Porto: a must-visit in 2017

Last month, Porto was elected “The European Best Destination in 2017” for the third time (2012, 2014 and 2017), thanks to the votes of worldwide travellers from 174 countries, who confirmed the city as an exceptional and unique place to visit this year.

Considered one of the most ancient cities of Portugal, Porto city – before Portus Cale, which contributed to the choice of the name of the country – is located in the North of Portugal, where Douro River meets the Atlantic Ocean. This is what turns Porto into a maritime and, simultaneously, a riverside city.

Its friendly people, excellent gastronomy, and unique and eclectic architecture, allied to the one of the most fragrant and exclusive products of this region – Porto Wine –, makes Porto a destination to explore, to learn, and to adventure.

Classified as World Heritage by UNESCO since 1996, Porto’s Historic City Centre is a place marked by Medieval and Baroque influences, where generations of families still live and share their neighbourhood with tourists and local commerce – this one increasingly focused on tourism. Nonetheless, Porto’s charm derives from the heterogeneity of its spaces, environment, landscapes and interesting little corners.

Igreja do Carmo – Porto

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For these (and other) reasons, Porto is definitely the city to visit, not only to appreciate world references like Serralves Contemporary Art Museum – and its Juan Miró’s collection, until June -, but also Lello Bookshop – that inspired J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter scenarios -, Clérigos Tower – a Baroque masterpiece of the Italian artist Nicolau Nasoni, with more than 200 stair steps -, D. Maria and D. Luiz bridges – the first one designed by Gustave Eiffel -, Palácio da Bolsa – which has a fabulous Arab Room, inspired on the Alhambra Palace -, Casa da Música – an amazing place to listen and watch music performances -, Porto Wine Cellers – to understand the history and the tastes of Douro Valley, and to get to know more about the first Controlled Designation of Origin Zone in the world.

… 💎 #casadamusica #portugal #remkoolhaas

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However, Porto is not new among European touristic destinations. The variety of styles of Hotels and Hostels it has to offer makes Porto a city where travellers may range from families to groups of friends, young people, or businessman. Now, this city also has the best airport in Europe, elected by Airports Council International in 15 million passenger’s category (the ninth award in ten years). But if the choice is to travel by maritime cruise, the arrival in Porto will be on the Leixões Cruises Terminal, which won two prestigious architecture awards.

The magnificence of Porto resides on the dynamic and entrepreneurship of its population, strongly based in the merit and recognised work of the University of Porto in areas like Medicine, Architecture, Engineering, Sciences and Economics. This has contributed to make Porto a pole of attraction for many Erasmus students and researchers, especially in innovation technologies.

Furthermore, Porto and North Region of Portugal are now in the spotlight because of Arts, Architecture and Design regional actors references like Siza Vieira, Souto Moura, Miguel Vieira, Nuno Gama, Katty Xiomara or Gisela João. But Porto is fashion also because of hosting special events like PortoWorldBattle (17th to 19th March), European Design Awards (27th May), Primavera Sound (8th to 10th June), São João Popular Holiday (23rd to 24th June), Red Bull Air Race (2nd to 3rd September).

When compared to other cities in Europe, Porto is a safe place to live and travel, where people generally speak English, Spanish and sometimes French. Finally, besides being a relatively cheap destination, Porto also has a vibrant and multi-aged life night. Altogether, these very unique characteristics are makes Porto an extraordinary city to visit, to travel, to live and to love.