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Thinking Of Visiting Portugal? They Reckon This Is The Coolest City (It’s Not Lisbon)

Story from: 2oceansvibe.com

Portugal, the country sitting on the southwest corner of Europe, is a major travel destination known for its fresh fish, open beaches and historical architecture dating back to the 1500s when it was once a powerful maritime empire.

Choosing a location to visit depends on what you’re looking for, and people generally tend to lean towards Lisbon, the capital, or Algarve, the southern province.

But we’re here to show you a place you might have never before considered.

The second-largest city after Lisbon, Porto is a coastal city in the northwest and, as CNN suggests, is “the place to go for a unique blend of history, balmy weather, culture, cooking and nightlife”:

With its old riverside center [sic] designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its chefs picking up a growing constellation of Michelin stars, as well as its world-beating wines and vast stretches of sandy shore on its doorstep, Porto certainty has a lot to offer, but can it really challenge Lisbon as Europe’s capital of cool?

If that paragraph doesn’t contain enough information to convince you, here are a few more reasons:

The people of Porto are affectionately known as tripeiros — roughly tripe-eaters.

The nickname comes from the city’s signature dish, tripas à moda do Porto: a mess of white beans fortified with pig’s ear, calves’ foot, cow’s stomach (aka tripe) and a cartload of other chewy bits.

Legend has it that Porto got its taste for offal in 1415, when the city’s patriotic inhabitants handed over all their meat to a Portuguese army off to war in Morocco, leaving themselves with just the offcuts.

Porto wraps the Douro in a cozier embrace.

The city rises up on steep hills on both banks (although Vila Nova de Gaia, the historic south-side wine center, is technically a separate city). Its old neighborhoods [sic] cling to the slopes and look down on a flotilla of barcos rabelos — high-prowed longboats that once carried kegs of wine down from upriver vineyards and now bob decoratively in the stream.

“Ribeira has those old taverns, a culture of tradition, that’s characteristic of an old people. It’s got good restaurants and then there’s the river, the most beautiful part of our River Douro,” says Maria Olinda Ramisio, a stalwart stallholder in another icon of old Porto, the Bolhão market, which has been providing the city with vitals since 1950.

The resort of Foz sits within the city limits, where the Douro meets the ocean. Its strips of sand interspersed with rocky outcrops running north beyond the promenade are among Portugal’s best urban beaches.

Foz also contains some of Porto’s poshest real estate, plus a collection of hip boutiques, cool bars and trendy restaurants.

“Foz is an area that not so many tourists come to, they tend to stay in the center, but it’s beautiful here. We’ve got the river, the sea, the beaches, great shops and restaurants. They should come out here,” says Marta Marques, who designs children’s fashion for the Foz-based Piupiuchick brand.

Porto’s gift to the booze world is altogether more noble.

Port, which takes its name from the city, has been revered as one of the great wines for centuries, beloved by English lords, Russian tsars and connoisseurs the world over.

It’s made from grapes grown up on the Douro wine region, a magnificent, UNESCO World Heritage site, made up of terraced slopes rising up from the meandering river, that starts about an hour upstream from Porto.

With return flights costing just over R8 000, it’s a mere 2,5 hour drive up to Porto from Lisbon. While tripe and port might not be everyone’s taste, CNN’s comparison of the two cities – here – shows you just what you will be getting yourself into if you chose Porto over Lisbon.

Although there’s no harm spending time in both cities.


This post is from 2oceansvibe.com. Click here to read the full text

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