Porto, Portugal has been named the best European destination for 2017.
European Best Destinations surveyed nearly 500,000 people from around the world to compile the prestigious ranking that placed Milan, Italy second and Gdansk, Poland third.
Porto, a coastal city in the country’s northwest, has seen its popularity soar in recent years and to anyone acquainted with the charming spot it's very obvious why. For those who are not, however, here's a few compelling reasons that'll convince you to book a trip ASAP.
Food & Booze
If gastronomic goods are high on your list of priorities then Porto makes for an ideal destination. With the Atlantic to the west, rivers to the north and mountains to the east, the city’s surroundings offer phenomenal local produce from seafood to charcuterie. With a mix of old school eateries and fine dining establishments serving up traditional dishes and innovative offerings, you won’t spend a second hungry. FYI it's essential you try Porto's infamousfrancesinhas sandwich, complete with wet-cured ham, linguiça, fresh sausage, steak or roast meat, covered with melted cheese, a hot thick tomato and beer sauce served with french fries. Especially delicious after a night on the adult beverages.
Porto is best known for the fortified wines produced exclusively in the nearby Douro Valley – appropriately named Port. Cellars scattered below the city offer generous tastings and tours where you’ll learn about the drop’s unique history. But if port isn’t your particular tipple there are plenty of other locally produced wines and craft beers to be enjoyed from Porto’s abundance of laidback bars and rooftop spots.
Architecture & Attractions
You could easily spend a day, if not more, just exploring this city’s rabbit warren of cobblestone streets, with its undulating terracotta rooftops, balconies adorned with flower pots, vibrantly tiled facades and striking street art making for impressive Instagram fodder.
And for the architecture obsessed, Porto is also home to many monuments by renowned designers like Gustave Eiffel's Dona Maria Bridge, Nicolau Nasoni's Clerigos Tower, Rem Koolhaas' Casa da Musica and Siza Vieira's Serralves Museum. The Sé do Porto in the city’s UNESCO heritage listed historical centre is another must-not-miss landmark. The twin-towered cathedral features a blend of architectural details dating back to the 12th century with stunning Gothic stonework, a Baroque porch and Romanesque windows.
History & Culture
Porto’s origins date back to 300 BC with a history of Celtic, Roman and Moor inhabitation over the following centuries with notable influences from the French and English. Its citizens, which you’ll find are friendly but fairly blunt, are known as Tripeiros (tripe eaters) because in 1415 the city went without meat, subsisting on tripe stew, in order to support the army in the foreign conquests. While the population's long standing preference for animal innards may not win you over, the city's laidback but vibrant culture and enticing nightlife surely will.
This article previously appeared on 7 Travel.