… 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.
Portugal’s attractiveness reached the other side of the Atlantic. The Boston Globe emphasises how a small country like Portugal has a varied range of offerings, “good food, rich history, great views and temperate climate”.
Lisbon is described as a city that “looks less like a national capital than an unusually large Mediterranean village”, where one can still witness people drying their clothes out in their windows and merchants drying their fish in the sun. The article points out places like Rossio square with its “majestic fountains”, the Commercial Square (Praça do Comércio, in Portuguese) representing the historic connection to the sea, the nightlife at Cais do Sodré, the street art booming throughout the city, Belém and its famous pastries.
300km north, the city of Porto is pictured as “handsome and elegant”, with granite structures “packed on the hilly landscape and covered with colorful tiles”. The D. Luis Bridge, resembling the Eiffel tower architecture, the beautiful tiles of S. Bento train station, right in the heart of Porto, the Harry Potter inspiring bookstore Lello and McDonald’s – yes, McDonald’s – in Porto downtown are some the must-sees mentioned.
Between the days spent in Lisbon and Porto, the article recommends a pit stop in Óbidos, “a picturesque walled town with winding streets” and Sintra, the Unesco World Heritage Site, with the colorful and unique Pena Palace deserving all the attention, though Sintra has much more too offer and definitely worth the visit.
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.
Airbnb recently did a research on where in Europe their American users are planning or willing to travel in the near future. The preferred destinations surprised them and their readers also. The number one preferred destination is Porto, in Portugal.
Portugal’s second largest city, Porto, has been a popular destination for European travellers for the past few years since is located just 2-3 hours by plane from the most important European cities. The increasing number of low cost flights operating to and from the city have spread the curiosity about the city. The North region of the country is known for its natural landscape, like the Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Porto is described as a city for those who are looking for “wine, parties in summertime, historic churches and bell towers, and Baroque and Beaux-Arts architecture”. And Airbnb gives an advice to their readers: since many Americans are planning to travel to Porto the best choice is to “[…] get there before everyone else does!”
Visiting Europe has always been a dream vacation for Americans, but destinations like London, Paris and Rome used to top preferences. The fact that Porto is the number one on the list even took Airbnb by surprise.
Here is the complete top 5:
Also on the list of the preferred destinations to travel from San Francisco is Porto, followed by Vienna and Stockholm.
Online editors of Hello magazine visited Porto and its surroundings to discover why the city voted twice as the “Best European Destination”
Porto is Portugal’s second largest city, located in the North of the country. For those who associate Portugal to sunny beaches in the Algarve region, the editors created a guide to this city full of history and a rich culture. Highlighting the fact that:
“Culture is also high on the agenda, with Porto’s historical centre listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”
The article emphasizes a must visit to the Palacio da Bolsa, the former Stock Exchange, a 19th century building which took 66 years to build.
Being Porto the birthplace of Porto Wine, no trip to the city is complete without a visit to the many wine cellars and a cruise along the Douro river to see the astonishing views of the Douro Valley where wine grapes are cultivated. Douro cruises also offer, according to the article:
“[…] an unrivalled glimpse at the medieval relics, colourful houses and narrow cobbled streets that add to Porto’s charm.”
The modern art foundation Serralves is also a must see place not only for the art exhibitions but also for the “stunning gardens”. Porto surroundings are also a must see. Hello magazine suggests a day trip to Guimarães, the city that was named European Capital of Culture in 2012. It’s must see places are the medieval buildings and 10th century castle, which are a “well worth visit”.
Click here to read the full article on Hello Magazine.