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PORTO With its graceful

PORTO With its graceful bridges, baroque cathedrals and cobbled streets, the second-largest city in Portugal offers a feast for the soul and senses Set against a backdrop of the Douro River and exuding charm from every brick, Porto is rich in culture, architecture and, of course, port. With a history dating back to the Roman Empire, its Celtic-Latin name, Portus Cale, is believed to be the origin of the name Portugal. The city’s center was given World Heritage Site status by UNESCO in 1996 and is home to some of the most important architecture in the country, from the modernist buildings of the early 20th century to the Romanesque cathedral and huge synagogue, which show the city’s diverse and lengthy cultural history. Wander down the pedestrianized Rua de Santa Catarina and visit the Church of St. Ildefonso, decorated in the blue azulejo tiles that are typical of the region. Then continue on to São Bento railway station, where some of the city’s key historic moments are depicted in more than 20,000 tiles. Must-sees Porto is home to concert halls, theaters, galleries and museums. One notable example is the Soares dos Reis National Museum, which displays Portuguese art across the past five centuries. The Serralves Foundation curates the Museum of Contemporary Art, with some fantastic exhibitions from all around the world. Buildings such as the Coliseu do Porto theater and the Cinema Batalha exemplify the Streamline Moderne and art deco styles that also blossomed in the city during the early 20th century. Port has been produced exclusively in the Douro region since the first half of the 18th century, making it the third-oldest protected wineproducing region in the world (after Tokaji in Hungary and Chianti in Italy). Portugal is now the seventhlargest exporter of wine in the world. Expect to find the usual sweet variants as well as the rarer dry and semi-dry. A trip to a port wine–making facility or Clockwise, from above: Porto at sunset; huge barrels are used to store port; a blue-tiled church; guests can enjoy the lights of the city during an evening on the Aquavit Terrace 128 VIKING.COM EXPLORE MORE 2020

CITY GUIDE roaming the port warehouses is a definite highlight of any visit to this fascinating city. Porto’s biggest event is the St. John Festival (Festa de São João do Porto), which takes place from June 23 to June 24 every year. Originally a religious celebration of midsummer, it has become one of Europe’s liveliest street festivals, featuring such traditional foods as sardines, potatoes and wine. Take an excursion to Guimarães, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located 45 minutes from Porto by car, its medieval quarter palaces and monasteries date back to the 10th century, and in the 12th century it became Portugal’s first capital city and home to its first king, Afonso Henriques. Shopping The flagship store of the country’s beauty and fragrance brand Claus Porto is worth a visit on Rua das Flores, home to many charming stores. Spend time in Livraria Chaminé da Mota, a wonderful and atmospheric family-owned book emporium that also houses a collection of music boxes and gramophones. Small shops selling a variety of mementos and handmade crafts are prevalent, and you can buy all sorts of local artwork for reasonable prices. Eating Porto’s inhabitants are sometimes known as tripeiros, named after the city’s unique beef stomach tripe. It may not sound appetizing, but it is definitely worth sampling. Another absolute must-try is bacalhau à Gomes de Sá—a delicious casserole made with salted cod, a national favorite. For lunch, try a francesinha (meaning “little Frenchy”), a sandwich of meats and cheeses with beer sauce. Go online: Watch a video of the Portugal’s River of Gold itinerary at vrc.com/videos EXPLORE MORE 2020 VIKING.COM 129