The city of Porto has been elected for the third time as the best European destination. More than half the votes came from outside of Portugal, which means that there are Porto lovers all over the world. The strong historic and cultural character of the city, its architecture, beauty and also the competitive prices that present comparatively with other cities, are the arguments for it.

Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city, with 300.000 inhabitants and combines a strong cultural heritage with growing research and development activities, offering visitors scenery with plenty to see. Porto is the centre of a metropolitan area of great vitality with a population of 1.1 million and it is known for its cuisine, wines and the unique combination of tradition and modernity.

The city lies on the right bank of the Douro River and its historical centre (four main areas: Sé, Miragaia, S. Nicolau and Vitória) was awarded UNESCO World Heritage, in 1996, due to its numerous Medieval, Baroque and Neo Classic monuments. But it is on the narrower streets where the unique atmosphere of old Porto is to be found, where “cultural heritage” is an everyday fact of life.

The people of Porto received in the 15th century the honourable nickname of “Tripeiros” (tripe eaters), since all the good meat was sent for the men who went to conquer Ceuta in 1415 and later to those who went in caravels to discover other lands. So the inhabitants of Porto only had the tripes of the cow to eat. That’s how the most typical dish – tripe Porto style – came into being.

In 2001 Porto was the host of the European Cities of Culture. In addition to an extensive renovation and rehabilitation project involving a team of renowned architects and engineers, other great changes have been made in the city.

Porto is also the starting point for exploring the Douro river in an unforgettable upstream journey where nature has been vigorous, solemn and profound. The Port vineyards are planted along the steep and spectacular hills overlook the Douro river. The Alto Douro Wine Region has also been considered as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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