» Tips and advices for visiting Porto ...
Porto represents a wonderful vacation offer for the ones that are both culture and art of making wine lovers.
Porto is the commercial centre of the Northern Portugal and the industrial centre of the wine commerce in Portugal - check rentals available in Portugal.
The city has the atmosphere of a North European city due to its granite church
towers, dark and indifferent buildings, narrow streets and its baroque thesaurus.
During 2001 it was appointed European Cultural Capital.
Placed on the rocks above Rio Douro, Porto is connected by four bridges with the industrial area Vila Nova de Gaia, where are located the most of wine factories and wine store houses.
Due to the wine commerce, close connections developed between this city and England where Porto is known as “Oporto”.
There are voices that assert that the Porto Wine was invented by English People.
The legend says that in 1678, two boys of a rich Englishman stayed for a time in a monastery on Upper Douro. They discovered that by adding a small quantity of Cognac in the sweet wine of Douro, results a wine that could face the temperature changes and the long sea travels. Coming back to England, the two brothers brought with them large quantities of this fortified wine that became known as Porto Wine.
Nowadays, Porto is a commercial city, with a great appetite for food and drink. The region specialties include roast pork, fresh salmon, loach, trout and tripe.
Otherwise Porto is a sober city. Except a city diner, there is not much offer of night life. You can listen to “fado” in some restaurants, as Mal Cozinhado or Taverna de São Jorge. The young people prefer the disco clubs around Ribeira and suburbs.
The Old City
The core of the city is Praça da Liberdade with a statue of Pedro the IVth in the centre. Walking on Avenida dos Aliados among flower layers and mosaic alleys you come to Câmara Municipal (town hall).
At south-east of Praça da Liberdade there is Praça da Almeida garret where is the station Estação São Bento, having a nice entry decorated with traditional “azulejos” describing historical scenes. This is the proper place to start a train travel along Rio Douro to Pocinho.
In the same area there are many touristic target such as Cathedral Sé, “Palácio do Bispo”, Igreja Santa Clara.
On the western side, at the end of street Rua Infante Dom Henrique, there is the bastion of the English life, Feitoria inglesa (Factory house).
Here, the old English Porto Wine merchants develop their businesses, play billiard or cards, read English papers and enjoy English food, in the same way they did it in the last 200 years. The strangers are allowed to visit the place only against a special authorization issued by The British Merchants Association of Porto Wine.
Other special places can be visited in Porto: Palácio de Bolsa, Instituto de Vinho do Porto, Torre dos Clérigos.
The most alive side of the city is Cais da Ribeira where many small shops and restaurants are built directly in the remains of the old city.
In the upper side there is the wonderful Ponte de Dona Maria Pia, a railway bridge built in 1876 by Gustave Eiffel. It is not in operation now being replaced by the new bridge São João.
In the Oporto center there is the good-looking Ponte Dom Luis I, an iron bridge with two levels, built in 1886 offering splendid views.
How to choose a hotel
In Portugal and in the same measure in Porto region, the accommodation offer varies from luxury hotels to private usually rooms. The medium price accommodation offer, increases due to the enlargement of the hotels number owned by Portuguese people and by strangers too.
Other rental variants are also available: Pousadas – inns owned by state or manors – a pleasant rural alternative to hotels or Pousadas.