Oporto (or Porto, or Port) is the perfect destination for a weekend trip. It is relative small, not too crowded, and the number of things to visit are just a few. In spite of that, we organized a 3-day visit to the second biggest city in Portugal, and we still have a reason to come back. Porto houses one of the most beautiful bookstores in Europe, but as a bookstore, it was closed both Sunday and Monday… A beginner’s mistake.
But Porto is more than a bookstore. It is a nice hilly city 5 km away from the Duero river mouth, which gave its name to a wine type that is only produced here. Wine production has also been one of the reasons of its economic power during the last centuries, which can be observed in the beautiful (but old) building spread all over the city. Unfortunately, some of them are not well preserved and will eventually fall down, unless some action is taken to prevent so.
Its history happens to be really interesting. Portugal has been a historic ally of the Brits, and allies help each other when in need. Due to the war between France and England in the 17th Century, the latter suffered a shortage of wine, and asked Portugal for help. Wine from this area was exported on a massive scale, and in order to preserve it during the long trip, brandy was added to the wine. That new wine became popular, and lots of wineries with English capital arose in the region, and are still leading the export business.
One of the musts for a Porto visitor, is a tour in one of these wineries to get to know the process and the history for this wine production… and in the meanwhile try the different versions that it has: white, ruby, tawny, LBV…
For more pictures from this trip, check this slideshow.