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Porto, Portugal: Dazzling by Design

By Tanvi Chheda

Jan 10, 2012

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Photo by Oliver Strewe/Lonely Planet Images

The mix between medieval and contemporary in the architectural renaissance of Porto, Portugal.

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At the mouth of the Douro River, the medieval city of Porto, Portugal, is undergoing an architectural renaissance. Old World icons, such as the baroque Torre dos Clérigos bell tower that helped the city earn UNESCO status in 1996, contrast with contemporary buildings by Pritzker Prize–winning architects Álvaro Siza Vieira and Eduardo Souto de Moura. New boutiques are transforming historic streets, and upscale hotels are bringing former palaces and row houses back to life.

La Maison des Porto

La Maison des Porto

The wine bar Vinologia: La Maison des Porto specializes in the city’s namesake port. Drop by the cozy tasting room to sample one of 200 bottles, mostly from regional small-batch producers.

A Vida Portuguesa

A Vida Portuguesa

A retro-inspired shop in Porto’s city center, A Vida Portuguesa carries everyday items—handcrafted Claus Porto soaps, Couto toothpaste, Emilio Braga notebooks—displayed like museum artifacts.

Livraria Lello bookstore

Livraria Lello bookstore

A blend of neo-Gothic and art nouveau, the enchanting Livraria Lello bookshop dates to 1906 and is rumored to have inspired J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts in Harry Potter

>> Next: The AFAR Guide to Lisbon

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