Porto

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Porto is Portugal's second largest city and the capital of the Northern region.

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  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Porto

The first place to begin with is the Ribeira, the part of the city near the river, which is also a good place to start visiting the World Heritage area; to the other side of the river you will see the Ribeira de Gaia, a similar area from the city of Vila Nova de Gaia (the two are only separated by the river) and where you could find the Port Wine Cellars. Next go up to the São Francisco church and the Stock Exchange palace nearby, where you can visit the most impressive Arab room in the country. The world known Modern Art museum at Serralves and the Casa da Música (House of Music) concert hall live in the area known as Boavista. From there you can reach the amazing ocean front drive, known as "Foz". Go back to the center of the city and visit Mercado do Bolhão, a traditional market of fruits, vegetables, fish and meat. Next the Aliados and the City Hall and finally the 6 bridges connecting Porto to Gaia over the Douro river, many of them providing an excellent view to the river. Porto is a mysterious city that reveals its charm to the visitor through time. Take your time, wander through the mazes and alleys of the city. Take in the old, bohemian spirit of the city. Hike through the Ribeira and Foz do Douro regions (the latter, at sunset). Porto may not be in every tourist's Iberian Peninsula itinerary, but it's well worth a visit if you want to see a city that has changed economically, but that has kept its old traditions, something that is being forgotten in Europe today.

  • Centro Português de Fotografia (Portuguese Photography Museum). Housed in a beautiful building in the centre of the city.

City centre

Baixa (downtown)

  • Mercado do Bolhão. A traditional market of fruits, vegetables, fish and meat
West Baixa
  • Livraria Lello. ", near Praça dos Leões and the Universidade do Porto. It's an old bookshop with an amazing interior and spiral staircase, where you can also have a coffee or glass of port. Voted as one of the most beautiful bookshops in Europe
  • Torre dos Clerigos (Clerics' Tower).
  • Soares dos Reis. For Art.

Sao Nicholau

  • Ribeira (Riverfront).
  • Museum of Sacred Art and Archaeology of The Higher Seminary of Oporto, Largo Dr. Pedro Vitorino, 2 (Located in the Church of St. Lawrence (known as the Cricket Church (Igreja Grilo) after the nickname of the religious order that took ownership in 1780). Beginning at the riverfront, head north on R de Mercadores and look for the Igreja Grilo signs directing you into the delightfully narrow streets that lead to the church. Best approached on foot.),  (+351).223.395.020.

West of city center

  • Pavilhão Rosa Mota, A multi purpose pavilion with nice gardens to rest, also known as "Palácio de Cristal". Nearby there is the
  • Museu Romantico, a house where the king of Italy stayed while on exile.

Boavista

  • Casa da Música (House of Music), Avenida da Boavista, 604-610. Designed by Rem Koolhaas and OMA. Guided tour available in English at 16:00 for €4/person, kids under 12 free.
  • Fundação de Serralves (Modern Art Museum). A contemporary museum designed by the famous architect Álvaro Siza, with a huge garden/park and an Art Deco Villa. When visiting this foundation you can visit the exhibitions, relax at the park, have lunch at the restaurant, bar or tea house and explore the shops or the library.

Foz do Douro

  • Castelo de Sao Joao da Foz.

Porto Cathedral

Dom Luis I Bridge

Ferreira Borges Market

Clerigos Church

Church of Sao Francisco

Aliados Square

Ribeira Square

Infante Square

Stock Exchange Palace

Center for Portuguese Photography

Porto City Hall

Carmelitas Church

Crystal Palace Gardens

Museum of Port Wine

Casa da Musica

Dragao Stadium

Boavista Square

Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art

Bessa Stadium

Hospital de S. Joao

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Popular events in Porto in the near future

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About Porto

Background

Porto is a busy industrial and commercial center. The city itself isn't very populous (about 240,000 inhabitants), but the Porto metropolitan area (Greater Porto) has some 1,500,000 inhabitants in a 50 km radius, with cities like Gaia, Matosinhos, Maia, Gondomar, and Espinho.

The city was built along the hills overlooking the Douro river estuary, and its historical center was awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1996. It has been continuously inhabited since at least the 4th Century, when the Romans referred to it as Portus Calle.

Porto has a semi-Mediterranean climate, although it's strongly affected by the Atlantic ocean, which makes it's cooler than other cities with this climate. Temperatures can rise as high as 40°C in August during occasional heat waves. Winters are mild and humid, with occasional cold nights when temperatures can drop below 0°C.

Porto has always been a mercantile city. This is evident in the style of the buildings lining the Avenida dos Aliados, the core of the downtown area. The center of town, unlike other major Portuguese cities, which tend towards the baroque, is granite and monumental.

