Porto (pop. 264,200) is famous for its namesake product a strong, sugary wine. Developed by English merchants in the early 18th century, the port industry is at the root of the city’s successful economy. But there’s more to Porto than just port; the country’s second-largest city retains traditional charm with granite church towers, orange-tiled houses, and graceful bridges, and also hosts a sophisticated lifestyle that won Porto its title as a Cultural Capital of Europe in 2001.
TRANSPORTATION AND PRACTICAL INFORMATION. Most trains pass through Porto’s main station, Estagao Campanha (a 225 36 41 41), on R. da Estagao. Trains run to: Coimbra (2hr. 17 per day, â‚¬5.60); Lisbon (3%-4!4hr. 14 per day, â‚¬15-21); and Madrid (13-14hr. daily 6:10pm, â‚¬60). Estagao Sao Bento (a 222 00 27 22), Pr. Almeida Garrett, located one block off Pr. Liberdade, is the terminus for trains with local and regional routes. Rede Expresso buses, R. Alexandre Herculano 366 (a 222 05 24 59), in the Garagem Atlantico, travel to Coimbra (lV&hr. 11 per day, â‚¬7.50) and Lisbon (4hr. 12 per day, â‚¬14). REDM, R. Dr. Alfredo Magalhaes 94 (a 222 00 31 52), two blocks from Pr. Republica, sends buses to Braga (lhr. 9-26 per day, â‚¬3.30). Buy tickets for the intracity buses and trams from small kiosks around the city, or at the STCP office, Pr. de Almeida Garrett 27, downhill and across the street from Estagao Sao Bento (pre-pur-chased single ticket â‚¬0.60, day pass â‚¬2.10). The tourist office, R. Clube dos Fenianos 25, is off Pr. da Liberdade. (a 223 39 34 72. Open July-Sept. daily 9am-7pm; Oct.-June M-F 9am-5:30pm, Sa-Su 9:30am-4:30pm.) Check email at Portweb, Pr. Gen. Humberto Delgado 291, near the tourist office. (â‚¬1.20 per hour. Open M-Sa 10am-2am, Su 3pm-2am.) The post office is on Pr. Gen. Humberto Delgado, (a 223 40 02 00. Open M-F 8:30am-9pm, Sa-Su 9am-6pm.) Postal Code: 4000.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND FOOD. For good accommodation deals, look west of Avenida dos Aliados or on Rua Fernandes Tomas and Rua Formosa, perpendicular to Av. dos Aliados. Popular with young travelers from around the world, Pensao Duas Nagoes , Pr. Guilherme Gomes Fernandes 59, offers a variety of rooms at low rates, (a 222 08 96 21. Internet â‚¬0.50 per 15min. Reserve ahead. Singles â‚¬13, with bath â‚¬20; doubles â‚¬2225-30; triples â‚¬3035; quads â‚¬4045.) From the tourist office, climb the hill past the Igreja de Trinidade and turn left on the second street to reach Hospedaria Luar , R. Alferes Malheiro 133, which offers spacious rooms with private baths, (a 222 08 78 45. Singles â‚¬20-25; doubles â‚¬25-30.) Pensao Douro , R. do Loureiro 54, offers huge rooms close to the river, (a 222 05 32 14. Singles â‚¬12, with bath â‚¬15-20; doubles â‚¬1820-30.) Take bus #6, 50, 54, or 87 (at night #50 or 54) from Pr. Liberdade to camp at Prelada , on R. Monte dos Burgos, in Quinta da Prelada, 4km from the town center, (a 228 31 26 16. Reception 8am-llpm. â‚¬3 per person, â‚¬3-3.50 per tent, â‚¬2.60 per car.) Look near the river in the Ribeira district on C. Ribeira, R. Reboleira, and R. Cima do Muro for great restaurants. The Confeitaria Imperio , R. de Santa Catarina 149-151, serves excellent pastries and inexpensive lunch specials. (Open M-Sa 7:30am-8:30pm.) Across the street, the Majestic Cafe , R. de Santa Catarina 112, is the oldest, most famous cafe in Porto. (Open M-Sa 9:30am-midnight.)
SIGHTS AND ENTERTAINMENT. Your first brush with Porto’s rich stock of fine artwork may be the celebrated collection of azulejos (tiles) in the Sao Bento train station. Walk past the station and uphill on Av. Afonso Henriques to reach Porto’s pride and joy, the 12th- to 13th-century Romanesque cathedral. (Open M-Sa 9am-12:30pm and 2:30-6pm, Su 2:30-6pm. Cloister â‚¬1.30.) From the station, follow signs downhill on R. Mouzinho da Silveira to R. Ferreira Borges and the Palacio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange), the epitome of 19th-century elegance. The ornate Sala Arabe (Arabian Hall) took 18 years to decorate. (Open Apr.-Oct. daily 9am-7pm; Nov.-Mar. 9am-lpm and 2-6pm. Tours every 30min. â‚¬5, students â‚¬3.) Next door, the Gothic Igreja de Sao Francisco glitters with an elaborately gilded wooden interior, belying the thousands of human bones stored under the floor. (Open daily 9am-6pm. â‚¬3, students â‚¬1.50.) Up R. dos Clerigos from Pr. Liberdade rises the Torre dos Clerigos (Tower of Clerics), adjacent to the 18th-cen-
When native son Henry the Navigator geared up to conquer Cueta in the early 15th century, Porto’s residents slaughtered their cattle, gave the meat to Prince Henry’s fleet, and Kept only the entrails. This dramatic generosity came in the wake of the Plague, when food supplies were crucial. The dish tripas a mocla do Porto commemorates their culinary sacrifice; to this day, the people of Porto are known as tripeiros (tripe-eaters). If you’re feeling adventurous, try some of the tripe dishes, which locals-and few others-consider quite a delicacy tury Igreja dos Clerigos, which is adorned with Baroque carvings. (Tower open Aug. 9:30am-7pm; Sept.-July daily 9:30am-lpm and 2:30-7pm. â‚¬1. Church open M-Th lOam-noon and 2-5pm, Sa lOam-noon and 2-8pm, Su lOam-lpm. Free.) From there, head up R. da Restauracjao, turn right on R. Alberto Gouveia, and go left on R. Dom Manuel II to reach the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis, R. Dom Manuel II44. This ———–former royal residence now houses an exhaustive collection of 19th-century Portuguese painting and sculpture. (Open Su and W-Sa 10am-6pm, Tu 2-6pm. â‚¬3, students â‚¬ 1.50.) Bus #78 from Av. dos Aliados runs several kilometers out of town to the Museu de Arte Contemporanea, which hosts an exhibit of contemporary art and an impressive park with sculpted gardens and fountains. (Open Tu-W, F and Sa 10am-7pm; Th lOam-lOpm; Su 10am-8pm. Park closes at 7pm. Museum and park â‚¬5. Su before 2pm free.) To get to Porto’s rocky and polluted (but popular) beach, in the ritzy Foz district, take bus #1 from the Sao Bento train station.
But we digress back to the wine. Fine and bounteous port wines are available for tasting at 20-odd port wine cellars, usually gratuito (free). The cellars are across the river in Vila Nova da Gaia; from the Ribeira district, cross the lower level of the large bridge. Most cellars are open daily 10am-6pm. With costumed guides, Sandeman, Lgo. Miguel Bombardo 3, is a good place to start (tours â‚¬2.50). UTay-lor’s, R. do Choupelo 250, has a terrace with views of the city and no entrance fee.