Published On: Mon, Dec 9th, 2019

3 Reasons For Visiting Porto In Portugal

Porto lies on the coast in northwest Portugal and is rightfully famous for its port wine production, but the city is also known for beautiful architecture, delicious food and lovely, nearby beaches.

Photo by Magda Ehlers

  1. Porto’s architecture

A stroll in the medieval Ribeira (riverside) district reveals narrow, cobble-stoned streets, lined with impressive merchant’s houses, shops and cafes. The old, historic center of Porto has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where stands the beautiful São Francisco Church, with its spectacular baroque interior, complete with ornate and gilded carvings. Close by, the Palacio de Bolsa is a former stock market, dating back to the 19th century. The palatial building is built in the neoclassical style and stands in Infante D. Henrique Square. It was constructed as a draw to European investors.

Crossing the Douro River to Vila Nova de Gaia and its port wine lodges, the Dom Luis Iron Bridge dates from 1886 and offers a walkway to stroll and enjoy views from the river. Even São Bento, the main train station in Porto, offers beauty, with its huge azulejo tile panels, depicting rural life and past battles in Portugal. For a little art nouveau architecture, head to the iconic Lello & Irmão bookstore or the Serralves Museum, exhibiting contemporary art.

  1. The cuisine of Porto

Portugal is known for its delicious cuisine and Porto keeps up the trend, with its own delicious taste options. As Porto is between the mountains and the sea, menus include many surf and turf options, particularly seafood and pork, but also a number of delicious stews and soups.

Tripas à Moda do Porto might not be an option for all, as it translates as Porto Tripe. However, foodies would be remiss in ignoring the dish, which comprises animal organs and entrails, cooked up with sausage, beans, herbs and a variety of vegetables.

Another delicious taste of Porto is a delicious thick soup, perfect for warming up in the winter season in the city. The most famous is Caldo Verde, or green soup, made with healthy kale. This delicious soup is often flavoured with chouriço (a spicy sausage), and is cooked up with pureed potatoes and garlic as a thick and delicious meal. For a snack with coffee or tasty dessert, try the delicious Pastel de Nata, Portugal’s delicious take on a custard tart, with its creamy custard interior and a crunchy pastry base.

  1. Beaches in and near Porto

When not exploring this fascinating city or enjoying the food, being on the coast should mean heading to the beach. The Costa Verde, where Porto stands, includes a number of lovely beaches, with golden sand, rocky cliffs, dramatic surrounding scenery and more. 

While most visitors don’t immediately associate Porto with beaches, they should. Several fine beaches are easily reached from central Porto, including Praia do Carneiro, which is within the city limits. Close by, Praia de Matosinhos is a popular beach, while several excellent beaches are all within 14 to 28 km from the center of Porto. 

Meanwhile, the Guardian recommends Praia Forte do Paço in Viana do Castelo, an hour’s drive north from Porto. This unspoiled spot has no cafes or other amenities, so take a picnic along with you and relax on a daytrip from the busy city in peace and quiet.

Remember to gaze at the architecture of beautiful Porto in Portugal, tuck into the delicious cuisine and take a little time off to head to the beach while you are there!

Author: Anne Sewell

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