Oh Porto!

O Porto, Rui Barreiros Duarte, ink on paper, 2015.

Portugal’s second largest city and the unofficial capital of the North is called Oporto. The city has an older feel than Lisbon. While much of Lisbon was destroyed by the 1755 earthquake, Oporto preserved its meandering medieval streets and ancient buildings.

Oporto is a place full of surprises. The city looks austere, but its granite architecture is just a ruse to make the gorgeous Douro river look even more seductive. Life in Oporto is hectic, but residents always take the time to give visitors a warm reception. There are plenty of restaurants that look ordinary but serve great food. And there are many hidden treasures in the port-wine caves that store, sometimes for centuries, the precious nectars from the Douro valley.

The Portuguese call the city Porto, while the English call it Oporto. There are two theories about this discrepancy. The most plausible is that the English, hearing the Portuguese say “o Porto” (which means “the city of Porto”), combined the article and the noun into Oporto. The most romantic is that the name came from visitors falling in love with the city and sighing “Oh Porto!” We side with the romantic theory.

Click here for a guide of where to stay and what to do in Oporto.

11 thoughts on “Oh Porto!

  1. Reblogged this on The Portugal Years and commented:
    Porto is where I first saw women at a communal wash house where women could do their laundry if they did not have facilities at home. The closest I came to it was washing our clothes by hand in the bathtub.

  2. Hi there. What a great article you have here. I really enjoy Porto and all the great things it has to offer – the people, the monuments, the gastronomy, the Douro river. You can’t miss the opportunity to visit this city, and believe me, you’ll love it. On the other side of the river you can visit the port wine cellars and taste the unique port that is known worldwide. Remember to visit monuments like the Cathedral, Clérigo’s Tower, St. Francis Church and so on. It’s because of these and other reasons that Porto is Unesco World Heritage.

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