We’ve been in Porto for a few days now but have stayed in the vicinity of our apartment, which is in a residential area of the city. Today we headed into the centre, to get our first taste of Porto’s old town.
The old city clings to the hills on either side of the Douro River estuary, where the tall, multi-coloured houses with red tiled roofs ensure that cameras are continually clicking. The old city gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1996 and is a popular tourist destination.
The district of Ribeira is on the northern bank. In addition to the tightly packed houses, the northern bank features a long row of outdoor cafes to cater to the crowds of tourists. Gaia is on the southern bank, connected by the iron double-deck Dom Luis I Bridge, constructed in 1886. Gaia existed before the Roman Empire and is home to the old cellars where the region’s port wine is stored and aged. Several port companies have a visible presence on the southern bank of the river.
The old town has many places of interest and I hope to be able to visit some of them over the coming weeks.