The highlights of the many tourist attractions are those classified by UNESCO as World Heritage sites. In 1996, the historical old section of the city of Porto, delineated by the medieval market town, was the first to receive this award due to the well-preserved one thousand year-old cultural and commercial buildings.
In 1998, the rock paintings at Foz Côa were also declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO due to the fact that the site houses the world’s largest collection of open air prehistoric paintings.
In 2001, UNESCO classified the historical section of Guimarães city as a World Heritage site and it classified the wine-making Alto Douro area, where one of the most significant wines in human history – Port Wine - was born, as a “living and evolving cultural landscape”.
In the North Region, tourism also encompasses the opportunity to discover the growing number of certified products with designation of origin. In addition to wine, olive oil, smoked meats, honey and other agro-food products, as well as bobbin lace and filigree work, and many other handicraft goods of extensive quality and authenticity that have also achieved such recognition of origin.
The great heritage and cultural value associated to these products has additionally led to the creation of specific promotional instruments, such as the Olive Oil Route in Trás-os-Montes, the Vinho Verde Route and the Port Wine Route.