Treasures of the Nation: History and Architecture – Road.Travel

Treasures of the Nation: History and Architecture

Road Trip Route. The ruins of city walls, churches and monasteries, Sightseeing platforms with unforgettable views, Porto University's atmospheric building and the famous Lello bookstore, Some fun at the sailing club and walks through the gardens and narrow streets of historic centres, Looking for the best cafes and restaurants with national and world cuisine.

Relax and learn more about the various historical sites of Porto, Lisbon and the small historical castles, monasteries and towns that lie between them. An unforgettable journey into Portugal's refined architectural past, which shapes its heritage and wealth, awaits you. You will meet face to face with history, see the ruins of the city walls as a reminder of the belligerent past of the country, churches and monasteries as a testimony of the endless faith and strength of the spirit of the people. A journey through the monuments that have shaped the culture of the country is harmoniously combined with entertainment and gastronomic experience.

History and Culture. From: Porto

Alexey Lukin. Traveller.

Travel Itinerary and Road Trip Route

Day 1: The historic city of Porto

Porto is one of the oldest cities in Europe, it is also the former capital of the country and the birthplace of Port wine. It is a lively industrial centre with a fascinating history, which received World Heritage status from UNESCO in 1996. Unlike other major Portuguese cities, the centre of Porto is not exactly baroque, but instead granite and monumental. When you arrive in Porto, start your journey by exploring the city itself and a few of the main attractions, and enjoy local cuisine at Porto's best restaurants.

17º Restaurante & Bar

Before exploring the city and its sights, be sure to dine in a chic restaurant overlooking the whole of Porto! Don't forget to buy some port! The restaurant is open from noon to 2:00 a.m.

Igreja de Santo Ildefonso

The building, which represents the greatest heritage of the city and the country, is located in the historical center of the city, not far from Batalha Square. Previously, there was a small chapel from the 13th century in its place. The Baroque walls of the Church of St. Ildefonso were covered with about 11,000 azulejo tiles, which attracted the attention of the connoisseurs of this zest.

Igreja de Santa Clara

The next point in the scenario is the richest part of the architectural and religious heritage of Porto and the whole country - the Church of St. Clara. It ranks second after the Church of St. Francis in terms of the wealth of interior decoration. The building dates back to the 15th century, when it was planned to be taken under the Franciscan convent. As with many religious buildings of the time, the facade of the church is quite simple. Two centuries later, it was complemented by a baroque door, which made it more attractive for architectural connoisseurs. The real wealth is the interior of the building. It abounds with ornaments and the finest details in Baroque and Rocococo styles.

Sé Catedral do Porto

Porto Cathedral is one of the oldest and most important local Romanesque monuments. Its construction took place from the 12th to the 13th century, which resulted in a large number of different stylistic details. The early Romanesque building, when the city was the center of the Bishop's Office in the 5th century, underwent numerous changes, but the general appearance of the facade is still dominated by Romanesque features.

Muralha Fernandina

Walk along the ancient fortress wall of Fernandin. Unfortunately, in the second half of the 18th century, when the walls ceased to perform their protective functions and were no longer necessary, some part of the wall was demolished in order to provide more space for buildings and expansion of the streets. Another part of the wall was demolished at the end of the XIX century, so today it has changed beyond recognition, but to touch the history, wandering near its remaining elements, really worth it.

As 7 Maravilhas

You can feel yourself a real traveler in this very institution, where the cuisines of peoples and countries of the world are intertwined in many ways, preserving uniqueness and modern details. Spend a relaxing evening near the Bolsa Palace and the banks of the Duero River right in the city centre. Be sure to try Kraft beer and any of the dishes in the menu, because the whole kitchen is wonderful, has an original combination of ingredients and their freshness.

Day 2: Cultural enrichment and fine dining in Porto

The people of Porto are called "tripeiros", which means "tripe eaters". The soup has always been and still is a popular dish in the city. Be sure to try this specialty in one of the local restaurants. And architecturally, the city is very varied, with medieval monuments and modern buildings to be seen.

