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Exploring Porto, Portugal

If you’re planning a trip to Western Europe, Portugal is a must.  Many tourists opt to head south to Lisbon, but Porto is another option for those looking to explore a hidden gem.  Despite being one of the biggest cities in Portugal, Porto has a quaint and magical quality about it that can only be discovered by walking its streets. One weekend while I was studying in Europe, a friend and I decided to go to Portugal.  We didn’t know much about the city but when we arrived we were pleasantly surprised.  The main Porto area is split by the famous Douro River; one side is more historic, located on a steep hill, and the other is the Vila Nova de Gaia municipality.  After picking up a little map of the area, we got to exploring.  Some of the historical highlights of the weekend were the Porto Cathedral, the gothic-style Church of Saint Francis and the old Stock Exchange Palace. The charming little roads and alleyways are lined with apartments, shops, restaurants and little cafés and you can really get lost—but in a good way!  During the day, make sure to stop into the cafés for a beverage and one of the famous little Porto sandwiches.  At night, head down towards the Ribeira which is the area alongside the Douro River.  One of our favorite restaurants overlooked the water and had the freshest fish, seafood and meat dishes. To go along with its delicious cuisine, Porto is famous for its port wine.  Over the weekend we went on various wine tours.  We learned about the winemaking process, got to see the caverns and cellars and they were always followed by a wine tasting!  If your time is limited and can only go to two, you must visit Porto Cálem (which had a really interesting Port tour) and Vini Portugal (which teaches you about the different regions and types of Portuguese wines). Finally, you’ve all heard about the famous beaches of Lisbon, but Porto has some pretty cool beaches as well!  We stayed at the Casa Branca Beach & Golf Hotel, which not only had amazing service, amenities and food, but ideal location as well.  The hotel is located on the beach and is not too far from the center of the city.  Although the beach was a bit rocky, it was absolutely perfect for lounging, photo opps and quick dips in the ocean. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway filled with history, fine dining, the beach or wine, Porto is a must-see city in Portugal. Susan Bodack is the Director of Social Media Marketing at InStyleSwimwear.com. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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One Comment

  1. Great article about my city! Porto is really a hidden gem, everyday I discover new great things on the city! I invite you to visit my blog dedicated to the city, hope you like it :)

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