Porto Portugal is a northern coastal city in this beautiful country. It is known for its bridges and the port. Its wine production is renowned worldwide.
Also known as Oporto, it is Portugal’s second largest city, after the capital Lisbon, and one of the major urban areas in the whole Iberian Peninsula.
Located along the Douro River it extends on the west to the Atlantic Ocean. Its history dates back to the Roman Empire.
Cais de Gaia by the Douro River in Oporto
Cais de Gaia
This is a lovely place by the River Douro with a fantastic view of the city on the other bank. It is a real tourist attraction with many restaurants, bars and cafes where to relax.
Cais de Gaia played a very important part in Porto's history, because it was from here that the Porto wines departed for export to other nations.
Today it serves as the starting point for river cruises on the vast waters of River Douro where passengers can admire the unique landscape of the valleys where Port Wine is produced.
Palacio da Bolsa
Built in the 19th century this Neoclassical building is the former stock exchange. It can be compared to a royal palace with the ornate on the Arab Room, that was built to emulate the Alhambra in Granada. It is head of states and other luminaries are greeted on their visits to Oporto.
Flags of most of the countries that had trade relations with Oporto are represented here.
Casa da Musica
Designed by renowned architect Rem Koolhaas, this building is exclusively for musical performances.
The striking white concrete structure is worth a visit. It can house up to 1,300 visitors and it offers a perfect acoustic from a baroque organ pinned to the wall.
Top international orchestras have already played here, and there is also a resident company.
Soares dos Reis Museum
Founded in 1833 it was meant to showcase art from monasteries and convents, such as paintings, glass, ceramics, jewelry and precious stones.
The collection's most emblematic work is "O Desterrado" meaning "The Exiled" by sculptor Soares dos Reis, after whom the museum is named.
Another highlight is the huge "Pedra de Eiró", a rock taken from a threshing ground by the Douro River, engraved with spiral motifs.
Serralves Museum in Porto Portugal
It was built by architect Alvaro Siza Vieira, a Pritzker award winner. Like the Guggenheim, there is no collection permanently on display, with temporary exhibitions taking up the entire space, as well as that of the separate "Casa de Serralves," a pink Art Deco construction located in the surrounding formal gardens.
The premises also contain a natural farmland with modern sculptures including the ones by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.
If you happen to be in Porto Portugal in May, do no miss this museum, and enjoy de annual "Serralves em Festa" festival, with 40 hours of free events related to contemporary art and culture.
Sao Francisco Church
From the outside it looks like any other Gothic 14th century church, but the interiors are the most beautiful in any church in Oporto and probably in the whole of Europe.
The 17th and 18th centuries baroque decorations are of gilt wood carvings with cherubs, plants and animals dripping with gold. It is said that there is 400 kg of it here.
Cais da Ribeira
The district of Ribeira is made up of medieval streets and seedy alleyways. It is a crumbling but fascinating place, ending at a riverfront square called "Praça da Ribeira". UNESCO declare it a World Heritage Site.
This is the area to find good restaurants and bars all sheltered under medieval arches, making it the most popular district in the city for eating and drinking.
Dom Luis Bridge in Porto with various levels for the metro and cars
Dom Luis Bridge
This iconic bridge of Oporto was opened in 1886 and was then the longest iron arch in the world. Today the metro crosses through the upper level, while the lower level is used by cars and pedestrians.
There are four other bridges in the city, which can be viewed on a Douro River cruises, the most impressive on is the Dona Maria Pia Bridge, who was King Luis I’s wife, designed by Gustav Eiffel, before he even built the famous Paris tower.
It remained in service until 1991 but today it stands as a national monument. The other bridges are Ponte do Infante, the triple-arched Ponte de São João, and Arrabida Bridge.
This is a fortress like cathedral where Prince Henry the Navigator was baptized and where King John I married the English Princess Philippa of Lancaster in the 14th century.
Built in the 12th century it has undergone many alterations over time. The Gothic cloisters are more outstanding than the church itself, covered with magnificent blue and white tiles from the 18th century.
Opposite the tower is Cordoaria Gardens and an imposing Neoclassical and Pombaline building that is the city's former prison. The ground floor houses a photography museum with both permanent and temporary exhibitions.
Credits for images of porto Portugal
Cais de gaia by beria lima
palacio da bolsa by Daniel villafruela
casa da música by concierge 2c
soares dos reis by mga73
serralves museum by emstol
sao francisco by fulvuisbsas
dom Luis bridge by diego delso
casi da ribeira by diego delso
se do porto by pgouvea
clérigos tower by mga 73
All courtesy of Wikimedia commons