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PORTO & DOURO
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Baião (1)
Porto (4)
PORTO & DOURO map
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regional overview

Porto is an ancient city full of character. The old town is located on the Douro river, where churches, granite houses and cobbled alleyways look over to the old Port cellars of the Gaia south bank. Upstream is the start of Vinho Verde wine country, with the provincial towns of Baião and Amarante just before the lost world of the Marão and Alvão mountain ranges. Along the coast, there are beaches, fishing villages and towns such as Matosinhos, Espinho and Vila do Conde, all good for surfing.

properties in PORTO & DOURO

Porto is ideal for a few days, combined with adjacent regions such as the Minho or Douro. In the old Ribeira and Gaia districts, there are charming old-world town houses and elegant hotels overlooking the river and within walking distance of all the historical sites. On the nearby coast, at Foz, we include a secluded designer house, close to cool beach bars and surf spots. For the countryside and self-catering in old farmhouses, head up the coast to the Minho. For vineyard stays, catch the train or drive (2 hrs) from Porto.

the great outdoors

Within easy reach of Porto are miles of beaches and green countryside. Just a tram-ride away is Foz, at the mouth of the river and then Matosinhos, with its fish restaurants and good surfing. From the south bank of the Douro is a 15km stretch of coastline from Lavadores to Espinho. The Douro river itself, which passes through Porto, can be seen on boat tours. Within reach as a day trip are the Douro vineyards, mountains of the Marão and Alvão and the rural countryside of the Minho and Beira regions.

historic towns & local culture

Among the many historical sites in Porto are the old Ribeira river district, São Francisco church with golden baroque carvings and Eiffel's Dom Luis iron bridge. For the blue azulejo wall paintings, best are São Bento train station and Carmo and Santa Catarina churches. Port cellars on the Gaia side are a must. Downstream is Afurada, interesting for fishing boats, seafood and tiled houses. Outside Porto, provincial towns show the character of the Minho, including the attractive Amarante on the Tâmega river.

best times to visit

Being a historic city-break, Porto is interesting year-round, and is almost best in the off-season when it is cooler and there are fewer tourists. Not to be missed are the São João (St John) festivities around the 23rd and 24th June, with a traditional Barco Rabelo regatta on the river, sardine barbeques in the daytime then fireworks and garlic head-bashing at night. Temperatures in the spring and autumn are generally in the 20s, winters are rainy and in the teens and summer days are dry and regularly exceed 30 degrees.

getting there & around

With its expanded airport, Porto is served by international flights from all over Europe and beyond, including TAP, Ryanair, Easyjet, KLM, Iberia, Lufthansa, Air Berlin and Swiss Air. The city centre is close by, with a metro and taxis at the airport. Hiring a car is not necessary for Porto and avoids getting lost in the city, which is easy to do when driving. It is far better to walk and use taxis and public transport. Regular trains leave from São Bento and Campanhã stations for surrounding towns and destinations north to Vigo and south to Lisbon.
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