The most important city in the north of Portugal surprises the traveler with a new neighborhood that has become a fashionable destination: “World of Wine”, full of museums, restaurants, charming shops and spectacular views

It is no coincidence that Portugal is in fashion among travellers. Some of the reasons for this trend are that the “decadence” of Lisbon falls in love, the walks along the Ribeira in Porto are wonderful, the beaches of Comporta are among the most beautiful in the Atlantic, its wines are exported to half the world, positioning this country as a wine tourism destination, and it is indisputable that fado is heard beyond its borders, spreading Portuguese culture.

All Portuguese cities and towns have something special, not in vain Portugal has been chosen twice “Best tourist destination in the world” in the World Travel Awards, but perhaps one of its most emblematic towns, due to its rich historical heritage, is the beautiful city of Porto.

Its great monumental heritage

Located at the mouth of the Douro, it is known as the capital of northern Portugal, and is characterized, above all, by its exceptional urban landscape —testimony of its two-thousand-year history—, which combines the charm of its medieval center with avant-garde architecture. Porto cannot be understood without its bridges, its appreciated and picturesque Ribeira, its fascinating historic center declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, its varied, delicious and renowned gastronomy, nor, of course, without the kindness and friendliness of its people.

An ideal start to discover Porto is the Plaza de la Libertad, which connects old and modern Porto; During these Christmas dates, an imposing Christmas tree, considered one of the largest in Europe, stands on it. The festive atmosphere, the Christmas lighting and, among many other things, the endearing Christmas markets bring an extra dose of magnetism to this area. The emblematic Avenida de los Aliados is born from the Plaza de la Libertad, full of modernist buildings of the 20th century.

Nearby, just a few meters away, is the famous São Bento station, which was built at the beginning of the 9th century on the remains of an old convent. Although its façade is already majestic and stately, the real jewel is found inside: a hall decorated with more than 20,000 tiles, an authentic artistic sample in which the history of Portugal is portrayed. This place is considered as one of the most beautiful train stations in the world.

Near São Bento, stands another of the unmissable monuments: the Clérigos Tower. It is a 76-meter-high bell tower that is part of the homonymous church, and from which, after climbing its more than 200 steps, you can enjoy one of the best views of the city. In this central area, the Porto Cathedral, declared a National Monument and episcopal seat of Portugal, also stands out. 

Porto, the city

Porto, the “unconquered” city

The “soul” of Porto

On the other hand, if you want to get to know the true taste of Porto, after visiting these monuments, there is nothing better than going into its Bolhão market. Noisy, colorful, boisterous and somewhat messy, there are many adjectives that describe this space that is so representative of the soul of Portugal. It is surprising that in some of its fruit, vegetable, meat, fish, legume and flower stalls, among others, time seems to have stopped. To continue taking the pulse of this travel destination, it is essential to enter the century-old Lello bookstore. This temple of letters and the arts —continuous inspiration for writers and a former stage for social gatherings— is currently a tourist attraction. Its neo-gothic and art nouveau decoration, its grand winding carmine-colored staircase, its thousand details and its supposed relationship with Harry Potter are a unique claim.

But if there is a must-see in the city, it is, without a doubt, its great symbol. It cannot be said that one has been to Porto without crossing the Douro by one of its most famous bridges: the Don Luis I Bridge. Due to its architectural value, it is worth taking a walk and exploring its iconic 400 meters in length that lead to Vilanova de Gaia. Once in Gaia, it is essential to enjoy the views from the Sierra del Pilar Monastery, relax in the Jardim do Morro, visit the emblematic Oporto wineries, as this is where most of them are concentrated and, of course, tour the World of Wine cultural district, better known as WOW.

This neighborhood houses a total of seven museums, twelve restaurants and cafes, shops, a wine school and an exhibition space, along with others for events.WOW is a very interesting place at any time of the year, but if the traveler chooses to get to know it during these Christmas dates, it offers the incentive of celebrating Christmas in a special way with a calendar of activities, performances and magic that has already begun and will last until on January 9. Christmas markets, appearances by Santa Claus to sit the little ones on his lap, gastronomic proposals such as a Christmas brunch or New Year’s Eve dinners are some of the options with which WOW surprises its visitors.

Many more points of interest could be cited from Porto, the undefeated city, which, comfortable, welcoming and fascinating for the traveler, has positioned itself as one of the destinations to go to, at least once in a lifetime.

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