Ever since I visited the Portuguese capital, Lisbon in 2013, I seem to have spent an awful lot of time poring over pictures Portugal’s second largest city, Porto. It went straight onto my city break wishlist!
Lisbon made me ask myself just why I’d overlooked Portugal for so long. I guess because I’d always associated it with beach holidays, and we all know I usually get my beachy fix in Greece. What I failed to realise was that I’d inadvertently been missing out on a country that’s home to some of Europe’s best kept secret city breaks. Until Lisbon, that is. Then the penny dropped! Porto naturally would be next…
Situated so that it tumbles beautifully downhill towards the Douro river estuary, it’s safe to say that Porto loves the camera, and the camera loves Porto. Trust me on this.
One of Europe’s oldest cities, Porto’s historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and architecture lovers will adore this place. As will wine lovers, considering that port wine is the city’s number one export. Basically, for me, Porto was summer city break heaven. And although I’m already looking forward to returning to Barcelona (where we travelled to in April) as a family, I must say that I wouldn’t mind heading back to Porto for an altogether more grown up weekend.
I think all cities have something to offer families, no doubt about that, and Porto was no exception. But I’d like to have visited more than just one of the Port wine cellars that line the waterfront of Vila Nova de Gaia; the area over the river from Porto itself. It’s an easy stroll across the water via the rather spectacular Dom Luis I bridge, and the view back toward Porto is pretty much the stuff dreams are made of, if your dreams involve sitting on a riverside, glass of wine in hand, watching the wonderful world change colour as the sun works its magic with every passing hour.
Back over the bridge, the old Ribeira district of the city was buzzing with cafes, bars and restaurants, and while we got a taste of the action, we did have to limit how much of it we enjoyed because we had Holiday Baby to entertain. I’d love to go back and really get lost in those steep little streets.
So if you fancy a weekend of sipping port in the sunshine, and drinking in some of Europe’s finest city views along with it, Porto is definitely a place for you.