Porto- The Magic on the Banks of Douro River

Photo of Porto- The Magic on the Banks of Douro River by Nina Dupcinova

Porto is the city of pure beauty, lightness, joy, positive vibrations, Fado music, and exceptional Port wines.

Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal, rich in history and culture, captivates with its beauty, hidden in its lively districts full of irresistible coastal charm.

The hilly relief, narrow, picturesque streets, beautiful green gardens with colorful, fragrant flowers, magnificent buildings of different architectural styles, exquisite wines, and friendly, smiling people make Porto a unique and lovely place.

My strong recommendation is to walk along the banks of the Douro River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Here you can take a look at the most famous city’s Dom Luis I Bridge, constructed in the 19th century. It is the most visited attraction for young couples to enjoy the overwhelming sights of this lovely city.

During a relaxing stroll through the  picturesque streets of Porto, you will come to the 19th century Sao Bento railway station, located in the heart of the city. At this point, there used to be the 16th-century Monastery ones, after the Porto railway station got its name. The building is famous for its stunning interior decorations made of 20000 lovely white and blue ceramic tiles representing the most significant events from the history of Portugal like vivid life- scenes of Royal families, a harrowing scene of wars, and memorable events related to the railway station history.

If you ever find yourself in this magnificent place, freely come in and admire the beautiful and touching images that are priceless works of art. They are of great importance to the rich culture of Portugal, and after more than 100 years, they’re still shining with its most beautiful splendor.

Porto also hosts gorgeous Lello Bookstore, one of the most remarkable bookstores in the world, that resembles a museum. Enjoy its delightful ambiance adorned with the marvelous wooden stairway and walls, giving the interior a warm and friendly atmosphere. Its magnificent exterior features the Gothic style façade with two figures, which symbolically represents the Science and the Art, an impressive work of art painted by José Bielman.

If you are a great connoisseur and modern art lover, this city can meet all your expectations. Take a look at an exceptional example of modern architecture, the marvelous mid-20-century building called Rosa Motta, that hosts music, and sporting events as well as a multimedia library. Make sure to see the gorgeously landscaped garden full of flowers and diverse plants around this modern glass building, overlooking the Douro River. Admire the dazzling view of the river and its beautiful surroundings. The whole of the area is a real oasis of peace, where you can relax and spend time strolling and enjoying the fairytale ambient that enchants visitors with gorgeous sights and divine smalls of the diversity of plants that grow here.

This city is also known for its Baroque, Neoclassical style palaces, and churches that hide priceless art treasure, carefully collected for centuries. Among many, the 12th-century Romanesque style Porto Cathedral and the 14 century San Francisco Church, which features the remarkable interior decorations, and the Baroque style altarpieces, stand out with their elegance and beauty. The beautiful Baroque style Clérigos Church, with a marble altarpiece and 75 m high bell -tower, among locals accepted as a symbol of the whole city, will certainly catch your eye.

Porto is a city that abounds with beautiful palaces of luxurious beauty that shows all the power and brilliance of the former Portuguese empire. In a pleasant walk along the streets of Porto, you will see the imposing buildings with the elegant, gorgeous façade and colorful stained-glass windows, and beautiful interior, where you will be captivated by the richness of the cultural heritage preserved within the walls of many palaces of the city.

The most visited Palace is Palacio de Bolsa, built in the mid -19th century, during the reign of King Louis I. Today it is the Porto Commercial Association headquarter, and at the same time, the venue for numerous cultural, social, and political events. On the edge of the town, there is another palace that will take your breath away, with its elegance and refined beauty. It is the Palacio de Freixo, a lovely example of the Portuguese Baroque architecture of the 19th century. At the beginning of the 21 st century, it was remodeled by the architect Fernando Tavora. Now, it serves as a luxurious hotel, providing a magnificent view of the Douro River. You should visit Porto gorgeous palaces because they represent the architectural crown of the northern part of Portugal, which will not leave you indifferent.

If you decide to spend a holiday in Porto, many beautiful surprises are still waiting for you to discover. Spend some time in its vivid squares that are main gathering places and witnesses of many significant historical moments. Many of them keep a real artistic treasure of divine buildings that provoke sincere admiration.

Each of these places preserves the memory of former times, the epoch, and diverse artistic styles that captivates with its beauty and unique architectural expression. They are beautiful traces of past centuries that have been left behind by numerous people who inhabited this area. Each of them has a special story, a remembrance, and a secret about people and events that have marked the dynamic history of this city.

One of the oldest Porto squares is the 14th century Ribeira square. It’s the first commercial square, known as a busy area, thanks to the proximity of the Douro River, which is used for transporting goods. Enjoy the charms of the Old city town full of tourists wandering around, admiring the environment, and enjoy the time in many of the nearby restaurants. Outside Porto old town, there is a space known as Praça da Batalha, which is famous for many engaging stories about the battle (Batalha) between Christians and Moors, after which the market got the name. Different legends about this history-event, still circulate among people, despite the time that has gone by.

Praça de Gomes Teixeira Square is perhaps one of the most beautiful squares in Porto with a breathtaking fountain with lions placed at its center. If you are a beauty addict, this gorgeous place with divine architecture will attract your attention. Around the square, there are magnificent buildings that belong to the university, and Carmo and Carmelitas’ churches are located side by side. The 18th Carmo church is a beautiful example of Baroque architecture, while Carmelita church distinguishes with the lavishly decorated interior. If you ever find yourself here, come to this church, and you will see guild wood carvings on the altar and lateral chapels adorned in the baroque and rococo styles. Spend some time in Porto squares, enjoy the moment, and make sure to get to know its mysterious and engaging legends. This way, you will better get familiar with the history, customs, and the way Porto locals live.

Take your time to experience a real Porto. Feel the taste of sweet Port wines on lips, indulge in melancholic sounds of Fado music that touch the soul, take a look at the stylish, sophisticated architecture, and meet charismatic Porto people that make this city a unique place. Porto is the city of relaxation and ease of life, featured by the natural environment and unobtrusive beauty that fascinates. If you arrive in Porto, you will enjoy the soothing sounds of the Douro River and long walks in the picturesque maze of streets that you can easily hike. At every step that you make, you will be aware of Porto magic that everyone leaves breathless. Take a long walk, full of excitement and expectations, and face with its pure beauty that comes out from each of its markets, parks, streets, and yards that tempt to enjoy and surrender to the leisure, which everyone quickly gets used to. Indulge fully in the azure sky, which merges with the blue water of the Douro River, and you will feel delighted with this beautiful sight.

If you enjoy shopping, walk around the picturesque streets of Porto, stop by some of the many shops selling souvenirs, and cute hand-made crafts. Their warm and pleasant atmosphere will make you feel swaying, happy, and satisfied, providing memories for a lifetime. But what makes this place special are its residents, full of optimism and positive energy that they selflessly transfer to other people. So, soak up this energy, be curious, and an adventurer, and I am sure you will be in love with Porto forever.