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An extended weekend in Porto and the Douro, Northern Portugal

The golden hues of the fading solar imprint the silhouette of the Dom Luís I Bridge onto the Douro some 45-metres beneath, our trendy tram gliding excessive above the excitement of exercise. The famed bridge connects town of Porto on the northern financial institution with Vila Nova de Gaia on the south, and from my window view, I used to be captivated by the colorful appeal of those horny cities.

These days, the 2 cities mix collectively, and to most vacationers, they’re one and the identical. On the north, cafe tables are overflowing on the base of vibrant townhouses, and on the south, the famed Port homes are conducting excursions and tastings. Trying down from the prime perch above, you’ll shortly perceive why Porto has develop into such a palatable metropolis break, partly due to its appeal, partly due to its port, and partly due to what adorns its plates. For no matter cause you enterprise for an extended weekend in Porto, you’ll be laborious pushed to not fall for its charms.

Luís I Bridge Porto at sunset
Sundown and the Luís I Bridge

One of many many causes I moved to Portugal was for the way in which it blends previous and new; one second you could be admiring historic structure adorned with Azulejo, Portugal’s colourful tiles, and the following, hanging out in essentially the most hip of bars with brash road artwork exterior. Whereas Lisbon could be an exhausting metropolis to discover because of its hills, Porto is extra pocket-sized, making discovering this mix of up to date and traditional simpler, and maybe extra suiting of an extended weekend escape.

One other of the explanations I’m proud to name Portugal house is the laid-back, no fuss hospitality of the locals. Friendliness oozes from the pores of the inhabitants right here, and for those who solely have two or three days to get beneath the pores and skin of Portugal, I extremely advocate you observe in my footsteps and discover Porto with an area. It could be a sin to go to town and never get some perception from Portugal’s finest asset, her folks.

Probably the greatest excursions to absorb Porto is definitely exterior town. Whereas Porto and neighbouring Gaia are straightforward to discover on foot, hidden gems equivalent to ocean swimming swimming pools, the Tidal Swimming pools of Leça da Palmeira, and luxurious forests are only a brief drive away and full an extended weekend journey to Porto.

Porto as seen from the river
Vibrant city homes in Porto

Whereas Porto won’t be the most important of cities, there are numerous methods to maintain your self entertained, listed here are a few of my favorite solutions for an extended weekend in Porto.

Go to the Port homes

A must-do when in Porto is to go to the previous Port homes on the Gaia facet of the Douro. I’ve toured three totally different ones between my visits, and each is barely totally different, and naturally, you get to pattern the totally different Ports. The historical past of the realm is fascinating, as a few of these cellars are greater than 400-years previous. The excursions are often fairly relaxed, and though you could possibly flip up and attempt to get on a tour, with Porto getting busier for weekend journeys, I’d advocate reserving prematurely, particularly on peak dates.

On my final go to, I heard that a few of these Port cellars are to be closed and moved additional out to the Douro, so you’ll want to go to this historical past whereas it’s nonetheless right here within the coronary heart of Gaia.

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