A beautiful city no matter what time of day, a romantic destination, full of both history and poetry, Porto is all of this and much more. This northern port of Portugal captivates every visitor with its wonderful architecture, its relaxed atmosphere and its delicious gastronomy.
A World Heritage Site
Porto immediately gives one the impression that the city is being modernized. Its airport, one of the best in Europe, and its comfortable and clean Metro hint at these changes. But this is not why people love Porto, and it is not what the traveler in search of the true identity and culture of the city is going to seek out. The other Porto, the old port, which has long since been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site is where you want to go. There are countless streets that seem to start from the northernmost parts of the city before emptying into the Douro, with multicolored houses, ancient buildings, and libraries that inspire one with their rich history. You will likely see women preparing food through open windows, a cat on the threshold of a door or a window sill, and laundry hung out to dry on the balconies. This is Porto, with the smell of the sea, of rivers, of wine, and of history itself.
A tour of the historic
The historic old town is so full of places that one must visit. It really is ideal to spend at least five days. To start out, I would recommend visiting the Santa Catarina street before going down to the Ribeira. This vital artery of Porto has several buildings that are worth seeing, starting with its two churches. The Soul Chapel is an exquisite example of a tiled temple. After walking down this street, one can choose any of the roads leading to the center of the city, all on the left, where you will find the Municipal House. The Avenida Dos Aliados is a beautiful wide avenue surrounded by historical buildings and sculptures. From it, you can can easily arrive at the Clerics Tower, another must-see building due to its historical importance and beauty.
Once you´ve been to the Clerics Tower, it will be easy to visit the bookstore Lello & Irma, which people say is the most beautiful bookstore in the world. I would agree that this should be in the top three of things to see. Located in a very decorative building, you will be even more astonished by the luxurious carved-wood interior.
Afterwards, there are so many places to visit: the Stock Exchange Palace, the Cathedral, the Palacio Episcopal, El Mercado, the building of the Stock Exchange, La Casa del Infante, all the places that I mentioned above and, of course, the Ribeira along the River Duero, where you can also try some regional dishes. Other things to include on your must-see list are the bridges of the city, which are all from different eras and boast a variety of styles and are true marvels of architecture. From the Luís I bridge you will find the best views of the city, which are really very stunning, and cross over to Vila Nova de Gaia for a nice glass of port wine.
To finish, I recommend eating a Francesinha in a small cafe somewhere downtown, drinking coffee at the Majestic and simply surrendering oneself to the magic of this beautiful city in Portugal.
We have apartments in Porto that you can rent for days, although I can assure you that you will want to stay in this fascinating city much longer. For your next holidays find accommodation in Porto and enjoy this beautiful city!