Bridges and port wine are what characterises Porto, Portugal's gracious northern capital and second largest city after Lisbon. Porto sits astride a great gorge at the point where the River Douro enters the Atlantic. Although it is mainly industrial, the city centre has plenty of charm with art treasures, medieval cathedrals and museums. The narrow streets sport wrought-iron balconies decorated with splashes of potted geraniums.
Porto © Raul Lieberwirth
The main reason tourists visit Porto is to sample its legendary port wine, processed, blended and aged in the various lodges of the Vila Nova da Gaia district across the river from the city, reached via the spectacular two-tiered Dom Luis bridge. Visitors can tour the lodges and finish up with a tasting session. The city also has a historic riverside district called Ribeira, which is undergoing restoration and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Within easy reach of Porto are numerous coastal resorts and fishing villages along the Atlantic coastline, well known for their seafood restaurants. It is the perfect end to a day spent cruising down the River Douro, perfect for taking in the scenic splendour of the area.