Porto Mini Guide
What can you Tell me About Porto?
Porto is Portugal’s second largest city after Lisbon and is the commercial and industrial heart of the country. It has been in existence since the latter part of the Roman Empire when it was called Portus Calle. The city has a medieval heart but many more medieval buildings are spread out across the city. It is unusual amongst Portuguese cities in having many of its monumental buildings made from granite instead of limestone. The people of the city are fiercely proud and independent, believing, quite rightfully, that they are the city that brings Portugal its wealth.
How do I get to Porto?
Sa Carneiro Airport otherwise known as Porto Airport is ten miles from the city centre and takes flights from all over Europe including from several UK airports. Both Ryanair and easyJet offer flights from the UK
giving cheap access to the delights of the city. Transport from the airport is best taken by metro straight into the city centre or by hiring a car. At night only taxis can get you away from the airport and the fare reflects their monopoly.
What is There to See and Do in Porto?
Begin at the part of the city called Ribeira which is the gateway to the ancient UNESCO protected old city. Your camera will get a good workout there with photogenic houses side by side with municipal buildings and the river as a backdrop. No trip to Porto would be complete without a visit to the caves where the port wine is stored and matured. You’ll be offered free tastings on many of the tours and are almost certain to walk away with a purchase of the delicious dessert wine. If you like football then you’ll also want to see the home of the Manchester
United of Portugal, FC Porto. Try to get tickets to see them play old enemies Benfica or Sporting Lisbon.
What Should I Buy to take Home for Friends?
The most commonly asked for gift from Portugal is a bottle of port and where better to buy it than in the city where it is made. You should try several before deciding as they all have subtle differences. The other good buy there are shoes for Portugal has a long tradition of shoe making and prices are low there whilst quality is high.
What do you Recommend for a Meal out?
There is a lot of food which is unique to Porto including the ‘tripas’ which is a low cost but tasty meal of tripe. You may be put off by the idea but you should try it at least once. Next on your menu should be ‘Francesinha', a multi-layered meal of toast, meat, spicy sauce and cheese. Finally try ‘bacalhau’ which is the Portuguese salted fish, again served in a variety of different ways.
What Do People in Porto do for Entertainment?
They either go to a football match – football is an obsession in Porto, or they go to one of the hundreds of chic bars before moving on to one of the top nightclubs in the city.