Mesa 325

Delicious coffee, muesli with yoghurt and a fruit vase - this is what visitors to the cafe Mesa 325 choose. The morning will be wonderful in a pleasant and cozy atmosphere. The cafe is open from 8:30 to 19:30.

Igreja da Santíssima Trindade

After breakfast, head to the Holy Trinity Church to be inspired by 19th century religious architecture. Its facade hasn't been restored in a long time, so it looks a couple of centuries older.

Livraria Lello

One of the oldest bookstores, which takes the entrance fee, because it is not only the museum of ancient interiors (in the XVIII century, everything was treated as a work of art), it is also a model of atmosphere. A bookstore where you want to wander for hours and then sit down on one of the steps of numerous intertwining stairs and read all the books in the store to a single one. Everyone knows that it was this store that inspired Joan Rowling in the descriptions of the magic bookstore. Maybe you'll find inspiration here, too.

Torre dos Clérigos

The bell tower of the Catholic Church, which once served as a lighthouse for ships entering the harbour, has now become a museum and observation deck for numerous residents and guests of the city.


"Brick Clerigos is a place where you can always enjoy a really healthy and nourishing meal. The main ingredients of the menu are shrimps, light toast, fruit and avocado. The dishes are distinguished by their original and beautiful serving. The helpful staff, always ready to help and prompt with the choice, is very attentive to families and small guests.

Porto University (Universidade do Porto)

The University of Porto, dating back to the eighteenth century, is one of the largest educational and research institutions in Portugal. It is not just an educational institution, it is a whole complex of historical museums and cultural monuments, which are open to all interested parties. The atmosphere of the school is fascinating, its ancient history gives it a fleur of mystery and magic.

Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar

The monastery, dating back to the XV-XVI centuries, is not only a valuable architectural and historical monument, but is also included in the list of UNESCO cultural heritage sites. The site of the Serra do Pilar Monastery in Gaia offers a unique view of Porto.

Avenida dos Aliados

The city's main street connecting Freedom Square and Trinidad Square. Perfect place for a leisurely evening stroll and admire the buildings of the twentieth century, including the City Hall. Beautiful, there's a sense of solemnity.

Barris do Douro

Dine on the same side of the river, near the monastery, at the foot of the Ponti di Don Luis I Bridge. Enjoy the beautiful views of the River Duero and the city, as well as a wonderful cozy atmosphere, created not only by the interior of the restaurant, but also the well-coordinated work of the staff. The menu is very diverse, but special attention should be paid to fish and seafood dishes, with original sauces and interesting variations of national dishes from the chef.

Day 3: From Porto to Guimaraes

Today you will have the opportunity to visit one of the city's most picturesque botanical gardens, then visit two fascinating museums and at the end of the evening you will move on to the next equally interesting city, Guimarães!

Café Piolho

Start your morning with Café Piolho, which has a rich history, especially the famous Francesinha dish - a sandwich with cheese, meat and ham in sauce. Menu in three languages (Portuguese, English and French). The portions are huge. The cafe is open from 7am to 4am.

Capela das Almas

The Chapel of Souls or the Chapel of Santa Catarina is located near the Beaulian Market and the famous Sao Bento station on the pedestrian street of St. Catherine. This building is interesting for its decorations, architectural features and 360 square meters on the facade of the building, laid with tiles azulejo, which tells the story of the life of Francis of Assisi and St. Catherine.

Real Companhia Velha

Learn about traditional port production. At excursion to you will show details of manufacture, and also will suggest to taste and get some best grades. Excursions and visits are best arranged in advance.

Jardim do Morro

The romantic garden overlooking Porto is a favourite destination for tourists and locals. It's also a great platform for watching the sunset. You can go here for a picnic and enjoy peace and tranquillity. It's easy to get on the funicular. You can also take a walk down the quay, down the stairs to the left of the funicular. There are lovely views on the way down.


