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With over 1.4 million inhabitants, Porto is the second largest city in Portugal. The city has a mercantile history stretching back centuries and while it’s now a busy industrial and commercial centre, it still retains much of its medieval charm.
The higgledy-piggledy historical centre of Porto was awarded World Heritage status in 1996, and has much to offer visitors to the city who come in search of the quaint atmosphere of yesteryear.
However, there’s more to Porto than medieval architecture as the city also has some very impressive 21st century buildings. It’s the place where Port wine is made, and many notable companies such as Fonseca, Sandemans and Cálem have their warehouses in the Gaia suburb of the city.
While many people choose to take the train from Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, you may want to consider making the 15-kilometre journey in one of our Porto shuttle buses.
They’re fast, they’re convenient, and we’ll take you wherever you want to go in the city, whether you’re staying in one of the many hotels or you simply want to get home with the minimum of fuss.
As the city is very hilly, it can often be quite difficult to get around on foot, especially as it seems that there are always stairs to climb. However, it’s always worth the climb to the miradouras (lookouts) to gain a birds-eye view of the city.
Whether you’re taking in a view from the terraces surrounding the hilltop fortress of Sé cathedral, the Torre dos Clerigos, or from the Jardim do Morro at the top of the Gaia district, you’ll look down on magnificent baroque churches and soaring bell towers.
Down at sea-level, you’ll find Ribeira or riverfront where you can look across the river and see the Port Wine cellars at Ribeira de Gaia. From there you can make your way to the São Francisco church whose Gothic exterior hides an elaborate baroque interior where almost 100kg of gold leaf has been used to adorn the decoration.
Art is very much in evidence in the city, but it’s not all about museums. While the world famous Modern Art museum at Serralves, the Museu da Misericórdia do Porton with its collection of 15th to 17th century art, and the Pálacio das Carrancas are all definitely worth a visit, you’ll also see art in all forms throughout the city, from the azulejos or hand-painted tiles to street art and graffiti.
There’s also a very good photography museum, Centro Português de Fotografia in one of the beautiful city centre buildings.
If you love music, take a tour of the Casa da Música, which is entirely dedicated to the creation of music. It’s not only home to Porto National Orchestra, but it’s the heart of Porto’s cultural scene.
To say that eating and drinking in Porto is pure delight is a bit of an understatement. After all there’s the distinctive port, but there’s also a new wave of modern chefs who are cooking up Portuguese cuisine that’s putting Porto on the Michelin map.
Combine this with cool bistros, retro cafes and family-run tascas or taverns, and you can see that you’ll always be spoilt for choice.
The ocean front, known locally as ‘Foz’ is one of the most upmarket parts of the city, with a multitude of bars, cafes, restaurants and clubs.
There are also many beaches along the way if you want to do a little sunbathing. Just under 3 kilometres along the sea front you’ll come to Castelo do Queijo, a fortress dating back to 1661. If you don’t fancy the walk, but you’d like to see the castle, simply contact RentABus.com for affordable minibus hire in Porto.
If you fancy going a little further afield, perhaps to see how Portugal’s famous ‘VInho Verde’ is produced in the Minho region, we can provide comfortable minibus rentals or even guided sightseeing tours in Porto and beyond.