Porto City Map

Except for port wine, I’d barely
heard of Porto and it was not on my radar until Myrna Cohen, my
travel agent, suggested that John and I fly home from Porto and drop
the car off there. We’re very glad she did because Porto, as we
would learn, is special.

Porto, population 214,349; metro-wide
1,309,805 is located about 200 miles north of Lisbon, a 3.5
hour-drive on the superhighway. Our nice Porto Palacio Congress
Hotel was in a newer and trendy part of the city.

We drove around and learned that Porto
had a long and lovely ocean front that almost matched Lisbon’s and
a riverside that may have been a bit more spectacular.

John and I are retired history teachers
who valued Prince Henry’s role in global navigation and trade and
stood in awe at a place where he lived over 600 years ago.

The sloping walkway leading down to the
river is where Porto began and to some degree Portugal too.

The walkway is thronged with tourists,
many from the United Kingdom.

Porto’s Town Square has been a center
of life for the city for more than six centuries.

Cute little restaurants line the
walking street and serve exquisite sea food dishes.

The panorama view of Porto was taken
from the Hotel Palacio Congress rooftop restaurant. I recommend this
hotel for its location on Avenida Boavista and all the other hotels
we stayed at.

Porto is post-card picturesque. Google

The next four photos are all credited
to Google to fill in what-ever I was unable to capture due to a lack
of time or opportunity and to solely enrich the reader’s

The Douro River is broad, mighty,
beautiful, and apparently clean too because it teems with huge
schools of fish.

The oceanfront is divided into two
stretches of beach. North of Avenida Boavista is the newer stretch
of beach that is full of high-rise condos, hotels and apartments that
is attractive but not as interesting as the stretch south of Boavista
that is older, statelier and lined with many elegant residences. The
road ultimately leads around to the mouth of the river and strides
the Douro to the first point of habitation. Upriver serves as a safe
harbor from ocean storms and high tides.

Porto was a wonderful surprise.

Our flight took
off and we looked down at Porto and the Douro River and smiled.
Porto was the perfect place to end our excellent Iberian journey.