For one of the oldest cities in Europe, Porto is remarkably forward-looking.
Street art and contemporary architecture typify Porto as much as Gothic-baroque churches and fortified wine, while laidback locals and waterfront bars make for one very welcoming city. Throw in outdoor adventures in Peneda-Gerês National Park, and Portugal’s second city is a fantastic all-round destination.
Festivals and events
As Portugal's second-largest city, Porto hosts some of the country's most spectacular and enthusiastically celebrated festivals. Many of the most vibrant are religious celebrations. The Festa de Sao Joao - Festival of St John - is held each Midsummer's Eve, on 23 June. Street parties are held across the city where people drink wine, eat meat and sardines, and, less predictably, hit each other with plastic hammers.
Another highlight of the religious festival calendar is Carnival, a riot of parades and street parties running up to Ash Wednesday. Masked dances, float parades and musical performances characterise this festival, celebrated with gusto across Portugal.
Wine enthusiasts rejoice - Porto holds not one, but several festivals devoted to the country's favourite drink throughout the year. The Essencia do Vinho, held each February, brings together some of the finest wines from the region and beyond in the spectacular setting of the Palácio de Bolsa stock exchange building. Look out for Vinho Verde Wine Festival in July and Porto Wine Fest later in the year too.