Porto is located in the North of Portugal, on the north bank of the river Douro. It's the second largest city in the country, in an urban area with more than 1.3 million inhabitants. Four main bridges (Arrábida, Freixo, Luiz I and Infante) and two railway bridges (S. João and D. Maria – this one, considered an historical monument, is no longer operational) make it possible to cross the river to the other bank (Vila Nova de Gaia). Porto is a city characterised for its granite, which makes it a city “with character”. Its climate is temperate, though quite damp.
Porto is settled since pre-historical times. It has since been inhabited by Romans, Iberians, Celts, Swabians, Visigoths and Moors (although the influence of the Moors is greater in the South).
In the national history Porto has always fought for its independence and love for freedom. Liberalism, liberty and patriotism are some of the values that have always been expensive to the inhabitants of Porto. The name “tripeiros”, for which the inhabitants of Porto are known, arises from one of those proves of patriotism: in the 15th Century, the inhabitants of Porto gave away all their meet to supply the fleet that set sail from Porto, keeping only the tripes for themselves . This is the origin of one of the most traditional dishes of the local cuisine, “tripas à moda do Porto”.
With a strong and dynamic bourgeoisie to which the city owes the epitaph of “City of Work”, Porto has always been the city of trade. Its main export product is the Port wine, which enabled the renovation of the city: new roads and buildings were built, which accounts for the richness of the bourgeoisie of the time.
The historical richness of the city is accounted for in the labyrinth of narrow and rough streets of the medieval times and in its monuments (the Cathedral, the "Palácio da Bolsa", as well as several churches, museums and private houses). In 1996 UNESCO considered Porto “World Heritage”. This decision was largely influenced by the undeniable historical and architectural richness, by the beauty of the city and by the urban and social renovation the city goes constantly through, especially in the oldest areas. This demonstrates the cultural and social vitality of the city, which is also proven by its several Universities, art academies, conservatories, museums and art galleries.
This enabled Porto to be considered in 2001 the European Capital of Culture, together with Rotterdam. As such, great projects have been implemented aiming at encouraging cultural dynamics and continuing the urban renovation Porto has been going through.
For all these reasons, Porto gained its place as a city of work, science, culture and leisure...
Coming to Porto means living an extraordinary experience: the nice morning mist of a walk by the river on sunny days, which provides the city with a unique blue tone; a pleasant lunch in Praça da Ribeira, by the cube and the pigeons; a fantastic afternoon thanks to a walk by the historical area classified as world heritage and a nice time in the city parks; a drink in Foz by the sunset; a dinner in one of the many traditional city restaurants; and in the evening, hopping from bar to bar until you feel tired or ending the night in one of the city discos...
Although it is known as the “city of work” and for the quality of its University, Porto also has leisure times, thus increasing quality of life in the city.
Therefore, those who come to Porto once will wish to get back later ...