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Porto and the North – The essence of Portugal

05 Oct Porto and the North – The essence of Portugal

We recently had the opportunity to travel with a small group to Porto to discover all that this beautiful city had to offer. Our journey took us from the vibrant city centre of Porto right through to the wonder of the Douro Valley in the North of Portugal.

Below is a summary of our trip which we hope you enjoy, share and hopefully will give you the inspiration to visit this fantastic region.

Capital and gateway to the North of Portugal, Porto is both the city that provided a nation with a name and a fortified wine famous world-wide: Port Wine. 

With its splendid geographical location on the mouth of the river Douro and an architectural heritage of exceptional quality, the historic centre of Porto is a World Heritage Property declared by UNESCO.

When discovering Porto, you will find a traditional welcoming and conservative environment, but also a contemporary and artistic city.  You’ll see this in the streets, in the architecture, monuments and museums, and in the lively terraces, restaurants and leisure areas. 

The city offers impressive contrasts; The downtown, with the rhythms of city life has an intensive expression of the baroque.  In sharp contrast, in the Serralves Park, there is the sheer modernity of the building housing the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the romantic, shooting surroundings of the leafy park, as well as the Casa da Musica (house of music) a new icon of Porto and making work at the Portuguese cultural space.

We dined in some of Porto’s fabulous restaurants from Taylor’s Port Wine Cellars (founded in 1962), situated in Villa Nova de Gaia, across the river Douro from Porto, to the stunning family owned Port Wine Estate, Quinta da Pacheca that goes back until the 15th century. The vineyards have an average age superior at 40 years and the wine estate keep the tradition of winemaking of great Douro and Port wines. 

Our gastronomy experience didn’t stop there and we were also treated to the very modern delights of the finest quality.  Lunch at the modern restaurant DOP which is a new venture of the Chef Rui Paula, one of the new generation of Chefs of Portugal that is leading new trends in the Portuguese culinary but conserving its roots.  The DOP – Degustar e Ousar no Porto (Dare to Savor in Porto) is located inside a magnificent building of the Palacio das Artes (The Arts Palace), in the Unesco classified World Heritage area. 

If that was not enough for our culinary tastes we were further treated to an outstanding dining experience at Hotel Teatro which is two minutes walk from the central Liberdade square and the S.Bento train station. The hotel reflects its roots in the theatrical and the spectacular, while transmitting an ultimately stylish and contemporary urbanity. The food, wine and port was simply divine and impressed our group immensely.

We were fortunate enough to see Porto via a fabulous river cruise in a touristic Rabelo boat and also got the opportunity to walk and visit the ancient streets and medieval lanes.  

All in all Porto and the North is a truly magical experience consisting of unforgettable locations, culture, food, wine and of course, the port.   We thoroughly recommend this incredible destination that will have you coming back for more.

 

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