• Luxury Porto Holidays
  • Porto Old Town
  • Overview

    A city of hidden delights, Porto is best known as the historic home of port wine and boasts scenic riverscapes, a handsome quayside, traditional shops and elegant cafés, a wonderful mix of architectural styles, as well as lively squares and a buzzing nightlife, and of course a plethora of port wine lodges.

    Portugal’s second largest city, romantic and stylish Porto, also known as Oporto, is the birthplace of port and with the surrounding area covered by vineyards, a haven for wine aficionados. Built along the hillsides and standing impressively at the mouth of the River Douro, the city boasts a 2,000 year long history and has an interesting blend of architectural styles, ranging from the 12th century cathedral to the striking new concert hall, Casa da Musica. The atmospheric waterfront is lined with cafes, clubs, bars and fine restaurants and port wine lodges offer tours and tastings of the finest fortified wines in the world. Porto is a popular weekend getaway, and with its efficient metro system is easy to get around.

    Discover the city

    Since it was declared the European City of Culture in 2001 many of the streets and squares have been reconstructed and the city’s historical buildings restored; particularly of note is the charming Ribeira neighbourhood, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with narrow, cobbled streets, colourful traditional houses, art galleries, ancient churches and a lively street life.

    Highlights in the area include the magnificent baroque Church of St Francisco with its gilt interiors and the splendid neoclassical Palacio da Bolsa, the former Stock Exchange, where the fabulous ballroom stucco walls are gilded with 18kg of gold. For a fabulous panoramic view climb the distinctive landmark of Porto, Torre dos Clerigos, the 75m high belltower of the Igreja dos Clerigos and, for art lovers, the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis houses a fine collection of Portuguese paintings and sculptures.

    There are a number of beautiful parks and gardens for an afternoon stroll, Avenida dos Aliados for a spot of shopping, while local markets include vibrant 19th century Mercado do Bolhao selling everything from household goods to fresh produce, and long-established flea market, Feira de Vandoma, makes for an interesting Saturday morning. Foz do Douro, 5km away, is a popular beach escape from the city and can easily be reached by a short tram journey.

    Vila Nova de Gaia

    On the south side of the river lies the town of Vila Nova de Gaia, home to the famous port wine lodges and warehouses. The stunning waterside promenade enjoys splendid views of Porto’s Ribeira district on the opposite bank and is lined with cafés, bars and restaurants; also boasting the beautiful traditional boats known as barcos rabelos, once used for transporting port wine down the River Douro.

    Cuisine

    Enjoying something of a culinary renaissance in recent years, Porto now boasts excellent fine dining restaurants such as the Michelin star restaurant at The Yeatman Hotel, as well as more traditional eateries serving generous portions of rustic cuisine.

    As can be expected, a huge variety of wonderfully fresh fish and shellfish feature highly on menu, the local delicacy is tripe stew, and popular francesinhas, bread topped with steak, sausage, cheese and a tangy beer-flavoured chilli sauce, is served in most places, whilst wine by the glass and small plates of petiscos, Portuguese tapas, can be enjoyed at one of the many bars.

    As well as the famous port wine, the surrounding vineyards in the Douro Valley produce full bodied reds and the fresh and delicate white wine, Planalto.

  • What to do?
  • Hotels
 

A city of hidden delights, Porto is best known as the historic home of port wine and boasts scenic riverscapes, a handsome quayside, traditional shops and elegant cafés, a wonderful mix of architectural styles, as well as lively squares and a buzzing nightlife, and of course a plethora of port wine lodges.

Portugal’s second largest city, romantic and stylish Porto, also known as Oporto, is the birthplace of port and with the surrounding area covered by vineyards, a haven for wine aficionados. Built along the hillsides and standing impressively at the mouth of the River Douro, the city boasts a 2,000 year long history and has an interesting blend of architectural styles, ranging from the 12th century cathedral to the striking new concert hall, Casa da Musica. The atmospheric waterfront is lined with cafes, clubs, bars and fine restaurants and port wine lodges offer tours and tastings of the finest fortified wines in the world. Porto is a popular weekend getaway, and with its efficient metro system is easy to get around.

Discover the city

Since it was declared the European City of Culture in 2001 many of the streets and squares have been reconstructed and the city’s historical buildings restored; particularly of note is the charming Ribeira neighbourhood, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with narrow, cobbled streets, colourful traditional houses, art galleries, ancient churches and a lively street life.

