Portugal is a special country to discover, I was lucky enough to visit the most beautiful sights. The topic of my blog this summer will be Portugal: lovely cities, breathtaking beaches, lifestyle and gastronomy. In June I'm taking you to Porto.
As soon as you arrive to a place, you feel the vibes of the city. Porto is a charming place, people are kind and helpful, the architecture is something you don't see anywhere else: baroque buildings, azulejo-covered churches, little romantic squares make you fall in love with the place. I adore cities with river, and here there is the ocean too, giving you the chance to discover the hidden, wild beaches.
Did you know that Portugal got its name from Porto? The Latin name for Porto was originally Portus Cale. In the Medieval times, the region north of the Douro was named the “Condado Portucalense” (County of Portucale), which then eventually led to the country of Portugal. Today it's the second largest city after Lisbon. The golden age of the city is linked to the great geographical discoveries, from the 15th to the 17th century. That was the time when Portugal became a great sea trade force in Europe and Porto had one of the largest shipyards of the country. In the 18th century the Douro wine region got established, wine trade started at that time.
Where to stay?
If you book accommodation in the center, you will not really need a car, you can walk around easily. Choose comfortable shoes because it's a hilly little city. I was staying at Mercure Centro, I must say that I was absolutely satisfied with it. Quit, clean and center located with excellent breakfast and nice view. I rented a car only to spend some time at the ocean and check out the beaches, otherwise everything was walking distance.
How to get to the river from the hotel? There are several ways: You can simply walk, or take the little tram, which stops at the funicular, which is another way to reach the riverside at Ribeira. The historical tram is the nostalgic way to discover the city, it brings you back to the old times, however it might be little hot and crowded during summer. Single ticket costs 3 EUR.
Take the funicular and enjoy the view.
Now you arrived to Ribeira district, it's listed as Unesco's World Heritage and it's the most popular district in the city for dining. Have a drink and enjoy the unique atmosphere!