A mild climate all year round and renowned wineries, here are some suggestions on what to do in a weekend in Porto, a lively city in Portugal.
Porto stands on the mouth of the Douro River that crosses vines and UNESCO heritage valleys. The river marks the landscape and is an integral part of the city, the third largest in Portugal. Start your weekend in Porto from the historic Ribeira district.
It is the most characteristic with low and narrow houses with colored facades, wrought iron balconies or decorated with azulejos. Walk through the squares and alleys and sip a coffee in one of the many little places that lead up the hill. The district overlooks the river where the ancient Rabelos boats still used have been used since Roman times to transport the Port wine from the vines to Vila Nova de Gaia.
Ribeira also offers striking views of the Dom Luis Bridge, the symbol of the city. Built by a collaborator of Gustave Eiffel, the bridge has an arched shape. It is made of iron and consists of two floors, one for the passage of pedestrians and another for the crossing of cars. Then go to the Batalha district to admire the buildings covered with azulejos like the Cathedral, which is externally Gothic and internally Baroque. Also visit the cloister and look at the view from the outside walkway. Even the train station is a destination for visitors to the beautiful azulejos that decorate it.
Continue your weekend in Porto in one of the most evocative places, the Libreria Lello and Irmao. This is a truly magical place, it is believed that the writer J.K. Rowling drew inspiration for his Harry Potter saga here. A small jewel with wooden stairs, Gothic and liberty elements and a large number of texts in all languages.
Continue your weekend in Porto with a visit to the Palazzo della Bolsa, full of richly decorated themed rooms like the Arab one. The city is also home to modern and futuristic buildings such as the Technological Center of the Sea and the House of Music, the latter of asymmetric shape, in concrete and with large windows that allow internal and external dialogue.
Before leaving, treat yourself to a little shopping on the main street via Catarina during your weekend in Porto and take a trip to the central market. Nearby are the church of Sant’Alfonso and the Chapel of Souls, entirely covered with azulejos.
If the weather is nice, rent the bikes and reach the lighthouse. Even the beaches are close to the city and in summer reach them with the typical trams. Finally, go to Vila Nova de Gaia to taste the Port wine in one of the many wine cellars on the left bank of the Duero.
Before ending your weekend in Porto, sip a coffee at the historic Majestic and taste a Pasteis de Nata, the typical cream cake.
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