Overlooking the Douro River, Porto is one of the most ancient European cities and a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. More recently and it also had the privilege to be considered European best destination in 2012, 2014 and most recently in 2017. We hope that you will take a little time out around the Congress’ program to take advantage of this fabulous location.
The city of Porto is of remarkable importance for Portugal’s history – it was the city that gave the name to this beautiful country.
Its rich history which dates back to many centuries. Varied historical monuments include the Cathedral with its Romanesque choir, the neoclassical Stock Exchange (Palácio da Bolsa), the Baroque Clérigos Tower and the Portuguese Manueline-style gold adorned Church of Santa Clara. If you have the energy then climb the 222 steps to the top of the Clerigos Tower to be rewarded by an amazing view.
Porto—Portugal’s second city—is one of the most eclectic destinations in Europe. With its Medieval architecture, it’s defining Dom Luis I Bridge (designed by the engineer and disciple of Gustave Eiffel, Teófilo Seyrig) and Art Nouveau cafés, there’s something for everyone.
Porto is unique – still showing its Roman and Medieval faces to the world. It has an extraordinary history and yet has been by-passed by much of the destruction of Europe that occurred in the 20th century. The rambling old town forms the heart of the city, with beautiful buildings adorned with tiles (such as Carmo’s church) and sloping, cobbled streets. The Douro river underlines the city and the medieval streets of Ribeira´s District.
Inside S. Bento’s railway station, the walls are also lined with typical illustrative blue and white tiles, depicting scenes of former battles and the history of transportation.
Beyond Porto’s alley-woven historic heart, contemporary architects have left their stamp on the city’s skyline: Álvaro Siza Vieira’s crisply minimalist Museu de Arte Contemporânea and Rem Koolhaas’ daringly iconic Casa da Música.
Don’t forget to check out the Lello Bookshop with its amazing Neo-Gothic interiors. Foodies will be in their element – from the Mercado do Bolhão food market to the many port wine lodges (on the Gaia side of the river).
The region is famed for the production of Port wine, which is stored in the cellars that stretch along the banks of the mighty Douro River and produced throughout the nearby beautiful Douro Valley and was granted a UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Porto holds you captive at its sky-high miradouros (lookouts). From the Cathedral terrace and Jardim do Morro, the city is reduced to postcard format.
Even in the heart of the city, seagulls soar on Atlantic breezes, and a quick ride on tram 1 takes you to the ocean in Foz do Douro. Empty beaches lie a few minutes from the city center. This is the spot for long, seafood dinners, and a white port and tonic as the sun sets.