Porto: Explore North Portugal's beautiful city break destination

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Portugal is most widely known for the sun-soaked shores of the Algarve, but head further north and there are even more incredible sights to explore, including the beautiful city of Porto. Portugal's second city holds a rich culture which means it has been voted Best European Destination twice.

HELLO! Online visited the region to discover just why Porto is the perfect city break destination.

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Porto lies in the north of Portugal

What to do:

No trip to Porto is complete without a visit to a Port wine cellar. The city is the birthplace of the fortified wines, and home to dozens of Port producers who make the drink using grapes grown in the nearby Douro valley - making it the ultimate destination for wine aficionados.

Culture is also high on the agenda, with Porto's historical centre listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the centre is Palacio Da Bolsa, the city's former Stock Exchange Palace, which took 66 years to build. The 19th century building features an ornate design, and offers an interesting insight into Portugal's royal history before it became a republic in 1910.

Take in the city's picturesque sights from the water with a cruise along the Douro River, which offers an unrivalled glimpse at the medieval relics, colourful houses and narrow cobbled streets that add to Porto's charm.

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Take a river cruise along the Douro river to the Douro valley

Further out of town lies the Serralves Foundation, a national heritage estate that features a modern art gallery and stunning gardens complete with an art deco villa.

Guimerães, less than an hour's drive away from Porto, was named the European Capital of Culture in 2012. The traditional city's stunning medieval buildings and 10th century castle mean it is well worth a visit – if only for a day.

Where to stay:

With its river views and spacious rooms, Pestana Porto is the ideal hotel for those looking to stay in the heart of the city. Many of Porto's key attractions are within walking distance of this four-star hotel, which occupies part of a 16th century waterfront building.

Visitors looking for a luxurious getaway won't be disappointed by Pousada do Porto, hotel Palácio do Freixo. Built in the 18th century, this stunning palace was declared a national monument in 1910, and offers opulence and relaxation just a couple of miles out of the city centre.

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Pousada do Porto, hotel Palácio do Freixo is a hotel within an 18th century palace

For those looking to stay nearer to the city of Guimerães, the Pousada de Guimarães Santa Marinha is a must-visit. This former monastery dates back to the 12th century and features traditional décor that nods to its religious heritage. The hotel is surrounded by stunning gardens and sits high up on the outskirts of Guimerães, offering stunning views over the city below.

Where to Eat and Drink:

Let your visit to Palacio Da Bolsa coincide with a three-course lunch at their restaurant, O Comercial, which is located in the old telegraph room.

Bacalhau is a small restaurant that serves traditional Portugese food and wine, with a regularly updated menu. Be sure to try the Pastel de Nata Portugese egg tart pastries, which are an essential treat to sample in Porto.

As the home of Port, Porto is the best place to sample this fortified wine. Whether you pay a visit to the wine cellars or sip on a Tawny Port at a traditional Portugese Tasca, you will not be disappointed by the selection on offer.

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Porto is the birthplace of Port wine

Getting There:

TAP Portugal flies from London Gatwick to Porto 14 times a week, with return fares starting at £120 including all taxes and surcharges. For further information, visit Flytap.com or call 0345 601 0932.

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