It was a humid July day when after 3 hours train ride I’ve arrived in Porto. By that time I had stayed in Lisbon and Lagos for a couple of weeks and already decided for myself that Portugal is the country where I feel cozy and homy, and nothing could make me feel thrilled. And how wrong I was when booked only 2 nights in Porto. Walking down the city streets I was already imagining myself spending the whole summer here each morning drinking coffee at the large antique table in a spacious old apartment with Atlantic ocean view.
Check 5 reasons why Porto is the ideal place to stay for a couple of… months?
1. Unique atmosphere
Each city has its unique atmosphere. Porto’s ambiance is something that is hard to describe – melange of gothic, mysterious, noble and tacky at the same time. You are willing to explore its treasures and dive into its secrets. Opportunity to visit wine cellars makes your time even more sophisticated.
2. Architectural patrimony
Benefiting from the economic progress lived at the time (due to the discovery of gold mines and precious stones in Brazil and wood in the new continents) palaces, churches and monasteries became alive with movement and colour. I was deeply impressed by the outstanding Baroque style wooden inner decoration of The São Francisco Church – the most prominent Gothic monument in Porto, and exterior walls covered with blue and white tiles of the Igreja do Carmo.
3. Ribeira (Duoro riverside)
Ribeira is a place where people usually gather in the evening for a few drinks and talks. When having a snack in one of the local restaurants or bars, ask for a cheese board and a Douro wine and enjoy the fresh air watching seagulls and cruising boats.
4. Delicate climate
In Porto the climate is temperate oceanic, with mild winters and pleasantly warm and sunny summers. The daytime temperatures in winter hover around 13/14 °C, in summer – 20/23 °C. The summer heat is rarely excessive and a cool breeze from the sea blows in the afternoon.
5. Port wine
Port is a wine which has had grape spirits or brandy added to it at some point during production. Port wine grapes are grown only in the Douro Valley in rocky hillside vineyards. Some of the vineyards are so old that they have been declared World Heritage Sights. Traditionally Port is served later in the meal, with cheese or dessert. Classically it was known to be a great after dinner drink with chocolates or fine cigars. Some white Ports may be served as an aperitif. Visit one of the wine cellars for port wine tasting tour and get insight on how this wine is produced.
And what are your favorite places in Portugal? In November I will be traveling from Lisbon to South part of Portugal and would appreciate any recommendations.