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Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal, is a destination that captivates visitors with its rich history, charming streets, and world-renowned port wine. Nestled on the banks of the Douro River, Porto offers a delightful blend of old-world charm and contemporary vibrancy. Whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, or a wanderer seeking picturesque views, Porto has something to offer for everyone.
Here are five things you can’t miss on your visit.
5. Relax in the Gardens
Take a break from the bustling city and find tranquility in Porto’s beautiful gardens. The Crystal Palace Gardens offer stunning views of the Douro River and are adorned with fountains, sculptures, and lots of flower beds.
Can’t Miss: Look for the peacocks as you stroll the gardens.
Address: R. de Dom Manuel II, 4050-346 Porto, Portugal
4. Visit Livraria Lello
Book lovers and Harry Potter fans alike will find Livraria Lello an absolute delight. This stunning bookstore is not only known for its vast collection of books but also for its enchanting interior, with a grand staircase that served as inspiration for J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts. Be sure to admire the intricate details of the neo-Gothic architecture while browsing the shelves.
Can’t Miss: Look up at the gorgeous stained glass ceiling.
Address: R. das Carmelitas 144, 4050-161 Porto, Portugal
3. Explore the Historic Center
The historic center of Porto is a treasure trove of architectural wonders. Wander through the medieval streets of the Sé neighborhood and marvel at the Porto Cathedral, an imposing structure with stunning panoramic views from its terrace. Don’t miss the iconic Clérigos Tower, offering breathtaking vistas of the city after a challenging climb.
Can’t Miss: Pay a visit to São Bento Station, renowned for its beautiful azulejo tiles depicting scenes from Portuguese history.
Address: The perimeter includes Rua Santa Catarina and Rua de Cedofeita.
2. Sample Traditional Portuguese Gastronomy
Portuguese cuisine is renowned for its flavorful dishes and Porto is the perfect place to indulge in the country’s culinary scene. Try a hearty francesinha, a local sandwich with layers of meat and cheese. Pair your meals with a glass of Vinho Verde, a refreshing white wine from the region.
Can’t Miss: Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the city’s fresh seafood, including grilled sardines and bacalhau (salted codfish).
Address: Throughout the city
1. Indulge in Port Wine Tasting
A trip to Porto wouldn’t be complete without experiencing its famous port wine. Venture across the Douro River to the Vila Nova de Gaia district, where numerous port wine cellars await your exploration. Take guided tours and tastings at renowned cellars like Taylor’s, Sandeman, or Graham’s, and savor the rich flavors of this unique fortified wine. Our favorite was Sandeman and we learned all about ruby, tawny, and white ports (it’s been a round since 1790).
Can’t Miss: Take time for the port tasting. We sampled some delicious port wine dating back decades.
Address: Sandeman: Largo Miguel Bombarda 3, 4400-222 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
(Image Credit: Sandeman.)
Porto offers everything you could want in a seaside city with the right mix of delicious food, history, culture, and more.
Bonus Hotel Pick: The Sheraton Porto Hotel & Spa is a luxurious hotel located in the business district, it offers a perfect blend of modern sophistication and traditional Portuguese charm with easy access to all you want to see not too far away. The hotel boasts elegant and spacious rooms with contemporary design. The Sheraton Porto features a range of amenities, including a great spa, a fitness center, and a rooftop swimming pool with panoramic views of the city. The hotel also offers several dining options and a great club lounge.
(Image Credit: Marriott.)
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