Another lovely restaurant where you can have lunch after a walk in the wonderful garden. See the menu's first courses as well as carpaccio, tuna bruschetta and seafood. There is a full range of drinks, beer and wine. The restaurant is open until 10:30.

Jardim Botânico do Porto

The botanical garden is one of the most picturesque parks in the city. It is a small area of about 4000 square meters, divided into several thematic zones. At the end of the 18th century it belonged to the Order of Christ, after which it was transferred to the property of João Salabert, then the family of poetess Sophia de Mello Breiner lived here for a long time. In 1951, it was sold to the University of Porto, so the old interiors of the house are not preserved, but anyone can go inside and look around.

Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis

Visit one of Portugal's most popular and important museums, the Soares du jour Reis. It is located in the building of the Carrancas Palace. The rich collection of national fine arts from Romanticism to Modernism is kept here, including the collection of works by António Soares souls Reis, the sculptor in whose honour the museum is named.


Given that the place is popular among locals and tourists, it is better to book a table in advance. If you like to sit outdoors, you can book a patio table.

Day 4: Unique Guimarães and its majestic fortresses

Guimarães is rightly considered the "cradle" of Portugal, as Afonso Henriques, who later became the first king of Portugal, was born here. The historic centre of Guimarães is where the identity of Portugal was formed. It is located inside the fortress walls. The area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The restoration work here is of a high standard - it has managed to retain the authenticity and uniqueness of the historic sites.

Cristo Rei

Good morning in Cristo Rei! Enjoy fragrant drinks and air baked goods at this facility before heading out to explore the city. The cafe is open from 7am to 10pm.

Castelo de Guimarães

The castle, which has survived since the X century and has seen many historical events, including the Arab conquests. Today it is included in the list of national heritage sites, as well as in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The medieval building itself has not been fully preserved and has undergone a number of reconstructions, but four towers and several gates have survived. In terms of the building is a heraldic shield.

Largo do Toural

Today's day is not without a leisurely stroll through several squares of the city. Plaza Largo de Toural, where you can admire the facades of perfectly preserved and harmonious buildings that frame the square. Spend some time in this square and admire St. Francis Church again.

Largo da Oliveira

There are many summer terraces, cafes and restaurants in this square. This allows you to combine a pleasant holiday with a useful and informative study of the surrounding medieval picturesque architecture: wonderful houses, mansions, beautiful streets.

Largo República do Brasil

Another picturesque and very well maintained park is within a five-minute walk of the previous church. The locals often come here to relax and take a walk.

Igreja de S. Gualter - Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Consolação e Santos Passos

One of the most important churches in the city, which shapes its image. It was built in the 16th century on the site of a small chapel that existed here much earlier. Today, this temple is crowned with two tall towers, completed in the middle of the XIX century.

HOOL Restaurante

There is a nice restaurant near the picturesque garden. It is located right at the crossroads of the city's tourist routes, so it is always easy to find, but it is better to book a table in advance. Nice interior and color scheme have a rest and leisurely enjoy the wonderful taste of your choice of dishes: meat, cod, seafood, as well as incomparable desserts and quality wine.

Paço dos Duques de Bragança

The Impressive Palace of the Dukes of Braganza is a beautiful example of 15th century palace architecture, a Gothic building with features of Norman influence unusual for Portugal. The entrance is at ground level, the inner rooms are spacious and there is an elevator for access to the upper floor. Also available as support for visitors is sound equipment, a route with inscriptions in Braille.

Museu Alberto Sampaio

The Alberto Sampaio National Museum was founded in 1928. The museum has a collection of fine art objects that used to belong to a colleague of the Church of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira and other churches and monasteries in the city. The museum's collection is diverse and of great interest to art lovers. Among the exhibits there are sculptural compositions of XIII-XVIII centuries, made of wood and limestone. Also of interest to visitors will be frescoes and panels, ceramics, church vestments. The highlight of the museum is the armour of King João I that he wore at the Battle of Aljubarotta.

