Porto – Having a fun time in Porto, Portugal
Portugal is a very popular tourist destination amongst Europeans and Brits especially, but oftentimes most of the attention is directed at the southern region of the Algarve as that is the most popular, but the northern regions shouldn’t be overlooked when planning a trip there. The city of Porto for instance, is located in the north of the country and is a rather interesting tourist destination for several reasons.
The city of Porto
The city is most well known for the fact that it has given its name to a type of wine made from the local vineyards, the world renown Port wine, but Porto is a busy industrial and commercial center as well as being quite a great place for a holiday.
The city is built along the hills which overlook the Duoro river estuary and it has been continuously inhabited since at least the 4th century, the Romans referring to it as Portus Calle.
The city has always benefited from great weather, even though due to the influences of the Atlantic ocean it is considerably cooler than other cities within the same climate type; this has also made it a mercantile city and this is most evident in the style of the buildings which line the Avenida dos Aliados which is at the center of the downtown area. As opposed to most other old centers in Portugal who tend towards the Baroque style of architecture, the old center of Porto is populated with monumental granite buildings which reflect the increased wealth of its inhabitants.
Historically speaking, the city is known to some as “a Cidade Invicta”, which means the invincible city, a title bestowed upon it by Porto’s resistance against Napoleonic troops during the Peninsular war.
The city’s main tourist attractions can be found off the Avenida dos Aliados, the Rua Santa Catarina and the Rua Clube dos Denianos.
Another idea would be to start your sightseeing in Porto with the river front Ribeira area, where you can join cruises on the Duoro river in traditional boats which were once used to ferry the wine from the vineyards. On a nearby hilltop you’ll find the 12th century Porto Cathedral which resembles a fortress and then after visiting that you can straight up hit the Praca da Ribeira which is a short walk away. In order to get some great views of the city you should also visit the Torre dos Clerigos which is also close to the Avenida dos Aliados.
As far as the architecture of the entire city goes, Porto is rather varied, with medieval and modern structures side by side but while it is pleasant to the eye, the city’s geography can be a bit hard on one’s feet since it is built in a hilly region and in fact several buildings are actually built into the cliff face which overlooks the river.
The locals are very friendly to outsiders, they are actually known in the region as Tripeiros because it is said that the entire city subsisted on tripe soup so that all the meat could provision the fleet left to conquer Ceuta in 1415, tripe soup has remained a specialty of the city till this day.
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