Move over Lisbon, Oporto is the coolest city…

… at least for 8 reasons. Lisbon remains the city receiving more tourists in Portugal, but CNN explains why Oporto has much to offer as well. 

CNN describes Oporto as “a place to go for a unique blend of history, balmy weather, culture, cooking and nightlife.” After all, this is the European best destination for 2017 . Here is what they emphasize:

Porto downtown

Landscape, beaches and authenticity

Lisbon has the Tagus river but Douro’s landscape – a World Heritage Site – with its slopes and vineyards going on and on is one of a kind. The view of the river passing by the city, with colourful houses on Oporto side and wine cellars on the opposite side is also breathtaking.  Additionally, the riverside area in Oporto – Ribeira – has been able to keep its authenticity, unlike some neighbourhoods in the capital. The article also dares to mention the beaches! Lisbon is not far from the beach but Oporto is even closer! Sure the water is a bit chillier, but there are kilometres and kilometres of beautiful beaches nearby, either if you head north or south.

Eating, drinking and going out

Port wine is always on the list when talking about Oporto, so is Café Majestic, an iconic “belle epoque-style” coffee house. Tripes – “a mess of white beans fortified with pig’s ear, calves’ foot, cow’s stomach (aka tripe) and a cartload of other chewy bits” has such symbolism to the city that its inhabitants are gently called “tripeiros” – tripe eaters. Though considerably smaller than Lisbon, Porto also has an exciting nightlife environment to offer.

You can read the full article here.

 

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Porto: Best European Destination 2017

Nominated three times and three times winner, setting a new record. The city of Porto is once again the Best European Destination.

The city of Porto.
The city of Porto.

Never has the choice of the winning city been so unanimous among travellers from all other the world”, that’s how the annoucement of the winner starts. With votes coming from over 170 countries, Porto was the first among 19 destinations that included remarkable european capitals like Paris, Rome or London in the competition pomoted by the European Consumers Choice, an organization of consumers and specialists.

Thinking of coming to Porto in the future? Here are some of the highlights:

Torre dos Clérigos: The icon of the city of Porto. After climbing nearly 250 stairs, you will be rewarded a unique 360º view of the city.

Serralves: Fundação Serralves hosts an impressive modern art museum, surrounded by 18-hectare gardens where you can also find see some artwork by contemporary artist along with the plants and trees.

Casa da Música: “Casa da Música” means “House of Music.” An internationally praised building with modern, futuristic architecture, home to music and other events that will surely impress you.

Douro river & wine warehouses: Visit the port wine warehauses at the other side of the Douro river, in the city of Gaia, and take the oportunity to gaze at the colouful houses fitting in each other, with the beautiful D. Luís bridge also within your view. All this while enjoying a glass of Port.

Francesinha: Not the healthiest option but it can’t hurt once in a lifetime. A sandwich with multiple layers of meat, covered in cheeses and soaked in a beer sauce, ranked among the best sandwiches in the world.  And if you want to know more about Porto gastronomy, stay tuned! Anthony Bourdain is currently in the city shooting an episode of his CNN travel and food show “Parts Unknown”, which means we will be seing more of this side of Porto in the future.

Are you visiting o living in Porto and want to also take some time for your health? Medical Port’s network of partners extends to this city as well, offering multiple speciality consultations, a large variety of check-ups options and fertility specialists. Visit our website or contact us for more information

 

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CNN invites everyone for the centre of universe, the centre region of Portugal

CNN journalist Paul Ames highlights the beauty and undiscovered treasures of “Centro”. The centre region of Portugal for its monuments, natural beauty and of course, food.

The journalist says the region is a “largely undiscovered array of treasures unjustly ignored by Portugal visitors who typically only hit Lisbon or the wine-based charms around Oporto in the north.”

The article features main points of interest in the region. The sunny beaches of the Silver Coast – with the famous waves of Nazare where Garret Macnamara broke the world record for the highest surfed wave. The old luxurious palaces turned into charming boutique hotels at affordable prices. The cool cities of Coimbra and Aveiro and the Serra da Estrela Mountains – with snow in the winter and stunning views in the summer. And the witnesses of Portugal’s heritage like Alcobaca monastery or Tomar.

Typical food from the centre region has its own itinerary. From locally produced cheese and wines, tourists can enjoy regional treats like goat, eel stew or roasted piglet and fresh fish in the many restaurants along the coast.

There are many options for things to see and do in the center of Portugal. The region was famous for its spas in the beginning of the 20th century and now “the forests, hills and vineyards of central Portugal are dotted with luxurious places to stop over – from palatial old school spas to converted castles, convents and mansions.”

Around the region there are many UNESCO heritage sites to visit. The Univsersity of Coimbra – dating to 1290 is one of the oldest in the world – with its buildings from renaissance and baroque periods.

The journalist also refers to three monuments with this distinction in the region: the great monastery in the town of Alcobaca, “Construction got underway here in 1178, while Portugal’s first king battled to gain control of the country after 500 years of Arab rule”. Convent of Christ in Tomar, and Convent of Batalha “a multi-spired Gothic pile in soft-yellow stone built in thanks for Portugal’s 1385 victory over an invading Spanish army in a field nearby.” 