Residents of Porto are nicknamed the Tripeiros, or tripe eaters. This is based on the legend of the city's inhabitants going without meat in order to provision the fleet (which left from Porto) that left to conquer Ceuta in North Africa in 1415. As the story goes, they had to subsist on tripe soup, which is a specialty of the city.

Citizens of Porto, while definitely Portuguese, hold themselves apart culturally from the rest of the country, as is expressed in the often heard phrase "o Porto é uma nação" (Porto is a nation). Outsiders often consider Porto to be more crass and mercantile than the rest of the country, and the inhabitants to be somewhat lacking in social graces. This is likely because the city has historically been dominated by Portuguese bourgeoisie and English trading factions rather than the nobility. The Portuenses, to use the correct term for the inhabitants, of course disagree, regarding themselves with some justification as being the economic heart of the nation. As the saying goes, "Porto works, Braga Prays, Coimbra studies, and Lisbon gets the money."

The city is officially styled "a muito nobre, sempre leal e invicta cidade do Porto" (the very noble, always faithful, and invincible city of Porto). This is usually shortened to "a Cidade Invicta" (the invincible city) a title won because of Porto's unparalleled resistance against Napoleonic troops during the Peninsular war.

The city is quite varied architecturally, with medieval as well as modern living side by side. Porto's geography is hard on the feet, but pleasant to the eye. The city is extremely hilly, with many buildings built into a cliff face that overlooks the river. Stairs cut into the stone run up and down the cliff face and offer a laborious but rewarding walking tour. Across the river from Porto proper, in the suburb of Gaia, are located the warehouses of notable Porto wine companies, such as Cálem, Ferreira, Fonseca, Sandeman, Kopke and others.

While the local attitude is friendly, to outsiders it is worth noting that locals can respond literally to questions, which may seem slightly off-putting to the uninitiated. An example of this would be to ask in a bar if they have a menu (for food) and to receive a straight 'no' as a response. It's after further questions that one can find out that the establishment doesn't sell food. Such a response is not considered rude, it is merely direct and literal.

If you speak in Spanish to a local, you will be largely understood and as a rule they will freely converse with you, but from time to time, more so with the older generation, you may be politely reminded that you are in Portugal and the native language is Portuguese.

Activities

  • Take a cruise upriver - the cost is about 10€ and takes about 50 minutes, or you may also choose a day-long cruise for a higher price. Go at least as far as Pinhão - the landscape is absolutely stunning. If you choose to do this in the summer, don't forget your factor 50 sun screen! Look for cruises picking up on the Vila Nova de Gaia side (the same as where the port caves are located), as some of them may offer discounts for cave tours or port purchases. [9].
  • Take a port wine tour and visit the various wine caves! This is a must as Porto is the port wine capital. The cellars are in Vila Nova de Gaia, a 5 minute walk from Ribeira across the Douro river, and there are extremely convenient bus pick-ups from easily accessible areas to take you up the winding hills to the cellars. Tours vary in price but generally cost 3-5€ and include a tasting. Most all have English speaking tours along with Spanish, Portuguese, and French. There are also quite a number of cellars offering free tastings.
  • Go on a self-guided walking tour of the city of Porto. [10].
  • Visit the Dragão Stadium, home of FC Porto. The team has a rich history, having won the World Club Championship or Intercontinental Cup twice, Champions League twice, UEFA Cup once and UEFA Supercup once - and the stadium is worth a visit on the architecture alone. If you are lucky you might get to see a game of the Champions League... also, just across from the stadium you have a large shopping center, according to a joke built to block the wind from affecting the stadium.
  • If you feel creative and up to an artistic challenge, take this opportunity to participate in a workshop oriented by local artists and craftspeople. Be sure to take home, not only the memory of the moment, but also the sense of accomplishment through the work produced. Tile painting | Glass Fusing | Gilding | Seat Weaving | Printmaking | Creative Sketching Oporto | One day with an artist [11]
  • Go out at night to the downtown. Three major hubs of bars are Piolho, Galerias Paris and Praça de Ceuta. Just follow the crowds and have a good time. :)

Food

Porto has some of the finest restaurants in Portugal.

It is said that if you like to eat, you should go to Porto because it is a place where you eat well in terms of quality and amount (even Lisbon citizens say that in Porto is where they eat the best food). The best restaurants of the city are mainly located in Matosinhos near the beach and the seaport called "Porto de Leixões".

Expect hearty meals, and if you can, try "Tripas à moda do Porto". Be aware, however, that this is a tripe dish. Citizens of Porto are called tripeiros (tripe-eaters) on account of this dish. Also try the salted codfish "Bacalhau" - in any way it is cooked - there are hundreds of different dishes with salted codfish!

