Portugal’s second-largest city, the beautiful, historic city of Porto, has a way of drawing one in, making visitors fall in love at first sight with its bustling riverside, and wine cellars tucked away into the hillside. Once visitors have tasted the filling cuisine served with a jug of local wine, they do not ever want to leave.
Discover Porto and the North
Quaint Porto and The Historic North of Portugal
The Capital of the North
Porto is often considered the true essence of Portugal – the heart of Portuguese traditions, culture, and lifestyle. In fact, the north is the birthplace of modern Portugal, the country having got its name from the ancient port city itself, which was once a busy harbour shipping its fortified local wine around the world.
Rising out of the northern bank of the Douro River, the riverside district of Ribeira, with its characteristic mish-mash of houses, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the narrow, winding streets that lace inland home to a seemingly infinite number of restaurants and bars serving authentic local food and drink – including port wine, of course, and the famous Francesinha sandwich.
Further up the bank, the Baixa district is Porto’s downtown area, featuring most of the city’s landmarks, sweeping squares and striking murals of Azulejo tile artwork, which adorn the facades of buildings and the entire inside of the main train station, São Bento.
Gorgeous vistas, castles, manors, and sanctuaries abound in the mountainous northern reaches of Portugal, authentic cuisine and wine just waiting to be sampled at each stop. Just like the city of Porto, the north, in general, is quintessentially Portuguese, though each town and city certainly has its own personality, which cannot be contained.
Named the cultural capital of Europe in 2001, Porto is a modern city with all the charm of its rich past just waiting to sweep visitors away.