Porto, a city close to the region where our boots are made, boasts a great and diverse history.
On a recent trip to these family-run factories, we decided to discover the city, and bring you our highlights.
Marvel at the landmark bridges
As Porto is famous for its bridges, it’s safe to say that they’re something not to be missed. The city is home to six bridges in total, all of which are easy to marvel at. In fact, the city is recognised as the only European city with six bridges over the river.
Our personal favourite is the Maria Pia bridge, which was the first railway link of the city. Built between 1876 and 1877, the bridge was designed by Gustave Eiffel, who later became famous for his eponymous Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The bridge became an engineering landmark after completion due to the complexity of its structure which supported a 354-metre rail board.
Although the bridge hasn’t been in use since 1991, it remains a historical marker.
Take in the city from a height
To truly appreciate the typical Portuguese buildings, you need to see the city from above. Most of the city’s roofs feature the country’s iconic orange clay tiles, beautifully contrasted by white-wash walls. Like Lisbon, Porto is very hilly, so you can venture to a viewpoint in the city and take in the beautiful vista.
Sample the port
Of course, it would be rude not to sample the Port when in Porto!
Port wine derives from the Douro Valley, but it is Porto that gives its name to the wine as this is where port ages and is shipped from across the world.
Whilst in Porto, there are several ways to discover how port is produced, aged and shipped. A great option is joining a cellar tour, which gives you the ability to go behind the scenes and get involved in tastings.
Porto also boasts great authentic food, which you can discover on a tour alongside sampling the port- a crowd pleaser for sure! We’d recommend pairing with petiscos – small bites much like ‘tapas’.
Marvel at the Azulejo tiles
As you may have gathered, Porto is rich in culture and history, boasting numerous landmarks.
Many of these landmarks incorporate traditional Azulejo tiles. These tiles date back to the 13th century, when the Moors invaded Spain and Portugal. The word Azulejo stems from Arabic roots, meaning ‘small polished stone’.
Originally, the tiles were neutral in colour until Portugal’s King Manuel I visited Seville and took inspiration. The tiles were then used to cover large areas of blank wall, which were common inside Gothic buildings. The majority of the old style Azulejo tiles already in place were then painted blue, which is what we still see in the city today.
The tiles are now used for decoration both inside and outside of Porto’s buildings, which makes the city a feast for the eyes.
If we had to pick one building that showcases the beauty of these tiles, we’d suggest Igreja de Santo Antonio dos Congregados - a landmark church in Porto. It features the famous tiles on its exterior – make a visit and take in its grandeur!
Our top landmarks
If you’re ever in Porto, don’t miss these other fascinating landmarks…
1. Liberdade square
Liberdade square - currently home to the Porto city sign. The square is the most significant in the city as it connects the old town with the modern part of the city.
2. Clerigos Church and Tower
A Baroque style church and bell tower which is significant in the landscape of Porto. What sets the construction apart is the granite tower which extends upwards 75 metres to a spherical clock house which is delicate yet vast.
3. Porto Sao Bento Railway Station
A hub of the city built in 1900. The station walls feature Azulejo tiles which were placed over a period of 11 years, from 1905-1916 by artist Jorge Colaco. Included in the tile landscape is the Battle of Valdevez (1440) and the Conquest of Ceuta (1415) along with many other significant events which have created the vibrant city which exists today.
For more on Porto, click here.
DuoBoots are designed in the UK and made in Portugal. We’ve been working with the same artisan bootmakers in Portugal for decades. Each boot is hand finished and crafted using only the finest leathers and suedes from Europe.
We have spoken recently about our craftsmanship; read more here.
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