Holiday rentals in Porto
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Your guide to Porto
Welcome to Porto
This gorgeous city of hills and red rooftops represents a heady mix of history and good living. A visit to Porto is about feasting and fun, soaking up the atmosphere and the hazy beauty of a 1,000-year-old urban landscape dotted with colourful waterside mansions, as well as Baroque and Beaux Arts buildings that cling to the hillsides around the mouth of the river. Porto’s historic centre is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, whose standout buildings include the cathedral, many fine churches, and the Neoclassical Stock Exchange Palace; also a UNESCO site is the Monastery of Serra do Pilar, which overlooks the city.
There’s striking modern architecture, too, such as the Casa da Música cultural venue and the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, with a treetop walk and sculpture park. Evenings can be spent hanging out in the cool Baixa neighbourhood, and nibbling your way through the foodie Ribeiro district, where the double-deck-arched Dom Luís I Bridge crosses the Douro River.
The best time to stay in a holiday rental in Porto
Temperatures in the north of Portugal are cooler than in the south, but the weather in Porto is generally lovely all year: chillier and rainier in winter, but with hot summers and warm weather in spring and autumn. Around late September, visitors can join in the grape harvest at the Douro Valley vineyards. June brings the São João street festival, celebrating the saint of lovers with night festivities, fireworks, and bonfires on beaches near the city.
Fans of architecture flock to Porto, home of a highly praised school of architecture, and wonderful buildings. July’s Open House Porto event gives access to some local architectural gems. Other big draws are the Porto International Puppet Festival in October, and an array of food and wine festivals including Essência do Vinho in February.
Top things to do in Porto
Boating the Douro River
The Douro River winds through gorgeous countryside, natural parks, and the Douro Wine Region Valley, one of the oldest demarcated winemaking regions in the world. A voyage by boat is an idyllic way to reach its vineyards, quintas, and charming wine-growing villages. Going on the historic train line is a fun alternative.
Quarteirão das Artes
The streets around Rua Miguel Bombarda are considered an arts block, and the ideal area for checking cutting-edge art and design — and to see and be seen doing it. There are many little galleries here, fashion stores, and cool cafes worth your attention.
Eat a francesinha
This spicy, meaty local confection is considered one of the world’s best sandwiches, made with pork, smoked sausage, bacon, steak, and a fried egg on a doorstep-sized slice of bread, smothered in rich cheesy sauce. Typically served with a pile of fries and a cold beer, francesinha can be found all over the city, with each venue touting its secret sauce recipes. Pack an appetite!