The city of Porto has been highlighted in the most famous tourist books in the world. Today, everyone recognizes Porto as one of the most attractive cities worldwide. Remaining with its own and genuine identity, it can seduce even the most demanding traveller.
Porto is a mandatory destination: it was considered the Best European Destination for several years by the European Consumers Choice, an independent and non-profit organization.
What are you waiting for? Do not waste your time dreaming. We show you 10 reasons why you should pack your stuffs now and travel to Porto this winter!
1 - For its Port and Port Wine Cellars
Port Wine is known worldwide. Last month, the Dow’s Vintage Port 2011 was elected the best wine in the world, by the Wine Spectator magazine. On this Top 10 are another two Wines from Douro: 2011 Prats & Symington Douro Chryseia and 2011 Quinta do Vale Meão Douro. Cross the Don Luis I Bridge to Vila Nova de Gaia and discover the Port Wine Cellars. Here, you can learn how they produce the fantastic and velvety Port Wine, and taste this delicious nectar.
2 - For its precious Douro River
The history of Port Wine is closely linked to Douro River. For decades, the traditional Rabelos Boats crossed its waters to transport the Port Wine from the Wineries to the Port Wine Cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia. And then, it was sent to the world. Enjoy a remarkable and wonderful Douro Cruise, through the six bridges of Porto and Gaia.
3 - For its Historic Monuments
Porto has the particularity of providing a connexion among Past, Present and Future. Walk through the beautiful streets of its historic centre, considered a UNESCO World Heritage, and fall in love with the beauty of epic monuments, like São bento Station, the Clerics Tower, the Cathedral, the Church of S. Francisco, and much more.
4 - For its Contemporary Art
In addition to its historic monuments, the city of Porto is currently known for the quality of its architecture. The University of Porto graduated two world-renowned architects who won the Pritzker Prize (Siza Vieira and Souto Moura).
Among the emblematic buildings that can be seen here, we highlight the Museum of Contemporary Art of Serralves, by Siza Vieira, and more recently, the building of Casa da Música (House of Music), of Rem Koolhaas.
5 - For its “World-Beauties”
When we are talking about Porto, we must talk about Lello Bookshop. It is considered one of the most beautiful Bookshops of the world, with its red spiral staircase as the main piece of a majestic scenery. With an Art Nouveau façade and a neo-Gothic interior, it inspired JK Rowling, the author of Harry Potter. Just like the Café Majestic. With Art Nouveau architecture, the beautiful marble façade and the elegant mirrored interior are splendid.
In addition to these pearls, we should also highlight the famous São Bento Railway Station, with about 20,000 traditional Portuguese tiles which illustrate the History of Portugal.
6 - For its narrow alleys
Walk through the narrow alleys of this city and feel the traditional atmosphere of Porto. The small streets of Porto remain faithful to its origins. They have very typical houses: small, colourful and with hanging clothes on the balconies. Stroll through these narrow streets and go to Ribeira.
7 - For its lovely Ribeira
Ribeira is one of the most important sites of Porto. It was declared as World Heritage by UNESCO for its "extraordinary urban landscape with a History of 2000 years" and for its "rich and varied architecture”. Its colourful and little houses emerge across the river, right next to the traditional Rabelo Boats, small cafes, restaurants and local shops.
And if you like walking, you can continue this journey through Ribeira and enjoy the Best Congress Centre of Europe: the Alfândega Congress Centre.
8 - For its Culture
Porto breathes Culture. Walking through this city you will find lots of places where you can watch a magnificent concert or a theatre. In addition, there are a lot of galleries and museums which you cannot miss. From the Museum of Port Wine, the Tram Museum, or Contemporary Art Museums, Porto has so many interesting places that it would be hard to choose.
9 - For its Gastronomy
Portugal is a country with a rich and enviable Cuisine and Porto is not an exception. Here, you can try the fantastic and traditional Francesinha Sandwich, with a special and super elaborated sauce. Or, if you prefer, ask for something new but typically Portuguese. The Portuguese Gastronomy goes from the typical "Portuguese stew" with pork to the pleasant "Mediterranean diet". It will be delicious and, certainly, great for your budget.
10 - For its local Shopping and its Nightlife
In the historic Porto will find many local shops where you can buy beautiful souvenirs. On weekends, the old area of this city is full of traditional markets where you can appreciate the beautiful Portuguese handcrafts. A good idea is also walk though Santa Catarina Street, a huge street with local shops.
And at night, the countless bars are waiting for you. With all kinds of music and even with concerts, the night of Porto is always vibrating. Will be worth it!