Porto is the second largest urban area in Portugal. Porto dates back to 300 BC, and was once an outpost for the Roman Empire, and later invaded by the Moors in 711.
The western edges of urban Porto reaches out to the coastlines of the Atlantic Ocean. Porto is one of the oldest European centres. It’s historic core was recognized by UNESCO in 1996 as a World Heritage Site. Porto is also known for having the world’s oldest military alliance (Portuguese-English). The Treaty of Windsor dates back to 1386. It is said that this military alliance inspired the formation of NATO.
I stayed at a nice little Airbnb in Porto. It was located about a 20-30 minute walk from the old town, but it was also only 2 blocks from the metro, which gave me easy access to and from the airport.
My first morning, my host fixed me breakfast. This was a nice treat. As I started walking around the neighborhood on my way to the old town, I passed a laundry-mat. This was good news as I was running out of clothes to wear.
My first stopped ended up being the Igreja da Trindade (Trinity Church) in the Trinity Square, built in the nineteenth century with the doors opening on June 5, 1841.
Continuing down the street, I passed the Porto Camara Municipal – Porto City Hall. While construction began in the 1920’s, it was not completed and settled into until 1957.
The Liberdade Square stretched down from the Camara Municipal for a few blocks.
Around the corner from the square was the Igreja dos Congregados, built towards the end of the 17th Century.
Pictures taken while wondering the streets of Porto, early that morning.
My next stop was the “Torre de Clerigos”, and the Clerigos Church. The church was completed in 1750, while the Tower at the back of the church was build sometime between 1754 and 1763. The Clerigos Tower has approximately 240 steps to the top.
There were some great views from the tower.
Down the road was the Jardim da Cordoaria which was founded in 1865.
As you see, there was a small school group at the park.
This picture is actually two churches.
On the left was the “Igreja dos Carmelitas”.
On the right was the “Igreja do Carmo Horario Das Missas”.
Continuing my stroll around Porto I decided to swing along the bank of the Douro River, towards the Atlantic Coastline.
My trek led me to a city park, “Jardins do Palacio de Cristal”.
This park had a center, the Pavilhao Rosa Mota, primarily used for basketball.
There were multiple trails, and gardens with views overlooking the river.
And I cannot leave out my peacock friend.
Just outside the park, across the street was the Torre e Palacio de Terenas. The tower is behind the palace, wedged in on an alleyway, so I didn’t get a good picture.
Next door was this beautiful little church covered in the traditional (azulejos) tiles. I didn’t get to go in as it was closed at the time I was there. Furthermore, I didn’t catch its name.
Further down the road was an old church with tower at the top left, the “Igreja de Sao Jose dos Taipas”.
Next I walked to the “Igreja e Convento de Sao Bento da Vitoria” founded in 1598. Unfortunately it was closed when I was there. The narrow streets made it hard to get a good picture of the outside.
Next was the Igreja de Na Sa da Vitoria completed in 1539.
Here is a picture of the Casa de Despacho e Igreja dos Terceiros de Sao Francisco (on the left), and the Igreja da Ordem de S. Francisco (on the right). The Igreja da Ordem de S. Francisco didn’t allow pictures.
Across the courtyard was the entrance to the Museu da Veneravel Ordem Terceira de Sao Francisco and the Museu Catacumbas.
The Catacombs were under the Casa de Despacho e Igreja dos Terceiros de Sao Francisco.
Leaving the Igreja S. Francisco I went back to the church across the street, the Igreja de S. Nicolan.
As you have seen, there are churches everywhere!
Here is a perfect example of many of the buildings I would see walking around Porto, abandoned and run-down. This building is decorated with tiles. I love the tiled buildings. The tiled buildings generally date back several centuries. You see it on many churches. At first glance, especially from the street, you would say this building is closed. The 1st floor was pretty much gutted. Most floors and windows look abandoned, but then look closely at the right side, the 3rd floor with the balconies. The first 3 look abandoned, although 2 have buckets on the balcony. The 4th and 5th balcony have newish looking doors, and then there is the realistic naked manikin chained to the balcony rails. Did someone still live there, or is someone sending a message?
Next stop, the Se De Porto (the cathedral of Porto). The Porto Cathedral was built in the 12th Century, and completed in the 13th Century. It is one of most important Romanesque monuments in Portugal. Many changes were made to the cathedral in the late 17th Century, both inside and out.
A kitten that lived in the nearby trees and bushes, in front of the cathedral.
A side view of the cathedral.
Here is a view of the city taken along my walk.
The Camara Municipal (City Hall) Clock Tower in the distance:
The Igreja de Santo Ildefonso (Church of Saint Ildefonso) was completed in 1739 and sits near Porto’s Batalha Square. There are approximately 11,000 tiles covering the church. The tiles were created (by artist Jorge Colaco) and attached to the church in 1932.
The following day I headed out to the opposite side of town, in search of a soccer tournament. I had it in my mind it would be a tournament like in Texas, one with many park fields. As it turned out, the tournament was being held in the FC Porto Stadium (Estadio do Dragao), Home of the Dragons.
It was a hot day!
Back down towards old town, I used the Dom Luis I double-decker bridge to cross the Douro River. At the time the bridge was built, this bridge was the longest of its type in the World. I walked across the top section (built in 1886), and down through the neighborhoods to get over to the Wineries.
When I walked back across the river, I took the bottom deck (completed in 1887).
As shown, the upper-deck was well above the river, and it was quite a trek down to the riverfront. Many people took this gondola.
June is a time to celebrate popular saints with religious and festive celebrations in Portugal. I believe one of those celebrations was ending as I was walking along the river front, maybe the NOS Primavera Sound.
The Portugal’s Hells Angels? No, just a group out enjoying the day!
I made my way down to the wineries for a taste test. I went to Sandeman. You have to take a tour to taste their wines. They kept their wines in barrels, with barrels going back to the early 1900s. Some were massive. If I recall right, they had barrels that held thousands of liters of wine. Thought I took a picture of the middle sized barrels in the caves, but I couldn’t find it if I did. Porto wine, or Port wines are very thick and sweet. A great experience!
When I walked back across the bridge, on the right was the old city wall.
On the left was the Pilares de Ponte Pensil. They are the remains of a suspension bridge inaugurated in February 1843, and decommissioned in 1887.
A nice view of the riverside.
On my walk back to my Airbnb, I passed the Majestic café, at which time I turned around and had a seat for dinner. The Majestic Café (originally named the Elite Café) opened December 17, 1921. It is one of the most beautiful and meaningful examples of Art Nouveau in Porto. Good food too!
On my last day in Porto I decided to rent a bike to ride down the the Douro River front and out along the Atlantic Coastline of Porto, on the far West (I believe) end of Porto. The bike wasn’t the best, but it allowed me to do what I wanted to do.
There was a pretty good bike and jogging lane set up.
One of the coastal inhabitans.
Off one of the piers or jetties, a fisherman caught a small octopus. He was carving him up for bait.
A small lighthouse out off the point.
Along the bike trail there were some beautiful Little John Dwarf Trees or Bottlebrush Trees!
Further down the trail were some beaches.
Beyond the point was what I believe was the Castle (Fortress) of Sao Joao da Foz. They started building the fortress in the late 1500s.
On my ride back, I came across another example of an old building that looked abandoned, yet looked like one or two rooms/apartments might be still used.
Well, I enjoyed my stay and experience in Portugal! Now it was time to fly to Italy, Milan to be exact!