When in Lisbon, many travelers choose to then move on to the beaches of Algarve while others head north to the country’s second city, Porto. This summer you should go for the second option, as it also offers beaches nearby together with a major cultural renaissance. Here are the five main reasons to go now.
WINING AND DINING
There’s a new “wine hotel” that’s not only one of Porto’s top accommodation choices but also one of Portugal’s best. Facing the city’s majestic skyline on the other side of the river, The Yeatman‘s inspiration is the famous wine that Porto is famous for. In addition to the luxury of the rooms, it also offers a wonderful spa and restaurant. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, you may experience its refined gastronomic choices at the Yeatman Restaurant. Outside, you’ll find countless centuries-old wineries offering free guided tours and wine tastings.
A NEW HEART
Downtown Porto (including the monumental Avenida dos Aliados) has undergone a major renovation over the past few years and is now a vibrant area at any time of the day. A new InterContinental hotel just opened a few days ago in a palace facing the city’s main avenue, and several cafÃ© terraces and bars have given downtown a lively ambience. The new hotel also brought back to life an old cafÃ© in the same building (CafÃ© AstÃ³ria), and other hotspots to check out on the renovated avenue include Casal Lounge and the always-popular Guarany cafÃ©.
The fact that a new Marc Jacobs shop just opened in the center of the city is the latest indication that the major labels have also begun to discover Porto. But the reason to shop here is for the local products and to admire some beautiful storefronts. Many of them maintain charming turn-of-the-century faÃ§ades and inside you’ll find attractive classic products or surprisingly modern and alternative pieces. One example of the classic-meets-contemporary is the Taken Urban Culture Store which recently took over one of the city’s most iconic shops. More surprises are found at Lobo Taste, home to contemporary crafts. Also worth a look is the Porto home of one of Lisbon’s most famous shops, A Vida Portuguesa, right in the center of the city. More shopping options here: Porto Shops
Head to the upscale district of Foz where the Douro meets the Atlantic and enjoy the fresh air of the sea. The brand-new Deck Foz is just one option but there are also the already-classic Praia da Luz and Homem do Leme.
End your day (or night) at the latest hotspot in the city, the rooftop terrace Zenith Lounge. It offers moonlit views of Porto and its river together with cocktails and DJ sounds. Closer to downtown, the latest buzz points to Vila Porto, a club hosting the hottest weekend parties in town.
COMPLETE PORTO GUIDE: GO OPORTO