Porto is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the major urban areas in the Iberian Peninsula. Porto is the largest city of Northern Portugal. The Historic Centre of Porto, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, is one of the most attractive entertainment venues for visitors, providing a rich variety of monuments and ordinary dwelling, from different periods stretching back as far as the 14th century.
The city of Porto and its river, Douro, cannot be dissociated. The Douro valley, with its lovely terraces of vineyards clinging to the hillsides, is the kingdom of the famous Port Wine (https://www.ivdp.pt/) and offers visitors spectacular views. Porto is the centre of a culturally and naturally rich region that gathers together history, arts and nature (sea and mountains); it is a perfect starting point for tourist excursions.
Places to visit in Porto
In recent years, UNESCO recognized Porto historic center as a World Heritage Site.
Among the architectural highlights of the city, the Oporto Cathedral is the oldest surviving structure, together with the small Romanesque Church of Cedofeita, the Gothic Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis), the remnants of the city walls and a few 15th-century houses. The baroque style is well represented in the city in the elaborate gilt work interior decoration of the churches of St. Francis and St. Claire (Santa Clara), the churches of Mercy (Misericórdia) and of the Clerics (Igreja dos Clérigos), the Palace of the Archbishop, and others.
The neoclassicism and romanticism of the 19th and 20th centuries also added interesting monuments to the landscape of the city, like the magnificent Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa), the Hospital of Saint Anthony, the Municipality, the buildings in the Avenida dos Aliados, the tile-adorned São Bento Train Station and the gardens of the Crystal Palace (Palácio de Cristal). A guided visit to the Palácio da Bolsa, and in particular the Arab Room, is a major tourist attraction.
Porto has several museums, concert halls, theaters, cinemas, art galleries, libraries and book shops. The best-known museums of Oporto are the Soares dos Reis National Museum (Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis), which is dedicated especially to the Portuguese artistic movements from the 16th to the 20th century, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Serralves Foundation (Museu de Arte Contemporânea). The city has concert halls of a rare beauty and elegance such as the Coliseu do Porto by the Portuguese architect Cassiano Branco; an exquisite example of the Portuguese decorative arts, it is seen by many as one of the best and most elegant concert halls in Europe. Other notable venues include the Rivoli theatre, Batalha cinema and the recent Casa da Música.
The Guardian elaborated a list of world’s top bookshops, featuring Lello in third.
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Casa da Música
Casa da Música was conceived to mark 2001, the year in which Porto was Cultural Capital of Europe, and it is the first new building in Portugal to be entirely dedicated to music – to the presentation and public enjoyment of music, to music education and to the creation of music. The project took shape in 1999 after the Rem Koolhaas & Ellen van Loon – Office for Metropolitan Architecture won the international architectural competition. Work began in 1999 on the site of Porto’s former central tram garage on the Rotunda da Boavista, and Casa da Música opened its doors to the public on April 15th , 2005.
Casa da Música was planned as a home for all types of music and it is not only part of the urban redevelopment of Porto but also part of a network of cultural facilities, for the city of Porto and for the wider world. The best way to get to know Casa da Música is to take a guided tour. These tours, led by guides who describe and explain the building, its construction, its architecture and its function last approximately one hour.
Portuguese 11:00 | 16:00
Booked visits (groups) 15-35 people at pre-arranged times Booking
Ph.: 220 120 210
Visit to Offley and Sandeman Cellars
Sogrape Vinhos was born of the will and courage of a group of friends. In the difficult economic and political environment of 1942, they decided to stake everything on the visionary talents of one man. This man had the vision to create and develop an innovative wine company with a difference, one which could make and promote Portuguese wines on a global scale. Nowadays, the full scope of Sogrape Vinhos is clearly demonstrated by the breadth and weight of its portfolio. At first glance, what immediately stands out is the presence of two major global Portuguese wine brands – Mateus Roséand Sandeman as well as the prestigious wines of Porto Ferreira and Offley. Added to which are the renowned specialist brands that represent the major Portugese wine regions. Beginning with the most famous Portuguese wine of all, Barca Velha, the pride of Casa Ferreirinha (Douro) and continuing with the elegant wines of Quinta dos Carvalhais (Dão), the vibrant Herdade do Peso (Alentejo), the freshVinhos Verdes of Quinta de Azevedo and Gazela, and the multi-regional Grão Vasco, to name but a few.
Majestically situated across the Douro river, looking toward the historic centre of Porto, in a granite building dated 1797, The House of Sandeman invites you to an experience full of mystery and seduction, in a setting which balances a traditional yet cosmopolitan atmosphere. The Sandeman Museum transports you to London in 1790, when George Sandeman, a young Scotsman, decided to start selling Porto and Sherry wines. An impressive collection of paintings, photographs, ceramics, antique bottles and other memorabilia bring this fascinating history to life with an interesting exhibition: Sandeman – The art of a brand.
Built in 1737 by William Offley, the company gained international renown and prestige under the leadership of Joseph James Forrester, an influential personality in the history of Porto, first Baron Forrester granted for his historic map of the Douro. The Baron of Forrest, a businessman, winemaker, wine taster, respected artist and mapmaker, is one of the main characters in the history of Porto.
Visit to Offley and Sandeman Cellars 6€/person