Maia: A Portuguese city that combines history and modernity.
Are you planning to visit Porto in just 3 days? These suggestions will make you want to stay longer!
Stay a little longer and enjoy discovering a city belonging to a region already inhabited by Hominids from the Bronze Age and several other civilizations from the Romans, the Suevi, the Moors to the medieval period, where D. Gonçalo Mendes Maia, the legitimate owner of these lands and also one of the most revered warrior-heroes of the foundation of Portugal as a country (1143), fought alongside our 1st King D. Afonso Henriques, until the beautiful age of 91!
Set off in the direction of Maia and get to know the “Ecocaminho”
Gather your family or group of friends, put on your sneakers (sneakers), take your bike (rented or own) and go to any Metro do Porto station, bound for Line C – Forum Maia / ISMAI and get off at the “Parque Maia” station. On this outing, you’ll be in the Ecopark “Ecotrail” with routes for cycling and walking.
Mosteiro de Leça do Balio
In the opposite direction of Maia city center, you will find the amazing Romanesque-Gothic Monastery of Leça do Balio, built on the same site where there were the ruins of an ancient Roman temple of devotion to Jupiter (I AC). The Monastery of Leça do Balio is a monastery of the century. XII, where King D. Fernando married Queen D. Leonor Teles (XIV century).
Maia Train Station
After this trip back in time, return to the “Ecocaminho” towards the old railway station of Maia, from the 1930s. XX. On your way to the station, you will be rewarded by an incredible 17th century palace, one of the many existing in these lands, many of them built between the 16th and 19th centuries. It is the Solar da Quinta dos Cónegos, with its magnificent gardens and beautiful rooms. Once there, you can relax, sit on the balcony and act like a Portuguese – order a coffee!
Enjoy a nice meal
Are you hungry yet? Don’t worry, because I’ll give you an amazing tip for a relaxed (late) lunch, just a few meters away! Just walk up the road and you will arrive at the Maia Zoo, where you will find the fabulous restaurant of regional and traditional cuisine, whose name could not be more appropriate: “A Cozinha d’Avó Rosa“. After feasting, order the homemade desserts and digestif and enjoy them al fresco on the restaurant’s relaxing terrace, under the comforting shade of centuries-old trees.
Digestion completed? Then it’s time to take advantage and visit the Jardim Zoológico da Maia, where the space of this restaurant is located and its incredible exhibition hall of insects, reptiles and invertebrates, as well as many other animal species and various amusements.
After the visit to the Zoo, walk leisurely towards the squares of the city center, next to the Forum and the imposing building of the City Hall, for a moment of “instagrámicas” photo session and, when you feel it’s time to return, go to the Metro station “Fórum da Maia” (next to the Forum), and in just 20 minutes you will arrive in the city center of Porto (direction “Campanhã”).