Porto- The City of Bridges and Porto Wine
Porto is the second largest urban area of Portugal and one of the major urban areas of Southern Europe. It is located in Northern Portugal along the Douro river. The city is one of the oldest European centres and thank to its ancient port and the historical core of the city its registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1996. The cosmopolitan city has a highly atmosphere and it is colourfully tiled facades of the buildings. Its rich history and the renowned architects have done a mix monuments between the past and the present. Varied historical monuments including the cathedral with its Romanesque choir, neoclassical Stock Exchange and the typical Portuguese Manueline-style Church of Santa Clara display cultural richness. Ribeira is the old town of Porto and as if time had stopped, but nowadays it is a favourite spot for tourists. One of the facts for which Porto is internationally known is its Porto wine, it is worldwide famous, and it's the mecca for wine aficionados. If you are the rock, jazz or electronic music enthusiasts this is the right place to listen a good music because Porto gives birth to world's top artists.
The city centre was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1996, thanks to the wealth of monuments and sights. You should start at the central with Baixa area, where you can visit a lot of different craft fair and markets. This is a cosmopolitan area for the wine business, it's the home to wine cellars and traditional wine shops and a ideal place for lunch or dinner. On the way you can see beautiful churches with gold as São Francisco Church and Santa Clara Church. The walk along the river is fascinating. All the colourful houses and the picturesque boats are bringing unforgettable moments. Then cross the Dom Luis Bridge to the other side of Douro river. On that side visitors can also go up to the hill to see amazing view on the city. After you can walk and relax in the largest park of Porto, Parque da Cidade, rich and diverse flora and fauna. Porto is a charming city for the culture. It's impossible to visit Lello Bookshop in Rua das Carmelitas, that the Guardian appointed the third most beautiful bookshop in the world. The tour could be continue in Serralves, the museum of Contemporary Art, where you can see a collection, temporary exhibitions, performance and nation and international collaborations. Then we could finish the day in Cafè Majestic, the one of the most beautiful place of Art Nouveau with an atmosphere of luxury, refinement and well-being, drinks a glass of good Porto wine.
In the night everyone is heading towards Rua Galeria de Paris and Rua Cândido dos Reis, two parallel streets downtown. You can go to the Ribeira district for more bars and cafés, many of which have outdoor seating and here you can also to listen the Fado's music. Across the river in Cais de Gaia is also a lot of pleasant cafes for having drink in the evening. There are also some big, cool clubs and places with live music, while an alternative and artistic crowd gathers at "Maus Habitos". Just be aware that in Porto the night starts very late, People dinner till mid night then they go to the bars between 00:00 and 03:00am and only after that the discos get crowded. If you prefer an alternative night you can attend the concert in Armazen do Chia or you can taste the Porto wine in Candelabro or you can assist a poetry night in Pinguin cafè. During the summer the city changes, particularly on 23 June when there is the Festa de Sao Joao, the celebration of Midsummer. In this day people pay a tribute to Saint John the Baptist, mixing sacred and profaned tradition. Until the day after the streets became the stage of one of the best street festival in Europe.
Porto is a glamorous city for shopping. Rua de Santa Catarina is the main shopping street in Porto where you find also Via Catarina shopping mall. Visitors can find here typical shops with clothes, shoes and lots of trendy accessories. There is as well a huge set of local boutiques or crafts, which includes everything from woodwork to ceramics, as well as the unique local foodstuffs. Do not miss the Mercado do Bolhao where a lot of vendors compete to sell their delicious home-made products. Rua do Almada is the right place to buy beautiful souvenirs for the lovers of music and art. You can't leave Porto before to taste the traditional foods and to buy a bottle of Porto wine. In Portuguese is called vinho verde (green wine) and it is famous throughout the world for its characteristic taste.
Standard time zone: UTC/GMT
Porto has the Mediterranean climate, with dry, warm summers and mild, rainy winters. Annual precipitations is high and Porto is one of the wettest cities of Europe. Annual temperature is 14.5°C. July is the hottest month in Porto with an average temperature of 20°C (67°F) and the coldest month is January with 10°C (50°F). Therefore the best time to visit Porto is in summer when the temperature is higher and there is not so many rainy days.
It is possible to do most of the sightseeing on foot as many of the places are within walking distance. However if you need to go more far and use public transport then the best and easiest way is to use metro. Trains run from 6am to 1am every day. We recommend to buy Cartão Andante, a card that it will make easier your travel around the city. Another possibility is using a bus. Porto has an excellent bus service, called STCP, that operates from 6am to 9pm. After 9pm the service is less frequent and after 1am it is reduced to the principal routes. There are also two short tram routes still operating in the city, No. 1 and No. 18. Finally, if you are lost after a night in this charming city, you can call a taxi to go back. The price is inexpensive and we can find them in main square or we may call the following number:
Raditaxis: 22 507 3900
Taxis Invicta: 22 502 2693
Taxis Unidos: 22 502 9898