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Mesmerising Porto, at the banks of River Douro, is Portugal’s second largest city and could actually compete with the capital in terms of beauty. Thousands of visitors search for cheap air tickets to Porto, homeland of the famous Porto wine to take part in many great wine-tourism experiences! A colourful city with medieval elements, bell towers, baroque churches and stone bridges, Porto extends across the idyllic views of the river and meets the mainly wine-producing valley of Gaia. Porto has something of Northern Europe in its architecture and Southern Europe in its streets, atmosphere and districts like Ribeira and Gaia. Find easily cheap accommodation in Porto and get.. drunk with satisfaction!
The industrial city of Porto was once considered to be the edge of the world. This was, of course, before the great European explorers took up their favourite hobby; the exploration of the New World!
Situated in a strategic location at the rocky hills above River Douro, Porto and neighbouring Vila Nova de Gaia quickly became two major hubs of the European trade market.
Porto, the well-known sweet red wine is produced exclusively in the Douro Valley of Portugal!Modern Porto not only has nothing to do with the poor town of old times, but also boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a world class wine, excellent pieces of renaissance architecture and a variety of cultural sights that attract many visitors from around the globe. Visit Porto and wine-taste one of Portugal’s most delicious destinations!
Porto’s airport (Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport) is located 11 kilometres northwest of Porto and is accessible by metro (Line E) and by bus.
Getting around Porto
Porto’s public transportation system consists of buses, metro (6 lines), tramways and buses. Fares start at 1.30€ and minimum taxi fare is around 3.25€.
The city of Porto extends across the banks of Riber Douro, the river that forms the natural border between the city centre and the famous wine-producing Vila Nova de Gaia. Connection between the two areas is succeeded through six bridges, three of which are of great historical and architectural value:
- The Ponte de Dona Maria Pia bridge, designed by the famous architect Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, also in charge of the Eiffel Tower
- The Ponte de Dom Luís I, constructed in 1886 by the Belgian engineer Teófilo Seyrig and
- The Ponte de Arrábida bridge, the most contemporary of all, designed by Edgar Cardoso in 1963. This is one Europe’s largest arched bridges!
For more than a century, the area at the opposite side of River Douro was the seat of famous wine industries producing the Porto wine – it was mandatory by the law. The area now is revamped, but you can still get the feeling of poverty of old times.
Porto’s historic centre lies at the Ribeira district and has been characterised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Little narrow streets, decorated with colourful buildings and houses, lead to quaint restaurants and picturesque cafés, as well as some notable historic landmarks of the city.
You should definitely visit the Palácio da Bolsa, an elegant neoclassical building dating back to the 19th century, built in honour of Porto’s merchants.
Porto’s modern heart beats in Avenida dos Aliados, the city’s central square that houses the Porto City Hall and many other government buildings, all of them built in a very elegant, Parisian-like style. From there, it’s a short walk to get to the Torre dos Clérigos, designed by Nicolau Nasoni in 1754, Porto’s most famous landmark. Be brave and get to the top of the six-floor building, the panoramic view will make up for every breath you take on the way up!
If you love arts, be sure to visit the National Museum of Modern Art (Museu de Arte Contemporânea), housing a great selection of works by famous Portuguese contemporary painters, sculptors and designers. The building itself is an Art Nouveau masterpiece!Portuguese is Porto’s official language.