Don't forget the traditional dish called "Francesinha", which literally translated means little French lady. This city is just about the only place in the world where you can find it. However, in many other northern Portuguese cities you can find a low quality version of it. Essentially it is a toast with layers of meat inside (beef, pork meat, ham...). It is covered with cheese and a spicy sauce, with the option of including french fries on top. Most importantly, this dish must be accompanied by beer and not wine. The "Francesinha" has been considered one of the 10 best sandwiches in the World.

A good tip is taking the bus or subway to Matosinhos in July, there will be the fish festival. Freshly caught fish is being served the same day at barbecues lined up in the streets just a few blocks from the main beach. You choose a fish (only whole fish) and they prepare it on the streets for you - not a fancy restaurant, but together with the local people you are eating the best tasting fish you ever had! Try a dourada, it is delicious.

Porto is dotted with thousands of different bakeries (Pão Quente) and pastry shoppes (Pastelarias). Apart from serving delicious (and quite inexpensive) goods, they are also equipped with a side-cafe that serves all sorts of coffees (Pingo, Meia de Leite, etc.) and sandwiches (Tosta Mista-ham and cheese toastie). Note that, unlike the other river side cafes in the city, these establishments do not have picturesque views of Porto (that's expensive, and in the end, you'd be the one paying for that bill). Instead, they attract tourists by offering good food at very cheap prices.

Most locals drink black coffee (espresso).

There is at least one fully vegetarian restaurant in Porto, Paladar da Alma (Rua de Santo Ildefonso 293/5), and some other restaurants which offer vegetarian dishes alongside non-vegetarian options, such as Capa Verde (Rua da Nossa Senhora de Fátima). Vegans may have to ask for dishes to be specially prepared for them, even in vegetarian restaurants.

Budget

  • O Terraço Vegan Spot, on Rua Nova da Alfândega go up on Escadas do Caminho Novo just before Rua da Armenia. Open Thur-Sat 3:30pm-12am, Sun 3:30-7:30pm, closed Mon-Wed. A vegan restaurant with specialties of sandwiches, hummus and other spreads, mini pizzas, tartes, natural juices, smoothies, cakes, in-house-made fried snacks and more. Most ingredients are from local producers. From the terrace direct view of the Douro river. http://oterracoveganspot.wordpress.com/home/
  • Nakite, R. de Breyner, 396, Porto Portugal, Open Mon-Sat 12.00-15.00, 19.00-23.00. Vegetarian restaurant and health food store. Budget menus available including vegetarian "francesinha", day dishes featuring tofu, seitan and tempeh paired nicely with goat cheese, shiitake mushrooms and other fresh ingredients. Cozy atmosphere both inside as in the back garden. Try also the special beers they might have available.
  • Maus Habitos, Rua Passos Manuel 178, at the 4th floor of an old parking garage opposite Oporto Coliseum. Open Mon-Fri 12.00-15.00. Vegetarian restaurant by day, youth culture clubhouse at night. Menu changes weekly (according to the site http://www.maushabitos.com/restaurante/) and costs 9 euros (7.50 excl. dessert).
  • Paladar da Alma, rua de St Ildefonso, 293/295. Open Mon - Wed: 12:00 - 15:00, Thu - Sat: 12:00 - 15:00, 20:00 - 23:00. The vegetarian food is based on Portuguese and Mediterranean cuisines with influences from other parts of the world (https://www.facebook.com/paladardaalma/info). The owner is also the cook.
  • Âncora d'Ouro (the golden anchor), between the Cordoaria park and the Praça dos Leões.

The third oldest cafe in Porto, it is commonly known as "O Piolho" (the Louse). The cafe looks out on the street facing a faculty of the Universidade do Porto, and had been a meeting place for students since the 19th century. Plaques donated by graduating medical classes from the early 20th century onward decorate the walls. During the fascist period (1926-1974) it was a regular meeting place of "undesirables" (according to the regimes point of view), and was accordingly under regular surveillance by the secret police. On one occasion it was raided by the GNR (Guarda Nacional Republicana) who have a post nearby, and they charged their horses into the cafe itself. It is uncertain if the place's current disorder results from this or more recent activities. Service is surly, the place isn't at all fancy, but it is usually stuffed to the gills with students. Its also quite cheap.

  • Casa Adão, Avenida Ramos Pinto, 252. VILA NOVA DE GAIA.

Located on the other side of the Douro river, is a restaurant that serves generous plates serving one hungry person or two who eat normal.

