FOR a small city, Porto packs a massive punch.
It inspired the name of its nation and pioneered the drink port, the delicious strong wine which goes down so well with pud – and, indeed, without it.
WHY SHOULD I GO? As well as loads of restaurants and bars in picturesque settings, there are ten miles of beach so you will never be fighting for a place to plonk your towel.
With minimal effort on e-bikes from Miramar beach you can explore the coast at leisure and find perhaps a whole cove to yourself.
In these cost-conscious times pretty Porto thankfully comes at a reasonable price.
A pint can be had for under £3 and a proper meal for double that in a city which has largely shunned chain outlets.
Temperatures seldom stifle and remain pleasant deep into autumn.
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ARE THE STREETS MADE FOR WALKING? sì, but not for all.
The steep hills surrounding the river which divides Porto help showcase all the colourful buildings, but they could be a challenge for the less mobile.
per fortuna, there are multiple options for the footsore to move around the charming cobbled streets.
A tram snakes along the banks of the River Douro to the seaside, while a tuk-tuk is a fun way to negotiate roads so narrow residents can virtually shake hands with neighbours opposite without leaving home.
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Riverside cable cars, tubes, sightseeing buses and boat tours complete a brilliant array of transport options.
She was a frequent customer of the tiny Livraria Lello bookshop said to have inspired Hogwarts with its ornate carved staircase, quale, locals swear, moves — just like in her tale.
There can be three-hour queues, so plan ahead if you want to potter.
Porto boasts beautiful tiled buildings with ornate patterns and pictures.
One of the best examples is the side of the Igreja do Carmo church in the city centre where elaborate religious scenes have been painted in blue across tiles on the outside wall.
Some of the local customs border on the bizarre.
This month’s Festa de Sao Joao do Porto sees thousands gather in the streets to bash each other with soft plastic hammers to drive out evil spirits.
And in a rite of passage, teenagers hurl themselves off a 33ft bridge into the Douro — but best leave that to the locals, eh?
WHERE SHOULD I EAT? Being a port, there’s fresh seafood options abound.
At the waterside restaurant, Arma-zem do Peixe, freshly caught fish is grilled on barbecues outside.
Tripe is a local delicacy but if you don’t fancy that, give the meaty madness that is the Francesinha a go.
This sandwich on steroids has a filling of steak, ham and sausages — and is covered in melted cheese and a port, whisky and brandy- soaked sauce.
The 2,000-calorie monster is usually downed with beer and chips.
FEELING THIRSTY? The city’s heart is packed with bars and clubs.
But anyone up for a really wild night should head to the Pink Palace in the World of Wine (WOW) edificio, with themed rooms dedicated to the joys of rosé wine.
Perfect for hen-do high jinks, visitors can sip varieties of the tipple while lolling in ball pens and gold baths or posing in a room full of distorting mirrors or in an open-top limo.
It would be rude to visit Porto and not try the port.
One fun way to tell your tawny from your ruby is the tasting contest at Quinta Da Boeira.
You’ll probably lose but it’s the taking part that counts, non è vero??
WHERE SHOULD I STAY? Porto has plenty of affordable Airbnbs in the centre.
But for a taste of luxury try the Boeira Garden Hotel, an “urban garden retreat” which is a leisurely 15-minute downhill stroll to the riverside action.
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The gym and large indoor pool here are great for working up an appetite to tackle the regional delights on offer at the restaurant.
And the heated outdoor pool is so tempting even passing ducks like to stop off to cool their feet — much to the delight of swimmers.