At sunset, the banks of the Douro are buzzing with activity.
I arrived in Porto on the longest day of the year, June 23, 2013. Tradition dictates that this day – Festa de São João do Porto – is celebrated with fireworks and grilled sardines, and that people greet each other with toy hammers. Welcome to Porto.
The second largest city in Portugal, Porto is a maze of orange-tiled rooftops. It is the birthplace of Port wine and home to many stunning baroque-styled churches. I came to Porto to sample the wine and photograph the Douro river that runs through the city, but my most memorable moments were the quiet ones: sipping coffee street-side in Porto’s historic center, admiring blue and white tiles at the train station, and listening to the gentle splash of the river against the docks.
Porto has gained popularity in recent years as a travel destination. But even in a sea of European tourists, I still felt a sense of mystery in this charming city. Quietly tucked away in the north of Portugal, Porto is a destination waiting to be discovered.
Read on for my top 10 attractions in Porto.
#1. The Douro
#2. Sao Bento Railway
Located in the center of Porto, Sao Bento Railway station has stunning visuals. Its front hall is covered in 20,000 ceramic tiles, took 11 years to complete and depicts the historic battles of the 14th-century monarchs, King João I and Queen Philippa of Lancaster.
#3. Church of Saint Francis
#4. The Porto Cathedral
#5. Iglesia São Lourenço
#6. Authentic Port Wine
#7. Livraria Lello
#8. Caldo Verde
#9. Clérigos Church
#10. Festa de São João
About the Writer
Tracy Zhang is a travel photographer who loves to capture the natural beauty of her destinations.
Tracy has lived on three continents and traveled to 25 countries, but she still finds time to relax in her quiet suburban home in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Tracy traveled to Portugal as part of a Kensington Tours-sponsored press trip.
Have you been to Portugal?
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