Home PLACES OF INTEREST
PLACES OF INTERESTDISCOVER PORTO AND ITS SURROUNDINGS
BEACHES AND COASTS
EXCURSIONS FROM PORTO
Foz do Douro
The “Foz do Douro” is located in the western part of Porto and is known for being one of the most expensive areas of the city. It is a privileged place in which the Douro River meets the Atlantic Ocean. The Felgueiras Lighthouse is situated at the edge of the Douro’s river mouth and the Atlantic coastline of Foz do Douro.
Besides the beaches, Foz (river mouth) is a place of recreation and terraces by the sea, with a pergola which lends it a special charm in photographs.
Vineyards in the Valley of the River Douro
The Douro Valley could as easily be called the enchanted valley, such is the beauty and magic that its landscapes offer.
Departing from Porto, where the river flows into the sea and where the Douro wines (table wines and Port wine), produced on its hillsides, also end up, there are various ways to get to know this cultural landscape, listed as a World Heritage Site: by road, by train, on a cruise boat and even by helicopter. None will leave you indifferent.
Following a route between the viewpoints that offer the best vistas, you need to cross the river from north to south and back again. But along the way you can admire breathtaking landscapes over the river and visit vineyards, towns and villages until you reach Miranda do Douro, the point at which the river enters Portugal.
Start at Vila Nova de Gaia with a visit to the lodges where Port wine is aged. Here you will get to know this wine a little better, taking the opportunity – how could you do otherwise? – to taste the precious nectar. And you can still see the old rabelo boats on the river, the vessels that carried the wine from the quintas where it is produced to the mouth of river, before the various dams that made the river navigable were built.
The Chapel Senhor da Pedra
There is a small and intriguing little chapel built on the top of a rock situated right on the shoreline of the Atlantic ocean that commands an amazing view both out to sea and to the white sandy beach stretching in front of it . The place, is Miramar, located in the parish of Gulpilhares, just south of Porto in the north of Portugal.
The Chapel, of a hexagonal design, is called Senhor da Pedra (Lord of the Rock) and was built in 1686 and restored in 1996. Two large blue and white, hand painted tile side panels sit either side of the magnificent wooden, front entrance door, both making mention of the pagan temple that once existed there and the importance of archeological finds also on this spot.
Sanctuary of Bom Jesus Do Monte in Tenoes
Many hilltops in Portugal and other parts of Europe have been sites of religious devotion since antiquity, and it is possible that the Bom Jesus hill was one of these. However, the first indication of a chapel over the hill dates from 1373. This chapel – dedicated to the Holy Cross – was rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1629 a pilgrimage church was built dedicated to the Bom Jesus (Good Jesus), with six chapels dedicated to the Passion of Christ.
The present Sanctuary started being built in 1722, under the patronage of the Archbishop of Braga, Rodrigo de Moura Telles. His coat of arms is seen over the gateway, in the beginning of the stairway. Under his direction the first stairway row, with chapels dedicated to the Via Crucis, were completed. Each chapel is decorated with terra cotta sculptures depicting the Passion of Christ. He also sponsored the next segment of stairways, which has a zigzag shape and is dedicated to the Five Senses. Each sense (Sight, Smell, Hearing, Touch, Taste) is represented by a different fountain. At the end of this stairway, a Baroque church was built around 1725 by architect Manuel Pinto Vilalobos.
Palace of the Dukes of Braganza
The Palace of the Dukes of Braganza (Portuguese: Paço dos Duques de Bragança), is a medieval estate and former residence of the first Dukes of Braganza, located in the historical centre of Guimarães (Oliveira do Castelo), in the north-western part of Portugal. It was initiated between 1420 and 1422 by Afonso, Count of Barcelos, the illegitimate son of John I of Portugal (and future Duke of Bragança), after his marriage to his second wife. His prodigeny would occupy the space until the Dukes of Braganza moved to Vila Viçosa, abandoning the palace. The 16th Century marked the beginning of period of ruin, which was aggravated during the 19th century, when the local population used the palace as a personal quarry. During the Estado Novo regime, a controversial restoration restored the Palace, while implying a grandeur that may not have existed. The Palace of the Dukes was classified as a National Monument (Portuguese: Monumento Nacional) in 1910, and has been an official residence for the Presidency.