Holidays to Porto
The second largest city in Portugal, Porto is a wonderful mix of medieval landmarks such as the 14th-century Church of São Francisco and baroque architecture such as the 18th-century Clérigos Church. It has been a strategic settlement since at least the Roman Empire, and is known for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and pleasant Mediterranean climate.
One of the key sights in the city is Porto Cathedral, which contains two prominent towers and is a major Romanesque landmark. It is widely believed that a building has existed at this site since at least the early Middle Ages, although the current building dates back to the 13th century and was significantly altered during the 18th century, when baroque features were introduced.
Famed for its sweet wine
This area of Portugal is also acclaimed for port wine, a fortified wine that originates from the lush landscapes of the Douro Valley and is often used as to accompany desserts. Many visitors can now book guided tours of the vineyards where the wine is produced, although others prefer to sample the wine in the cellars of Porto's elegant wine establishments instead.
Delectable cuisine and first-rate boutiques
If you're looking to try some authentic Portuguese cuisine, try ordering a Portuguese tripas, the city's best known dish, which comprises beef, white beans and other accompaniments. You should also consider a delicious caldo verde soup with chorizo (chouriço), potato and kale, or try a scrumptious vegetarian Migas, which often includes bread, wild asparagus, kale, beans, coriander and red pepper.
For world-class shopping, head to the Rua de Cedofeita, the Rua da Fabrica or the Rua Santa Catarina, which are popular with tourists and locals alike. If you are able to, consider bringing a bottle of port home with you, as it is likely to be significantly better quality than you will find in the UK. Discover delightful boutiques in the Avis part of the city, buy some of your souvenirs in the Clérigos district, or choose some wonderful hand-crafted goods like soaps and antiques in the main shopping area of Santa Caterina.
Don't forget the Majestic Café – an inspiration for one particularly successful authoress
This exquisite Majestic Café, which opened in the year 1921, is also along one of the main shopping streets, Rua Santa Catarina. It is revered for its Art Nouveau décor, Flemish mirrors, marble features and leather upholstery furniture. It has inspired countless numbers of intellectuals, artists and writers over the years, and is perfect for a cup of fresh coffee or a tantalising dessert. One of these writers was the author of the Harry Potter books, J. K. Rowling, who spent many hours in the cafe writing her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.