“Porto the hard-working,” as the saying goes, truly has the power to seduce its visitors. Unconvinced? Then don’t miss the Cais da Ribeira, where you can admire part of a medieval wall with several vaulted restaurants located under its many arches.
To enjoy a lovely panorama of the city, take the famous Ponte Dom Luís I bridge, overlooking the Rio Douro. On the other side, in Vila Nova de Gaia, multitudes of chais (wine storehouses) await where you can sample Porto wine. Here, you will find such renowned names as Sandeman, Borges, Taylor’s, Ferreira and Cálem.
By crossing the bridge again to Praça do Infante Dom Henrique, you can admire the Palácio da Bolsa, Porto’s former board of trade, and visit its Arab Salon, rich in Moorish-style ornamentation. Right next to the Palácio da Bolsa, the Igreja de São Francisco reveals one of the most elaborately decorated church interiors in all of Portugal.
A few streets away, in the heart of Praça de Lisboa, the Igreja dos Clérigos, with its tower, is one of the loveliest examples of rococo-style baroque architecture in the city.
Finally, visitors won’t want to miss taking the small roads that lead up Pena Ventosa hill to the Sé, a granite-fortified cathedral that was one of the first Roman monuments to be built in Portugal.
The Douro Valley
While exploring this region, you will discover charming, deep valleys where vines are cultivated on terraces. These vines shape the landscape into stunning undulations that are accentuated by the sinewy flow of the Douro.
In this illustrious town, the birthplace of Portugal’s first king, the Castelo de Guimarães is one of the most outstanding monuments. Below the castle, you can visit the former palace of the dukes of Bragance, which displays period furnishings and beautiful tapestries.
Another must-see attraction is Rua de Santa Maria, one of the city’s oldest streets, which features many historic houses. Walking along this avenue, you will end up at the Largo da Oliveira, a small, magnificent square with a medieval canopy. Facing the square stands the Igreja y Convento de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira. Farther on, Praça de Santiago reveals lovely homes dating back to the Middle Ages.
Although its nightlife cannot
compare to Lisbon's, Porto does have a wide array of establishments where you can spend
an entertaining or relaxing evening. Most are located in the Cais da Ribeira district,
but there are also some along Avenida Boavista and in Foz do Douro.
Where on earth
The city of Porto is located in northern Portugal, a
few miles from the sea, in the Douro region. This urban conglomeration stretches all the
way to the mouth of its powerful river, the Rio Douro. Nearby, the Douro Valley is a
world-renowned winemaking region.