Porto Weekend Breaks

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Weekend Breaks to Porto

Planning a short break to Porto? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Porto. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Porto. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.

Fundacao de Serralves (Museu Nacional de Arte M

The National Museum of Modern Art is the most visited museum in Portugal, and an outpost of culture in western Porto. Alvaro Siza, Pritzer Prize-winning architect, designed the stark granite-and-stucco structure and today the building is Porto's finest example of 1930s Art Nouveau.

The museum exhibits the works of contemporary Portuguese painters, designers and sculptors.

The exhibits change regularly to keep the visitors interested.

Descriptions on the works are in Portuguese, but on request you can see an English-language video on the artist. Take time to wander through the sculptured gardens and their beautiful fountains.

Admission 4€. Located Rua Don Joan de Castro. Tel: 22/615-65-00.

Caves Ramos Pinto

ually acknowledged as the most interesting and best-preserved wine producer in Porto and Vila de Gaia. It showcases the creation in 1880 by Adriano Ramos Pinto. You can expect to be given a guided tour of the cellars, with information about port and its manufacture, plus tasting at the end of the tour. In addition to the tour to the cellars is a visit to the corporate offices, complete with artworks and furniture assembled by the founder of the company. One of the most celebrated products of this company is a 10-year-old tawny port, Quinta de Ervamoira, named after a beautiful villa around which some of the company's grapes are produced. It is a good idea to haul a bottle of it home with you. Tours are conducted in Portuguese, French, Spanish, and English. Located Av. Ramos Pinto 380. Tel: 22/370-70-00.

Jardim do Palacio de Cristal

A peaceful park with lush green lawns and shaded areas. It is dominated by a space-age domed pavilion, which now serves as a sport center. In summer the park is home to a vast funfair. The park is also home to a variety of tree and plant species. On the far side of the park, below the Museu Romantico, is the Solar do Vinho do Porto. Here you can sample one of the hundreds of varieties of port on the relaxing river terrace. Just the spot to have a picnic or take a break from all the sight-seeing.

Igreja de Sao Francisco

The most extraordinary church in Porto. The Gothic Church of St. Francis was built between 1383 and 1410. Many of the Gothic arches are made of marble, and the vault pillars and columns are lined with gilded woodwork: cherubs, rose garlands and frenzied animals dripping with gold. Above the columns, an ornamented niche contains a simple white statue of the patron saint. Do not miss the church's small museum, set in an underground crypt and containing an ossario (a collection of bones dating from before the time of public cemeteries). Open daily 9am to 6pm. Admission (including church and museum) 3€. Located Praca do Infante Dom Henrique. Tel: 22/206-21-00.

Casa do Infante

Porto's fabled hometown boy, Prince Henry the Navigator, was born in this house. The house dates back to the 1300s and was used as a Customs house during the 1800s. It contains a Museu Historica, complete with documents, manuscripts and various archives relating to the history of Porto. This is a great spot to visit if you want to research the history of this area. Admission is free. Located Rua de Alfandega 10. Tel: 22/608-10-00.

Cafe Majestic

The most beautiful and historic cafe in Porto, set on the city's busiest shopping street. It artfully evokes the grand era of Porto's golden age prosperity and was built in 1921. Detailed in neo-baroque style, angels and cherubs cavort on the ceiling and leaded glass shimmers. You can come here for breakfast (priced from 9€ ), or a full-fledged afternoon tea, complete with jam, bread, and toast (for 8€ ). Meal platters, including codfish (Oporto style), omelets with port-soaked shrimp, and filet mignon with mushroom sauce, are available from 8.25€ to 16€ each. Located Rua de Santa Catarina 112. Tel: 22/200-38-87.

Estado Novo

One of the most popular and crowded dance clubs in the Porto area. It is set in a white-sided industrial building and the name derived from a reference to a slogan of Salazar (Portugal's once-all-powerful dictator), whose call to arms catalyzed many changes throughout Portugal. There is lots of space to mingle and dance, and a late-night environment that could include just about anything. Hours: Thursday through Saturday from 11pm to 4am with a cover of 9€ to 14€. Entrance cost is credited against your drink tab. Located Rua Sousa Arosa 772. Tel: 22/938-59-89.

Casa Margaridense

An especially noteworthy gift shop. Best known for 'Pao de lo' (a smooth and subtle cake), which has been made on site for at least a century. It is rich with eggs and sugar, and is well worth trying. The shop also offers Portuguese handcraft, linen and embroideries - many of them excellent examples of the exquisite handiwork traditionally produced in the north of Portugal. Expect a display or two of chocolates and jams, especially marmalades. Located Travessa de Cedofeita 20A. Tel: 22/200-11-78.

Aquario Marisqueiro

One of the finest seafood restaurants in Porto. Here you can enjoy a menu where seafood reigns supreme. Try the soup (made by boiling the shells of mariscos) as a starter, and choose cod, sole, or trout with ham, as main course options. The grilled sea bass is delicious and the Spanish style clams should not be missed. The restaurant has an excellent selection of local wines and port to choose from. Reservations are recommended and expect to pay 11€ to 20€ for main courses. There is also a fixed price (€15) menu available. Located Rua Rodrigues 179, Porto. Tel: 22/200-22-31.

Pensao Residencial Duas Nacoes

Relatively cheap and dependable accommodation. This hotel offers en-suite rooms, which are clean and modern. Included are telephones, air-conditioning, and televisions.

Some of the rooms have balconies to enjoy the great view. Free internet access is also offered. You will have to book in advance and costs are €29 to €44 per room. Located Praca Guilherme Gomes Fernandes 59. Tel: 22/208-16-16.

Visit www.duasnascoes.net for details

User Suggestions

Ryan's Bar - Bar or Club

I went to this bar called Ryan's which is in the Ribeira and was expecting a quiet pint in a standard Irish Bar. Wow, how different to what I expected. They had live music upstairs, great band too, the staff were relly cool and spend time talking to you and helping you out on places to go and see etc. I intended to pop in for a pint or two and ended up going there 2 out of my 4 nights that I was in Porto. Very cool place and ask for Rich!


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