Porto

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4/5

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Date of travel

February, 2016

I have recently returned from four delightful days in Porto, and would highly recommend it as a city break. There is so much to see and do, and my friend and I made the most of our trip and tried to fill our days with as much as we could.

On the first day we went on a boat trip up the Douro which was most enjoyable. We also visited the ancient baroque church of San Francisco, and in the afternoon we went to the top of the Clerigos Church Tower, followed by a visit to the Livraria Lello bookshop which is one of the oldest bookshops in Portugal and where J.K. Rowling wrote the early Harry Potter books. All of these were fascinating, although I wouldn’t recommend the Church tower to those with a weak heart or of a nervous disposition owing to the 240 steps to the top.

The following day we took a train to Guimaraes (about which I have written a separate review) from the beautiful Sao Bento station. This was a surreal and fascinating experience and one I would love to repeat, unlike the walk to the top of the tower, despite the amazing views. I would have liked to take some photos but didn’t, as I do not have a head for heights.

On the third day it rained so we went shopping and to museums. There are some excellent and inexpensive shops in Porto and we came away with some excellent bargains. We found the National Museum and the Casa Musica rather disappointing, but were fascinated by Serralves Modern Art Museum and gardens which we visited the following day.

Finally on our last day we took a tram along the coast road to the coastline where we walked along the pier where we saw the oldest lighthouse in Portugal. It was warm enough to sit outside to have a coffee, and so we took advantage of that, knowing that we certainly wouldn’t be able to sit outside in the UK in February, and that coffee in the UK would be considerably more expensive.

Porto is not a place that comes to mind for a city break, but I would highly recommend it, although a word of warning: it is very hilly.

Jennifer Lunn

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