Is wine your thing? Just across the Douro River from Porto – just a stroll over the Dom Luis I Bridge – is another charming city called Vila Nova de Gaia that you’ll definitely want to put on your oenophile bucket list, because it’s known as the capital of the Douro wine country, packed with wine houses in town and wineries surrounding it, many of which are open to visitors for tours and tastings.
The best-known local tipple, of course, is fortified Port wine, with a pedigree stretching back to the 16th century; usually sweet and tawny red, it also comes in white, dry, and semi-dry varieties. After a visit to the Bolhao Market in Porto, visiting these wineries provides the perfect finishing touch for a delicious Portuguese food-and-wine getaway.
And while you’re in town, also check out the well-known Jardim do Morro (a garden especially noted for offering the best views of the Porto skyline over a drink and snack at its terrace café). For a bit of history, the old quarter is a delight to stroll, and in fact it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with the Dom Luis I Bridge and the Sierra do Pilar Monastery, built in 1672 and especially noted for its circular church and cloister. Finally, if the weather is good, head to the area’s 17 kilometres (11 miles) worth of fine beaches.
Fantastic food, wine, history, and beaches? That’s what we call the tasty total package!