Holidays to PORTO

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about Porto

On the slopes above the Douro Estuary, Porto is a historic mercantile city with business and trade written into its very name. The centre is a World Heritage site, and you’ll be struck by how rich and varied this heritage can be: There are medieval walls, gleaming Baroque churches, the compact streets of the Ribeira district, the Romanesque Cathedral and that’s just the beginning.
Fortified port wine is still stored in warehouses on the south bank of the Douro, and if you track the river to the ocean you arrive at the stylish Foz do Douro district for beaches and hip restaurants.

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Cais da Ribeira


Porto, Portugal, Europe, Historic City


A little chaotic and great fun to explore, Porto’s riverside area is a very picturesque piazza where tourists and locals mingle.


There are bars and restaurants around every corner, and these line the riverside walk too.


You’ll have a perfect shot of the iconic Luís I Bridge from here, and if you duck through the arcades there’s a confusing maze of steep streets and stairways  between pastel-painted houses in varying states of repair.


The Cais da Ribeira has been spruced up a little in the last few years and information boards have been installed to tell you about this district’s characters and businesses when it was Porto’s hive of commerce.



ocean waves crashing on shore during daytime


With all your attention drawn to the Douro and the Ribeira you might neglect Porto’s beaches.


On a hot day you can dip your toes in the brisk Atlantic and clear your senses in the breeze.


If you want to include some of the outlying beaches a few minutes from the city you have at least 10 to choose from, many of which fly the Blue Flag every year.


The most convenient is Matosinhos, just past the Parque de Cidade and with a massive bay that seems boundless when the tide is out.


If you’re happy to travel a little don’t rule out the town of Miramar, which has a pretty 17th-century chapel on the rocks between its huge golden sandy beaches.

Church of Santa Clara


Santa Clara Church, Stockholm, Sweden


Built next to the most prominent section of Porto’s medieval defensive walls, this church was completed in 1457 to replace a medieval convent.


It has a similar story to other religious buildings in the city, undergoing an extravagant update in the first half of the 18th century.


Shining against the red marble are gilded mouldings on the vaults, and gilded wooden carvings on the walls with such meticulous detail that it’s hard to take it all in.


In Portugal this style is known as “Barroco Joanino”, coming from the reign of John V when the Portuguese Empire was at the height of its prosperity.

Douro River Trip


Vietnam, Mekong River, Mekong Delta


The Douro has travelled almost 900 kilometres from its source in Castile and León to reach the Atlantic at Porto.


And most people who spend some time on or next to the Douro agree that there’s something special about the river.


Around the Ribeira hour-long cruises are offered for around €15, and your guide will give you some insights about the port warehouses on the south bank, the Porto landmarks that soar high on the north bank and the various bridges.


Upriver on the eastern limit of the city is the Maria Pia Bridge, ten years older than the Luís I and built by Gustave Eiffel.

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