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Porto

The second city of Portugal, yet equally as glamourous and vibrant as its sister Lisbon, Porto is a gem among luxury holiday destinations, promising something for everyone. From the booming nightlife to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the city’s historic core, whether you like a laidback stroll through culture and refinement or a fast-based getaway bursting with action, you’re guaranteed a holiday to remember in Porto.
 
Like Lisbon, Porto is a global city packed full of culture and life, yet its atmosphere is much more relaxed and less frantic than its southern twin, making it the ideal destination for escaping the hustle and bustle of modern living while remaining at the heart of the action. As the birthplace of Portuguese cinema, as well as a major centre of modern art and architecture, the city offers plenty of museums and galleries to keep you occupied, while the history fanatics among you will love visits to the historic monuments that litter the city’s streets.
 
As the namesake and origin of Port Wine, as well as being home to plenty of other regional specialities, you’ll never be going hungry in Porto. The riverfront Ribeira district features dozens of cafés and restaurants where you can sit and people-watch for hours with a glass of a ginjinha cocktail or a heart plate of folar de chaves (bread stuffed with ham, cheese and olives). For those of you with a sweet tooth, try the arroz doce, a delicious rice pudding flavoured with cinnamon.
 
For sun worshippers, the nearby beaches of Leça de Palmeira and Matosinhos are gorgeous expanses of golden sand offering views over the Atlantic that stretches away to the horizon. The city park to the west of the city centre is also a prime spot, with plenty of lush green grass to relax in with a loved one or with your family.
 
At the heart of the historic centre of Porto sits its cathedral, which is a stunning Romanesque and baroque masterpiece in itself. A particularly fascinating feature however is a monument to those killed defending the city during the Peninsular War in the early 1800s, which is made of a hefty slab of magnetic rock, causing compasses to go haywire in the vicinity. This is no accident – it was designed like this so that no travellers visiting Porto could fail to remember the sacrifice of those brave citizens.
 
As a city destination, Porto is sublime, offering activities and attractions to suit holidaymakers of all interests and ages. Whether you like to just sit back and take it easy, or prefer to spend your days exploring and adventuring, this UNESCO-listed city is a gem that will provide you with plenty of happy memories for years to come.

WINGED BOOTS WISDOM
 
During the 90’s, renowned author J. K. Rowling taught English to students in Porto, and a bookshop that she frequented, the absolutely stunning Livraria Lello, is purportedly the inspiration of the Hogwarts Library in the Harry Potter series. Its exquisitely carved ceiling and staircases are totally enchanting, making it a must-see for any visitor to this wondrous city.
 
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Good to know

  • Time difference: UTC +0
  • Currency: EUR
  • Flying time to destination:
    2-hours and 30-minutes from London
  • Instagram Opportunity: River Douro Bridges

Best Time To Travel

Average Temperatures
Jan: 12°c   Feb: 13°c   Mar: 15°c  
Apr: 16°c   May: 18°c   Jun: 22°c  
Jul: 23°c   Aug: 25°c   Sep: 22°c  
Oct: 18°c   Nov: 15°c   Dec: 12°c  

Location

Porto in a Nutshell

Tastes To Try 
 
  • The foremost example of the bold and varied cuisine of Porto is of course Port Wine, the sweet dessert vino that originated in the city. True port in fact can only be produced in Porto and the surrounding area, and if you’re lucky you might see a shipment of the stuff being carried down the Douro River on board specialised barcos rabelos boats.
     
  • Another speciality of Porto is tripas à moda do Porto – beef stomach served with white beans – as well as the francesinha, which is a hot sandwich containing spicy sausage, cured ham and cheese, oozing a rich tomato beer-based sauce. When it comes to warming comfort food, Porto has got it all. Even the city’s signature soup is a feast for all the senses. The caldo verde is a vegetable soup flavoured with onion and garlic with added chouriço, linguiça or chipolata sausage.
     
  • Being a seaside city, Porto’s gastronomy naturally features plenty of fish, one of the regional specialities being ray fish, often served simple, being dried and flavoured with salt and olive oil. A real cornucopia of ocean produce can be found in caldeirada, which is a seafood stew consisting of basically whatever fresh fish, shellfish and other produce is available that day, as well as an assortment of vegetables such as potatoes, peppers, onions and tomatoes. There’s really no end to the range of ways in which caldeirada can be produced, so be sure to try it in several different eateries to get the full Porto experience. 
     
 Soak Up The Culture 
 
  • Architecture aficionados as well as fitness buffs will love a trip to the swimming pools at Leça de Palmeira, one of the world-renowned architect Álvaro Siza Veira’s first projects. Carved into the rocky landscape at the shoreline, the pools integrate modern style with the natural landscape, providing a series of crystal-clear saltwater pools as well as a sandy beach, inspiring rest and relaxation.
     
  • Porto is often known as the City of Bridges, and for good reason – the River Douro which runs through the city is crossed by several stunning bridges from the elegant Arrábida Bridge completed in 2011 to the Dom Luís I and Maria Pia Bridges, dating from the height of the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century. The geometric forms and contemporary appeal of these bridges will make a gorgeous addition to any Instagram feed for sure.
     
  • One of the most characteristic symbols of the city is the Torre dos Clérigos, the bell tower of Clérigos Church. If you’re feeling brave, climb the 240 steps to the top of the tower to witness stunning views over Porto and the neighbouring city of Vila Nova de Gaia – it’s worth the exercise, we promise. 
     
After Dark Destinations 
 
  • For a truly remarkable experience, head to Porto in late June for the Festa de São João – the festival of St John, the patron saint of the city. On the night of the 23rd, revellers gather in the city streets for a night of drinking and merriment, with street performers, live music, food stalls and a midnight fireworks display. It’s not uncommon for the citizens to continue partying until the sun rises the next day, with many heading to the beach to bathe in the sea before heading to the morning’s church services on St John’s Day. 
     
  • Experience time-old Portuguese heritage as well as modern entertainment by heading of an evening to one of Porto’s many publicly-open wine cellars where you can try some of the tipples and relax to the traditional sound of Fado music. It’s a truly sophisticated evening that’s sure to be a talking point at your next dinner party.



     
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