The two biggest cities, the two important cities, the two different, yet family cities, we are of course talking about Porto and Lisbon.
This article describes the two largest cities in Portugal, namely Porto and Lisbon. Porto is the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon. Porto owes its beautiful name to the wine produced on the banks of the other river, the Douro. Lisbon is a city by the sea, full of atmosphere and lights. In short, a real must for a visit. Within both cities there is a lot to do, that is why they are called family cities.
Porto is located in northern Portugal on the Douro River. Porto originated during the Roman domination of the Iberian Peninsula. But during the Middle Ages the ‘real’ rise of Porto took place. In Porto there are still many historical buildings from this period. Besides the beautiful historic part, you also have in Porto great narrow streets, the houses that are covered with beautiful tiles, called azulejo’s and of course all the beautiful street art in the streets.
Porto mainly owes its fame to the Port which is known all over the world. There are plenty of port wine tasting establishments to be found in Porto, here of course you will find the real, good port wine. The port houses are also a well- known attraction, but these are mainly found on the other side of the Douro, in Gaia.
5 fun things to do when you’re in Porto:
- Visit the Ribeira district
The Ribeira district is a medieval district with all the old streets and alleys, through which you zigzag through the city. In Ribeira are many nice restaurants, old churches and stores to take a look.
- Visit a port house
To visit a port house you have to go to Gaia, where you do have a beautiful view of the old city and enough port houses to visit.
- Catch an old tram
In Porto, there are many old trams running around. These trams are just part of the public transportation system. Grab tram 1 for a ride along the Douro River and ending at the Atlantic Ocean.
- Explore the food and drink in Porto
The food and drink in Porto is also not to be forgotten. Taste the delicious port tonic and don’t forget the Pastel de Nata. The best way to discover Porto’s cuisine is to take a food tour. The Walking Parrot organizes tours like this, so here is the link to their website:
- Visit the golden church Igreja de São Francisco
The church Igreja de São Francisco is the most famous church in Porto. It is also called the golden church because about 200 kilos of gold leaf were used to decorate the church. In this church the most important and richest families of Porto are buried.
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal. According to legend, Lisbon was founded by the Greek Odysseus. This story, of course, can never be confirmed. What can be confirmed is that Lisbon was founded in the twelfth century BC as a trading post. In the twelfth century the city was conquered by Alfons I of Portugal. In Lisbon there are still many historical buildings that can be visited, including the castle of Alfons I of Portugal.
Lisbon consists of many small streets and alleys, with many stairs. It is a hilly city. There are many hip stores and eateries and lots of street art and beautiful buildings covered with tiles. Lisbon is Portugal’s most popular city for a city break. It is situated on the Tagus River and the Atlantic Ocean. Lisbon attracts many tourists because there is so much to see in the city.
Below are 5 fun things to do when you visit Lisbon:
- Visit Castelo de Sao Jorge
Castelo de Sao Jorge is highly recommended to visit and can be combined with a walk through Alfama. One of the oldest parts of Lisbon. The Walking Parrot organizes a Alfama Walking Tour, also highly recommended to visit Alfama through an organized tour. Here is the link for more information: https://www.thewalkingparrot.com/lisbon-private-tour
- Taking the tram
The tram is used as a public transport in Lisbon, but it is also a great way to explore the city. Take tram 28 to see the most beautiful places in Lisbon.
- Visit the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos monastery and the Torre de Belém
These are two unique monuments built on a Manueline-Gothic style. The monuments are full of beautiful decorations and carved stones, a true masterpiece of architecture.
- Visit the Oceanarium in the Parque das Nações
The Oceanarium is one of the biggest in Europe. Here you can discover the plants and animals of the different oceans.
- Dining in Bairro Alto
In Bairro Alto are many nice restaurants, all scattered in the narrow streets. And if you want a dessert, Pastel de Nate is a real Lisbon delicacy. In addition, for nightlife lovers Bairro Alto is also a top place to go out.
Why are they family cities?
As can be seen from both descriptions, Porto and Lisbon have a lot in common. They are both large cities consisting of small, narrow streets, with these streets nicely decorated by street art and the blue and white tiles (azulejos). Also, Porto and Lisbon are both hilly cities. In both cities there are old trams running around, which can transport you throughout the city, because they work as public transport. Also, in both cities you will see many historical sites that you can still visit, giving both cities a historical look.
Pastel de Nata is definitely not to be forgotten at both cities. A real popular food in both Porto and Lisbon. Also, both cities border a river, Porto on the Douro and Lisbon on the Tagus. In short, both cities have a lot in common and are therefore real family cities.
Now you know what you can do in Porto and Lisbon, and see how much these cities actually have in common. The real knowledge comes when you visit one or both of these cities, of course. Definitely a must!