  • Tà-se Bem Largo Sampaio Bruno 25, Vila Nova de Gaia

As one of the last restaurants along the river in the Gaia area,it was a great place to stop and have a lengthy lunch before heading out to do some port tasting. With delicious and hearty selections for a good price, it is also very popular with the local crowd—during lunch it was completely full of people who work in the area. Skip the touristy cafes and head here for an authentic experience.

Mid-range

  • Mauritânia Grill - Avenida Combatantes Grande Guerra 50,Leça da Palmeira 4450 MATOSINHOS

Nice restaurant with excellent views over the Leça Beach. The space is very light with many windows and it has is own parking lot. The decoration varies along the year (one of the few restaurants that does that) for e.g. Summer, Christmas, Halloween, Easter etc. The employees are usually kind and funny. They care about the client. Sometimes they prank you, so don't be surprised if they simulate that are spilling coffee on you.

  • Casa Da Foz Rua Padre Luís Cabral - Porto 4150-461 PORTO

Excellent Italian restaurant. Wide variety of dishes. Extremely small, so it's best to call ahead and reserve a table.

  • Varanda Da Barra Rua Paulo Gama 470 4150-589 PORTO

Great restaurant that serves traditional Portuguese, Italian and "International" food. Nice riverside view.

  • Galeria de Paris Restaurante Bar, 56 Rua Galeria de Paris.

Splurge

  • O Filipe - Avenida Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco 36-r/c 4450-110 MATOSINHOS. One of the best restaurants to eat fresh fish. Small but cozy, it can be expensive but depends on what you order. Parking is difficult to find in this area but you may park in front of the restaurant and they will take care of the car when needed (e.g. Parking Available, obstructing the road, etc.).
  • Marisqueira de Matosinhos, Rua Roberto Ivens, 7174450-255. Matosinhos Another great restaurant; if you like shellfish this is one of the best places in Porto.

Drinks

Porto is home to port wine of course, and there are many wineries around the city where port wine is brewed. Strictly speaking, port wine can only be called port wine if the grapes are grown in the Douro valley, and the wine is produced and bottled in Porto. Port wines come in many styles, with vintage port being the most expensive.

Mid-range

  • Solar Vinho do Porto +351 226094749, e-mail: solarporto@ivp.pt. Rua de Entre-Quintas 220. A villa with port samples and a great view of the Douro. Open M-Sa 2PM to midnight. This is the perfect place to sit in soft chairs or outside in the garden and enjoy a few glasses of the finest ports. You can also have cheese with your port.

Beware however of the area, as it tends to be a haven for car break-ins.

Dance clubs

Dance clubs here always start very (very) late, around 1AM-2AM, and end up from 6AM-7:30AM. You have a nice choice to pick from.

  • POP, Rua Padre Luis Cabral, 1090. One the best discos in the city. Consumption around €15. Open at Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Twins. Rua do Passeio Alegre 1000. One the best discos in the city. Consumption around 15€. Open at Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Creme - Edifício Transparente, (between Castelo do Queijo and Matosinhos) Foz.
  • Pitch R. de Passos Manuel 34
  • Industria. Avenida do Brasil nº 843, Foz. "local heroes and international superstars" - going since 1987. It's open until around 6AM.
  • Bla-Bla A quite popular chill-out disco in the Industrial Area of Matosinhos. A more pleasing club for fans of rock and alternative pop.
  • Via Rápida A popular disco in the Industrial Area. The nightclub opens Fridays and Saturdays and it's always crowded. The music heard are the latest dance hits and the crowd is 20ish.
  • Vogue A trendy night club, with a young crowd. Usually plays commercial dance hits and hip hop /R&B. Located in the industrial area of the city. Overpriced drinks.
  • Act if you're in your late teens, this is the place for you. Its in the industrial area of the city, and plays all the latest worldwide hits.
  • Bazaar. A design bar, that is also a clothing shop and book shop. It closes around 4AM.
  • Estado Novo It provides to its clients a wide range of music, from the 80's hits til today's dance hits. Every Thursday is a special night for ladies, called "wild wild woman". It opens from Thursday to Saturday and minimum consumption is €15.
  • Passos Manuel, Rua de Passos Manuel. A dance club/bar frequented by the arty crowd, with a varied but tasteful selection of music and a warm decór.
  • Triplex A club that is located close to Boavista. Note that a three-storey house with a garden was transformed into a club.
  • HardClub Is going to be open in other place in 2007.
  • Maus Hábitos A very alternative bar, right in the center of the city, in front of "Coliseu".
  • Chic Trendy dance club in the industrial area of the city, mainly plays house music. Crowd is usually in their 20s.
  • Bela Cruz (currently closed) It used to be a caffee. It is at the end of Avenida da Boavista next to "Gonçalves Zarco" roundabout, know as "Castelo do Queijo" roundabout, because of the fortress next to it, by the sea. It now works as a caffe and as a restaurant with live concerts during the weekdays. On weekend nights, it is a restaurant, bar and disco. Minimal consumption is usually €10.
  • Plano B. Near Torre dos Clérigos, is a popular art gallery / bar installed on Porto's historic center.
  • Mau Mau Located in the Foz region, its a popular nightclub with varying musical styles, from house to pop to R&B.
  • River Caffé, near the River Douro. Young crowd, and normally plays the latest dance hits. Lately it has been known for some late night violence, so you'd rather not spend too long there.
  • Maré Alta Located on the river front, its a small place that's known for its after hour parties. Usually a young crowd. Music is normally electronic.

