Porto Simply Unique
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 Sanzmore info
TREAT YOUR LOVED ONE TO THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SKIES (AND STARS!) THIS VALENTINE'S DAY
You could buy flowers or chocolates, but we've got a better idea: this Valentine's Day give something that won't wilt and that isn't bad for you... a super romantic getaway to gaze at the stars from the most incredible places.more info
Cascais a Game of Kings and Spies
Cascais is a Portuguese municipality some 25 kilometres west of Lisbon. It is now a tourist resort with a host of facilities – extensive beaches and secluded coves, a rugged terrain suited to all kinds of sports, culinary offerings based on quality products and endless leisure options. It also has an exciting history, reminding us that this spot in Portugal was once the refuge of royal families and the nobility and a nest of spies during the Second World War.
Today Cascais is a quiet town dotted with small urban beaches and sheltered from the rough Atlantic by a beautiful bay and a formidable fortress. It is well worth taking a relaxing stroll along the beach known as either La Ribeira or Los Pescadores and discovering its beautiful buildings, notably the Palaces of Condes da Guarda and Seixas.
The ocean is one of Cascais' great assets as it supplies the town with its culinary foundations – fish and seafood, prepared in a special way here. Among the most popular dishes in the region are fresh sea bass and white seabream and the delicious Cascais sole, accompanied by fine garnish. They can be ordered in any of the highly varied array of restaurants in the town, from the simplest, economical eateries to the more refined establishments, where culinary innovation is very much in evidence.
In Cascais harbour you can catch sight of luxury yachts, leisure craft and competition boats, as the town and, by extension, the Coast of Estoril, is a worldwide hub of sailing competitions. Apart from this sport, the waters in this part of the Atlantic attract thousands of surfers (particularly to the beaches of Guincho and Carcavelos), windsurfers, paddle surfers and sports fishing enthusiasts, which is increasingly gaining more devotees. The town harbour is also very lively at nightfall as it is full of restaurants, bars and café terraces, ideal for dining or having a drink.
Home of Kings, Land of Spies
In the late 19th century, this region was a pioneer of tourism in Portugal. Indeed, in 1870, the Portuguese royal family chose the Cascais citadel for their summer residence on account of its excellent location. It was also the destination of the nobility and European families of noble lineage, among them Spain’s monarch in exile, who lived in Villa Giralda for many years.
Apart from being a town that breathes tradition, owing to its geographical situation, during World War II Cascais attracted countless spies, including Ian Fleming (best known for having created the celebrated fiction spy, James Bond) and the Serb Dušan Popov, a hardened womaniser whom Fleming is said to have based his 007 character on. The agents who lived in Cascais followed similar routines. They loved lodging at the elegant Hotel Palácio, having tea and delicious Portuguese pastries at the Pastelaria Garrett and burning the midnight oil in the famous Casino Estoril which witnessed more than one row between the secret agents that gathered there.
On the outskirts of Cascais is the natural vantage point of Boca do Inferno (Hell’s Mouth) and, twenty kilometres further north, Cabo da Roca (Cape Rock), the westernmost tip of continental Europe. This privileged spot, “where the land ends and the sea begins”, as the poet Luís de Camões would have it, affords stunning views of the sunset, reminding onlookers that Cascais is the perfect choice for a relaxing getaway.
Book your Vueling to Lisbon and head for Cascais, where you are sure to succumb to its charm.
Text by Tus Destinos
Lisboa by Panenka
By Panenka www.panenka.org
Panenka, a soccer magazine anyone can read, transports us to other countries through their passion for the sport. This time they take us to the Portuguese capital where they show us their perfect eleven, both for those places related to the football game and for those touristic places.
1 Sintra A young and wealthy José Alvalade met football in the festivities of this city. On his return to Lisbon, he decided to found a football club.
2 Estádio Nacional do Portugal Headquarters of the final of Taça, hosted the first game in the history of the European Cup: Sporting-Partizan.
3 Estádio José Gomes The home of Estrela da Amadora, a football club that was founded looking at the sky is in the district of Reboleira, in Amadora.
4 Estádio Francisco Lazaro The oldest club in the city is Futebol Clube Benfica also known as “Fofó”, nothing to do with SL Benfica.
5 Estádio do Restelo One of the greatest prides of Belém is Os Belenses and its premises, from where you can see the river Tagus.
6 Estádio da Luz Renovated in 2003, the stadium of Benfica will host the Champions League final in 2014. The statue of Eusebio will greet the winner.
7 Franco Farmácia In the back room of this pharmacy in Belém, Benfica was founded and was given the red color and the eagle as a symbol.
8 Império Pavilhão Bonança Benfica basketball and hockey teams have their court here, along with Da Luz,
9 Estádio da Tapadinha In the district of Alcântara stands Atletico Clube de Portugal, former League champion and now in Second Division.
10 Estádio José Alvalade Also remodeled in 2003 for the Euro Cup. In the first match `played here, Sporting da Liboa vs. Manchester United, Ferguson fell in love with Cristiano.
Clube Naval de Lisboa 11 Founded in 1892 on the banks of River Tagus, is the best association to practice water sports in the city.
A Torre de Belém Built in 1515 and World Heritage Site, is the first lighthouse the ships coming from America see.
B Pastéis de Belém In the bakery of the same name they sell these famous sweets of cream with a secret recipe for over 200 years.
C Monumento a los Descubrimientos A 52 meter long monument to commemorate the discoverer of Madeira, Azores and Cabo Verde.
D A Brasileira A meeting point for cultural Libon between Chiado and Bairro Alto. A statue of Fernando Pessoa included.
E Elevador de Santa Justa To link the districts of Baixa and Chiado Pombalina rises this amazing elevator building.
F Praça do Comércio It is the most important square in the city, former home for the Royal Palace, destroyed by an earthquake in 1755.
G Praça Dom Pedro IV – Known as the Rossio Square, this is the lively and noisys place in the city. Perfect for eating or extending the night.
H Catedral de Lisboa Also kown as “Sé”‘, the oldest building in the city. Dates from S. XII and has a strong Romanic style.
I Museo del Fado In the district of Alfama, the Portuguese style reference, Fado, was born. Amalia Rodrigues sang Fado as anyone.
J Oceanário de Lisboa It is the second of these characteristics in Europe, with over 450 different aquatic species.
K Puente Vasco da Gama Above River Tagus, its 17 km. make it the longest in Europe. The best postcard of Lisbon.
BY Panenka www.panenka.org
Illustration by Pep Boatella / @pepboatella
Why not take a trip to Lisboa? Have a look at our flights here!