Highlights in the area include the magnificent baroque Church of St Francisco with its gilt interiors and the splendid neoclassical Palacio da Bolsa, the former Stock Exchange, where the fabulous ballroom stucco walls are gilded with 18kg of gold. For a fabulous panoramic view climb the distinctive landmark of Porto, Torre dos Clerigos, the 75m high belltower of the Igreja dos Clerigos and, for art lovers, the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis houses a fine collection of Portuguese paintings and sculptures.

There are a number of beautiful parks and gardens for an afternoon stroll, Avenida dos Aliados for a spot of shopping, while local markets include vibrant 19th century Mercado do Bolhao selling everything from household goods to fresh produce, and long-established flea market, Feira de Vandoma, makes for an interesting Saturday morning. Foz do Douro, 5km away, is a popular beach escape from the city and can easily be reached by a short tram journey.

Vila Nova de Gaia

On the south side of the river lies the town of Vila Nova de Gaia, home to the famous port wine lodges and warehouses. The stunning waterside promenade enjoys splendid views of Porto’s Ribeira district on the opposite bank and is lined with cafés, bars and restaurants; also boasting the beautiful traditional boats known as barcos rabelos, once used for transporting port wine down the River Douro.

Cuisine

Enjoying something of a culinary renaissance in recent years, Porto now boasts excellent fine dining restaurants such as the Michelin star restaurant at The Yeatman Hotel, as well as more traditional eateries serving generous portions of rustic cuisine.

As can be expected, a huge variety of wonderfully fresh fish and shellfish feature highly on menu, the local delicacy is tripe stew, and popular francesinhas, bread topped with steak, sausage, cheese and a tangy beer-flavoured chilli sauce, is served in most places, whilst wine by the glass and small plates of petiscos, Portuguese tapas, can be enjoyed at one of the many bars.

As well as the famous port wine, the surrounding vineyards in the Douro Valley produce full bodied reds and the fresh and delicate white wine, Planalto.

Local Information

Language:
Portuguese
Currency:
Euro
Local time:
GMT +1 hour
Local airport:
Porto
Flight time:
2 hours 9 minutes

Weather

40

30

20

10

0

J F M A M J J A S O N D
2 2 4 8 9 11 11 11 7 5 3 2
Average daily hours of sun

Featured hotels

Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel & World Heritage Site

Located right on the waterfront of the Douro and enjoying fabulous views of the river and the port wine houses on the opposite bank.

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The Yeatman Hotel

Occupying a hillside location in Porto’s Vila Nova de Gaia district amidst the city’s port cellars, The Yeatman Hotel is one of the city’s most distinguished and luxurious hotels.

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Intercontinental Porto - Palacio das Cardosas

Located in the heart of Porto, five star Intercontinental Porto Palacio das Cardosas is a renovated 18th century palace overlooking the imposing Avenidados Aliados.

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Pestana Palácio do Freixo

5 Star

In a quiet location on the banks of the enchanting River Douro, the majestic Pestana Palácio do Freixo Pousada & National Monument is a beautifully restored 18th century palace set in landscaped gardens.

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See all hotels in Porto

Featured hotels

Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel & World Heritage Site

Located right on the waterfront of the Douro and enjoying fabulous views of the river and the port wine houses on the opposite bank.

The Yeatman Hotel

Occupying a hillside location in Porto’s Vila Nova de Gaia district amidst the city’s port cellars, The Yeatman Hotel is one of the city’s most distinguished and luxurious hotels.

Intercontinental Porto - Palacio das Cardosas

Located in the heart of Porto, five star Intercontinental Porto Palacio das Cardosas is a renovated 18th century palace overlooking the imposing Avenidados Aliados.

Pestana Palácio do Freixo

5 Star

In a quiet location on the banks of the enchanting River Douro, the majestic Pestana Palácio do Freixo Pousada & National Monument is a beautifully restored 18th century palace set in landscaped gardens.

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Local Information

Language:
Portuguese
Currency:
Euro
Local time:
GMT +1 hour
Local airport:
Porto
Flight time:
2 hours 9 minutes

Weather

40

30

20

10

0

J F M A M J J A S O N D
2 2 4 8 9 11 11 11 7 5 3 2
Average daily hours of sun

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