Porto (map) is Portugal’s second largest city and the capital of the *Northern region. The city isn’t very populous (about 240,000 inhabitants), but the Porto metropolitan area has some 2 million inhabitants in a 50-km radius.
The city is built at the high ground overlooking the Douro River estuary’s northern side, and its historical centre was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. The historic area is also a National Monument of Portugal. It has been continuously inhabited since at least the 4th century BC.
The city is quite varied architecturally, with medieval and modern buildings side by side. Porto’s geography is hard on the feet, but pleasant to the eye.
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Porto is a mysterious city that reveals its charm to the visitor through time. Take your time, wander through the mazes and alleys of the city. Take in the old, bohemian spirit of the city. Hike through the Ribeira (timeout.com, map) and Foz do Douro (map) regions (the latter, at sunset).
Within the old city centre, inexpensive to reasonable priced eating houses catering mostly for residents are also easily found for both lunch and dinner, these places welcome foreigners and many take special pride in hosting you.
A good tip is taking the bus or subway to Matosinhos in July, there will be the fish festival (matosinhoswbf.pt). Freshly caught fish is being served the same day at barbecues lined up in the streets just a few blocks from the main beach. You choose a fish (only whole fish) and they prepare it on the streets for you – not a fancy restaurant, but together with the local people you are eating the best tasting fish you ever had! Try a dourada, it is delicious.