Three reasons why Porto should be on your travel bucket list

The city of Porto is located on Portugal’s northwestern coast and is fast becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. What was once considered the less attractive younger sister of Lisbon is now the poster boy for Portuguese travel and stands alongside the heavyweights of Europe’s tourism scene.

But don’t just take our word for it. Condé Nast Traveller readers voted Porto as the second best city in Europe in their 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards, up from the seventh spot the year prior.

So how has Portugal’s second-largest city earned its reputation as one of the continent’s top holiday spots? Here are three reasons why you should see what all the fuss is about and why Porto should be on your travel bucket list.


Porto’s culinary scene is most known for the production of port, which remains a highly popular tipple the world over. However, when it comes to food, there are certain local dishes that are synonymous with Porto’s culture. These should be enjoyed in the restaurants and cafes across the city to get the most authentic taste of this fascinating region.

When it comes to sandwiches, Porto is tearing up the rulebook, as the hearty francesinha redefines everything you thought you knew about this global staple. The jewel in Porto’s culinary crown, the francesinha is a baked sandwich filled with ham and steak, shrouded in a layer of cheese along with a helping of beer-based sauce and a fried egg to finish.

Every eatery in the city will produce its own take on this local classic, so do your own research and make your own mind up as to where you can find the best francesinha!

porto should be on your travel bucket list


For travelers with a penchant for architecture and history, Porto has sights to see by the bucketload. Large portions of the city are defined by trademark styles, such as the use of ceramic tiles, which decorate some of Porto’s most ornate buildings. Head to the world-famous Sao Bento Railway Station in the heart of the city, where you will find over 20,000 tiles lining the walls of the main hall, depicting stories of Portugal’s past.

It is impossible to talk about Porto’s enchanting architecture without a mention of the bridges that stitch the two parts of the city together across the Douro River. There are six bridges in all, including the renowned Ponte Dom Luís I, which stands as the city’s most iconic bridge. Whether you walk, drive or catch the metro across the bridge, it has to be seen up close to be truly admired.


Douro River

The Douro River that flows through the heart of Porto is the third-longest river in the Iberian Peninsula and remains an emblem of this historic city. The majestic waterway stands in contrast between Porto’s past and present. Strolling along its banks next to the corrugated iron-roofed houses transports you back to a time when the river was used primarily to transport goods ready for exportation.

Nowadays, the river plays a central role in Porto’s tourism scene, and you can expect to see hoards of cruises and river taxis giving visitors a unique view of the city. Whether you enjoy the waterway from the comfort of a cruise or from the dizzying heights of the Ponte Dom Luís I, exploring the Douro River has to feature on your Porto itinerary.

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