Porto is an adventurous city that oozes character from the ramshackle medieval charm of its cobbled winding streets to the pastel coloured, red-tiled houses that climb high into its hills.
Overlooking a shimmering blue sea, Porto bustles with custard yellow trams and lively open-air markets like the Mercado do Bolhao selling fresh food and spices or the Rua Fernandes Tomas flower market. For fashions and more, head to Porto’s main shopping street, the Rua de Santa Catarina or the Centro Comercial Via Caterina shopping centre. However, around every corner a wonderful array of specialist shops can be found, selling local delicacies from cheese and port to cakes and books.
Porto Cathedral, built in 1110, is a stunning Romanesque treasure that overlooks the city while gothic Sao Francisco Church has one of the most extravagant interiors in Europe, being completely covered in gold! Through the maze of climbing narrow lanes, discover the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art to see Warhol’s and Pollock’s or Rem Koohaus’ geometric masterpiece and one of the best concert venues in the world, the Cassa della Music.
Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ribeira, the old centre, with its beautiful tradition of blue azulejo tile decorations and the exceptional Port Wine Cellars that by law must open to allow for tastings. As you sip world famous port and nibble on cheese and cured meat accompaniments, think about visiting the Port Wine Museum, Pedro Pitoes Tower or perhaps a languid stroll through the lush green Nova Sintra Park with its huge trees and trickling fountains.
The Funicular dos Guindais whisks visitors between Batlha and Ribeira promising breath-taking views across Porto. It’s the perfect thing to do at sunset.
With unrivalled hospitality, exquisite seafood restaurants, classy nightclubs and the best custard tarts on the planet, Porto is that rare thing – a city which needs no itinerary. All that is needed is an adventurous spirit and a good pair of walking shoes.
The following information is correct as of January 2015 and is subject to change. Please check with the airline directly for complete accuracy.
Porto Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport is located 6.5 miles from the centre of Porto. It can be reached easily by car in 25 minutes. A metro line operates services from the airport to the city centre in 30 minutes or there are regular public buses that take 35 minutes to reach the centre. Shuttle buses and
What you need to know
Currency: The Euro (€)
Visas: UK and EU nationals do not require a visa to enter France. A passport valid for three months beyond the date of departure is required by all visitors. Nationals of other countries may require an entry visa. More information can be obtained from a local embassy or from the Foreign Office website.
Laws: The legal age for purchasing and consuming alcohol is16. There is a smoking ban in Porto that prohibits smoking in all indoor public places including cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels and public transport.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Porto is in spring and autumn when there are fewer tourists, the flights are cheaper but the weather is still warm and balmy. Summer can get very warm, to warm for some, and it is also the peak time for visitors to the city. Winters are not usually that cold and make a tranquil time of year to visit Porto although only the hardy will want to take a dip in the sea!
February and March bring the Carnaval with its colourful costumes, floats and fun fairs while March is when runners come to enjoy the Porto half marathon. In June the Sao Joao Festival livens up the city streets while in music lovers can enjoy the fiesta that is the Sintra Festival. The bullfighting season also begins in June although this is not to every one’s tastes. July brings food, sea and summer festivals, August the Noites Ritual Rock Festival and December the city’s famous festive Christmas and New Year celebrations.
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