Challenged recently to come up with three things I love about my favourite city, I barely hesitated before my thoughts turned to Porto, in Northern Portugal.
Accor Hotels are inviting bloggers to create a post (or a video) illustrating their three favourite things about any city they love. In return, you can win a three-night stay for two, in London, Paris or Amsterdam. Something nice to look forward to at this dreary time of year? But you’d better get your skates on- last date for entries is Monday, 26th January at 12.01pm. Sorry I couldn’t give you more notice.
So, why Porto, you might be asking yourself. If you were around when I came back from my trip two years ago, you might remember that I was totally besotted.
1. The city lies at the mouth of the River Douro. Step into a boat (or catch a train if you’re a landlubber) and you have before you one of the most beguiling landscapes you could ever imagine. As you depart the city, the hills ripple away on either shore, swathed in vines that change hue with the seasons. Utterly tranquil, yet with the frisson of a huge lock or two to navigate, and ruggedly wild beauty as you penetrate further along the river.
2. Porto has a beach! Crucial for someone who could never envisage life away from the sea. Nothing could be more delightful than hopping on the tram and rattling out to Foz do Douro. Or perhaps you would stroll it, but save some energy for when you get there. There’s a long promenade after the last tram stop. An old fort sits on the headland and there’s Seaworld if you prefer your fishes in a tank. Bars and restaurants abound for a lazy toasted end to the day.
3. It’s all in the name! The home of port wine, there is no better setting for sampling a glass or two. Three if you’re going to try Ruby, Tawny and White port. No need to rush it! There are numerous wine lodges, beside the river or up on the hill with magnificent views, if you can handle the climb. You will amble home with a smile on your face. That’s for sure!
If you’d like to spend a little more time in Porto with me, try Simply beautiful blue and white. It’s a feast of azulejos! But then you should decide which is your favourite city, and visit A tale of three cities for details of how to enter the competition.