Christina’s recent trip to Porto, Portugal reminded me of why I love to travel. I have never been to Portugal, but after seeing her pictures and hearing about the trip, it has definitely moved up the list on places I want to see in the next 5 years.
Portugal is a wonderful country sandwiched in between Spain and the coast of the Atlantic rich in culture, history and beautiful architecture. Here were a few highlights of what do see and do while there.
Walk over the Dom Luis Bridge
This bridge is over 100 years old and for its time was an architecture feat. The upper level is for the metro and the lower level if for pedestrians and cars. The views from this bridge are spectacular and the views of the bridge are pretty sweet too.
Take the Duoro River Cruise
If you decide to take the Duoro River Cruise, which is definitely worth it, you can see four other magnificent bridges. The most impressive one, the Dona Maria Pia Bridge, designed by Gustave Eiffel was one of the longest bridge spans of its time and continued to be for 7 years. It has been designated as an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The other bridges are Ponte do Infante, the triple-arched Ponte de São João, and Arrabida Bridge.
Explore The District of Ribeira
Once you get off the water, checkout Ribeira. You can start on the edges and enjoy dozens of cafes, bars and restaurants. If you visit during a feast day, especially on Saint John’s Day in June you can enjoy one of the most lively times in the city and major fireworks shows over the water.
The alleyways and medieval architecture makes the district of Ribeira so fun to explore. Traditional boats floating by and beautiful homes lining the edges of the river, compose such a picturesque image.
The Spanish tile roofs against the bright blue sky are enough to take your breath away.
Famous for its beautiful tile, the city is filled with accents of vibrant colors. The buildings made of traditional tile pop throughout the city and hillsides.
The city of Porto is famous for its Port Wines. At Sandeman there is a wonderful wine tasting. Located on the Gaia hillside, they have free guided tours and tastings that will enlighten you about the delicious port wine you are enjoying while overlooking the river.
After you have been up and down the river and explores Ribeira, checkout the beautiful church of Sao Francisco. From the outside it looks like an ordinary Gothic Church, but the inside will blow you away. The inside of the church is mostly covered in gold and what is not is made of beautiful marble.
Below the church are catacombs that are now a museum that you can explore.
This is a great place to see great art and beautiful architecture. Designed by Alvaro Siva, the building is a beautiful exercise in integration of the existing landscape.