PORTO

PORTO

INTOXICATING PORTO!

Porto, a romantic, intoxicating city, built on hills overlooking the Douro estuary. Portugal’s second largest city at heart of the country’s industrial powerhouse and a city whose prosperity is intrinsically intertwined with the production of the precious nectar-Port, to which the city gave its name.

Also known as Oporto, it is a fascinating and vibrant city, particularly the densely packed old town which is a warren of narrow, cobbled streets that tumble down towards the river, on occasions, precipitously! Amble along alleys and passageways and witness the breathtaking panoramas over the rooftops down to the banks of the Douro, It teems with striking architecture, historic buildings, medieval relics, soaring bell towers and extravagant churches that harbour more gold than the Bank of England!

Dubbed the city of bridges, six vertiginous structures straddle the deep Douro gorge, the most famous and impressive being the Ponte Dona Maria Bridge where Gustavo Eiffel of Paris Tower fame once again delved into his Meccano box and built a bridge of engineering brilliance.

A captivating, cultural kaleidoscope, to wander around the historic neighbourhoods of Vitoria, Ribeira and Mira Gaia is akin to entering a time tunnel. Exuding a rarefied atmosphere, Porto’s most stirring characteristic is that of faded grandeur.

The city’s main railway station, Sao Bento, is high on the list of must visit places, and not just for train spotting nerds! While still an important transport hub, there is much, much more to view than the locomotives. Opened in 1911, the elegant building contains a work of art the like of which is unique to Portugal…a ceramic tile mural depicting Portugal’s rich history. Designed by artist, Jorge Colaco, it took 11 years to precisely position each of the 20,000 hand painted tiles, a feat that gives Michelangelo’s cistine chapel a run for its money!

The city is an epicurean extravaganza, with retro cafes serving lazy brunches that linger long into the afternoon. Bijou bistros offer inventive Petisos (the Portuguese equivalent of Tapas), family run Tascas (Taverns) dish up appetising Atlantic fresh fish for a pittance.

No visit to the city can be considered complete without tasting a tipple or two of Porto’s premier potation-Port. Explore the musty, barrel-lined cellars of the Port lodges, which are clustered closely on the south bank of the river in Vila Nova de Gaia, a district that transports you back to the 17th century, when pioneering British merchants created a new after-dinner snifter by adding pure alcohol to the fermenting wine. All of the famous Port producers have lodges there: Taylors, Cockburns, Dow, Grahams, Offley and Croft, many organize guided tours and even allow you to sample the local produce.

It was these very same British merchants that were responsible for introducing golf into Portugal when they formed the Oporto Golf Club in 1890. Not only the oldest course in Portugal, but also the 5th oldest course in mainland Europe. Today there are 5 main courses located around Porto, the aforementioned Oporto course, located to the south of the city, on the coast, exudes an old traditional links flavour. On the coast north of Porto is Estela Golf, a true links course opened in 1989 and host to the Portuguese Open in 1991. The remaining courses Vidago Palace, Ponte de Lima and Amarante are inland, parkland courses boasting spectacular scenery and breathtaking vistas.

There are a plethora of diverse accommodation options to consider in the Porto region. City hotels provide the opportunity to explore and enjoy exhilarating experiences of this enchanting city. Whereas a coastal hotel benefits from the proximity of some of the best beaches that Portugal has to offer, with the occasional foray into Porto to see the sights or to sample its scintillating nightlife. Many prefer to roll out of bed and onto the 1st tee and the aristocratic Vidago Palace or the boutique Ponte de Lima will satisfy this alternative admirably.

Humble, yet opulent, Porto entices with a mesmerizing mix of memorable moments, the perfect canvas for an exceptional golfing holiday. Whether you are seeking golf galore, a cultural crusade, a gastronomic gourmets paradise or all, you’ll find the perfect place is…

INTOXICATING PORTO!