August 11, 2009

Oporto Essentials


The Grande Hotel do Porto ( is located on the pedestrian shopping street Rua de Santa Catarina and is accessible to public transportation. Although renovated in 2002, this hotel still reflects the details and charm of the luxury hotel it was when it first opened in 1880.


For authentic Portuguese cuisine, exit the Grande Hotel to your left and head down the first cobblestone alley on your left until you see Abadia on your right. The appetisers (including octopus) set down before you even have a chance to order are lavish. Consider ordering half portion mains (you won’t go hungry) and house wine (excellent quality at excellent prices).

In fine weather, walk down to the medieval quayside area on the Douro River and grab a table. You can enjoy almost any cuisine as you admire the views from this UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Oporto is so hilly that you can get “buns of steel” if you’re not careful. Better to hop on the “Yellow Sightseeing Bus” with three audio-guided sightseeing routes: Historical, Bridges, and Castles. Your ticket may be used for a discount on a River Duoro Cruise and is also good on any public transportation.


What makes Oporto famous – the port! On the opposite bank of the Douro, over 20 Port Houses offer tours and tastings. You can learn about the history of port, what distinguishes port from other wines, and perhaps find a personal favourite to bring home.

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The Majestic Café is a stunning example of Art Nouveau design and located within a block of the Grande Hotel. However, avoid ordering anything more complicated than a simple beverage or you may find yourself overwhelming both the staff capabilities and your budget.

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