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Igreja de São Francisco, Porto

Now, this is something. This Gothic church offers the most amazing burst of baroque in Porto. The church was built in the 14th century. If you couldn’t guess, the interior was completely Rococo’d in the 18th century when the aisles, apse chapels, pillars – really, everything – was decorated with gilt woodwork. Bye-bye medieval architecture; […]

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Five Oceanos, Porto

We asked the concierge for a good seafood restaurant recommendation and he pointed us toward the beach. We weren’t so keen on taking a 20-minute cab ride, but he assured us that Five Oceanos was his neighborhood spot and we couldn’t go wrong. The restaurant did not disappoint. There’s a huge bin of fresh fish […]

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Café Majestic, Porto

We spotted this café while strolling down busy Santa Catarina and thought it looked like a promising lunch spot. The fanciful marble façade with columns and statues set it off from the rest of the buildings and drew us in. Stepping inside was like visiting the Belle Époque. The interior was full of beveled Flemish […]

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Taylor’s Port

We climbed Gaia’s steep hill to visit one of the only wineries open on Sunday, Taylor’s. Founded in the 17th century, Taylor’s was one of the first wineries in Portugal. It is the last of the independent British houses, still family-owned and operated. Taylor’s was one of the first producers to acquire their own vineyards […]

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Portugal and Port Wine

You can’t visit Portugal and not sample the most famous product, port wine. Surprisingly, British merchants are credited with popularizing port wine. In the 17th century, when Britain and France went to war, Britain’s Bordeaux supply dried up. Handily, the Portuguese winemakers stepped in. Portugal’s wild and mountainous Upper Duoro was ideal for growing grapes, […]

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Igreja do Carmo, Porto

This 18th-century Baroque church is a visual feast with its gilt carvings and Portuguese Rococo touches. Igreja do Carmo and its neighbor, Igreja das Carmelitas, are separated by what could be the world’s thinnest house, a 1-meter wide sliver. A Portugese law used to prohibit churches from sharing walls, so voilà, a house was built. […]

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Igreja das Carmelitas, Porto

Igreja das Carmelitas and its neighbor, Igreja do Carmo, are separated by what could be the world’s thinnest house, a 1-meter wide sliver. A Portugese law used to prohibit churches from sharing walls, so voilà, a house was built. Igreja das Carmelitas was built in the early 17th century for the Carmelite order of nuns. […]

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Torre de Clérigos and Igreja dos Clérigos, Porto

The Torre de Clérigos is one of the most recognizable and highest structures in Porto’s skyline. The 75-meter tall granite tower was constructed in the late-18th century. At that time, it was the highest structure in Portugal. We didn’t bother climbing the 225 stairs to the top since it was raining and grey, but the […]

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Vila Nova de Gaia

Vila Nova de Gaia is the hilly area across the river from Porto. It’s actually a separate town, and is best known as the neighborhood that houses over 60 port wineries and warehouses. If you look at the hillside, you will see many familiar names. To get there, just walk across the Ponte de Dom […]

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Book, Porto

Of course, I could not resist dining at a restaurant called Book, which specializes in Portuguese and Mediterranean dishes. Some reviews called the cuisine nouveau and others labeled it comfort food. I was not that discerning; to me, it seemed like regional cuisine, mostly seafood. The cozy restaurant occupies a former bookshop. It honors its […]

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