The North region is a place of tradition and costumes, considered to be the “Cradle of Portugal”, where are located the districts of Viana do Castelo, Porto, Braga, Vila Real, Bragança and part of the Viseu, Aveiro and Guarda districts. The region is bordered on the northern and eastern sides with Spain, on the western part with the Atlantic ocean, and on the southern side with the Central Region.
The Northern region has an extensive area, with quite different realities in its territory, with developed modern towns and small rural villages lost somewhere among the mountains.
Vestiges of ancient human occupation are present throughout the region, like the Rupestrian Paintings in Vila Nova de Foz Côa, or inheritances of ancient hill forts, previous to the formation of the Portuguese Nationality, on the 12th century. Occupation vestiges and testimonies of other People and cultures, like the Romans, Celts, Visigoths among many other that wisely run across these paths of luxuriant vegetation and natural shelters. In the northern region was born the 1st king of Portugal that also started here the new kingdom, founding more and more territories down to the South.
The Oporto and North region embraces territories as dissimilar as the Oporto town, the second more important of the country, considered to be the North capital, developed, wealthy and also historic; and territories like the small communitarian villages in Trás-os-Montes or Alto Minho, situated in arch mountain ranges, with difficult accesses, where tradition is still what it used to be; or even territories like the cosmopolitan localities in the coastal line, where tourism has developed in the past years.
Replete with Natural Parks (in fact, in the north region is situated the only National Park in the country: the Peneda-Gerês National Park), Protected Landscapes, many special species and others in danger of extintion, the Northern Region is a territory with a luxuriant vegetation, where the soil was throughout the century wisely adapted to the most diversified type of agriculture.
With a great variety of agricultural products, fertile pasture fields, modern technologies, and ancient knowledge’s, the North Region has been able to lay on the richness of its Gastronomy, that changes according to the landscape, yet maintaining intact one attribute: its refined Savour. Fresh seafood and shellfish, quality meat, famous sausages and smoked ham, goat and sheep cheese and the internationally famous wines. The strong religious faith characteristically from this region is visible in the architecture and culture but also in the Pastry, often based in Conventual sweets, with sugar, eggs and dried fruits.