Monte da Penha (Monte de Santa Catarina)

And this is the mountain peak of Pena on the horizon, which can only be reached by car. It has several recreation areas, a forest with century-old trees and a sanctuary that invariably attracts many pilgrims. It is also a great place to contemplate nature and a calm atmosphere.


A small restaurant with a warm welcome and wonderful cuisine. Don't miss the opportunity to taste truly quality home-made dishes in a cozy atmosphere.

Day 5: Viana do Castelo

Viana do Castelo is one of the most beautiful cities in Northern Portugal. Its participation in Portugal's maritime discoveries and later in the cod fishery vividly testifies to the city's traditional connection to the sea. Viana is rich in palaces with heraldic coats of arms, churches and monasteries, fountains and waterworks, representing a historical and architectural heritage to be explored.

Pastelaria Fina

This morning you can start with a great breakfast at Pastelaria Fina. Visitors recommend all varieties of tea, here you will be offered it for absolutely any taste!

Santuário de Santa Luzia

Previously, thousands of worshippers with eye diseases used to go to a small wooden chapel on this spot. Today this place is visited not only by believers, but also by connoisseurs of architecture and world cultural heritage. The Church of Santa Lucia is located on the site of the hill of the same name, which offers stunning views of the city. In 1927, National Geographic magazine called this species the third most beautiful in the world.

Elevador de Santa Luzia

You can take the funicular down from the church. From here you can see even more of the city's details, as well as lunch nearby. The 650-metre long funicular overcomes the 160-metre difference in six to seven-minute drive. The funicular was recently upgraded.

Praça da República

You can see the main sights on Republic Square. Almost all buildings on the square were built in the 16th-17th century and have their uniqueness and preservation to this day. The pearl of Republic Square is a medieval fountain that dates back over 400 years. The fountain rises on a stepped stylobate, and crowns its sphere in the form of a Christian cross. The main building of the square is the Gothic style town hall of Pacos do Conseljo. The main innovation of the square is the monument to Diogo Alvarez Correa, which was installed in 2009. In the 15th century, this man played a significant role in Portugal's political games.

Magma II Caffe

Enjoy traditional dishes, their original serving, good wine and pleasant atmosphere of the place.

Castelo Santiago Barra

This is one example of the city's fortifications that protected the inhabitants of a small town and ships on the right bank of the Lima River. The fortress has unique architectural features, but its good preservation was ensured by the restoration, which resulted in the opening of a hospitality and tourism department on its territory.

Museu Municipal de Viana do Castelo

The Viana Museum before Castelo will present you with the history of a small town with its great past, through numerous works of art from painting to ceramics and exquisite azulejo tiles, each of which reveals a veil of the past.

Zefa Carqueja

Spend a pleasant evening in this simple but very pleasant restaurant, where the competent and attentive staff works. Here they serve tasty meat and fish dishes. We advise you to try one of the cod dishes, the quality of the food is very high.

Praia Norte

Take a stroll along this romantic beach. What could be better than a light sea wind, soft sand and colorful sunset? There are many cafes and restaurants on the beachfront, where you can also stay and enjoy the beautiful sea views.

Day 6: Return to Porto

This is the last day of your trip. You can stay longer at the hotel or go to a nearby shopping centre where you can buy all the things you need and have a nice breakfast before you leave for Porto.

Ameadella Pastelaria

On the last day of your trip you can visit this cafe. Bread and pastries are excellent here, and the value for money is excellent! Serves a great breakfast, popular with locals.

Estação Viana Shopping

Before leaving, take a stroll through the historic centre of the cosy Viana do Castelo and walk to the shopping centre, where you can find locally produced products and souvenirs.