When it comes to exploring Portugal, most travelers head straight to Lisbon or Porto. But if you’re looking for a lesser-known destination that offers a mix of history, culture, and natural beauty, look no further than Maia. Located just a short drive from Porto, Maia is a charming town that is often overlooked by tourists.
Despite its small size, Maia has a lot to offer. From stunning parks and gardens to historical landmarks and delicious local cuisine, there’s something for everyone in this hidden gem of a town. To help you make the most of your visit, we’ve compiled a list of the 30 best things to do in Maia.
- Best Things to Do in Maia (Portugal)
- 1. Explore the Maia Historical Center
- 2. Visit the Church of São Miguel de Avioso
- 3. Take a Walk in Parque Central da Maia
- 4. Sample Local Delicacies at Mercado Municipal da Maia
- 5. Discover the History of the Castro de Monte Mozinho
- 6. Enjoy a Picnic in Parque das Ribeiras
- 7. Visit the Museum of Maia
- 8. Take a Bike Ride along the Ecopista do Rio Leça
- 9. Explore the Caves of Maia
- 10. Relax on the Beaches of Matosinhos
- 11. Attend a Cultural Event at Fórum da Maia
- 12. Go Horseback Riding in the Countryside
- 13. Visit the Maia Zoo
- 14. Play a Round of Golf at Oporto Golf Club
- 15. Explore the Peneda-Gerês National Park
- 16. Visit the Casa da Arquitetura
- 17. Attend a Wine Tasting in the Douro Valley
- 18. Explore the Serralves Foundation
- 19. Discover the Maia Ceramic Route
- 20. Take a Boat Trip along the Douro River
- 21. Visit the Monastery of Leça do Balio
- 22. Explore the Maia Municipal Library
- 23. Go Shopping at MaiaShopping
- 24. Visit the Church of São Pedro de Avioso
- 25. Attend a Concert at the Pavilhão Municipal de Gueifães
- 26. Explore the Maia Municipal Park
- 27. Visit the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Mãe de Água
- 28. Go Karting at Kartódromo Internacional da Maia
- 29. Explore the Maia Municipal Theater
- 30. Relax in the Thermal Baths of Caldas da Saúde
Best Things to Do in Maia (Portugal)
1. Explore the Maia Historical Center
Start your journey in Maia by exploring its historical center. Take a stroll through the narrow streets lined with colorful buildings and soak in the charming atmosphere. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Maia Town Hall, a beautiful architectural gem.
2. Visit the Church of São Miguel de Avioso
This stunning church is a must-visit for history and architecture enthusiasts. Admire the intricate details of the facade and step inside to marvel at the beautiful stained glass windows.
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3. Take a Walk in Parque Central da Maia
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and relax in Parque Central da Maia. This expansive park offers lush greenery, peaceful walking trails, and even a small lake where you can rent a paddleboat.
4. Sample Local Delicacies at Mercado Municipal da Maia
No visit to Maia is complete without trying the local delicacies. Head to Mercado Municipal da Maia, a vibrant market where you can taste fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and traditional pastries.
5. Discover the History of the Castro de Monte Mozinho
History buffs will love exploring the ancient ruins of Castro de Monte Mozinho. Wander through the remains of this Iron Age settlement and imagine what life was like thousands of years ago.
6. Enjoy a Picnic in Parque das Ribeiras
Pack a picnic and spend a relaxing afternoon in Parque das Ribeiras. This park offers beautiful picnic spots, playgrounds for children, and even a small stream where you can dip your feet.
7. Visit the Museum of Maia
Learn more about the history and culture of Maia at the Museum of Maia. Explore the exhibits that showcase the town’s rich heritage and discover fascinating artifacts.
8. Take a Bike Ride along the Ecopista do Rio Leça
If you’re a fan of cycling, don’t miss the opportunity to ride along the Ecopista do Rio Leça. This scenic trail follows the path of the Leça River and offers beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.
9. Explore the Caves of Maia
Discover the hidden underground world of Maia by exploring its caves. Join a guided tour and marvel at the stunning rock formations and underground lakes.