Read the full CNN article here.

 

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7 reasons Lisbon could be Europe’s coolest city

Source: The Telegraph

(CNN) — What makes a city “cool”?

If it means being loaded with atmosphere, charm, great food and nightlife, yet ignored by the bulk of travelers, then Lisbon deserves consideration as Europe’s coolest capital.

Here’s why.

1. Nightlife that can outlast Madrid’s

If you think Madrid stays out late, try a night out in Lisbon.

The city is less about heaving clubs and more about a roving nocturnal flow that ends (maybe) when dawn rises over the Tagus River.
The main action is in the Bairro Alto, where more than 250 appealing bars line a web of streets between graffiti-plastered walls.
Next is the riverfront, in the hip neighborhood around Cais do Sodré railway station.

Typical of the offbeat flavor here is the converted brothel Pensão Amor (Rua do Alecrim 19, +351 21 314 3399) where ace cocktails accompany erotica and DJ sets.

Capping a Lisbon night are pre-dawn traffic jams at Santa Apolonia docks — they’re created by the popularity of Lux, the king of Lisbon superclubs (Cais da Pedra +351 21 882 0890).

2. Experimental cuisine

Once known largely for bacalhau (dried cod), quaint old coffee houses and louche taverns, the Portuguese capital now claims a range of restaurants.

Seafood remains a staple, but the trend is for modern, sophisticated and affordable.

A high bar is set by wunderkind chef José Avillez at his Michelin-starred Belcanto (Largo de Sao Carlos 10, +351 21 342 0607) or his more casual bistro Cantinho (Rua dos Duques de Bragança 7, +351 211 992369).

Avant-garde European and Portuguese cuisine describes Avillez’s menu, which stretches from sea bass with seaweed to lamb with vegetable puree.

Further down the scale, Lisbonites love juicy bifanas (pork buns) in backstreet eateries.

No traveler to Lisbon should miss the famed egg tarts (pasteis de nata).

The little bundles of caramel-y custard in chewy pastry are eaten in style at the original tiled café, Antiga Confeitaria de Belem (Rua Belém 84-92, +351 21 363 7423).

3. Irony

You’d think Lisbonites would brag about their achievements — first global empire, world’s best custard tarts, sea bass with seaweed that actually tastes great.

On the contrary, along with the rest of the nation, they excel in that ages old literary device/defense mechanism: irony.
As Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa once eloquently summed up the prevailing national outlook: “I’d woken up early, and took a long time getting ready to exist.”

That old entertaining melancholy has resurfaced with the austerity of recent years, helping Lisbonites remain (almost) content and always witty, even in tough times.

4. Beaches and castles

Lisbon is a place to inhale salty Atlantic air, sunbathe and hit the waves.

Dolphins surf and ferries ply the River Tagus.

Half an hour away by train are the beaches and ornate casino of Estoril.

A bit further, Cascais is for eaters — lots of grilled fish and seafood stews served in domed cataplana dishes.

The other big day trip is to Sintra. Forty minutes from Lisbon’s main station (Rossio), it’s a time-warp town, located in lush, wooded hills peppered with whimsical palaces and mansions that epitomize centuries of aristocratic opulence.

5. Fabulous design

Wherever you look in Lisbon, sharp contemporary design is a hallmark.

Stylish leather goods, bold wine labels, interiors combining vintage with the latest designer pieces, spectacular buildings — this is a city that loves to look good.

Pritzker-prize winning architect Alvaro Siza Vieira set the modernist tone with his gravity-defying pavilion for Expo 98.

Lisbonites gather to appreciate good design at MUDE (Rua Augusta 24, +351 21 888 6117), their mutant fashion and design museum, where austere low-tech blends with baroque flounces.

6. Big art

Large European capitals such as London, Paris, Berlin and Madrid may have blockbuster art collections, but Lisbon’s half million inhabitants have access to their own rare panoply.

The classic is the Gulbenkian Foundation (Av. de Berna 45A, +351 21 782 3000), where superlative Oriental and Western art occupies an airy 1960s building and landscaped gardens.

In Belém, the Museu Berardo (Praça do Império, +351 21 361 2878) focuses on big names of 20th- and 21st-century art, from Picasso to Jeff Koons.

Museu de Arte Antiga (Portuguese site only; Rua Janelas Verdes, +351 21 391 2800) is a 17th-century mansion packed with 500 years of artwork that reflects Portugal’s globetrotting history.

Lisbon’s latest exclusive is the impressive Museu do Oriente (Avenida de Brasília, Doca de Alcântara, +351 21 358 5244), a superbly converted salt cod warehouse full of Asian exhibits where you can book a nighttime visit followed by dinner in the riverfront restaurant.

7. Fascinating streets

There’s no getting bored wandering in Lisbon, thanks to the intricately patterned cobblestones under your feet — a civic point of pride that blossomed after Lisbon’s 1755 earthquake and continues today.

Even Lisbon’s walls demand attention, thanks to an obsession with azulejos (ceramic tiles).

Top examples are found at the Museu Nacional do Azulejo (Rua da Madre de Deus 4, +351 218 100 340), while the peeling façades of the Alfama and Mouraria districts show dozens of variations.

Source.

 

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