About Porto

Porto, Portugal’s second largest city, has more than two thousand years of history, a fact reflected by the city’s historic centre being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A “Living Museum” of alleys and stone-paved roadways, bars and restaurants, open-air spaces and traditional cafés, arts and crafts meet, the historic centre is endlessly fascinating. In 2001 Porto also celebrated being the European Capital of Culture. The city combines classical and modern styles combine to perfection as it climbs up from the riverside district of the Ribeira on the banks of the Douro.

The river which provided the means to transport the port wine form the vineyards in the Alto Douro, also was the reason for the construction of one of Porto’s most distinctive landmarks, the Ponte de Dom Luis 1. This ironwork bridge which was designed by an assistant to Gustaf Eiffel, builder of the Paris landmark, arcs gracefully across the river and links the city to Vila Nova de Gaia where the majority of the famous port lodges are located and their distinctive rabelos boats are moored.

Churches with incredibly ornate interiors sit alongside modern landmark buildings such as the Casa da Música concert hall. Market places and typically traditional shops, the parks and the romantic gardens, the city’s festivals, sports and fashion events and many other attractions all play a role to make Porto a city of an unmistakable atmosphere and style.

The Port of Leixões which is located 2,5 miles north of the mouth of the Douro River, holds a strategic position on the Iberian Peninsula and is the lead port in the North of Portugal. The city is also served by a modern airport just 15 kilometres distant.

The Douro valley which leads into the interior, provides the backdrop for many of the attractions to be found outside the city. The towns of Lamego and Amarante are of particular interest with the Nossa Senhora dos Remedios in Lamego being a place of pilgrimage. North of the Douro are to be found Braga and the town of Guimarães, birthplace of the Portuguese nation, which has also been declared ia UNESCO World Heritage Site.