WELCOME TO PORTO
There is a very unique moment in one of our Porto Free Tours, when we leave the narrow streets of the historic center of Barredo behind us and the Douro River opens up in front of us. Where there was silence, there is now hustle and bustle. Where there were granite houses, there are now river waves. Where there was the ancestral Porto there is now the magnificent Porto. We are now in the much sought after Ribeira, with its multicolored houses, its Rabelo boats, its lively terraces and the first metal bridge built in Portugal, the Dom Luís bridge. The history of Porto is millenary and is closely linked to great moments in Portugal's history. This connection is so evident that the very name of the city in the Roman period, Portus Cale (the port of the village of Cale), gave rise to the name of Portugal. Portus in the original Latin meant entrance, passage or even shelter. Portus was all this throughout its history and it is all this today for the thousands of visitors who arrive daily to the city. Porto is a perfect city for a weekend and it is no accident that it has been named the best European destination three times in the last eight years. The city has opened its arms to the world in the last decade and those who visit it very quickly realize that Porto is much more than the Douro River, Port wine or the Clérigos Tower. Some say that Cale comes from Latin for warmth and what is most special about Porto is the warmth: the genuine kindness of the people of Porto, their loud laughter, their original cuisine, the color of the city at sunset. There is so much to say about Porto that not even our 3 Porto Free Tours are enough to show this incredible city. The historic center of Porto, a World Heritage Site, stretches from the top of the Penha Ventosa hill to the banks of the river Douro, a labyrinth of steep alleys and narrow houses, beautiful churches and blue and white tiled façades. Secrets are plenty. From the boat inlaid on the façade of the Cathedral of Porto to the heart of a king kept five keys away in the Church of Lapa, from the medieval house hidden in the labyrinthine neighborhood of Barredo to the architect who signs his projects on the façade, trust us, there are dozens of incredible stories to share in our Porto Free Tours. One name from the past stands out from the others, Nicolau Nasoni, Italian painter and architect who designed the Church, Infirmary and Tower of Clérigos, the Church of Mercy and the Palace of Freixo and who would leave an indelible mark on the Portuguese baroque school. Two centuries separate Nasoni from Siza Vieira or Souto de Moura, over 200 years one does not feel when visiting Porto. For Porto is made of conversations between medieval past and futuristic art, between baroque churches and contemporary architecture, between old-fashioned taverns and haute cuisine restaurants, between century-old shops and avant-garde boutiques, between Rococo style façades and Art Deco buildings. Viewpoints such as Virtudes or the Jardim do Morro are breathtaking and invite you to a glass of wine at dusk, in preparation for a dinner not to be missed. You can eat very well in this city and there are traditional regional dishes such as francesinha, bacalhau à Gomes de Sá or the Porto style tripes that you won't soon forget. The politician and diplomat João Pinheiro Chagas wrote that "Porto is not strictly speaking a city: it is a family. When something bad affects it, everyone feels it with the same intensity; when they want something, everyone wants it at the same time. The people of Porto are as jealous of the integrity of their city as the Portuguese in general of the integrity of the nation". The truth is that Porto has always been on the right side of history, as in the crisis of secession or the liberal wars. Join one of our free tours of Porto and get to know these and so many other stories that the Invicta City has to offer you.