Porto - Top 5 Areas

by Ana Magalhães

Located in the north of Portugal, Porto is the second largest city in the country, world famous for its wine, its bridges, the contemporary architecture that merges in the old and its historical center classified as World Heritage.The classic labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys crowned by Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical architecture, show a Portuguese city par excellence. Porto is full of charms, lovely people and mouthwatering food and drink. And if words can’t fully express all the fascination, do not waste time and go personally to know the capital of the North.

1. Avenida dos Aliados

In honor of the Allies of World War I, Avenida dos Aliados combines history and architectural heritage. With the City Hall at the top (which can be visited on the first Sunday of each month under prior appointment), and below, Praça General Humberto Delgado and Praça da Liberdade, here is the center of the city of Porto, with emphasis still on the imposing equestrian statue of D. Pedo IV. Here you can appreciate the façades of ornate buildings in baroque and neoclassical style, with obvious connotations of French art. The various cafes and restaurants around will allow you to experience and absorb the local environment.

Nearby, it is also possible to visit the Torre dos Clérigos and the Cathedral, passing by the Estação de São Bento where you can admire the historic twenty thousand tiles that illustrate the evolution of transports and scenes of the history and life of the Portuguese people.

To unwind and do some shopping, Rua de Cedofeita and Rua de Santa Catarina have everything you need. At Rua das Flores, there are several options to find your perfect jewelry. And that’s where you are right on the edge of the city center and Ribeira revealing, perhaps, the true face of Porto.

2. Ribeira

Ribeira, which is part of the Historic Center of the City of Porto and extends along the Douro River, is one of the most iconic places in the city, especially Praça da Ribeira, locally known as Praça do Cubo. The row of colorful houses with red roof in the typical Portuguese style provide a unique experience and make your trip even more special.

Of obligatory passage are the entanglement of streets and alleys, taking you to some of the main places to visit, such as Casa do Infante, Palácio da Bolsa and Igreja de São Francisco. The wonderful engineering work that is the Dom Luís I Bridge, which connects Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia, is the pinnacle of Ribeira’s innate charm.

3. Vila Nova de Gaia

Being in Porto, on the banks of the Douro River, a trip to the other side, Vila Nova de Gaia is obligatory. Here it is possible to visit the various wineries of the world famous Porto Wine and know the wine traditions, some of which are still practiced today.

The tour will also include the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, and you can climb the cable car and take advantage of the fabulous views of the river and Porto, the Teixeira Lopes Museum, the exquisite chapel of Senhora de Pedra, by the sea, and definitely, but even further afield, the sandy beaches that stretch along the Atlantic.

4. Foz

To better discover Porto and its history, a trip to Foz will leave you completely surprised. A little away from the city center, you can enjoy a trip on the historic tram that will take you along the banks of the river until it meets the sea.

The Alfândega do Porto, the gardens of Passeio Alegre, the São João Baptista Fort and the many blue flag beaches to Castelo do Queijo are some of the various places that you can visit. To earn energy and satisfy your appetite, stopping at one of the traditional restaurants can be a good strategy.

5. Matosinhos

After a quick stop in the “Forte de S. João”, also Known as “Castelo do Queijo” (cheese castle), with a taste of the sea around it you can find Matosinhos, a mandatory place to visit in the summer or in the winter.

It is possible to recharge all your energies and feel delightful with the different typical restaurants around the region, all with fresh fish and seafood. Here, where the sun, sea and beach become in one, why not take a walk on the city park, and take the opportunity to visit Sea Life?