Does it look like you’ll only be able to steal away for a few vacation days this year? Have a long weekend coming up that you want to take full advantage of? Either way, you might be looking into your options for taking a short city break. When you only have a few days, city breaks have the edge over countryside retreats because they are well-connected to the outside world. The city of Porto—located in northern Portugal—might be just the short escape you’re looking for; use this article as a guide to help you plan your trip.
Getting There and Around
As Portugal’s second largest city, getting to Porto for a short city break is a cinch. Several major airlines operate flights into Porto, and the city can also be reached by land by rail or land from major Portuguese cities like Lisbon, Mnho, and Tras os Montes.
One of the benefits of taking a city break is that large population areas have better public transport systems to help you get around once you arrive. Porto’s Aerobus, Metro do Porto, and STCP bus systems are all very user friendly. The city is also very walkable.
What To Do
Whereas some city breaks can leave you feeling fatigued and overstimulated when you go back to work on Monday morning, Porto manages to provide the right mix of entertainment and relaxation. You can spent hours wandering the cobbled streets of Porto’s old town, getting acquainted with the city up close, or give your soles a break by relaxing on a cruise down the Douro River. Get acquainted with the city’s modern architectural landmarks by paying a visit to Casa de Musica or the Serralves Museum; in addition to its magnificent design and park, the latter also houses the city’s collection of contemporary art. If you’re looking for a great place to take a stroll, consider the promenade in Foz or the Crystal Palace Gardens. For the city’s best nightlife, head to the Ribiera district, where bars, clubs, and cafes are open late.
Of course, no visit to Port would be complete without sampling its famous port wine. Head to Vila Nova de Gaia to take a guided or self-guided tour of the region’s port wine cellars and taste the offerings while you’re there. You may also be interested in visiting the port wine estates in the Douro River Valley.
Funding Your Trip
One big advantage to taking a short city break is that you’ll spend less money than you would on a week-long vacation. Still, the cost of flights, hotels, and entertainment can add up during your travels. Earn some money to fund your trip by selling your old CDs, DVDs, and tech gadgets back to musicMagpie.