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Anyone out there know Minho?

Hello! In May I will be taking the RS Portugal Tour, which ends with a day and night in the Douro Valley, and then 2 nights in Porto. Following that, I have arranged (and committed to) a nice apartment in Porto for an additional 4 days and nights. I will be on my own, and am thinking of exploring Minho in the far north of Portugal, north of Porto. There are various day tours offered, most with relatively reasonable prices and excellent reviews, that include either Guimaraes/Braga, Santiago de Compostela (Spain)/Valenca do Minho, Barcelos, and also the Douro Valley with a time in Lamego (or elsewhere). I could also visit some of these places on my own with public transit, although I would be limited by train or bus schedules. I would prefer not to rent a car to drive just by myself, but could do that also. I realize I could have arranged to stay some nights in Minho itself, but I did not do that.
Does anyone know this area, and can you suggest which of these locations, or others, might offer me the best mix of history, scenery, local crafts, regional cuisine, wines, etc. I would value your ideas.
Thanks so much!

Posted by
1162 posts

Since no one else has answered, I'll try to give you some information. Over a period of years and several visits to Portugal we have visited Guimaraes, Braga, Barcelos, Douro Valley, and Lamego. Each time we had a car. Renting a car would get you to more places more efficiently but might not be worth it. Have you checked googlemaps to see the driving time involved with the towns you want to visit? Just checking the train connections it seems it would be better to take a couple of tours. You can easily get to Guimaraes and Braga by train from Porto, but it doesn't look possible on the same day. Guimaraes claims to be the birthplace of Portugal and Braga has the Santuario de Bom Jesus do Monte. Both of these towns should give you a mix of what you want. We spent only a few hours in Lamego on our way to the Douro Valley and wished we had more time there. We visited the Santuario de Nossa Senhora dos Remedios and drove through town. A lot of people seem to like a tour of the Douro. If there's a tour of the Douro including Lamego this should also give you a mix of what you want. Portugal has so much history, interesting architecture, good food, and everything else you mentioned, it's hard to say which towns or combination of towns would please you most. I hope this was of some value. Good luck choosing!

Posted by
16996 posts

20-30 years ago I visited Barcelos and Guimaraes among other Portuguese towns. I know I ran into a weekly market that included crafts, and I'm nearly certain it was in one of those two places. Assuming the market still exists, you can probably find current info by Googling or in your guidebook.

Galicia has many attractive cities and towns, foremost among them Santiago de Compostela, but border-crossing transportation is not terribly frequent and should be verified and re-verified. With just 4 days I'd definitely stay in Portugal if depending on public transportation. There's plenty to see on the south side of the border.

I advise you ... rent a car and drive by the montains and small villages relaxing ...
In the past I did this route with some friends ... with a intermediate staying at Peneda Hotel in Gavieira, and it was unbelievable (starting in Braga):
Stops at:
- Miradouro de Tibo (in the map: Unnamed Road, Portugal)
- Peneda
- Lamas de Mouro
- Castro de Laboreiro
- Tourém
- Pitoes das junias

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Braga,+Portugal/41.6039441,-8.5501943/Arcos+de+Valdevez,+Portugal/Adr%C3%A3o,+Arcos+de+Valdevez,+Portugal/41.9263207,-8.2373461/Caf%C3%A9+Peneda+-+Antonio+Lamas+Morgado,+Cemit%C3%A9rio+da+Peneda,+Lugar+da+Peneda,,+Gavieira,+Portugal/Castro+Laboreiro,+Portugal/Tour%C3%A9m,+Portugal/Pit%C3%B5es+das+Junias,+Portugal/Braga,+Portugal/@41.7967572,-8.5048702,87431m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m52!4m51!1m5!1m1!1s0xd24febc6cf5d867:0xbc5d054162d1e218!2m2!1d-8.426507!2d41.5454486!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0xd250950a246fcd7:0x2e0e22f8248b9c53!2m2!1d-8.4192213!2d41.8458289!1m5!1m1!1s0xd25131102dc8395:0xa00ebc04f804bf0!2m2!1d-8.2502711!2d41.9146818!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0xd256c8269ff210f:0xbba9c35590423bef!2m2!1d-8.2226482!2d41.9746712!1m5!1m1!1s0xd2569f7230df73f:0x72b7a94688b8011e!2m2!1d-8.1584068!2d42.0302427!1m5!1m1!1s0xd2536c148a2a74f:0x3d4e59daa5b3722d!2m2!1d-7.8969334!2d41.9065597!1m5!1m1!1s0xd253083a4c90539:0x500ebbde49121f0!2m2!1d-7.9497382!2d41.8420534!1m5!1m1!1s0xd24febc6cf5d867:0xbc5d054162d1e218!2m2!1d-8.426507!2d41.5454486!3e0

If you like nature, Peneda-Geres is the best you can get in Portugal and Minho region asside the cities. Small rivers, scenary mountains, canyons and cascades. Look at this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DU9DadWbM8.
This is the best!

And you must take a tipical local restaurante in Soajo or Melgaço, you can google or find in Tripadvisor easily.