IF you’ve been craving a continental city break head to Porto.
Portugal’s second city is the perfect mix of old-world charm and a fabulous new district that really has the wow factor.
The World of Wine cultural district, which opened this month, inspires this week’s City Stay Q&A as Portugal is added to the government safe list.
With its picturesque Douro River, six bridges, lively streets and colourful houses, it’s not hard to understand why people fall in love with this oil painting of a city.
Its galleries are full of ancient and contemporary art, its parks offer breathtaking views, authentic food markets are buzzing with life, and there’s plenty of medieval architecture to be enchanted by.
The city is compact and easy to walk around — but do wear flats, Porto is beautiful but seriously hilly.
If you’re considering a couple of nights away, the city can easily be explored in 48 hours. Its eclectic mix of old churches, cathedrals, interesting wine shops and cool restaurants are all within walking distance.
Start early, when it’s not too hot, to climb the Clerigos Tower — don’t worry, its 240 steps are doable even for those of us who skipped Joe Wicks’ lockdown PE — to take in sky-high views of Porto.
Be sure to reward yourself afterwards with a delicious pastéis de nata in the park near by. Refuel with a €2 sangria at one of the many stalls there.
We took a Six Bridges Cruise, which was nothing short of special. Here, you get a front seat to take in all of Porto’s beauty. It’s great for seeing sights that are trickier to reach by tram or on foot and it’s good for people watching along the river, too.
Anyone who knows Porto well will tell you to walk to Parque da Cidade, which has walking treks, volleyball courts and tons of platforms from which you can soak up views across the city. Similarly, the Parque de Serralves, a modern art museum with art deco architecture and peaceful gardens, is a must.
Meanwhile, fans of Harry Potter should check out the Lello bookstore with its neo-Gothic interiors. It served as an inspiring setting for J.K. Rolling, who once lived in Porto.
The magical opening of the much-anticipated World of Wine (WOW) did not disappoint.
A 30,000sq-metre space that incorporates museums, a wine school, a restaurant space and retail area, it’s an entire district brimming with exciting things to see and do.
Or you can just enjoy the beautiful surroundings and take in the views from WOW’s rooftop platforms.
From delicious seafood dishes to their iconic natas, Porto has plenty of amazing fresh delicacies to offer.
Head to Clerigos to pick up the iconic Francesinha sandwich. This local dish is an intense beast of a ham and steak sandwich baked with cheese on top and a seasoned beer-based sauce.
If you’re looking to enjoy a dinner and Porto’s finest white wine at a beachside restaurant, Praia da Luz is an idyllic spot to sit, watch waves crash and enjoy your delicious European cuisine.
If we had to sum up The Yeatman in two words, it would be: views and wine. It is situated above the Douro River and boasts some of the best views of the old town.
The Yeatman’s expansive cellar makes it a haven for wine lovers. The vibe throughout the hotel is like an exhibition in itself, with copious wine facts and art gracing the corridors.
Highlights include its facial spa treatments, the outdoor infinity pool and breakfast on the ninth floor, which will not only prepare for all the walking, but inspire you as you pick out where you’d like to head to next.
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