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Travel Guide: A whirlwind tour of Porto, Portugal



Travel Guide: A whirlwind tour of Porto, Portugal

Travel Guide: A whirlwind tour of Porto, Portugal

Although the coastal city of Porto often lurks in the more famous shadow of Lisbon, it is anything but a poor household. It combines culture, history and a vibrant food and wine world with lots of charm. And given its name after its country and famous alcohol exports, it deserves attention.

Portugal’s second city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located in the northwest corner of the country, at the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean. A comfortable two and a half hour flight from the UK makes it an attractive sightseeing option.

Here are some of the best sights, tastes and experiences to add to your schedule.

Check out the views

Climbing to the top is one of the best ways to get your bearings, and the options are endless in Porto. The majestic Ponte Dom Luiz steel arch bridge offers a two-story crossing over the Douro River. Designed by a student of none other than Gustave Eiffel, it is one of six bridges that cross the Porto waterway. Choose the upper level of the bridge and pass the noisy yellow trams as you soak up your first impressions of the lovely Douro River and its banks.

Jardim do Morro, a beautiful public park lined with palm trees, welcomes you on the other side, offering another excellent vantage point with stunning views of Ribeiro on the opposite bank. The wonderfully slanted merchant houses, colorful terraces and historic skyline of this old quarter look beautiful from every angle, and the peaceful green area of ​​Jardim do Morro is particularly fascinating. See sights such as the Clerigos Tower, a needle-thin baroque bell tower that pierces the view at the top of the hill.

Glide back down to earth on irregular terracotta tile roofs and descend into the Vila Nova de Gaia neighborhood on a five-minute cable car that picks you up at the entrance to Jardim do Morro.


Enjoy Porto

It is impossible to take a few more steps on the Vila Nova De Gaia side of the Douro without encountering the city’s fortified wine and its namesake. The entire riverside and the surrounding area are dominated by the well-known names of Porto’s countless port wine cellars, each of which offers tours and tastings. Sampling and learning at least one or two is essential.

If the multiple options seem overwhelming, Sandeman is a good place to start. Here, a tour of the airy cobbled cellars and museum, led by the mysterious hooded hero synonymous with the Sandeman logo, is accompanied by a lesson in the history of alcohol advertising. As your sporting sombrero guide explains, Sandeman was one of the first wine brands to label and advertise their products.

Although port is a traditional drink, don’t miss the stylish, restored container bar on your doorstep, where mixologists bring the age-old drink to a modern twist with an intriguing selection of cocktails. Delight your taste buds with Sandeman Sangria or Sandeman Fizz port and ice combination.

The nearby port house of Porto Cruz is an eye-catcher. A striking blue patterned brick facade rises above the outdoor rooftop bar. On a warm day, you can enjoy the 360-degree view of the Douro and its towering bridges and sip more than the famous drink with the relaxed beats of a domestic DJ.

Where to eat

When hunger strikes, discover a microcosm of Porto’s thriving food culture at the historic Mercado Beira-Rio. The narrow dining room dates back to the 19th century and from plump shrimp to pastries, cod cakes or vinho verde, cheese plates and ice cream, the vendors have something for everyone. Jump on the table inside or outside and follow your senses to find out what you like.


Go to Miss’Opo for dinner. This casual eatery is a minimalist guest house and clothing store, but its creative Portuguese dishes are its main draw. With a unique handwritten scrapbook style menu that changes regularly, your experience here is sure to be one of a kind. Enjoy the freshest flavors, from peppery risottos to hearty Portuguese sausages, surrounded by industrial concrete walls and quirky mismatched furniture.

It’s easy to laze away the hours at Porot and Praia Da Luz’s bar and restaurant, with multi-level terraces and a private beach designed for relaxation. Order fresh local specialty sardines in a spicy tomato sauce, wash it down with a cold green wine and sit back to admire the waves of the Atlantic.

Enjoy the Douro River

In Porto, a daily dose of Douro is essential, so set your alarm to catch the sunrise over the river. Welcome the day by running or walking along Avenue Gustave Eiffel toward Mr. Eiffel’s masterpiece, the Maria Pia Bridge.

Here you’d rather meet fishermen than tourists as you watch the waterway come to life. Stretch your neck to admire the whitewashed walls of the former monastery of Serra Do Pilar, with its round church and cloister bathed in beautiful morning light.

Cross the Douro over the water. Douro river taxis, modeled after the wooden cargo of Rabelos that carried the port of the Douro Valley to the city’s cellars, provide a fast route to Ribeira.


Bank of the Ribeira River

Although busy with tourists and souvenir stalls, the bank of the Ribeira River has a magnetic charm. Stroll around Praça da Ribeira. Mukulakiviaukio is full of bars and restaurants. Stop for a coffee and watch the boats sail to the Atlantic Ocean or the Douro Valley.

It is recommended to get out of the water at a leisurely pace with regular breaks as the steep, cobbled and maze-like streets and steps are designed to burn your thighs.

Sao Bento train station

Porto is not a place to go quickly, but the train station, often cited as one of the most beautiful in Europe, is certainly worth a visit. Ignore the departure signs and lose yourself in Sao Bento’s charming tiled entrance walls. Thousands of expertly hand-painted ceramics document Portugal’s history and life stories with their blue and white glazes, transporting you to any destination you desire.

Take the tram

For a change of pace, hop aboard the only broken-down tram from Ribeira to Foz. The rattling journey takes about half an hour and follows the riverbank to the coastal town. With its peaceful tropical gardens and long promenade, Foz exudes a tranquil atmosphere.

Where to stay

Contemporary and stylish, One Shot in the União de Freguesias do Centro neighborhood in Porto’s old town goes with almost anything. It is just 600 meters from Bolhao Town Square and 900 meters from Ferreira Borges Market. Double rooms £118 per night.

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