The city of Porto is the second-largest city of Portugal and is located in the North of Portugal along the Douro River Estuary. Its history dates back thousands of years to the eighth century B.C. when the first inhabitants chose to remain in this area due to the proximity of the Douro River. This city is mostly known due to its famous production of Port Wine and endless Port tasting sessions across the city.
Apart from Port Wine, the city is packed with wonderful places to visit. Here are a few highlights of the city of Porto.
The Ribeira District: Full of character, this district is a typical cobbled mase of streets with Portuguese ancient houses.
Miradouro da Vitória: Just above Ribeira District, it is arguably one of the most popular places to watch the sunset in Porto, with postcard-perfect views of the river Douro and the jumble of medieval terracotta rooftops. From this Miraouro you can also view the Bishop’s Palace, Porto Cathedral, and Dom Luis Bridge.
Mercado do Bolhão: This historic and wonderful Mercado de Bolhão is currently undergoing restoration and modernisation but due to being up and running any time soon. The temporary Market at La Vie Porto Baixa Shopping Center, has been set up in the meantime, and it is where the merchants of Bolhão continue to welcome their customers during this time. In this market, you will find stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables, smoked meats and fresh fish, and delicious bread, cheeses, and local delicacies.
The Douro River: Rises in central Spain and crosses into the North of Portugal and through the city of Porto where its mouth meets the Atlantic Ocean. This magnificent River is famous for its scenic views of the city of Porto and its vast Port wine production, grapes, and other agricultural produces, considered as pre-historic by UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace): The Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace) was built between 1842 to 1910, and pays homage to the city’s rich merchants of yesterday and today. Built on the ruins of the cloisters of the St Francis Church of Porto next door, the neoclassical building is where the Portuguese stock exchange once operated. This Palace is beautiful from the outside, and is absolutely stunning inside too; the intricately designed glass-domed Pátio das Nações (Hall of Nations), the grand Escadaria Nobre (noble staircase), and the Salão Árabe (Arab room) to name a few.
Ribeira Square: Is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a quick meal and sangria. The mood is great and if you have time, you can wander and visit the sun-filled streets and enjoy the city’s vibrant people.
Dom Luis Bridge: The famous Dom Luis I Bridge was designed by Gustav Eiffel and is the heart and soul of the city in the late afternoon, a must-go Bridge to watch the absolutely magical sunsets over the Ribeira District.
Livaria Lello: This is no doubt one of Porto’s most beautiful libraries, and some even argue it is one of the most beautiful in the world. Designed by Francisco Xavier Esteves in a Neo-Gothic style With intricately carved gothic wood-paneling, grand curving staircase, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, and a stained–glass skylight, it’s definitely a place to visit.
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