After Lisbon, Porto is the second largest city in Portugal, in the North region of this country.
Nowadays the city has more than 1,7 million inhabitants. Due to its closeness to Spain, this region is very attractive for Spanish tourists which consider it to be the perfect place for their weekend breaks.
Porto is a special city, with a different environment, whether for its attractive and decadent lifestyle or city rhythm. Its districts are elegant and their manor houses contrast with the network of narrow streets classified by UNESCO as World Heritage.
The best way to discover Porto is by walking along its narrow streets, filled with history and nostalgia. If you’re visiting the city you shouldn’t miss the sunset at the Ribeira; walking by the Mercado do Bolhão Market; tasting its famous wines, and visiting the most emblematic and interesting monuments such as the Torre dos Clerigos Tower; the Gardens of Palácio de Cristal, the cathedral, the Livraria Lello Bookshop, the Igreja de São Francisco Church and the attractive Igreja do Carmo Church and Capela das Almas Shrine.
The history of Porto has historical relations with the name of the country. Portugal derives from the name Porto Cale or Portus Cale, used by Celts to refer to the small village they settled in the area, and that later developed into Portugal.
In Porto, many festivities and cultural activities are held throughout the year. The most interesting are: Fantasporto (International Film Festival of Porto); a Fantasy and Horror Film Festival taking place during two weeks in February or March; an international theatre festival in Portuguese and Spanish (Festival de Teatro de Expressão Ibérica); Sallaves em Festa, a great party which is celebrated during 40 uninterrupted hours in a lively weekend at the beginning of June; the São João, the biggest festivity in Porto, in June; the International Folk festival, which lasts week between July and August; and the Ritual Rock Festival, for a whole weekend in August.
On the other side of the Douro River you might find the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, which you can access whether through one of its amazing bridges or by boat. On this city you might find the best wine cellars of the region.
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