Porto, Portugal: the perfect break

Porto, Portugal's second city, offers autumn sun, beaches and rich reward for the urban rambler, says Paul Clements.

For an autumn sun break in a relaxed, artful city that, unlike other supposed capitals of cool, prefers not to show off. With its dramatically hilly location on the Atlantic coast, Portugal's second city – best known as the historic home of port wine – has plenty it could shout about, not least an unrelentingly pretty old town with characterful winding streets, tiled churches and World Heritage-protected status.

The Ribeira neighbourhood, with its down-at-heel quayside and authentic street-life vibe, acts as the city's main magnet. While there are no major, must-see landmarks, Porto is still a great place to burn shoe leather: the mighty Douro river offers long, peaceful walks to miles of sandy beaches, while its steep banks, dotted with shady parks and panoramic viewing posts, will appeal to the urban rambler.

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