One Day in Oporto, Portugal
Oporto city has been worldly famous for its exquisite wine. Today things are changing. The second most important Portuguese town is much more than that. Oporto is full of history and tradition. The streets, the buildings and the famous Douro river open up to every visitor and share their richness. For the last few years Oporto made a huge investment in renewing its streets and old buildings and betting in high quality tourism. The result is the conquest of several international awards. Here is a one day circuit to help you dive into the essence of this Portuguese Northern city.
Terreiro da Sé
Here's a good place to start. A large square right beside the city's cathedral, revealing an amazing view of Oporto and the river Douro. Here you can have an idea about how the whole city is organised.
Since you're there, don't miss the cathedral. Built in the 12th century, it's a great reference of the Romanesque style. Over the centuries it has gone under several transformations, most of them to enlarge it. Not only the building but also the interiors reflect the typical medieval religious architecture.
Torre dos Clérigos
You'll find it, turning your back on the river and diving in the heart of the city. One of Oporto's landmarks, this tower was build in the first half of the 18th century under the Baroque style. If your energy is high, climb up the 240 steps to the top and enjoy once more a 360º view of the city.
It's not far from Torre dos Clérigos. Livraria Lello is Neo Gothic library from 1906. Already very popular, it became even more famous when it was revealed that it has inspired a few scenarios of the Harry Potter movie series. The facade is typically Art Noveau. On the inside you'll find a beautifully sculptured staircase leading to the upper floor. It might look like it's made of wood. But don't be fooled. It's made of a painted plaster perfectly imitating this noble material. In 2008 The Guardian considered Lello the most beautiful library in the world.
Mercado do Bolhão
The most famous market in Oporto is unmissable. Dating from 1850, it's an interesting two floor building mostly dedicated to fresh products from local traders. From fresh fish and vegetables to a few of the best Oporto tidbits, it's a colourful and very alive market with a joyful atmosphere.
Rua de Santa Catarina, is not far. Go down this pedestrian street full of shops with trendy brands on the windows. Your goal however is to find Majestic Cafe. You can't miss the facade, an impressive Art Noveau door leading to a sumptuous interior. Build in 1921, this cafe was then mainly attended by upper class clients. And it's another place connected to Harry Potter. The author J. K. Rolling declared that the first chapters were written at the Majestic's tables.
Ponte D. Luís
To end your day go down to the river side again. You'll not have trouble finding a good restaurant at Ribeira with a view to D. Luís Bridge, opened in 1886 and designed by Seyrig, a disciple of the famous Gustave Eiffel. On the other side of the river you can observe Vila Nova de Gaia, where the famous Oporto cellars keep its precious wine. Don't leave without exploring (and tasting!) it.
Silvia is a writer and a traveller born and and raised in Lisbon. Although her journeys have been taking her a bit everywhere in the world, Lisbon is the city where she always return to unveil and write about its never ending wonders.
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