Porto | Portugal
Porto, Portugal's second-largest city, basks in a mellow glow and its glorious geographical position at the mouth of the Douro River flowing out to the Atlantic Ocean. Golden-roofed and historically rich, Porto has mastered modern glamour and its edgy outlook with ease. Take the city's port wine-making culture, still central to Porto's heritage, but where merchant ships once moored along its river banks, today hip bars flank either side. Cool glass structures like the Casa de Musica concert hall contrast with the city's steep cobbled streets, bringing the old and new together in a seamless fashion. Discover traditional markets and indulge in the flaky custard tarts for which Portugal is known.
Porto's Old Town
Cooking Demonstration in Matosinhos
Meet Local Expert – Isabel Janela
From Lisbon, Portugal, APT Cruise Director Isabel Janela frequently visits Porto on our Douro River cruises. A regular home-from-home for her, Porto holds a special place, and Isabel has shared some insider tips with us here, ways to make the most of Porto's highlights, as well as cultural, dining or everyday experiences you'll only come across if you know the ins and outs of this city.
"Visit the Mercado do Bolhao (on Rua Formosa), one of the most emblematic farmers' markets in town. This is an experience that feels like a cultural immersion into Portuguese life. Note: scheduled to reopen in May 2021, after two and a half years of restoration work."
"Enjoy a concert at the Casa da Musica (Avenida da Boavista 604-610). This building has fabulous acoustics and is the only concert hall in the world with two walls made entirely of glass!"
Mix it Up
"Portwine Tonic has been and still is the most trending mixed drink. I mean, when in Porto have a Port, right?"
"I love spending a couple of hours or even a full day at the Yeatman Hotel Spa. It is located at the Gaia side of the river and has the best views over Porto and the Douro river. The visit of the spa includes the use of the infinity pool. Alternatively, you can buy the day-pass for the pool, sauna and steam room. A lavish way to enjoy the views and tranquillity in style."
Currency: Euro (EUR)
International Dialling Code: +351
Local Time: GMT
Note: Travel as we know it has changed in 2021. We're working to ensure all information is accurate but please check before heading out.
Useful phrases: Bom dia (good morning); Boa tarde (good afternoon); Adeus (good bye); Como vai voce? (how are you?)
Fascinating fact: The translation of Porto (officially O Porto in Portuguese) is, you guessed it, the port.
River views: "Take a stroll through the romantic botanical gardens of the Palacio de Cristal - Crystal Palace (Rua Dom Manuel II). Besides the curated landscape it also offers great panoramic views over the river."
Top local cuisine:
- A specialty of Porto is "Octopus filets – or as I call them calamaris 2.0".
(Words by Isabel Janela)
- Francesinha is a signature dish in Porto established after a Portuguese man discovered France's Croque Monsier. It is a toasted sandwich layered with meat, mostly ham and sausage with a special sauce and melted cheese.