In part one of our Northern Portugal tour we mentioned how we spent the previous four days in Porto and Guimaraes attending the TBU conference and joining the "Grapes and Sailors" tour. Following our journey through the Douro Valley we arrived in the Minho region and onto the city of Braga and the coastal region around Viana do Castelo.
On the outskirts of Braga sits the sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, a pilgrimage site reached by a stairway of 686 steps culminating in the arrival at the house of God.
Thankfully we started at the top and made our way down passing along the way fountains representing the five senses. Each fountains had water pouring from the represented sense with the creepiest being that of sight.
Braga itself is more of a retail hub with pedestrianised streets lined with fashion and souvenir shops as well as cafes and restaurants whose furniture spills out onto the cobbles for al fresco dining.
Viana do Castelo
Our final destination in Northern Portugal was the small city of Viana do Castelo, similar in design to the other cities on our tour with its tiled buildings and historic monuments.
Yet Viana has one outstanding feature that surpasses Porto, Guimaraes and Braga which is the Basilica de Santa Luzia. Set on the hillside overlooking Viana the Basilica has amazing views back over the city and the nearby coastline, only surpassed by the view from our bedroom window from the nearby Pousada de Viana do Castelo.
Heading South through Portugal
The weather in mid September was a healthy mid-twenties degrees Celsius so despite its distance from the sun worshippers of the Algarve, the region still enjoys the good wether.
As we departed Porto enroute to the capital Lisbon we looked back on a pleasant first experience of Portugal.
Have you been to Braga or Viana do Castelo? What did you think of the Minho region?