There are some glbt clubs/bars in Porto.Late nite scene.

Bars & Pubs

  • Ryan's Irish Pub. In the Ribeira, nice cozy atmosphere and friendly bar staff. Always a good place to start
  • Trintaeum In the Foz area near the lighthouse, quite small, cool decoration, and cool crowd and not too pricey. Open till very late.
  • Triplex On the Avenida Boavista in a big old house. Fantastic garden bar which is great in the summer. There's a restaurant upstairs too.
  • Praia do Ourigo Beach bar in Foz. Has to be the bar with the best view in town. Set on stilts over the beach. Has a restaurant too.
  • Cais de Gaia This is a bar region in riverfront area in the neighbour city of Vila Nova de Gaia. Its a modern zone for bars and clubs, usually priced a little higher than normal bars. You have a great view of the river and the beautiful city of Porto.
  • Ribeira region This area is full of bars and pubs where you can have a pleasant time with an incredible view, before going to the bigger clubs around the city. Most bars are relatively close to each other, and in some there is no entrance fee. Usually most of these bars close from 3AM-4AM, after which the area becomes deserted. Be sure to go either home or to a club after, because when this area becomes deserted you may feel a bit insecure.
  • Prioridade Located in the Ribeira region, this bar is one of the cheapest in the area. It's probably the only decent place in the whole of the Ribeira region (and probably, in the city) where you can get a large beer for only a few euros. They also serve spirits and cocktails, at very cheap prices as well. My suggestion, if you are planning a night out, is to get loaded at this bar before clubbing, since the price of drinks in the clubs can be outrageously high and you may find yourself with no taxi fare money to return to your home, hotel, hostel, etc. It's quite tricky to find, since it's tucked away in a rather isolated (but quite nice) place; it's near the D. Luis I bridge. Ask the locals, they'll know where it is

Shopping

For shopping, take a stroll around the Mercado do Bolhão which has a food market and handicrafts stores, and Santa Catarina street (highly recommended, even if only to stroll), which is near Bolhão. Cedofeita street is also a busy shopping street, as well as Boavista. Porto and the suburbs have plenty of shopping centers, including Norte Shopping, Arrábida Shopping, Parque Nascente, Gaia Shopping and Mar Shopping (the biggest IKEA group shopping in Europe). Apart from these you also have less populated shops that are smaller but still great ( Shopping Cidade do Porto, Via Catarina, etc.). Almost all the shops are open every day, but are usually overcrowded during the weekends and rainy days.

Port wine, of course. This is the right place for it, in the city of Gaia, just south of the Douro river.

You can also find great deals on clothes and shoes, especially during discount seasons.

MUUDA, Rua do Rosário, 294-4050-522, (email: Info@muuda.com), [12]. "Art, food and design". This concept store offers a great variety of products signed by Portuguese designers. Fashion, objects, books, jewelery, shoes, gourmet and arts. You can have lunch at MUUDA, experience a wine or sushi workshop, learn how to make tricot, the newest painting techniques, photography... and much more.

AGUAS FURTADAS aguasfurtadasdesign.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/pages/Águas-Furtadas-Design/110326175646263 Rua Miguel Bombarda, 285 (CCB, Loja 4) Tel. (+351) 968 237 139 Looking for unique objects or original Portuguese design? This is the place for it. From a minimalist Barcelos cockerel to colorful ceramics, you won't find many of these pieces anywhere else.

CCB - CENTRO COMERCIAL BOMBARDA ccbombarda.blogspot.com Rua de Miguel Bombarda, 285 This is not the regular shopping mall. It's much smaller and with specialty stores related to art and fashion. Look for Portuguese design, organic cosmetics, or contemporary jewelry, and then head to the galleries down the street.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Porto on Wikivoyage.

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