Known worldwide for its rich brand of wine, port, which is drunk internationally with high quality cheeses, as well as Europe-wide for the fast-paced attacking play of the local football team (who also go by the name Porto), Porto’s industrial center is a UNESCO World Heritage site, though undoubtedly not one of the prettier ones. The locals are known throughout Portugal as ‘tripe eaters’ - due to meat rationing for the supply of local ships – while the city is widely considered within the country to be a tad crass, with many people from other regions seeing Porto as a different country altogether from the rest of Portugal.
Of course, there could scarcely be a better reason to visit than that: true independence and quirky values are always enticing to a traveler, and almost make up for the relatively poor array of sights for a city of this size. Ribiera is the place to explore the port cellars, where the smell of fermentation and fruit hangs in the air, before heading on to one of the many city center gardens or climbing one of Porto’s hills to stare out to sea.
If you have a little longer, hop on a Douro River cruise, which will take you winding up into picture-perfect hills, or explore the grape growing districts and spend time on the stunning beaches found either side of Porto’s well-used shipping harbor. Back in the city there’s an odd museum celebrating David (the name, rather than a naked statue or biblical figure) as well as an impressive Photography Museum and – for the well off – helicopter rides to keep you busy. There’s also a panoramic lift system and impressive funicular system to help your explore the rustic old city heart.
Porto is a must see stop off in between the beaches and countryside of Portugal, even if you’ve already been to Lisbon: the difference is just phenomenal. Expect a more authentic side of the country, with little in the way of a local tourism set up and English sometimes proving genuinely difficult for communication. You’ll love it all the more for it, though.
Guimarães is a city located in the northwest of Portugal, district of Braga. It has 52.182 inhabitants for an urban area of 23.5 km2.
It is one of the most important historical cities in …