Getting there

The great God of Porto busses does not like me very much. Today a tour to Guimarães and Braga is on the board. After breakfast I should be able to make the 9:25 train leaving from São Bento station in central Porto. The bus should be just around the corner and drive me at least close to where I have to be. Or so i thought… Again no bus for me. But the train only leaves once every hour so I have to make it.

A quick pace walk to the Casa da Musica metro station and catching the train to Bolhão and then walk the 750 meter (luckily downhill) to the station. I don’t know what pace Google calculates you should have, but it is fast. In retrospect I could have taken the metro to Campanhã – which is the central station and stop no. 1 on the train line. Next time I know.

Entering the station from the 1800s with the beautiful tiles I already looked at when I did the city walk on my first day. The ticket machines are for Andante (the local bus/metro) so I hope there is no long line at the ticket office. I am lucky and after telling my travel plans for the day I end up with a 24 hour ticket for the whole network of local trains for the amazing cheap price of 7 Euros. That is an amazing price for that.

The train leaves from platform 5 and is quite empty. I take a window seat and the train leaves on time into a tunnel. Following a part of the Douro river to the central station, where the train is filled up with people. Driving through suburbs and industrial areas that are not so nice to look at. The whole ride will take about 70 minutes. Not the fastest train ride. One rail for most of the time and stations where trains can meet.

After about half of the way the landscape gets greener. Smaller towns and villages and then again more urban areas as we approach Guimarães. A terminus station. Time to explore.


Leaving the station I stand in a normal city with a lot of concrete houses, as you find them all around. Nothing special. To get to the old town and the part that is recommended to visit I have to walk a little bit.

Before I got here I had tried to inform me over what to do in the area. I found this amazing blog for north Portugal with tips for Porto, day trips and much more. The blog is called “Porto North Portugal“. I got a lot of info about the places and even recommendations on where to go with pictures and maps.

This is a small city, so not too much happening here. One thing is clear – there are tourists, but not as many as other places. You have space to walk and breathe. I will not bore you with information about the birthplace of Portugal. Check out the link above for the blog. The interesting part is definitely the medieval area.

I follow the route from the blog because it hits all the important stops. Including all the geocaches I want to find. Important buildings/places like the Castelo de Guimarães, Praca de São Tiago and Largo Oliveira.

I love the narrow streets (most are free of cars) and open squares where you could sit and take a coffee. And the old and very well maintained houses. On top of the hill the Paco dos Duques de Braganca (a former dukes palace) and the ruins of the old castle.

One thing is obvious – today it is much warmer than the last days. Walking all the time and uphill lets the sweat flow. I don’t like that very much. The heat is getting too much today.

Keeping in the shadows I walk back down to the old town and find a bakery to get a roll and water. Sitting under a Lime tree and getting attacked by flies – I must smell like already dead. 😀

There is a cable car in the city that goes up to Penha Hill with a convent/church and a great viewpoint. But looking at the temperature and the time I have to make a decision what to do. Go up there and use my time for the return trip plus or go directly to Braga, the second city on my list today. Braga it is.

On tour to Braga

That means I have to find a way to get to Braga. It is only 28 km from Guimarães. There are bus connections, but they don’t leave for more than an hour and it will take about 2 hours to get there all in all. The other possibility is the train back to Lousado and then up to Braga. Unfortunately, there is no train for an hour and then it is an hours wait at the other station so the trip will get me there in three hours.

The only chance to get there is Bolt again. 19 Euro for a trip of 20 minutes. That is less than I pay for the taxi to the airport in Molde (5 km). Great for me. But there is no Bolt available. I have to refresh the app for 5 minutes until the car is available. 5 minutes later Sandro pulls up and gets me on the way to Braga. I get some tips where to go, he talks about differences between the cities and that he is from Porto. In Braga he lets me out at another place than I have ordered, because he wanted to save me from a long walk from the station to the city. That was good service.


Braga is more of a big city. A mixture of a modern city and old houses, monuments and squares. I start at the cathedral. Entrance fee is 2 Euro. Not too bad. Again small compared to cathedrals in other countries, but one benefit of those old buildings – they are cooler than the outside.

The temperature has reached 34 C. I feel it and I need something to drink, since I left home without the backpack. So I try to find something on the way, exploring the city. I do not follow the route from the blog this time. I try to look at some of the old buildings. There are some amazing parks here. The city has done an amazing job with flowers. There is more to see, but I feel that I have to cut the trip short with the heat.

The Tourist information offers a short release from the heat. Getting am map and after telling that I live in Norway they say “We get all the cod from you!” – Yes, you can have it all, I hate it. They like that and think that is a good deal.

One thing I want to see is Bom Jesus do Monte. A pilgrims church on the hills with an amazing staircase and the world oldest, water driven funicular. I have to take bus no. 2 from close to the tourist information. The bus leaves twice every hour – and of course just left. But directly at the stop is a supermarket – WATER!!!! The bottle is emptied fast. Good thing that the bus stop is under trees in the shadows.

A single ticket is 1,55 Euro. Not too bad. 15 minutes uphill. And at the stop is the funicular. No way I walk up the mountain in this weather. The single ride is 2 Euro, and the return ticket is 3 Euro. The heat seems to be worse up on top of the hill. The church is great and the area around is beautifully built. And it is free to enter. Looks like someone is getting married – there are flowers brought in while I am there. Again the cool climate of church buildings is great, but I feel that I would not like to do much more. I am wet from sweat and already walked a lot today. Normally I would have gone down the stairs to get the geocache and take the iconic picture up to the church. I just do the looking down thing. Great view over Braga.

If I would have to do this again I would spend more time in Braga and maybe do a day trip to Braga and a day trip to Guimarães. There are organised tours from Porto that do both cities in one day. I would not do that. 7 Euro for the train and 20 Euro for the taxi (or 2 times 7 Euros for 2 day trips by train) and doing everything at your own pace. Not running after an umbrella. 🙂

The funicular down the hill again (backwards, since the benches are facing uphill). This time I am lucky to get the no. 2 bus immediately. 1,55 Euro to the station.

Back to Porto

Luck at the station. The train is leaving in 20 minutes and this is also a train that only leaves every two hours. So the God of trains likes me more than the God of Porto busses.

Not much to do on the way back to São Bento but looking out of the window, shoes off and relaxing in the cool train.

Again through the station hall with the tiles and out to the Metro. Line D is on time and after a few stops I am at Marqués. But again no bus that can take me home and for the next e-scooter I have to walk. But I get there in the end. I hate people parking on the bicycle lane. Because you have to go out in the car traffic with no rules. I parked the scooter and got some bread and water for tomorrow.

Pizza on the menu today, delivered by Uber eats. I hope the weather is more kind tomorrow. An interesting and great day, cut short by the heat. But both cities are worth a visit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.