Porto is the second most important city of Portugal, but not the second largest. It includes the second largest city of the nation – Vila Nova de Gaia – in its 1-million-people metropolitan area, but Porto itself only has 214.000 inhabitans. The name means port, harbour, and it is in fact a very important one, dating back to the Roman age.
Porto’s harbour is set on the delta of River Duero and has grown in centuries. It became one of the most important ports in Europe during the 19th century. Today the city is not only an industrial and trade centre but also a very interesting place for tourism. Its historical core is UN World Heritage in its entirety. Come visit Porto, it is the chance to visit a different and beautiful side of Portugal.
When to go to Porto
Winter is very cold and rainy, so sometimes is also early spring. The best period to plan a trip to Porto is between May and October. June and July can be hot, sometimes, but the winds from the ocean make the temperatures tolerable.
How to get to Porto
Porto’s airport is Francisco Sà Carneiro International Airport, set 10 km away from the city. It is connected by bus, taxis, private transfers and a special subway line. There are several railway stations int he city, because the train is a means used for both national and local journeys. All national motorways lead to Porto so you can easily arrive by car or bus.
How to move
Trains are a fast net that connects many areas of Porto and the whole city with other parts of Portugal. There is a subway, too. But most part of it runs on the surface, like a normal train, because Porto’s underground is hard to dig. You can move throughout the city also by urban buses, taxis and cars. The many wonderful bridges over the Duero make the connections fast and direct. The historical old town can be explored on foot.
What to see
If you are in Porto you will admire its bridges as real monuments. The people are proud of them. In particular, do not miss Arradiba Bridge, St Joao Bridge, Ponte do Infante. The beautiful churches of the city – the Cathedral, St Francis, church Dos Clerigos, St Benedict – are jewels of the local art, worth the visit!
So is the Tower Dos Clerigos and St Fracisco do Queijo castle. Porto is a city of museums: there are over 20, and very interesting too. Enjoy a nice walk along the street of the elegant neighbourhood of Ribeira.