Porto

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Porto sprawls on the hilly north bank of the Douro River. On the south bank lies Vila Nova de Gaia. Known as the city of bridges (there are 7), the  main link between the two sides is Ponte Dom Luis I Bridge, built in 1886 by a partner of Eiffel.
 

A funicular (Elevador dos Guindais)  runs alongside the remains of the old city wall to connect the Ribeira district with the town centre above.
 

The hilly contours and skyline of Porto are dominated by the Clrigos Tower.

 Three interconnecting tram lines connect all the major tourist sites from the Foz district and the Atlantic Ocean, to the Carmo church and Tramway Museum, and through the city centre past Avenida dos Aliados and Batahla Plaza.

Rua Santa Catarina is the main shopping drag. A walk along here provides a good glimpse of both historic and modern Porto. Notice the distinctive hand-crafted mosaic sidewalk.
 

Avenida dos Aliados (Avenue of the Allies) is the primary urban street in Porto. It is surrounded by opulent buildings, including the city hall and the "Imperial McDonalds," the most beautiful McDonalds in Europe.
 

While Porto has a few individual tourist attractions, the best activity is to just wander and bask in old world charm. The area is compact, but getting around can be confusing and tiring.

Cais de Rebeira is the alluring and photogenic medieval district where Henry the Navigator's birthplace now serves as the city archives. Current residents continue the tradition of hanging out laundry and people-watching from the balconies.
 

The plaza Ribeira at the waterfront is a delightful gathering place with seafood barbeque restaurants, hole-in-the-wall cafes and kiosks selling ceramics, embroidery and filigree.

The entire Rebeira district is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Stock Exchange Palace (it is neither) was constructed by the Commercial Association to show off the skills of tradesmen.
 

Azulejo tile murals adorn the interior and exterior of numerous buildings.

The main entry hall of the So Bento Train Station displays historic and folk scenes of the Douro valley in azulejo tile murals. 

Historical art-nouveau cafes were the gathering places of the local intelligentsia.

 

Port wine lodges line the riverbank in Vila Nova de Gaia, and most are open for tastings. A gondola ride and boat tours offer alternative ways to view Porto.
 

Vast numbers of buildings in Porto are undergoing renovations. It is not unusual to see gutted structures and temporary braces.
 

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This site was last updated 03/22/15