Portugal was born in the North. And arriving in Porto, it feels like taking a step back in time. Red roof tiles tumble from hilltops to the riverfront, the cries of gulls wheel above the river and out to the sea, ancient streets tangle around buildings covered in tile that that saw new lands discovered, kings and queens come into power, and the creation of some of the finest wines on the planet. But make no mistake – Porto may have an ancient soul, but its pulse is every bit modern with some of the best small hotels in Europe.
Porto is often called Portugal’s second city, second in size to Lisbon. But where Lisbon is graceful and full of light, Porto is darker, faster, and an assault to the senses. You can feel the energy – the collision of old and new – in the streets. For me, the best way to explore Porto is to wander. Take time to explore the back streets, visit the Port wine houses, sample the distinct and delicious cuisine of Porto in the tascas, market and specialty stores, and spend the night in one of the best small hotels, historic and charming.
After a few days in Porto, head out of town to the Douro Valley. The rest of the world is just starting to catch on to what the Portuguese have always known – they make great wine. And much of the country’s best wine is made here, in the Douro Valley. The Douro Valley is the world’s first officially designated wine region. It’s known internationally of course for its Port wine, but some spectacular table wines are being made here as well. The scenery is breathtaking with […]