The northern part of Portugal mainly consists of the mountainous regions. The northern area of Portugal is cooler than the southern areas by a few degrees on average and is also slightly wetter. Portugal is split by the river Tagus that separates the north from the south.
The North is known as the Norte region and is a combination of historic and cultural wealth. The first king of Portugal came from this region and is credited with the growth and expansion of the country to the south. The region has plenty of mansions and manor houses if you are a fan of historical buildings. You can spend hours wandering around some of these buildings.
The biggest city of the northern regions is Oporto, which sits on the river Duoro and is the capital of the Norte Region. It is the second largest city in Portugal and is considered the economic and cultural hub of the region. The city is the home to Portugal’s most famous export – Port wine. The wine is named after the city in which it was created and shipped.
The city has been named a UNESCO world heritage site and is filled with fascinating architecture to visit. The city of Porto
has also been the European Capital of Culture in 2001 and has had a major concert hall constructed in honor of this. The city buildings are old and at a high risk of collapse, which has resulted in a large drop in the city's population.
The western areas of northern Portugal are the most densely populated and are separated into several regions. These regions are Alto Tras-os-Montes, Ave, Cavado, Duoro, Entre Douro e Vouga, Grand Porto, Minho-Lima and Tamega.
There are plenty of attractions for the nature enthusiast in the beautiful Norte region with many national parks. The Peneda-Geres National Park was created to protect the soil, water, flora and fauna of the landscape, while preserving its value to human and natural resources. Many of the local species have been eradicated from the area due to human habitation but the park is working hard to protect existing species from the threat of extinction.
Species that are being protected include Wolves and Golden Eagles.
The coastal regions of Northern Portugal are Grande Porto, Cavado and Minho-Lima. Grande Porto is the second most populated sub region of Portugal and is a commercial, educational, political and economical center. Cavado is one of the most densely populated sub region of Portugal and includes the city of Braga.
The city of Braga
has a population of 175,000 and is one of the major cities of the country. It is a city filled with historical sites and some of which are:
The Minho-Lima region is located on the rivers by the same name. The main city is Viana do Castelo
with a population of 41,000. Due to its location, it has a strong affiliation with Spain and many of the local dishes have a distinctly Spanish feel to them.