Once considered the edge of the known world in the Middle Ages, the industrious town of Porto clung to the side of Portugal, looking out across the endless Atlantic Ocean, before adventurers risked it all to head toward the new world. The cliché that Lisbon shows off and Porto just works is a well-worn metaphor that fails to fully do justice to the latter one's real charms. With images of a past way of life hidden down in every bustling alley, Porto is a place determined to hold on to its own and distinct identity.
Time has seemingly failed to touch some of the hidden corners of Porto, with many of its typical winding alleys full of shops and restaurants looking like a scene straight out of a medieval history book. The city is so soaked in the past that the historic area of Ribeira has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Considering the backdrop of wrought-iron balconies full of flowers, the daily washing and an array of fresh white and blue ‘azulejos’ tiles, you will have the perfect city for aimless wandering. However, the city does have a few key landmarks that are worth a visit, including the elaborately decorated Palacio da Bolsa (=the Stock Exchange Palace), the medieval Cathedral and Clérigos Tower.
The other big draw for tourists is the tour of the Porto wine cellars at Vila Nova de Gaia on the other side of the Douro River.
The surrounding suburbs of the city are also compelling: Matosinhos offers great seafood eateries and small beaches stretching down the coastline. Amarante invites to a particular colourful shape. Foz do Douro is known as the wealthier area, with nightclubs and restaurants just 5 kilometres northwest of Porto.Read More