Portugal’s second largest city, Porto is experiencing a magical renaissance. Decades ago, British merchant ships would gather in Porto’s old harbours, transporting wines all over the region. But today the same places are crowded with trendy sidewalk cafes, cool bars and animated visitors.
A city for everyone with everything from Gothic to Romanesque architecture and an abundance of places to visit. Famous for its intense wine that leaves its riverside vaults to be transported across the world. The mix between tradition and innovation is prevalent in everything from food to architecture, transport and culture, with the revamped downtown area and flourishing art district a recognised Unesco World Heritage Site.
Essential things to do in Porto
Porto has a history that goes back to pre-Roman times with many historic attractions, these among them.
Go beyond Ruby
You should take a tour of the port wine basements in Vila Nova de Gaia. Begin to enjoy the differences between the importance of the ageing process and various Ruby Gates.
Climb the Highest Tower
It’s fair to say that Porto has many excellent views, but the one that tops them all is Clerigos Church Tower. An astonishing view is what you get for climbing more than 200 steps in the city’s tallest building.
Marvel at the decorative train station
No matter if you want to use the subway of Sao Bento to travel anywhere, but make sure to jump inside and the ceramic ornaments, which illustrates the meaningful history moments of Portugal.
Relax by the river
What once was an energetic port area – now Ribeira, is one of Porto’s more colourful districts is overflowing with eateries and cafes. You should walk by the river and appreciate the views of this beautiful city with a drink of port tonic.
Where to stay in Porto
Someplace to wind down: One of Porto’s best hotel in Vila Nova de Gaia, an award-winning very luxurious resort. For historical charm: Pousada Palacio de Freixo, a beautifully restored place overlooking the Duoro River that exudes historical charm and offers a first-class service.
Where to dine in Porto
Go local: If you are new to Portuguese cuisine you will really enjoy the tapas, especially in Tapabento which is a Portuguese food from a family-run business. Charming cafés: Belle Epoque is Porto’s most popular café, you can have cakes and coffee in a storybook environment. A bit less conventional, but just as beautiful, you can visit Art Nouveau, a place with a broader range of pastries and a “menu of the day” lunch option.
What else to do in Porto?
Built by the Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza Viera, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Serralves is the place to satisfy your artistic side. Afterwards, you can walk into the Foundation Serralves fields where you can see a giant blade sculpture that looks that it’s going to drop on you. Porto is even more beautiful by night. The sight from Cais de La Gaia is one of the best in the whole city.
If you’re a fan of nightlife, you can begin with a laid back drink at Candelabro, which is a coffee-bookshop. The Gin House would be appreciated by the gin lovers, which has more than 150 kinds of gin. Lately, many people prefer Porto and Lisbon for their stag do weekends. These two cities are much loved for these kinds of gatherings.
This great city rises from the river banks, so it’s hard to avoid hills altogether. The Funicular dos Guindais positioned behind Dom Luís I bridge is not only an easy way of tackling them, but it also offers wonderful views on the quick journey.
** This is a Guest Post by Juliane Burton, a journalist with tremendous experience in travel who wants to encourage others to be curious about the world and find ways to fit more travel into their lifestyle than they already have. She wants others to look at her and say ‘Because of you I didn’t give up.’