of Portugal’, a very appropriate name. Those who have gone to Venice or have seen photographs of the city can see similarities in the photo above. I recommend you definitely see this cute town with its palm trees, light-colored buildings, and gondolas, even if you stay for just a couple of hours.
I would also go to see the magnificent striped houses of ‘Ilhavo’ which is a town located near Aveiro. Afterward, you can visit the Costa Nova beach. (Portugal’s beaches are quite wavy, so don’t expect to swim, but entering the water is quite fine)
Porto is probably the most famous city in Portugal after Lisbon. Porto means port in Portuguese. In the past, explorers used to embark on their journeys from this city. Porto has amazing cobbled streets just like Lisbon, but they are narrower. Tiled buildings, interesting bridges, breath-taking views… If you spend all your time walking around and exploring the city you won’t have wasted your time.
Any famous landmarks?
If you are a fan of the Harry Potter series, Porto has a great surprise for you: Livraria Lello is a library that is known for inspiring J.K. Rowling to write series. Livraria Lello, with its spellbinding architecture, attracts thousands of tourists every year. Because of high demand, you have to purchase a ticket to enter but if you buy a book, you can use the ticket as cash.
There are plenty of other places to visit – even more important ones: Bolsa Palace, Porto Cathedral, Sao Francisco Church, Sao Bento Train Station, Parque da Cidade do Porto. Apart from these, I would recommend walking along the Douro River and taking a look around.
The Sao Joao Festival
Festa de São João do Porto is a festival every year on the evening of June 23 (St John’s Eve). Every year, thousands of people gather in the city center and more traditional neighborhoods for the festival.
In June 2004, a journalist from The Guardian said, “Porto’s ‘Festa de São João’ is one of Europe’s busiest street festivals, but relatively unknown outside the country.” we can say that in the thirteen and a half years, tourists are starting to notice the festival as it is very difficult to find a hotel around that date. Click here if you want to learn more about the festival.
Portugal also has a lot of vineyards, near Porto and in places I haven’t even mentioned on this list. If you are interested, go to one that can be visited.