When it comes to traveling in Portugal, most people are enthusiastic about visiting Lisbon or Madeira Island. Nowadays, travellers are starting to pay more attention to smaller and less touristy cities such as Porto. Lying on the North Coast of Portugal, Porto is an ideal destination that will make you fall in love with the country at first sight. Here are the top recommended to-dos and tips for your trip.
1. Stay in shape in the Old Town
One way to stay fit when traveling is by going hiking or walking on a daily basis. Porto gives you the perfect opportunity to enjoy exercising while sightseeing in one of the best old towns in Europe. You will need comfortable shoes to explore the old town on foot because the roads are very hilly. There are plenty of historical monuments, churches and palaces (e.g. Clegiros Tower, Porto Cathedral, Bolsa Palace, etc.) to check out in this area. Once you are done visiting the old town, find your way to the Dom Luis Bridge to get a fantastic panoramic view of Oporto and Vila Nova De Gaia where you can try the famous port wine. These two cities of the Porto Metropolitan Area are divided by the Rio Duoro River.
2. Explore the Ribeira Historic Square
Standing on the Duoro Bridge, you will also get a breath-taking view of the Ribeira District from above the Porto side. Here you can find some traditional colourful houses by the riverside, where many boats are also located. Spend hours walking along the two riversides to get a closer look of the Ribera District and old houses lying along Rio Duoro. From Ribera Square you can also take a boat tour leaving from Porto to Vila Nova De Gaia.
3. See the beauty of street art in the Art District
Another thing that creates the classic beauty of Porto is its street art. You can find graffiti artworks on many street corners and the walls of many old houses all around the city. The most famous art district lies on the Rua de Miguel Bombarda Street. There are many cool galleries, second-hand shops and cafes in this area. Pay attention to the various artwork by Hazul and Costah around the streets of Porto.
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4. Taste Port Wine in Vila De Nova Gaia
Porto is well-known for its Oporto wine and port wine, which has been made here for hundreds of years. Some of the biggest brands here are Taylor, Graham, Sandeman, Calem, etc. If you would like to have more personal tours from a smaller port wine manufacturer, try Churchill. The guide provides fewer tourist packages, and interacts with you in a very friendly manner. Keep in mind that there are several wine producers in Vila Nova De Gaia. Tours in English are sometimes provided only upon request.
5. Visit the lighthouse by the ocean
Another tourist spot in Porto is the Lady of Light Lighthouse. Remember to dress warm if you plan to visit this lighthouse by night. The waves and wind are usually very intense and intimidating all day and night long.
Getting in and around Porto
As I already mentioned, traveling on foot in Porto can be quite tiring because of the hills. Therefore, make sure you use public transportation when needed. There are limited ticket machines in several stations around the city. You can buy a reusable travel card and load money to use for each trip. A tram ride for tourists is 2.5 EUR (roughly 3 USD) and you cannot use the card for this. You can sometimes even find flights to Porto from elsewhere in Europe for as low as 15 EUR (roughly 17 USD) with budget airlines. What a bargain!
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