Porto is the most popular tourist destination in Portugal. It is the country's second largest city. Originally settled by the Romans during the 5th century, Porto has a rich and colorful past. Built at the mouth of the Rio Doure, it has developed into an important European shipping and fishing center. With its many bridges and distinctive districts, it is a unique and mesmerizing city. Whether visiting the imposing Cathedral, sunning on a warm beach or browsing the shops on cobblestone streets, Porto fills its visitors with adventure.
Porto, Portugal is in itself full of interest, but the district it heads, though largely industrialized, offers the visitor plenty to see. Along the coast, holiday resorts like the cosmopolitan beach of Espinho, busy ports like Matosinhos, with splendid seafood, or traditional fishing towns like Povoa de Varzim, but where there is also an animated casino. There are so many places of interests in Porto, such as, Espinho, Matosinhos, Amarante, Vila Nova de Gaia, etc. The Cathedral area deserves to be explored, with its various monuments, such as the Renaissance church of Santa Clara, and the densely populated quarter of Barredo, which appears not to have changed since medieval times. The riverside quarter of Ribeira is also delightful, with narrow streets, typical houses and picturesque life-style: it has been recently restored and now includes fashionable restaurants and bars. Equally lively and colourful is the market of Bolhão, where you can buy almost anything, but more elegant shops can be seen nearby, especially the jewelleries and leather goods shops in the Baixa (down-town).
Porto affords many other attractions, monuments and museums, as well as a cultural agenda which has been steadily improving. There are various sightseeing places in Porto, such as, Cathedral, Clergymen Church and Tower, Lapa Church, Stock Exchange Palace, House of the Prince, Romantic Museum of Quinta da Macieirinha, and others.
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