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Porto, a city of contrasts

Porto, a city of contrasts

Pedestrian, 5 km, 2 days

Portugal's second city after Lisbon has given its name to some of the most famous wines in the world ... A misty, Oceanic city. As traditional and durable as granite, but also lively and full of resources, Porto will captivate even the most discerning traveler. Our tour will enable you to capture its most picturesque aspects.

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1

Old Porto   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Terreiro da Sé 4000 Porto
Architecture, castles and historic districts

The town's history goes way back into the past. In the olden days, two towns stood opposite controlling the estuary: Portus (the Port) on the right bank of the Douro and Cale on the left. Today old Porto has small picturesque streets like the rua das Flores flanked by 18C houses with emblazoned facades and which was formerly the street of the goldsmiths and the jewellers.

2

The bridges of Porto  

Cais da Ribeira 4000 Porto
Architecture, castles and historic districts

The banks of the Douro are linked by several remarkable bridges. Among them one must mention the Maria Pia railway bridge, built by Gustave Eiffel, which is the most elegant with its single arch with a 350m span ; the D Luis I road bridge, built in 1886, which is the symbol of Porto and which formed part of the world heritage and the d'Arrabida road bridge, opened in 1963, which crosses the Douro in a single concrete arch of around 270m.

3

Cais da Ribeira   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Cais da Ribeira 4000 Porto
Architecture, castles and historic districts

This area in the historic centre, which formed part of the world heritage, has been the subject, over several years, of important restoration work. The quay, dominated by the high silhouette of the metal bridge of D. Luis I, is the most picturesque place in Porto with its old houses decorated with multicoloured washing. A small fish and vegetable market adds to the hubbub during the day and at night, the night owls all meet there.

4

Rua das Flores  

R. das Flores 4000 Porto
Architecture, castles and historic districts

This small street which goes up towards the São Bento station is flanked by traditional businesses and houses from the 18C with emblazoned facades. It was the old goldsmiths' and jewellers' street. The Santa Casa da Misericordia (beside the Baroque Church da Misericordia) has a remarkable painting from the Flemish school Fons Vitae ( The Fountain of Life) given by King Manuel I around 1520.

The historic district of Porto, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, has retained its authenticity and working class life, with an image of permanently busy tascos (cafes), laundry hanging from windows, small makeshift markets and balcony flowers ... Don’t forget to visit the Casa Oriental, instantly recognizable by its mural, which offers the best salted cod in the city...
5

Estação de São Bento  

Praça da Liberdade 4000 Porto
Architecture, castles and historic districts

Trains for Minho and the Douro have left from this station since 1896. Notice the walls of the waiting room plastered with painted azulejos from 1930 by Jorge Colaço. The scenes depicted recall the traditional life in the north of Portugal as well as important episodes in Portuguese history.

6

Rua das Carmelitas  

R. das Carmelitas 4000 Porto
Architecture, castles and historic districts

You must stop at number 144 in this busy street to study the neo-Gothic facade of the book-shop Lello & Irmão (1881) and its double flighted interior staircase. On the first floor is a small bar where you can sit comfortably amidst the books.

7

Church of São Francisco   Worth a detour Worth a detour

R. do Infante Dom Henrique 4000 Porto
Religious buildings

This Gothic church, which has preserved its pretty rose window, is entered through a 17C doorway. The Baroque decoration is a veritable triumph. The altars, the walls, the vaults, disappear beneath a profusion of gilded and sculpted wood depicting vine branches, cherubs and birds. Notice Jesse's tree, in a chapel on the left... The house of the Third Order of St Francis has a permanent collection of sacred art.

8

As Caves  

Vila Nova de Gala 4000 Porto
Industrial tourism and theme park

The cellars occupy the lower area of the commune house of Villa Nova de Gaia, on the left bank of the Douro. More than 58 Port houses are represented there. The visit to the cellars lets you follow the slow process of port making from wine. The port is stored in 535 litre barrels whose porosity accentuates the ageing process.

The world of Porto is complex and requires a true initiation! All too often, the public’s knowledge of port is the type sold in supermarkets. The best way is to make an appointment to visit one of the respected trading houses known as lodges: Niepoort, Ramos-Pinto, Burmester, Fonseca...

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