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5 Fun Things To Do In Northern Portugal

Portugal is one of the best tourist destinations in Europe. Over recent years it has been gaining popularity and is now in the top 3 travel destinations for people from the UK. The country’s south gets a lot of recognition, especially Lisbon and the Algarve which are beautiful. This leaves northern Portugal severely overlooked. This region is truly special with so many fun things for you to experience. This post takes you through the most fun and exciting things to do in northern Portugal.



Cross the Arouca 516 Suspension Bridge

Arouca 516 suspension bridge - northern portugal

Where? – Arouca, Aveiro District 

Arouca 516 is one of the longest pedestrian suspension bridges in the world. When it was erected in 2021 it indeed took the title of the longest, spanning 516 metres. This incredible crossing is very high up, you will find the wild river Paiva 175 metres below you. If you love adrenaline – crossing this bridge is a fantastic experience for you. Seemingly endless lengths of steel cable hold this impressive structure together; the bridge has quite a lot of movement as you walk across it. The views from the bridge are impeccable, you can truly soak in the beauty of the Arouca Geopark in such a unique way upon the bridge.

To cross the suspension bridge, you must buy a ticket online. It is not possible to buy tickets once you are there. Annoyingly, it is not possible to purchase a ticket in the vicinity of the bridge as there is no wifi or 4G service. When you book a ticket you must choose a time slot for crossing the bridge. You must also specify which side of the bridge you will be crossing from. Once you have purchased a ticket, you will be emailed your ticket with a QR code – you will need to show this to the bridge attendants to get onto the bridge. The tickets cost €12 per person.

If you are unsure whether this is a good activity for you check out the post below. It should have all the information you need.

Arouca 516 – Is It Worth Visiting?

Climb Bom Jesus Do Monte

braga - Bom Jesus Do Monte

Where? – Tenões, Braga 

Bom Jesus Do Monte is one of the most significant religious structures in the country. On top of this, it is also the most popular tourist destination in Braga, and for good reason! This landmark is a series of stunning baroque stairways which zig-zag their way up Monte Espinho towards the church. This landmark consists of 573 steps and 17 landings, so prepare yourself for a little workout. Bom Jesus is so unique is has become one of the most photographed churches in the world. This sanctuary is about so much more than religion, it is a fantastic place to visit even if you are not religious (like us). When visiting this landmark you simply must get the token picture from the bottom of the stairs looking up at the granite staircases and whitewashed walls.

This religious site has so much for you to discover. At the top landing, in front of the church, you will find perfectly groomed gardens. This whole area is full of colour and life. This area is also where you will find the best sights in the region. The top of Bom Jesus Do Monte is the perfect place to watch the sun setting over Braga.

If you don’t fancy climbing the stairs, hop on the world’s oldest water-powered funicular. This cute little carriage will take you right up the hill to the church at the top for €1.50. It is crazy to discover that the funicular has been there since 1882.

If you are unsure whether this is a good activity for you check out the post below. It should have all the information you need.

Is Bom Jesus Do Monte Worth Visiting?

Ride A Moliceiro Boat in Aveiro

Moliceiro boats in Aveiro - northern Portugal

Where? – Aveiro, Aveiro District 

Moliceiro is the name for the colourful, gondola-style boats you will find all over the canals in Aveiro. These boats are almost exclusively used to take tourists on fun adventures around the canals but they have a past rooted in farming. Formerly, the Moliceiros were used to help gather seaweed from the Aveiro lagoon. This was then used as fertilizer in the farmland around Aveiro.

These boats are carefully painted with bright, intricate designs which often reflect the diverse past of Aveiro. These boats are considerably larger than the gondolas they are often compared to. Each boat can fit roughly 25 passengers. There are a lot of different companies offering boat tours, generally, they all seem to be the same price. You can take a 45-minute tour around the canals and lagoon for €13, a little cheaper if you book online.

If you decide you want to visit the picturesque town of Aveiro, check out the post below for all the great this to do and see there.

10 Things To Do And Aee In Aveiro

Taste traditional Port Wine In Douro Valley

Douro valley in northern Portugal

Where? – Douro Valley, Douro Region

Portugal is very well known for its Port wine, and Douro Valley is the place to get it. UNESCO-listed Douro Valley is located in northern Portugal, one and a half hours east of Porto. Here you will find the most beautiful riverbanks surrounded by boundless hills lined with stunning vineyards. This is the birthplace of port wine, and undeniably where it tastes the best.

If you are travelling around Portugal by car or campervan, you’ll be happy to find out that driving around Douro Valley is utterly unforgettable. It has been known as one of the world’s best drives. Not only is this the oldest wine region in the world, it is also (in our opinion) one of the most beautiful.

Wine tasting in can sound a little boring and is not usually the most fun activity. This is not true for Douro Valley. As well as visiting different wineries, many tour operators also take you on a boat trip along Douro Rivier. If you really embrace your surroundings in one of the most dazzling locations, you will truly have a very fun day in northern Portugal.

Try A Cheeky ‘Bolo’ In Amarante

penis shaped pastries in Amarante

Where? – Amarante, Tâmega e Sousa

The sweet, little, unassuming town of Amarante has long been associated with love and fertility. This lovely sentiment has led to the creation of some rather phallic pastries, or in Portuguese, ‘bolos’. You may think this is quite shocking considering this is a deeply religious and conservative town.

The ‘bolos’ in Amarante are tough pastries which, generally speaking, all are shaped to look like a penis. Some are tiny and snack-sized, and others are around a foot long; variety really is the spice of life. These sweet treats are either filled with cream or covered in white icing. All very suggestive. You can find these pastries for sale all over the town, in most cafes and even small stalls that sell bags of these quirky pastries.

These pastries are pretty funny and such a staple in Amarante. Be sure to try one if you are in the area – it’s a bit of fun.

Conclusion

Often overlooked, northern Portugal is actually a lot of fun. There is so much more to this area than just the city of Porto. When you really explore the region you will discover all of its quirks and you will not want to leave!

If this post has inspired you to visit Northern Portugal, make sure you check out our Portugal Page which has all of our posts letting you know everything you need to know about what to see and where to stay.

Don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below if you have any questions and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

For more information on all the attractions in fantastic Portugal, or to find out more about the country in general, check out the official tourism website of Portugal here.

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If you're looking for fun things to do in northern Portugal, we've got you covered. This guide takes you across all the best spots so you can make the most of your time in the region. From the suspension bridge 175 metres in the air to a gondola-style boat trip. There is something for everyone to enjoy. Portugal | must-see | travel list

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