The city of Porto was elected the Best European Destination 2012 against 19 other European cities in a competition with 212.688 voters (click here for the competition website).
The historical center of Porto is the oldest part of the city, preserving the medieval origins, the middle age transformations and a set of builings with gothic baroque and other influences that led to the classification of World Heritage by UNESCO. There is a range of churches, museums and buildings with a characteristic arquitecture to be visited as well as small and typical shops around the area.
Santa Catarina street is the biggest commecial avenue of Porto and most of its extension is pedestrian. Besides the building shops, there is also a shopping center and some peddlers.
Next to the Douro river, at Ribeira, one can enjoy the beautiful view to the river and bridges along with the arquitectural richness of the historical city center.
There are five bridges that connect the two riversides, composing the view of the river. Luis I bridge is the oldest of the five bridges in activity, built in 1886, and is nowadays used by the metro.
By the year of 1877 the Maria Pia bridge was built by the Gustave Eiffel company, for train usage. However, due to its single line, it was replaced by the São João Bridge in 1991.
Arrabida Bridge is the main connection between Porto and the south of Douro river with an intense traffic, as it is part of the main portuguese highway.
To minimize this intense traffic, the Freixo bridge was built with four ways on each direction.
The more recent bridge is the Infante bridge, built in the historic center of the two riversides. Its purpose is the rodoviary transit.
Produced in the Douro Valley, this red wine is well nown for its sweetness and strong taste and is exported worldwide. The addition of a neutral and spiritual grape stops the fermentation, leaving a residual sugar in the wine and boosting the alcohol content. The wine is stored in barrels and aged before bottling and consumption.
In the antiquity, the barrels were transported along the Douro river by the typical Rabelo boats and then stored at Vila Nova de Gaia Cellars, where it is still stored at present.
Nowadays, Vila de Nova Gaia Cellars are opened for the public for porto wine tasting, dinner, and information on the process of wine production.
For a touristic visit of porto city, some places and monuments are compulsory:
Casa da Música (www.casadamusica.pt)
Santa Catarina Street
Riverside and city downtown
Palácio de Cristal Gardens
Magestic Café (at Santa Catarina Street)
More information on visiting and entertainment can be found at the Turismo do Porto website.