Considered the best European destination in 2012 by the European Consumers Choice, among 20 candidate cities, Porto has streets and houses filled with history, magnificent monuments and interesting museums, but also a thriving and cosmopolitan downtown area with a very intense nightlife, charming parks and gardens, fashion stores of national and international designers and traditional and gourmet restaurants.
- Gastronomy and wines
- A few meters from Praça da Batalha, you can take the Funicular of Guindais until Ribeira do Porto or, if you are fit enough, take the steps of Guindais;
- In Praça da Batalha, take cable car 22 that takes you to Torre dos Clérigos;
- Near Passeio Alegre, cross by boat to Afurada, an emblematic fishing community on the south bank of the Douro River;
- You can also take a cruise to see the bridges or venture into jet boating.
- How Porto welcomes its visitors;
- Discovering your favourite Port wine in Porto Cruz, where visitors can learn more about Port wine and its consumption in interactive tables.
- In the historical centre, you can find affordable accommodation overlooking the Douro River.
- Learn more
People are proportionally warm to the mild climate and are very known for their hospitality. Porto has good accesses and is connected to most European capitals through various airline companies, including low cost options, as shown in the 2012 Lonely Planet travel guide. The guide ranked the city 4th among the top 10 of the best financially accessible places to visit that year.
On the first day of your visit, explore the centre and downtown areas, stroll through the surprising historical centre classified by UNESCO as World Heritage, and taste the famous Port Wine.
Start your walk in Avenida dos Aliados and Praça da Liberdade. A good way to find your bearings is to face the City Hall building. The streets to your right will take you to the Bolhão marketplace, Santa Catarina (where the traditional shops are) and Praça da Batalha, where you will find the São João National Theatre, a classified building inaugurated in 1920 designed by architect Marques da Silva.
Back to Aliados, on your left, the most dynamic area downtown, with its buildings covered in glazed tiles, and squares reminiscent of small towns, the Torre dos Clérigos, alternative shops new designers of fashion and plastic arts; gourmet stores; liquor stores; and signature restaurants and the meeting point for hundreds of students and the hub of Porto nightlife.
Behind you is S. Bento railway station, from where you can travel to explore historical cities like Braga and Guimarães.
In the old part of the city, you will enjoy the century-old buildings and especially those that have been or are undergoing rehabilitation works, in order to attract new tenants; the new stores modern grocery stores where you can taste everything that is for sale and wine liquor stores where wine tasting is included in events.
Have a glass of Port wine while you build up your appetite and rest your feet after this long day. Dine at one of the signature restaurants downtown and in the historical centre and experience the citys movida.
Culture and outdoor experiences
Leave the second day to visit Casa da Música, Serralves, the city park and the beach.
Start the day in Serralves on Sundays, admission is free until 1.30 pm. The building of the Contemporary Art Museum was designed by architect Siza Vieira. The house is in Art Deco and is very interesting, as well as the pleasant tea room, where you can have lunch and refresh yourself after walking through the park, one of the largest green areas in Porto.
Walk along Avenida da Boavista and visit Casa da Música, where, every Sunday at noon, there are classical music concerts for less than 10 €. This is an opportunity to admire the remarkable architecture of the building, inaugurated in 2005, and the first one in Portugal to be built for the exclusive purpose of music.
From this building designed by Rem Koolhaas, head to the historical centre by metro or walk down Avenida da Boavista until you reach the sea, and lunch at one of the terraces in the Edifício Transparente. This entirely glazed building is adjacent to another green area, the largest in Porto, the City Park. Enjoy looking at the hustle of people wandering about: local surfers, couples in love, families, athletes...
Return to the historical centre and Ribeira by bus or take cable car no. 1 running through Passeio Alegre, the churches of São Francisco and São Nicolau, the Casa do Infante and Palácio da Bolsa.
In Ribeira, cross the D. Luís I bridge and have a drink at Cais de Gaia, in the modern Multimedia Centre of Porto Cruz, in a terrace featuring a bar dedicated to Port wine and Port wine cocktails, with a 360-degree view, or then return downtown and say goodbye to Porto in one of the wine bars in the area.
Choose a good Douro or Port wine to go with some cheese and sausages. Taste the alheira, a typical sausage in the north of Portugal.
Did you know that the district of Porto was considered one of the top 10 wine tasting destinations in Europe by TripAdvisor in the list of Travellers Choice Wine Destinations 2012?
Find out how the distinction is well deserved.
How to get there
There are flights from Bremen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, Munich, Dortmund, Zurich, Liverpool, London, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Dole, La Rochelle, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Paris, Rodez, St. Etienne Toulouse, Tours, Barcelona, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Bologna, Milan, Pisa, Rome, Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and New York.
The best way to go from the International Airport Francisco Sá Carneiro to the city centre is to take the underground. The trip takes about 30 minutes.