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Tawny or ruby? More than just port in Porto

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A November 2004 trip to Porto by SaraP

View across Porto Photo, Porto, Portugal More Photos
Quote: As Portugal's second city, I was astonished to find Porto overlooked and relegated in guide-book parlance to the "off-the-beaten-track" category. Its neglected status is good news for visitors, though, making it less busy or expensive than the capital, but equally as charming. Liberal port and splendid views - sheer heaven!

Tawny or ruby? More than just port in Porto

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Overview

View across Porto Photo, Porto, Portugal
Quote:
Porto is divided in two main areas - the city centre and Vila Nova de Gaia, across from the Douro (where the port houses wink on the hill). In the centre, churches abound: * Igreja de Santo Ildefonso dates from 1737, its beautiful stone facade covered in typical Portuguese blue-and-white painted azulejos (tiles) depicting the saint's life * the large square Se (cathedral) is a fortress of a building, whose walled plaza offers good views across to the Douro's south bank * St. Francisco's church has the most fantastic engraved wooden allegories on the inside of the walls, and even the columns are covered in gold leaf (170kg in all). In ad...Read More

Residencial Universal

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Hotel

Quote:
The normal price for this well-placed hotel is €60 for a double, but it halves its rates for the period of October 1 to March 1. Our two-night stay came through on my credit card bill as £45, which has to be a quite extraordinary bargain for an establishment so well-situated and equipped. On top of that, the breakfast is not bad at all. It’s from 7am to 11am and is buffet-style, with okay coffee, fresh rolls/jam/honey, etc., yoghurts, and ham or cheese (and the usual squash masquerading as juice). You can't really beat the place for location, either (assuming you want to be in the town in the first place, rather than at the snootier hotels of Vila Nova de Gaia or Ribeira)--Avenida dos Aliados r...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 12, 2004

Residencial Universal
Avenida dos Aliados 38
Porto, Portugal
222 006 758

Forno dos Clerigos

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Restaurant

Quote:
I would not normally trouble you with merely a coffeehouse, but this is exceptional. Conveniently located just off Liberdade, it is very reasonably priced, friendly, and serves the most exquisite selection of cakes. As with almost all Porto coffeehouses or bars, the coffee menu is an exercise in itself, with a choice of perhaps a dozen strengths and combinations (though the syrups and flavourings that seem popular in other European cities are, thankfully, not in evidence here to taint the excellent coffee)- a pingado (double espresso shot with a dash of extra water or milk) will set you back 1€ or get a lager. (Try the very refreshing bottled version that contains essence of lemon-much ni...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 7, 2004

Forno dos Clerigos
Rua dos Clerigos, 67
Porto, Portugal
222 001 181

Pedro dos Frangos

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Restaurant

Quote:
After a long day of pounding the pavements (and assuming you haven’t filled up on too many Clerigos macaroons), you will be just about ready for the gigantic portions at Pedro dos Frangos ("Pedro of the Chickens"). It’s up a rather dark side street, but marked by a protruding illuminated sign that is so hard to miss when you find the right spot. As to what the restaurant serves (if you can’t translate "Frango"), the game is given away as you press your nose up against the steamed-up window to see the rows of chickens turning on spits over the fire in front of a counter jam-packed with Porto folk. You can either eat down here or make your way upstairs (there are actually two more floors to this ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 13, 2004

Pedro dos Frangos
Rua do Bonjardim 219
Porto, Portugal

Torre Dos Clerigos

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Attraction | "Igreja and Torre dos Clerigos"

Torre Dos Clerigos Photo, Porto, Portugal
Quote:
I suspect visitors fall into two categories - the type who like to get as high as possible to get their bearings or (like me) prefer to work it out at ground level so as to appreciate the view more once I finally get up there and know what I am looking at. This tower will be good for either, though it lacks any signposts at the top to assist in what you’re looking at (or looking for). The entrance is slightly tricky to find and you have to approach either through the church itself (of which more below) or by going up the steps to the tower and, turning to the left, following the wall to the (unsigned) entrance door. Pay your 1.50€ fee and brace yourself for the 225 steps – good news is that the...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 12, 2004

Torre Dos Clerigos
Porto
Porto, Portugal

Palacio da Bolsa

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Attraction

Palacio da Bolsa Photo, Porto, Portugal
Quote:
Well worth a visit is the Palacio de la Bolsa ("stock exchange" or "commercial centre"), which takes up a whole block next to the market. It looks uncompromising, square, and uninviting from the outside, but this belies the treasures within. In the early 1800s, the land (the building which previously occupied it having burned down) was given by Queen Maria II to the merchants of Porto as a site for construction of a meeting hall (her generosity is remembered by busts and portraits around the corridors and main salons). The neo-classical "palace" was funded by merchants themselves, who formed a guild for the purpose and finished in 1842. Both the grandeur of the exterior, with its sweeping step...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 17, 2004

Palacio da Bolsa
Praca Infante D. Henrique
Porto, Portugal