It's a scenic drive from the port that brings you to Minho, a charming province that remains one of Portugal's most uncharted territories. Your exploration of the region begins in Guimaraes, the first capital of Portugal and the birthplace of the nation's first king. The city has endeavored to preserve as many of its medieval structures as possible and its historical center has earned a place as one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.
After a short panoramic drive through the city, you'll enjoy a visit to the Palace of Dukes of Bragança. Built in the 15th century, one of the palace's notable features is its 39 unusual chimneys. Inside, you'll find an extensive collection of fine furnishings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries and a banquet hall that showcases an amazing wooden ceiling. Today, this National Monument holds a museum on the ground floor while the second floor is designated as the official residence of the head of state in the north of Portugal. Following your time at the palace, your coach will take you back into the heart of the historical center, where you'll be afforded some free time to further explore this charming town on your own or browse the quaint shops.
Re-boarding your coach, you'll proceed on to Braga, considered by many to be one of Portugal's most beautiful cites due in large part to its vast array of stunning Baroque monuments. Your time in Braga includes a stop at one of the country's most well-known sites, the Bom Jesus Sanctuary. Described as a masterpiece of European Baroque, the Sanctuary consists of a twin-towered church that rests atop a spectacular Baroque staircase. The stairway itself is flanked by several smaller chapels that represent the Stations of the Cross. While a funicular provides access to the church, the more adventurous may elect to climb the magnificent stairs, enjoying the splendid architecture up-close.
Following a relaxing lunch in a local restaurant, your tour continues with a visit of the cathedral, also considered one of Braga's most important monuments. The imposing, yet largely unadorned exterior hides a wonderfully decorated interior. Two massive gilded organs dominate the high choir and the main chapel boasts soaring vaulted arches as well as a lovely 16th century statue of the Madonna. From here, your guide takes you on an enjoyable walking tour of the city center where you will be allowed some free time for shopping before it's time to re-board your coach and travel back to Oporto.
Please note: Many of the sights on this tour are not wheelchair accessible and therefore; this tour is not available to wheelchair guests. There is a considerable amount of walking approximately 2 3/4 hours and standing - at times on uneven ground and those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of ability and stamina. Lightweight clothing, caps and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested.