… 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:
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.
Nominated three times and three times winner, setting a new record. The city of Porto is once again the Best European Destination.
“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.
The North of Portugal has been gaining a lot of attention for the past few years. It’s biggest city, Porto has been featured in news outlets all over the world. Associated to a trip to Porto is always a trip to Douro, the wine region that is an UNESCO monument.
The Telegraph calls it a trip to the heart of Portugal following the Douro River from Porto to the Spanish border were the reporter found some of the most authentic things Portugal has to offer. In the words of Stanley Stewart, the journalist from the Telegraph who took the trip “the Rio Douro, the River of Gold, is one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe, and the journey upriver one of the most scenic routes on the continent.”
Recently another renowned publication, Travel Weekly wrote about what they called “a chic stay in Portugal wine country” suggesting places to see the Douro River beyond the cosmopolitan city of Porto and where food and wine compete with the astonishing views of the Douro valley for the first place in travellers minds. Like many travellers do, the reports stayed at a property that besides producing their own wine, also offer a luxury stay and great food. And they describe Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House, as “(…)an oasis of flat turf where guests could amble between indoor and outdoor public spaces, relax at the swimming pool and, most definitely, sample a fine dining experience — outdoors, weather permitting — built around fresh, local foods and wine made from the property’s own grapes.”
The exposure Douro is getting in the press is increasing the tourists’ curiosity for the region, making Porto and Douro a must see in 2016.
Portugal’s second largest city, Porto is known for its day cruises up and down the Douro river. But for those wanting to experience the Douro river in its plenitude a cruise up the Douro Valley is the way to go. Cruises can take from two days up to two weeks depending on the experience you are looking for.
Canada.com news website features Porto river cruise lines in an article highlighting why the city is becoming more and more popular for tourists from all over the world. Such popularity is also bringing the interest of international cruise lines, with some already established in Porto and new ones planning to do come next year, as the article refers:
“There are historic churches and museums, of course, and beautifully tiled walkways but I was there to learn more about the Douro and find out why it has become so fast-growing and popular for river cruises. Viking, AMA Waterways, Uniworld and CroisiEurope are here and next year Scenic Cruises will bring its new ship to the Douro, the Scenic Azure, with its all-inclusiveness.”
Douro region is a UNESCO heritage site, with its old vineyards and wineries where the sweet Douro wine is produced.
But travelling across this river is much more than seeing grape vines:
“This cruise leisurely winds through the Douro Valley below spectacular socalcos, stone-walled, terraced vineyards carved into the steep slopes where they’ve been making wine and port for 2,000 years.”
Porto offers its visitors magnificent places like palaces, museums, churches and other historical places in narrow streets up and down the hills.
The city is also famous for its charming streets with plenty of stores and great food. No visit to Porto is complete without a Port Wine tasting in Gaia, across the river, where the most famous brands offer guided tours to the wineries. Viewing Porto from Gaia is an experience everyone visiting should have.