Ancient city of Porto home of the legendary Harry Porter

Ancient city of Porto home of the legendary  Harry Porter

Porto is an ancient coastal city sitting majestically at the mouth of the meandering Douro river, located in northwest Portugal. The Douro river valley with its rich fertile vine growing terraces, makes Porto world famous for it wine and port production. Porto is also popular for it’s splendid bridges traversing  the Douro river. The character of this great city resulted in it being chosen by author J K Rowling as home of the legendary Harry Porter.

Wonderful night view over the ancient city of Porto
Wonderful night view over the ancient city of Porto

Where to stay in Porto
Self-catering holiday apartments in Porto are easy to find and book using online travel agent like www.goholidaylets.com. In just a few clicks, you’ll have a comfortable home away from home. The holiday apartments in the area range from spectacularly refurbished properties to townhouses and studios in the areas suburbs. No matter what kind of holiday apartments you choose regardless of the amount you will find accommodation that best suits and your budget. If you book early you can get a discounted price other than booking when your travel dates are nearing.

When to visit
The best time to book a holiday to Porto is during the months of April to September when the sun is shinning and the temperatures are favourable. The off peak seasons months too are a great time to book holiday apartments in Porto since the temperatures are still favorable and there are deals on holiday apartments. No matter what time of the year you book your holiday apartment in Porto, your holiday home will be your home base during an unforgettable holiday in this vivacious Portuguese city.
Here are some of the things as a traveller you can visit while at your stay there.
Having a cup of coffee at the Majestic cafe. This café was founded several years ago and its situated in the heart of downtown Porto, this is a must on the list of things to do for all visitors. The café is a symbol of the city and you can pop in for morning pastries, lunches and dinners.

The Port Wine Lodge
The Port Wine Lodges or Cellars is situated in Vila Nova de Gaia, the place continues to be an important center for visitors because of the wine tastings and there are guided tours with multi lingual. Some of the wine tastings are free while others will charge a small entrance fee.

Porto s architectural heritage can be seen in it magnificent buildings
  Porto s architectural heritage can be seen in it magnificent buildings

Cruise tours
If you would like to have a spectacular view of the area is by taking a cruise sailing by the river, there are a number of cruises that are available from the bridges in Vila Nova de Gaia and eastwards of the port wine vineyards.
Enjoying the sunset from the beach

Porto has a good climate and is conducive for sunbathing, beach walks along the beautiful beaches. The beaches are perfect for enjoying the sunset and admiring the Atlantic Ocean while sipping a drink during the afternoons.
Enjoy a late night drink
The Galerias (as it commonly known) is situated in the centre of downtown Porto where there you can find load of open air bars, the area is the centre of night life in the city with different activities going on in the bars since most of them are open air. Most of our self-catering accommodation is located centrally.

Grapes from the Douro Valley play huge part in Porto commercial life.
     Grapes from the Douro Valley play huge part in Porto commercial life.

The Lello Bookshop
If you are a book lover, The Lello Bookshop is one of the most beautiful book shops in the world and makes another must see in Porto. The Bookshop was opened in the 1900’s and it has maintained it original carved ceiling, stained glass window and painted curved central staircase. In their you can find different genres of books and travel guides for those who want to learn more about the area, and while doing your book tour there is a coffee bar on the 1st floor. Feel free to list your holiday rental property with us www.goholidaylets.com for free.

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VISIT DOURO VALLEY IN NORTHERN PORTUGAL

VISIT DOURO VALLEY IN NORTHERN PORTUGAL

The Douro Valley is located in an area of Northern Portugal. At its centre the Douro river and the Valley consists of rich arable fertile wine growing land on its left and right river banks. We highly recommend you visit the area.The Douro river flows into the sea at Porto and its source is deep within Spain. Port wine production activities and the unique scenery sculpted by the Douro river and its tributaries are highlights not to be missed.

Douro Valley
 Douro Valley

As you follow the Douro upriver the water becomes clearer and the air fresher. The hills that surround the river banks are hand sculpted with terraces lined with grapevines that produce the famous Port Wine and the other table wines of the region.