10. Relax on the Beaches of Matosinhos
Maia is located just a short drive from the beautiful beaches of Matosinhos. Spend a day soaking up the sun, swimming in the clear waters, and enjoying delicious seafood at one of the beachside restaurants.
11. Attend a Cultural Event at Fórum da Maia
Fórum da Maia is a cultural center that hosts a variety of events, including concerts, theater performances, and art exhibitions. Check their schedule and see if there’s anything that interests you during your visit.
12. Go Horseback Riding in the Countryside
Experience the beauty of Maia’s countryside on horseback. Join a guided horseback riding tour and explore the scenic trails that wind through the rolling hills and picturesque villages.
13. Visit the Maia Zoo
Animal lovers will enjoy a visit to the Maia Zoo. This small zoo is home to a variety of animals, including lions, tigers, monkeys, and exotic birds.
14. Play a Round of Golf at Oporto Golf Club
If you’re a golf enthusiast, don’t miss the opportunity to play a round at Oporto Golf Club. This prestigious golf course offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside and a challenging game.
15. Explore the Peneda-Gerês National Park
Take a day trip from Maia to the Peneda-Gerês National Park. This stunning nature reserve is home to pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls, and breathtaking hiking trails.
16. Visit the Casa da Arquitetura
Architecture lovers will appreciate a visit to Casa da Arquitetura. This contemporary architecture center showcases the work of renowned Portuguese architects and hosts temporary exhibitions.
17. Attend a Wine Tasting in the Douro Valley
Maia is located just a short drive from the famous Douro Valley, one of the oldest wine regions in the world. Take a day trip and indulge in a wine tasting experience at one of the local vineyards.
18. Explore the Serralves Foundation
Art enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the chance to visit the Serralves Foundation. This contemporary art museum is located in Porto, just a short drive from Maia, and features a diverse collection of modern and contemporary art.
19. Discover the Maia Ceramic Route
Learn about the traditional art of ceramics by exploring the Maia Ceramic Route. Visit local workshops and see the skilled artisans at work, creating beautiful pottery.
20. Take a Boat Trip along the Douro River
Experience the beauty of the Douro River by taking a boat trip. Cruise along the river and admire the vineyards, charming villages, and picturesque landscapes.
21. Visit the Monastery of Leça do Balio
Step back in time with a visit to the Monastery of Leça do Balio. This medieval monastery is a true architectural gem and offers a glimpse into the region’s rich history.
22. Explore the Maia Municipal Library
If you’re a book lover, don’t miss the chance to visit the Maia Municipal Library. Browse through the extensive collection of books and enjoy a quiet afternoon of reading.
23. Go Shopping at MaiaShopping
If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, head to MaiaShopping. This modern shopping center offers a wide range of stores, from high-end fashion brands to local boutiques.
24. Visit the Church of São Pedro de Avioso
Another beautiful church worth visiting in Maia is the Church of São Pedro de Avioso. Admire the stunning architecture and enjoy a moment of tranquility.
25. Attend a Concert at the Pavilhão Municipal de Gueifães
If you’re a music lover, check out the schedule of the Pavilhão Municipal de Gueifães. This multipurpose venue hosts concerts by both local and international artists.
26. Explore the Maia Municipal Park
Spend a sunny afternoon in the Maia Municipal Park. This well-maintained park offers beautiful gardens, playgrounds for children, and even a small outdoor gym.
27. Visit the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Mãe de Água
This charming chapel is located in the heart of Maia and is worth a visit for its beautiful interior and peaceful atmosphere.
28. Go Karting at Kartódromo Internacional da Maia
Get your adrenaline pumping with a thrilling go-karting experience at Kartódromo Internacional da Maia. Race against your friends and enjoy a fun-filled day.
29. Explore the Maia Municipal Theater
If you’re interested in performing arts, don’t miss a show at the Maia Municipal Theater. This modern theater hosts a variety of performances, including plays, dance shows, and concerts.
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30. Relax in the Thermal Baths of Caldas da Saúde
End your visit to Maia with a relaxing soak in the thermal baths of Caldas da Saúde. These natural hot springs are known for their healing properties and offer a rejuvenating experience.
With so many incredible things to see and do, Maia is a destination that should not be missed. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply enjoying the local culture, Maia has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore this hidden gem in Portugal.