Travel #3: Porto (Part 4)
Well, I know some of you have been waiting for the Porto saga to finish. So, last but not least, let's talk a bit about what to see in Porto and where do you really have to go. This has been a though post to write, since Porto is one heck of a beautiful city with tons of sightseeing. So, obviously besides this few options that I am going to provide you, there are tons of other ideas even better than these.
What to see when in Porto:
- Historic Centre of Porto
This is the oldest area of the city and has been classified as World Heritage by UNESCO since 1996. This area is comprised of the civil parishes of Sé, Vitória, São Nicolau and Miragaia. By roaming around here, you will be faced with various incalculable monuments on Porto typical streets. In this area there some must sees that you cannot miss, such as:
- Sé do Porto (the Catedral), which construction began in the 12th century by Bishop Hugo, is an imposing fortress with beautiful Gothic details and an amazing terrace with a wonderful view over the city.
- São Bento Railway Station is Porto’s central train station. It is were there used to be the Benedictine nunnery in Porto and got its name from it. With an inspiration of Parisian architecture, if you peek inside you may see a wonderful arrangement of historical tiles that were hand-painted by Jorge Colaço.
- Igreja de São Francisco was constructed around the 15th century and mixes Baroque and Gothic architecture. I believe this is one of the most beautiful churches I ever saw.
- Igreja and Torre dos Clérigos, is one of the tallest buildings in town (and a hard climb to the top), and is also where you can have a 360º view over the city, so it is totally worth it.
- Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, it is on the other Douro margin and was built around the 16th/17th century. Also here you can have a panoramic view of Porto, and is where some of the best photos are taken.
- Palácio da Bolsa is were Porto’s Chamber of Commerce is held. The only way to understand the value of this monument is by going inside. I was amazed with the Arab Room and all its details and richness. Usually this room is used for concerts, due to its acoustic.
- Praça da Ribeira is one of the oldest squares in Porto and is facing the river. From here you can observe two bridges and, on the other margin, you can see Vila Nova de Gaia.
2. Port Wine Cellars
Porto Wine Cellars are definitely a must see and a must taste. Porto Wine is the brand image of the city. Although, you may not be a wine fan, you will be impressed with the history of this wine and how it is made. If you are a fan, don’t miss the opportunity to know more about its production and the free tastings so you can find the perfect one for you.
Personally, I visited Taylor’s which was founded in 1692 and is now open all year round for guided visits which end with a Port tasting. I would recommend you to ask for Marta as your guide, she really turns you into an enthusiastic! We got there and since the first words about it we were completely conquered and inside her story. At the end, we had the pleasure to taste 3 varieties of Porto Wine: White, Ruby and Tawny, and they even teach you how to taste it with.
Besides Taylor’s, you may visit some more cellars like:
- Sandeman, which was founded in 1790. The brand image is a man in a black cape and it also offers wine tasting at the end of the tour.
- Ferreira, founded in 1751 and belonged to D. Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, a very determined woman. She had a dominant position in the production of wines from the Douro Vinhateiro, something really rare for those years.
- Croft, one of the oldest companies, was founded in 1588. This company is well known for their ability to reinvent Porto Wine and were the firsts to produce a Porto Rosé.
- Real Companhia Velha, was founded in 1756 by a Portuguese King D. José de Portugal and is considered to be one of the oldest producers and exporters of Port in Portugal.
3. Other spots you cannot miss:
- Lello Bookshop, which was inspiration to some of Harry Potter’s books details and is one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world;
- Porto University building;
- Santa Catarina Street, with shops all the way down the street;
- Casa da Música;
- Jardins do Palácio de Cristal.
There is something you must do when you go to Porto, which is simply to walk around town by foot and discover places by yourself. I discovered one beautiful viewpoint near an old church by accident where I could have a different panoramic view of the city, which is this one. Mostly enjoy the city and take some good company with you, I guarantee you will like this trip.
And with this I finish here my saga about Porto. If you have any question, you can reach me through my e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or within the comments section.
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