In Porto, capital of the North of Portugal, there are a thousand appeals and delights that are worth discovering. Its layout is windy and picturesque and walking along its streets to feel the heartbeat of the city is a unique experience. The city has a unique historical and architectural heritage, which you cannot pass on. But why not go a little bit further and discover the best kept secrets of Porto?
We give you some tips that will not only take you out of the touristy tour of the city but will also make you look for small details in the places to visit.
Embark on this journey with us!
Heart of D. Pedro
As a token of gratitude for the heroism with which the people of Porto had fought alongside him in the Siege of the city (1832/33), Pedro IV, in a romantic gesture, bequeathed to the city his heart. But he did not say where he wanted it to be kept. Several possibilities were raised, but the chosen site was Church of Lapa. The key to the mausoleum where the royal heart lies is kept in the office of mayor.
It is the crown jewel of the important and valuable artistic estate of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia do Porto. For many years it was as if it had disappeared. It was discovered in 1824 during some construction works that were being done in the sacristy of the church. By the plastic characteristics of the composition, painting has been attributed to Colijn de Coter, to Bernard van Orley, or to a nearby workshop of the bruxellois circle.
The "Fons Vitae" is said to have been commissioned for the altarpiece of the brotherhood's original chapel, which stood at the main Cathedral. The central theme of the composition is the Crucifixion of Jesus, with the peculiarity of the Cross being based on a fountain that collects His blood, symbolizing the "Fountain of Life."
The aesthetic and literary reasons to love the Botanical Garden are endless, as well as its Casa Andresen: camellias, junipers, pavonias, green alcanets, cactuses of apocalyptic colours, the ghost plant (which is said to be seen with one's heart) or the infant ghosts of Sophia and Ruben A.
The Livraria Académica (Academic Bookstore) founded over a hundred years ago is the only establishment of its kind which still runs, on Saturday mornings, an old-fashioned gathering, attended by doctors, engineers, university professors, journalists, masters of history and simple lovers of books and of the Porto culture.
Palácio do Bolhão
The Palácio do Bolhão is a national monument, home to two cooperatives boosted by the ACE: Theatre of Bolhão and the Art School. Located in central downtown, this palace is of great architectural value and its reconstruction gave back to the community this historical area which is a symbol of the city.
Self-portrait of Aurélia de Souza
The National Museum Soares dos Reis is the place that houses this painting which impresses by the intensity of the gaze, disturbing coldness of the features and the grave and serious air with which the painter portrays herself. The painter thus moves away from the naturalistic aesthetic mainstreamof Portuguese painting from the second half of the nineteenth century.
Streets and alleys from the historic center
There would be thousands of ways - as many as the alleys and streets and stairs - to talk about the wonders of the historic streets in Invicta's downtown . The best thing is to wander through its streets and alleys and unravel all the mysteries they contain.
Going through the "saloon"-like blue doors of Alfredo in Rua do Cativo (Cimo da Vila) is to enter a Porto of yesteryear. The tiles on the walls, aluminum countertop and barrels of wine don't fool you: it is a true tavern, or "tasca". At the heart of high Sé, Alfredo is the preferred place to end the day, with a bowl of red green and a cod-fish cake.
View of Porto
Reaching conclusions about where you can have the best views over Porto is not always easy. Everyone agrees that it's in Gaia, but agreeing on the exact site is more complex. The descent from General Torres, the quay of Gaia, the balconies of The Yeatman, the terrace of the Arrábida Shopping and Cabedelo are some of the hypotheses. Why not try them all?!
Discover these and many more treasures of the city of Porto. Contact us so we can help you plan your visit where you'll see everything the city has to offer. We're waiting for you.