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Located on the delightful river Douro, holidays to Porto combine sand, sea and city life. In addition to the stunning city centre, the ancient city of Porto boasts quiet riverbanks with port cellars offering tastings, a vibrant restaurant and dining scene and great activities along its wild and natural coastline. Enjoy the UNESCO-listed Ribeira District and the charm and tradition of its cobblestone lanes. Dine along the riverbank and take bikes around the city and nearby beaches or head up river to the vineyards that line the Douro River. Whatever you're plans, Porto is a gem of a city break.

 

Porto’s wonderfully close to the coastline, which means there are several sandy beaches nearby, such as Praia de Matosinhos and Praia do Ourigo. Though popular, Porto is not as crowded as some of Europe's other cities such as Paris and Barcelona, so you can explore without having to fight through bustling crowds. If you have to pick between Porto and Lisbon, three hours apart by train, the former has a more intimate feel along the Douro river, home to the historic Ribeira district, while Lisbon’s riverfront gives you the feeling of strolling along the mighty Atlantic. You can also enjoy a scenic six-hour drive to Faro, the capital of southern Portugal’s Algarve region, passing rolling hills, rocky coves and beautiful lagoons. Porto holidays will please children and adults alike and with so much to do, one trip will never be enough!

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City Sights

 

 

City Sights

Completed in 1886 by a student of Gustave Eiffel, the Dom Luis Bridge dominates the picturesque harbour of Porto. Enjoy views from the riverboats or a glass of wine and gelato at one of the waterfront cafés that lie in the shadow of this impressive structure. Why not take a boat ride under its famous arches and continue up the Douro river for lunch on the water?

Under the Bridge

 

Under the Bridge

Spend your evenings sipping local port or Portuguese wines or a glass of local port while watching the sun set over the city's pastel-coloured houses and river boats. If you want to be wined and dined, there are many excellent eateries on the quay of Gaia. Live like a local and ask for a “francesinha”, a meaty chunk of steak, sliced hams and spicy sausage, packed inside toasted bread and covered in melted cheese and hot sauce. After dark, the alleys and streets near the Clérigos Church come alive with music, dancing and laughter.

 
Bronze at the Beach

 

Bronze at the Beach

It doesn't take long to reach the beach in Porto. Hire a bike from the city centre and cycle 15 minutes along the river Douro, where you'll be met by the sweeping Atlantic coast and wide sandy beaches. Explore the cafés on the main beach of Matosinhas, or travel 10km to the seaside town of Miramar – famous for its quaint chapel, wooden walkways and beachside bar. Escape the busy beaches at Praia da Calheta where you'll find golden sand, steep dunes and spectacular sunsets.

 
Explore the Douro River

 

Explore the Douro River

Spend a day on the Douro River and see the vineyards where the famous port is made and stop for a spot of wine tasting en route. Daytrippers can be picked up from their Porto hotel and taken on a guided tour across the pretty Douro valley, including its three main towns, Lamego, Régua and Pinhão - where you'll have the opportunity to explore the towns, museums and port caves. Keep your cameras at the ready as the tour coasts past stunning rocky slopes and valleys.

 
Soak up the Streets of Ribeira

 

Soak up the Streets of Ribeira

As the medieval quarter of the city, the Ribeira district is UNESCO-protected and is utterly captivating. Stroll around its streets, casting your eyes skyward to marvel at the tall colourful houses. Be sure to check out Ribeira Square with its cafés and restaurants sheltered underneath medieval archways.

 
Sip Port in Cais de Gaia

 

Sip Port in Cais de Gaia

Cais de Gaia is the birthplace of port – the delectable fortified wine – and the neighbourhood has great views of the city from the riverbank. Take a tour of the port warehouses or venture up the hill across from the city and you'll find yet more lodges to look into, including Taylors. Once you've enjoyed a tipple or two stroll along the riverfront which is always buzzy thanks to the throngs of restaurants and cafés.

 
Porto's Night Scene

 

Porto's Night Scene

Whether you fancy a cocktail by the river or a lively session in the square, Porto has plenty to offer when the sun goes down. Soak up your surroundings in cool café bars such as Café Candelabro and Café Guarany, where you'll find your favourite tipple, traditional tiled floors and artistic interiors. Music lovers can head to the city's best jazz club and enjoy live music at Hot Five, or party through the night at the popular Pitch Club, located in the centre of the city. Head to Rua Galeria de Paris and Rua Cândido dos Reis for drinks downtown.

 
Vintage Porto

 

 

Vintage Porto

Want to see more of the city? Take a classic yellow tram or restored electric car from the city to the seafront. Take a stroll through Foz and you'll find a flurry of elegant gardens, stunning sculptures and ocean-front restaurants and bars. Potter along the palm-lined path by the waterfront at Jardim do Passeio Alegre, explore the 1661 fortress Castelo do Quejo just two miles down the coast, and from here you can walk to Porto's biggest park, Parque da Cidade.

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