Porto Simply Unique
07 May, 2015
Porto, Portugal’s second largest and second most important city after Lisbon, grew up on the banks of the Douro river over a period of more than a thousand years. No wonder, then, that its historic inner city is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Indeed, its serene beauty never fails to move any visitor.
What You Should Not Miss – 10 + 1 Proposals
- Wandering through the Old Quarter is one of your first priorities if you want to appreciate the eternal beauty of medieval Porto. In the course of your stroll, you will come across splendid buildings in different architectural styles, notably the La Sé or Cathedral, the Episcopal Palace and the house of the Canon Domingos Barbosa, among others.
- Another stunning tour, which costs only 10 euros, is a ride in one of the rabelos (small boats) along the beautiful river Douro, especially at dusk; a tour which takes you under the city’s six bridges.
- Not to be passed up is a sunset stroll along the Dom Luís I Bridge. Built by one of Gustave Eiffel’s disciples, it links the Porto riverside to the harbour of Vila Nova de Gaia. At 178 metres high, it affords the best panoramas of the city.
- Also highly recommendable is a foray down Gustave Eiffel Street, flanked by multi-coloured buildings on the hillslopes. The street leads to the old Maria Piar ail bridge, built by Eiffel himself. You simply cannot leave Porto without taking a selfie on this spot!
-In the Boavista district stands the Casa da Música, one of the most modern buildings in Porto, designed by the Dutch architect, Rem Koolhaas. Make sure you go out onto the terrace to enjoy a Portuguese-style coffee – a dense espresso which in Lisbon is called a bica, while in Porto it is known as a cimbalino –or treat yourself to a delicious brunch in their restaurant.
- Visit the Serralves Foundation Contemporary Art Museum. It lies within the so-called Serralves Park, Portugal’s largest urban park. Make the most of it by going on a relaxing walk. It is here that the well-known NOS Primavera Sound is held every summer.
- Go into the Lello Bookshop, one of Europe’s oldest and most picturesque book stores. J.K. Rowling, the authoress of “Harry Potter”,was captivated by it and, during her stay in Porto, drew inspiration from it for the backdrops to some of the scenes in her famous book.
- Very near the book store is the city’s most beautiful shop, A Vida Portuguesa. This is the ideal place for purchasing all types of Portuguese products – fashion, design, home furnishings, textiles… It’s a dream of a shop, stocked by its owners, who roam the length of Portugal seeking out the country’s most beautiful products.
- The most romantic and touristic quarter of Porto is Ribeira, located on the riverbank, which forms part of the historic city. The Cais da Ribeira street is lined by all kinds of terrace cafés and here the waterfront is buzzing with life. By night, treat yourself to a drink on one of the terraces while taking in the views of the Douro.
- You cannot leave without tasting the francesinhas, a sandwich of ham, cheese, fresh sausage, steak, egg and other ingredients. You will love it, we guarantee! And, if you have more of a sweet tooth, drop in on any pastry shop and ask for a nata, a traditional pastry which has its counterpart in the Beléms of Lisbon.
- Lastly pay a visit to Vila Nova de Gaia, a must-do outing if you’re visiting Porto. Situated on the banks of the Douro, it is the paradise of the famed Port wine. Over 15 certified Port labels offer guided tours of their wineries, which include tastings, to instruct visitors on the merits of their fine wines.
Are you getting the travel bug? Then, come in here and check out our flights.
Text by Tensi Sánchez of actitudesmgz.com
Photos by Fernando Sanz
07 May, 2015