Visit Amarante, one of the most romantic of Portuguese cities. Admire the river Tâmega, a key tributary of the Douro, running through the heart of this region.
Cross the bridge that bears testimony to the heroic resistance of the local people in the face of Napoleon’s mighty forces. Visit the Church and Convent of São Gonçalo on the riverbanks. For art fans, take in the range of styles on exhibition in the Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso Museum.
And don’t think of leaving Amarante without trying its local sweets served up in any of the local pastry shops. ‘Papos de Anjo’ or Angel Pouches, ‘Brisas do Tâmega’ or Tamega Breezes and the ‘Toucinho do Céu’ Lard from Heaven are certain to take their place in the sweet section of your memories.
To the south of Porto, Santa Maria da Feira boasts a 15th century castle with an unusual profile that seems less Portuguese and more fairytale in inspiration. And drop in and see what is happening at the Europarque, a congress centre with a regular programme of cultural events, the Visionarium interactive science museum and the Museum of Paper.
If in the north during July or August, pay a visit to the National Handicrafts Fair in Vila do Conde. This calm seaside city is also home to the interesting Museum of Lacework, perfect to find out more about the history of embroidery in the north of Portugal.