If you follow my blog you might have noticed it has been awkwardly silent past week. Well, in my defense, all I can say is that Portugal happened to me. I’ve done countless family & friend visits and lots of (over)eating, inevitably, but we also went out to check out some amazing sites around northern Portugal. Turns out the relatively unknown part of Portugal hides some seriously cool architecture! (My Instagram and Twitter have already revealed some previews.) So here come the secrets you might have been missing out on. Until now!
Spotify-tip while reading:
Although Porto is Portugal’s second city I’d say it surpasses capitol Lisbon in cuteness. Where Lisbon has wide avenues due to a past earthquake, Porto still has characteristic streets and alleys to wander. They will present you with traditionally tiled houses, baroque churches and, surprisingly, street art. The hills work as a miracle to the calves and you’ll find impressively decorated boutiques to give them a rest, like the famous Lello & Irmão Bookstore. And of course the greatest asset of Porto is its port for, mainly, port wine. Visit the warehouses and do a tasting, but not after admiring the Don Luis I bridge, made by the disciples of Eiffel, the brain behind the Eifel tower in Paris.
The city of Guimarães is largely unknown outside of Portugal, but for no good reason! It is the place where Portugal was born and still testifies of that heroic history. Guimarães (say Gee-ma-raings) has a medieval castle and city center, partly in ruins. At night the main square, surrounded with cute balcony houses, fills up with people enjoying a drink. This is the true hidden gem of northern Portugal!
Flintstone House / Casa do Penedo
There’s an underground pearl in northern Portugal that not many people know of. It’s the “Flintstone house”, in Portuguese called Casa do Penedo (House of Stone). It’s the summer house of a Lisbon family and it’s just an improvised home in between two giant rocks. You find it in the mountains of the region Minho, close to the city Fafe. You can only get there by car and with the help of locals. Luckily, my boyfriend happens to be one.
Also see my article about the romantic Bom Jesús, a 19th century cathedral on top of a mountain. You find it near Braga in the north of Portugal. A fairy tale!