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Nov 19 2012

The Highlights Of Porto

I’m not really a city person but there are a few cities I really like and, during a recent visit, Porto has turned out to be one of them.  So why Porto?  Here are the highlights that I think make it so special.

The Airport

I think it all started when I arrived at Porto Airport.  While I was waiting for my luggage, someone handed me a map of the city, which included a map of the metro – very handy!  Then when I got to the metro, there were staff on hand to assist with the ticket machine, which made it so much quicker and easier.  What great service!  On departure, when I got through airport security, I was able to enjoy the relaxing live (yes, LIVE) jazz music that was playing.

independent travel, airport, transport, travel, music, jazz

When | got to the boarding gates, I was able to charge my mobile phone, use one of the computers that have free internet access and watch daytime TV (OK, maybe daytime TV isn’t a plus point).  Enough about the airport, I hear you say.  So what about the city itself?

The Streets of Porto

The main streets of Porto were bustling but not overcrowded.  They were litter-free and, to me at least, it seemed to be quite relaxed.

tram, road, porto,portugal, independent travel

Discovering some of the narrow, winding roads made it feel more like a town than a city.  It’s hard to believe that it’s the second largest in Portugal.

street, porto, portugal, houses, narrow street

I got such a homely feel while I was in Porto.  This is probably because the locals were friendly and they sit outside their houses chatting.

porto, portugal, street, people

The Architecture

There are so many interesting buildings to admire.  I particularly liked the tiles on the outside of many of the buildings.  This 18th Century chapel may be an extreme example but, it’s so unusual, I had to include it.  I was told the tiles were used for a number of reasons: they were a cheaper option to painting the outside, for decoration and to tell stories.

chapel, porto, portugal

The train station is definitely worth a visit when you go to Porto.  As you can see, tiles were used to decorate it.

train station, tiles, porto, portugal

This is a view over the city towards the river.  The bridge you can see is the Dom Luis Bridge, which was opened in 1886.

city view, river, porto, portugal

 The Duoro River

The Duoro River divides Porto and Gaia.

Duoro river, porto, portugal, travel, independent travel

There was a hive of activity down by the river bank: lots of boats, people, market stalls and children enjoying the end of the summer.

River, Duoro River, Children, kids, water

You can cross the river for a spot of Port wine tasting at one of the many producers.  There’s no better place for that.   I didn’t need to do that because the hostel I was staying at, The Gallery Hostel, had a Port Wine Tasting Evening.  It was a fab evening.  I never really liked Port Wine until then.  I learned so much about Port Wine and the different varieties that I feel a bit of connoisseur now!

port, wine, travel, porto, portugal, glass of wine, glass of port

Unusual sights

I was surprised to see these three girls in front of me wearing black capes on a hot day.  Apparently, it indicates they are university students.

Porto, Portugal, cloaks, girls

Apparently, the trees in this park were diseased so they were combined with the roots of healthy trees… and the result?  Interesting tree trunks, of course!

trees, park, porto, portugal, independent travel

My time in Porto was short but I instantly liked it because of the people, the ambience, the architecture and the Port Wine.  If you’re interested in going and would like more information, check out Visit Portugal.

 **I would like to thank Hugo Meira for pointing out some errors in the original post that I have now corrected.

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About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.

2 comments

1 ping

  1. Excellent article and I’m very glad that you had a good time my city.

    Just two small notes:
    The bridge in the photography is not the Maria Pia (that is a railway bridge in Porto as well that is currently disabled). In the photo is the bridge D Luiz – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dom_Lu% C3% ADs_Bridge, _Porto

    And the “black capes” costumes are students but does not mean they are first-year students. All college students in Porto can use this costume. Can be used throughout the school year but is especially used in some specials events, like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queima_das_Fitas

    regards

    Hugo

  2. independenttravelhelp.com

    Thank you for the information, Hugo. I will correct the article. Best wishes, Teresa 🙂

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