Porto is a city known for its wine, its authentically friendly people and for its stunning historical architecture down town. Add in an achievable cost of living, great public transportation, supreme walkability, with parks and several beaches just fifteen minutes away. Porto has both quickly and easily made its way onto my short list of favorite cities in the world.
The charm of this city is variant so let me break it down into sections….
The Historical Downtown, one of the oldest in Europe it is neat and clean, featuring buildings inlaid with brightly colored and intricately patterned tiles. Immaculate architecture towers overhead with complicated stonework and incredible feats of engineering that leaves me awestruck but simultaneously dismayed as I realize these techniques were left in antiquity, swapped for easier methods in the pursuit of efficiency.
The Riverside District, A riverside promenade stretches on and on, on both banks of the river, boasting of cafes, wine cellars, and restaurants all within the realm of affordability – glasses of wine starting at two euros – and all wine here is of high caliber. Down here the friendly charm remains, and locals are mixed in with a health dose of tourism. The vibe is lively but certainly not over-stimulant nor overcrowded.
The Beach District, Accessed by a quick and scenic double decker city bus, or by the historically restored tourist tram. The beach district opens up into a spacious beach town vibe. Narrow lanes hold coffee shops that overlook the sea or spill out into the street, while a bike and jogging trail hugs the beach.
Clearly there is much more to see and do in and around Porto, but this initial introductory visit has left me dazzled. If I spoke Portuguese and liked sardines, I would move here in a heart beat – and I have yet to say that about any place thus far. I’ll keep these feelings in mind as I continue to scour the world.
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