Oh my gosh, Portugal is on my bucket list for places to visit in 2010. Porto is a vibrant coastal city in northwest Portugal situated along the Douro River. World-famous for its Port wine production and historical city centre, the must-see destination is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers a rich cultural legacy and a variety of tourist attractions.
The genuine hospitality of the local people is another reason to visit, especially for South Africans who have had a taste of a well-integrated and highly active Portuguese community back home. Traveling to different parts of Portugal for leisure, business, and visiting family and relatives, Portuguese South Africans are no stranger to the country, with Johannesburg identified as a feeder market for Porto.
From 2 July 2019, Emirates launched a four times weekly service between Portugal’s second-largest city, Porto, and Dubai – offering this community added services and better connectivity. So, for first-time visitors looking to experience the best Porto has to offer, we’ve got a two-day itinerary showcasing its top activities courtesy of Emirates:
Drink and be merry
A visit to one of Porto’s Port Wine Cellars is a must. You’re spoilt for choice with just how many there are available, but one thing’s for sure – your taste buds are in for a treat either way. Espaço Porto Cruz is a fan favourite because, besides sampling world-famous Ports, there’s also chocolate and cheese tastings on offer and a gorgeous terrace to enjoy the view of the city while you’re at it.
Spend the evening walking through the riverside neighbourhoods of Ribeira and Miragaia. The narrow, cobbled streets are lined with bars, night clubs and eateries serving some of Portugal’s most authentic dishes. For the shopping enthusiasts – 43 Branco is a haven for Portuguese crafts, fashion, and interior design, a new concept store that’s quickly gaining popularity among both local and international tourists.
Visit Calem Port House for its 6 pm English tour, which culminates in a 30-minute Fado show. Fado is a traditional Portuguese style of music. For more music and a night to remember, make your way to the Hard Club located in a renovated former marketplace. The DJs here play everything from hip-hop and rap to metal and alternative music.
Dubbed the Arts Block – Rua Miguel Bombarda is known for its dynamic artwork mostly done by the owners of the art galleries dotted throughout the area. Every two months, Bombarda comes alive with contemporary art displays that beautifully represent a culture-packed city. Entry into the art galleries is free.
Take a tour of the last Gothic monument built in Porto, the opulent Church of São Francisco, where generations of the city’s residents are buried in its catacombs. If ancient architecture is your thing, you’ll also enjoy the ‘Medieval Walls’, which were built during the reign of King Fernando and exhibit breath-taking views of Ribeira and the surrounding areas. The famous Livraria Lello bookshop is another must-see for its stunning architecture, which is said to have inspired author J.K. Rowling’s depictions of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.
Flavours of Porto
Porto boasts some of the world’s best eateries with dishes that revolve mainly around fresh sea produce and delectable local meats. With restaurants aplenty, and only two days to try it all – food tours are the way to go. With plenty to choose from, each promise to expose you to the real flavours of Porto as you eat your way through the city, privately guided by a friendly local and expert in the best authentic dishes to try.
Porto will become Emirates’ second destination in Portugal after its capital, Lisbon. The flight between Dubai and Porto, operated by a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, will be available four times a week with a schedule that enables South African travellers to easily and conveniently connect Emirates’ flights from Dubai International Airport to other popular destinations.
The Dubai to Porto route will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Emirates flight EK 197 will depart Dubai at 9:15 am and arrive in Porto at 14:30 pm local time. The return flight, EK 198, will depart Porto 17:35 pm and arrive in Dubai at 4:15 am the next morning.
In South Africa, two of the four daily Emirates flights to Johannesburg are served by the iconic Airbus A380 to cater to the growing demand for the airline’s successful, customer-orientated experience. Emirates also operates two daily flights to Cape Town and a daily flight to Durban using Boeing 777s. To book, or for more information and terms and conditions, please visit https://www.emirates.com/za/english/ or visit the local Emirates office or your travel agent.
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