Discover the enchanting Porto!

porto

The marvellous city of Porto, which is considered the capital of the north and as the second largest city in Portugal, is a historic mercantile city with charm and beauty written into its very name, eager to welcome thousands of visitors every year!
Porto’s most striking characteristic is that of ”faded grandeur”. There are very few remaining cities in Europe that can do ”faded grandeur” quite on the scale of Porto, you’d have to travel to Cuba or Argentina for competition. The feeling is accentuated by the mix of Baroque, Neoclassical and splash of Belle Epoque architecture, all in varying degrees of preservation.

The centre is a World Heritage site, outstanding by the rich and various heritage: the medieval walls, gleaming Baroque churches, the compact streets of the Ribeira district, the Romanesque Cathedral and that’s just the beginning.
There are a lot of things to discover in this beautiful fascinating city and definitely lots of amazing places to admire and live at its fullest!

To fully discover Porto and its history, you definitely have to visit Foz do Douro. Facing the Atlantic you’ll be amazed by an incredible quality of life, the utmost romantic walks, where every evening sun and sea merge into one spectacular climax.

These beaches proudly display the blue flag eco-label, a sign of high quality unpolluted seawater. Take a stroll under the “Pergola da Foz” , which was built in the 1930′s as the Mayor’s wife fell in love with  the “Promenade des Anglais” in the French town of Nice, and she simply had to have the same in Porto. Here it is called the “Praia dos Ingleses” a reminder that the English (and other British citizens) have always enjoyed a close relationship with Portugal.

The Porto Cathedral is one of the most attracting destinations when traveling to this city. The Cathedral dates from the 12th century but underwent several transformations over time. It’s located in an elevated part of the city, near what remains of the walls. You can see that its facade is clearly Romanesque, presenting two towers and a rose window in the center. However, most of its style is Baroque, such as the side facade and some elements inside. The cloister presents a Gothic style. It is one of the oldest buildings in Porto having witnessed the wedding of the king John I with English princess Philippa of Lancaster in 1387. Porto Cathedral is not very large, yet there are several areas that can be visited.
The Gothic cloister is very attractive. On the walls it has seven 18th century panels of tiles with scenes of the mystical dialogue between God and the Virgin. The sacristy is a beautiful room highly decorated in baroque style. Its walls are colorful and they display sacred art as well as attractive furniture. The Chapter House is an 18th century building. Some of its walls are also covered with tile panels, and here we can see various religious sculptures. The Chapter House’s ceiling attracts the attention due to its paintings made by Giovani Battista Pachini. They represent 14 moral allegories around Saint Michael.

Sitting atop a bluff, the gorgeous botanical garden Crystal Palace is one of Porto’s best-loved escapes, with lawns interwoven with sun-dappled paths and dotted with fountains, sculptures, giant magnolias, camellias, cypress and olive trees. It’s actually a mosaic of small gardens that open up little by little as you wander – as do the stunning views of the city and Rio Douro.
This was the site of Porto’s Crystal Palace, which lasted from 1865 to 1961 and was modelled on the monument in London. These gardens were devised to complement that palace and were landscaped by the German Émile David.
Its design is still in place, and there are fountains and allegorical sculptures to the seasons. The gardens are planted with gingko, pines, camellias, rhododendrons and beech trees, and your path might be crossed by a peacock or two.
Have the most impressive and breathtaking adventure in rejoicing the views over Porto, Gaia and the Douro! The Crystal Palace Garden has definitely got one of the best views in Porto.

No matter what you’re visitiong while in Portugal, fitting in time for the beach it’s a must. The coast in the north is a bit more rugged and very romantic, and Porto’s Foz do Douro also has the Pergola da Foz which adds an extra enchanting element.
Probably the most easy to access are the string of rock and sand beaches in Foz where you will be spoilt for choice of beachfront cafe. However, for the real beachgoer there is only one choice – Matosinhos beach with its wide stretch of fine golden sand and consistently good surf.
A little further afield there are some truly great beaches in the resort towns of Espinho, Esposende, Vila do Conde and the Aveiro area, all of which can be visited as a day trip from Porto.

Believe it or not, the tram in Porto is one of the oldest electrified transport systems in Europe, as it was inaugurated in 1895.
It was a very popular transport, but since the 60′s it has been slowly abandoned by the locals, who prefer to use faster means of transport on their daily lives.
Nowadays, there are only three lines on the tram in Porto, which are mostly used by tourists and a few elder locals. Taking a ride on a tram in Porto is a good idea for extraordinary rides in the past!

There are really very few similarities between Porto and Lisbon – they are both near the coast, on the banks of large rivers and they have some fairly daunting hills, but that’s really where it ends. The two cities have a totally different feel and different charms, ready to be explored!
For the best trips in Porto and Lisbon, you can always count on Porto Airport Transfer and Lisbon Low Cost Transfers for the most adventurous holidays with your family and friends!

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