Several attractions of note are to be found beyond the boundaries of Oporto.
Foz do Douro, Portugal
About 5km/3mi downstream from Oporto, on a road which runs immediately above the steep bank of the Douro, with fine views back over the city, lies Sao Joao da Foz (or Foz do Douro), a suburb of Oporto, and a very popular bathing resort, beautifully situated at the mouth (foz, from Latin fauces) of the Douro. The Douro Litoral beach is fringed by palms, and from the breakwater with the harbor light there is an impressive view of the coast and the mouth of the river, commanded by the Castelo da Foz (1570). Further northwest, on the road to Matosinhos, is the 17th C. Castelo do Queijo, built to protect the coast against pirates from North Africa.
Leca do Bailio, Portugal
Leça do Bailio, a few miles north of Oporto, has a fortified Romanesque/Gothic church (1336) from what was a monastery of the Hospitallers of John of Jerusalem. It contains richly sculpted capitals, 16th C. tombs and a fine 16th C. Manueline font. The Manueline calvary next to the church dates from 1514.
Porto de Leixoes, Portugal
At the mouth of the Leça river lies the modern port of Porto de Leixoes. It has a harbor basin, protected by two pincer like breakwaters (1,597m/1,750yd and 1,145m/1,256yd long respectively), which serves the city of Oporto as an outer harbor. It was built in 1884, constantly extended during the 20th C., and is today one of the largest harbors on the Iberian Peninsula.
Matosinhos, 10km/6.5mi north of Oporto, at the mouth of the Leça river, is an industrial town and port. Fish canning factories make an important contribution to its economy. Ignoring the "industrial background", many Portuguese visit the town to enjoy the good bathing beaches.
Bom Jesus de Bouças
The church of Bom Jesus de Bouças (originally 16th C., extended in the 18th C.), is of historical interest. The choir has ormolu carvings and there is a beautiful coffered ceiling and a very old crucifix much revered by the many pilgrims who come here.
Quinta da Conceiçao
The Quinta da Conceiçao municipal park is very attractive. It was laid out on the site of a former convent, of which the 18th C. Capela de Sao Francisco and the 15th C. cloister are preserved.
Festas do Senhor de Matosinhos
Folk dancing, bull running, fireworks, fair.
About 14km/9mi south of Oporto is the village of Grijó, with a monastery founded in the 12th C. and comprehensively remodeled in the 16th C. The cloister has beautiful azulejo decoration and contains the tomb of Rodrigo Sancho (d. 1245), son of Sancho I. The church has a fine altar with talha dourada decoration.
35km/22mi east of Oporto on the hill between the valleys of Rio Sousa and Rio Tâmega is the long straggling little town of Penafiel (alt. 500m/1,640ft; pop. 8,000) which was known until the late 18th C. as Arrifana de Sousa. It has a 14th C. castle and the Renaissance style church of the Misericórdia (16th C.), originally the church of a Franciscan convent.
Paço de Sousa
Some 10km/6mi southwest of Penafiel is the important Romanesque monastic church of Paço de Sousa (12th C.). Comprehensively restored after a fire in 1927, the church belonged at one time to a Benedictine monastery, and a part of its cloister has been retained.The church has also maintained its Romanesque strength in the interior; the column bases are hewn from millstones. At the far end of the church is the sarcophagus (12th C.) of Egaz Moniz (1050-1140), tutor and confidant of Afonso Henriques, who played a major part in the history of his time. He is particularly remembered for an occasion in 1130 when, after Afonso Henriques I had broken his word to Afonso VII of León, he made his way to the Spanish king's court with a rope around his neck, accompanied by his wife and children, in order to do penance on behalf of his master. Impressed by his honesty and nobility, the Spaniard forgave the offence and allowed Moniz to return to Portugal. The very affecting reliefs on the sarcophagus, supported by lions, show scenes from the life of the dead man.
Povoa de Varzim, Portugal
The little fishing town of Póvoa de Varzim (altitude: sea level) straggles along the Atlantic coast 20km/12mi north of Oporto, almost merging with neighboring Vila do Conde. Because of its 2km/1.25mi long, broad beach it is a popular seaside resort, particularly with the Portuguese themselves. Póvoa de Varzim is the birthplace of the great Portuguese novelist Eça de Queirós (1845-1900), who is commemorated by a monument outside the Town Hall. The local specialty is a fish stew caldeirada à Póvoa.TownscapePóvoa de Varzim's skyline is dominated by innumerable imposing apartment buildings, and the businesses that have sprung up around the center have also made Póvoa de Varzim look less like a seaside resort. The Municipal Museum, the Museu Municipal de Etnografia e História, contains interesting material on local history and folk traditions.
Quinta da Aveleda
This informal woodland garden is reached by an avenue of majestic trees underplanted with camellia hedges with bright rosettes of white, scarlet and pink. The oak woods thinned to let light in on rhododendrons, Japanese maples and massed azaleas. Large areas of traditional bedding of pelargoniums, calceolarias and begonias.
Address: Signposted from N115, Portugal
Opening hours: 10am-5pm; Closed: Sun, Sat
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Anniversity of the Revolution - Portugal (Apr 25), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), National Day - Portugal (Jun 10), Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), Republic Day - Portugal (Oct 5), All Saints' Day - Christian (Nov 1), Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec 8), Independence Day - Portugal (Dec 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Good Friday - Christian, Corpus Christi - Christian
Entrance fee: FREE
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.