Oporto

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Over the last few years my birthplace, Porto, has won a lot of ‘best european destination’ or ‘best city break’.

Obviously, I shouldn’t be giving any opinions over it but truly, it is one of those cities that offers something to everyone.

This year, in Lonely Planet’s Top European Travel Destinations, Porto holds the first place.

Here’s what they wrote about it:

“Once a sleepy riverside city best known for its fortified wines, Porto has emerged as a vibrant arts capital that’s rightfully getting a lot of buzz as a great value destination. At the vanguard of the city’s bohemian art scene is the gallery-lined Rua Miguel Bombarda – liveliest during Simultaneous Openings when new exhibitions and streetside concerts create a festive ambiance. Big museums such as the Museu de Arte Contemporânea in Parque de Serralves host cutting-edge exhibitions. Meanwhile, Rem Koolhaas’ wildly designed and hugely popular Casa da Música keeps the music going at year-round performances, including free outdoor concerts in the summer. Celebrated new restaurants have also tapped into the city’s creative new outlook. Rui Paula’s DOP showcases Portuguese ingredients with a contemporary twist. Historic port wine lodges provide tours and tastings for free or a nominal fee. Beyond Porto lies the Douro Valley, a picturesque region of steep terraced hillsides covered in some of Portugal’s most celebrated vineyards, with river cruises and scenic train rides for day-trippers.”

Having grown up there I have seen Porto as a deserted city, as a lot of people would be living outside the city centre and just go to work there. There was no night life. It was actually dangerous to walk to certain places at night. Suddenly, the city started to wake up and we had not only the Port wine, but we had life! We had artists in the streets, little markets popping up, rehabilitation of many of the buildings, bars, clubs, students in the streets!

It was like all this culture emerged. And the centre was lively again. Not only pretty and full of people on national hollidays or S. João ( celebrated on the 23rd of June. People of all ages spend the night on the cities streets just drinking and eating and watching fireworks. Tradition does not let you get home before 9AM!!!).

I am actually very proud and so, but so happy. I was a guide there as well as a hostel worker. The best thing I could see were my tourists falling in love with this city which they had no expectations or did not know anything about. Porto is not just the wine and the pretty colorful houses by the river. Porto is it’s people. And it’s beautiful.

Read more about the article here: www.lonelyplanet.com/europe/travel-tips-and-articles/77757

Claudia

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