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This gracious capital of the north is Portugal's second largest city and a thriving industrial hub, successfully blending commercial efficiency with an atmosphere of unpretentious charm.
Rich from centuries of trade, modern Oporto is as much a cosmopolitan centre as it is a city steeped in the historical events of the past.
Magnificently situated on the great gorge of the River Douro, which spills into the Atlantic after its scenic 927 km journey from Spain, the 'granite city' is best known for its striking bridges and the much celebrated Port wine, which is stored and savoured by wine lovers all over the world.
Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1996, the ancient Ribeira riverside district is a warren of narrow, twisting streets and shadowy arches. The ongoing restoration of this lively quarter is attracting a growing number of restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Justifying its selection as the 2001 European Capital of Culture, Oporto boasts several important attractions, including the 12th century Sé Cathedral and the magnificent São Francisco Church with its striking gold encrusted interior.
Crossing the spectacular two tiered Dom Luís bridge brings you to Vila Nova da Gaia, the true home of Port wine. Here, visitors can tour the world famous lodges, which bear such familiar household names as Taylor's, Grahams, Cockburns and Sandeman. The highlight of the tour is the mandatory wine tasting session at the end.
The fishing towns of Matosinhos and Leça da Palmeira to the north of Oporto boast some of the best fish and seafood restaurants in Portugal. Travelling south and within easy reach of the city, visitors to Espinho are promised a relaxed beach side resort setting with hotels, discotheques and a first class casino

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Additional Photos by Jorge Jacinto (JorgeJacinto) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 174 W: 0 N: 134] (1029)
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