Independent Rail Holidays to Explore the Northern Portugal by train

The North of Portugal is an enticing combination of historic cities, lush countryside, and an extensive and wild coastline.

This walking tour by train is an individual adventure based in two lovely cities: Viana do Castelo, known as the “Pearl of the North”, and Guimarães, the birthplace of Portugal.

Take the train, and enjoy your walking holidays in this timeless and magical place!

Description

The North of Portugal is an enticing combination of historic cities, lush countryside, and an extensive and wild coastline.

This walking tour by train is an individual adventure based in two lovely cities: Viana do Castelo, known as the “Pearl of the North”, and Guimarães, the birthplace of Portugal.

Take the train, and enjoy your walking holidays in this timeless and magical place!

Viana do Castelo Castle Portugal

Beautiful Viana do Castelo overlooking the city.

The first base of this self-guided walking tour is Viana do Castelo, at the mouth of the river Lima, on the Atlantic coast. It’s an attractive town, crowned by the basilica of Santa Luzia, from where you get amazing views. The longest funicular in Portugal will get you there.

The charming medieval centre with narrow winding streets has churches and impressive buildings. The city’s charismatic traditions and culture are present in colourful arts and crafts, and in gold filigree jewellery.

Rock beach - Vila Praia âncora

Rock beach – Vila Praia âncora, an attractive natural environment, which features good walking.

From here, take the Canos d’Àgua trail, following the ancient water supply pipes built in granite. It features lovely paths meandering through the forest and offers magnificent views over Viana and the Lima River.

A train ride will lead you to Vila Praia de Âncora, to a landscape of wild beaches, with endless sandy stretches backed by dunes and pine forests.

Caminha is one step away from the Spanish coast, visible on the other side of the river Minho with its Santa Tecla Hill looking back. Caminha’s traditional stone-walled houses and flower-decorated squares will be a treat at the end of your walk!

Take the train to Guimarães, known as the birthplace of Portugal. The city has a well-preserved medieval centre, enlisted as a Unesco Heritage Site. It’s a scenic entanglement of alleys and plazas, with chapels, churches, a 15th-century palace, and a castle with 1000 years.

Guimarães city center

Guimarães city centre, exceptionally well preserved Historic Centre of Guimarães.

From here, you’ll get to experience a walk to Senhora da Penha, a pilgrimage site accessible by narrow tracks, perched between large granite boulders.
Fafe will be another stop, a city blessed by the proximity of the rivers Vizela and Ferro.

An old train line from the late XIX century was transformed into an ecological track, crossing verdant landscapes with stunning views.

Don’t forget to have a good sample of the amazing food and wines of the region!