“Welcome to Porto. Located on the northern bank of Douro River, this is the second-largest city in Portugal. Its motto “Old, Most Noble, Always Loyal and Unvanquished”, says much of the city and its inhabitants. In fact, Porto’s settlement dates back many centuries, and walking its streets one can appreciate the imprint different ages have left on its face. Its core was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996, and there really is a lot to see and do. Right next to the Alfândega Congress Center (the old customs house) you will find the historic center, with Ribeira, Porto’s riverside area, its maze like streets and stairways, and medieval feeling.
Don’t miss the multitude of churches, like São Francisco, and its gold-leaf covered walls, or the Romanesque Cathedral. Palácio da Bolsa (the old stocks market) and its monumental Pátio das Nações courtyard and Morrish revival Salão Árabe, is also worth visiting. Stroll the picturesque Rua das Flores all the way to São Bento railway station and its tiled walls, and Praça da Liberdade, the city´s central square. Going uphill you will find the iconic Barroque Clérigos Church and Tower where you can climb its 240 steps for an amazing birds’ eye view over the city. Right next to it there is always a queue to enter the beautiful Lello Bookshop. Santa Catarina Street is a major shopping area with both local and international shops.
Midway, the Majestic Café is a perfect place for a coffee. Sports fans can enjoy a visit to FC Porto’s Stadium and Museum, home to 2 Champions League and 2 UEFA/Europa League Cups. Art lovers will head to Bombarda Art District with its small galleries, or admire the paintings and sculptures at Soares dos Reis National Museum. Unmissable is Serralves, where you’ll find an Art Deco Villa, lush gardens and the Contemporary Art Museum by Portuguese star architect Álvaro Siza. The concert hall, Casa da Música, by Pritzker Prize Rem Koolhaas, features cutting-edge design and acoustics.
For a calm and relaxing walk head to the Palácio de Cristal gardens orthe City Park, which stretches allthe way to the sea. Enjoy the sunset at Foz beaches,the trendy district by the Atlantic coast. Across the river, in Gaia, dozens of cellars store and age Porto’s most famous product, Port wine.
By the way, there are 6 bridges crossing the Douro, each with its special feature (one was even designed by Gustave Eiffel’s office). You can visit the cellars and take a wine flight through the different Port styles. But make sure you don’t miss other Portuguese wines. We have one of the worlds most diverse wine cultures, from crisp, light Vinho Verde,to fruity Alentejo whites, and robust Douro reds.