Porto is Portugal’s second city, located in the north-west of the country. Its city centre was built on the banks of the River Douro estuary, and its unique architecture has afforded it World Heritage Status. The city’s mercantile heritage is evident with both medieval and modern buildings lining the streets. It harks back to Portugal of old, with riverside walks, bustling produce markets, charming restaurants and museums.
Begin an exploration of the city in the Ribeira region of the city. From here visitors can gain exceptional views across the river to Vila Nova de Gaia. The architecturally striking São Francisco church is nearby, as is historical Bolsa Palace, with its famous Moorish Revival Arab Room. Downtown Porto City Centre is home to the colourful Mercado do Bolhão, a traditional market selling fruits, fish, meat and vegetables. Select produce for a picnic and take a river boat trip down the River Douro to explore the picturesque Portuguese countryside. Travellers will enjoy the city’s wide variety of restaurants. Sample “Bacalhau” salted cod fish or “Francesinha”, a hearty dish of toasted bread filled with meat, cheese and a spicy sauce. The city is also famous for port wine. The grapes are grown in the Douro Valley and produced and bottled in the city. Take one of the Porto wine tours to taste the regional nectar.
The riverside areas of Porto are easy to walk along, although some parts of the city are quite hilly. Fortunately, the city has excellent public transport networks. Porto Metro is a light rail and subway system with several lines operating throughout the centre and suburbs. The stations of Bolhão, Aliados and Sao Bento cover the city centre. By the river, a funicular tram operates from Ribeira to Batalha. STCP buses run throughout the city and ferry boats connect visitors to neighbouring Vila Nova de Gaia. Taxis and Uber are available throughout Porto.
The historic centre of Porto has existed for more than 25 centuries. The centre is filled with Gothic and Baroque monuments which symbolise its heritage. The inhabitants were traders, known to be noble and faithful to the city. Today, Porto City Centre garners the attention of explorers keen to see the real Portugal. Adventurers arrive to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, architecture, scenery and exceptional food and wine.