If your reading local literature or websites like www.goholidaylets.com they use very passionate poetic language is used to describe the locality. Phraseology such as “canvas that changes with the seasons”. If you research this beautiful area you will agree with most of the flowery sentiment written by locals. This is a particularly beautiful part of the world. With the amount of lush vegetation season changes will give huge variety to the landscape.

Particular comment is made of the almond trees in blossom, white and violet blend with the green of the trees. In the autumn, the hills and valleys are covered in a carpet of copper and browns.

Douro Valley Train
    Douro Valley Train

The Douro has a number of tributaries that snake through this vast region. The river Sabor hurries through wild lands untouched by Human hands, the river Côa holds ancient treasures and the rivers Corgo Tua, Távora and Varosa encircle the heart of the wine-producing region. These are just a few examples of the Douro’s many tributaries that flow in harmony together.

The region is most famous for its wine growing and the side of the valley have been terraced to accommodate the cultivation of vines.

Douro is an internationally recognised wine-producing region. On a visit to the Portuguese Algarve on a self-catering holiday some years ago we were first introduced to Douro wine. A lady in a supermarket wine department recommended we try it and we had no regrets. In case some Algarvians are reading this article we have to say most Portuguese wine is worth a try. But Douro wine has unique characteristics and its colour, flavour and taste is excellent. The locals are clever, you can take part in the wine production process and participate in the grape harvest, which seems more like a celebration than work. This is definitely worth ago.

We will write a little about Porto maybe in a separate article but to explore the Douro you have to leave from the ancient city of Porto, where the river flows into the sea and where the Douro wines are produced on its hillside terraces, there are various ways to get to know this extraordinary landscape, listed as a World Heritage Site by road, by train, on a cruise boat and even from the sky. All will leave you breathless with the magnificent beauty of your surroundings. There various types of accommodation in Portugal, 5 star hotels, hostels and of course our preferred choice of self-catering accommodation. Both Porto and Lisbon has an array of self-catering holiday apartments within the area of both cities most will accommodate short stay.
Following a route between the viewpoints that offer the best vistas, you need to cross the river from north to south and back again. But along the way you can admire breathtaking landscapes over the river and visit vineyards, towns and villages until you reach Miranda do Douro, the point at which the river enters Portugal.

Start at Vila Nova de Gaia with a visit to the lodges where Port wine is aged. Take the opportunity to see the old rabelo boats on the river, the vessels that carried the wine from the quintas (which is a Portuguese farm) where it is produced to the mouth of river, before the various dams that made the river unnavigable were built. Before we go any further you might be interested in know a little more about the Rabelo boat is a traditional Portuguese cargo boat that for centuries was used to transport people and goods along the Douro River.

Native from the Douro region, it does not exist in any other place of the world. Its history is closely linked to the production and trade of port wine. Before the arrival of the railway, the rabelo was the fastest and the most efficient means of transport between the Douro Valley, where port wine is produced, and the city of Porto, where it was traded and exported world wide.

Porto Bridge
Porto Bridge

Although not in use anymore, still today the Douro River holds these vessels, belonging to port wine companies, in the cities of Porto and Gaia.
On the 24th of June each year, St. John’s Day, a race is held of Rabelo boats, an important and popular event of the festivities of Porto.

If you’re a fan of train travel, going alongside the Douro like in the early 20th century is an unmissable experience.

In this reencounter with the past, the stars are the steam and diesel carriages and engines which, travelling at 30 km/h, preserve the memory of a time when they provided the connection between towns and helped deliver the famous Port Wine.
You can follow the river on the Douro Line, between Régua and Tua. The Régua station was the most important in the region, and the Pinhão station is one of the most attractive in the country, with its tiled façades.

Porto
Porto

But you can also follow the Douro Line by regular train from Porto or combine a train and boat programme. You certainly have a number of options when deciding on away to explore this area.
South of Porto you will come across Fatima which is a huge place of pilgrimage for Roman Catholics. Further south you will arrive in Lisbon the spectacular capital of Portugal.
On www.goholidaylets.com you can see our Lisbon Collection.   We have a wide range of self-catering propertiesluxury rental villas  and serviced apartments in large town and cities.  Click on Advertise Here to list with us for FREE.

On a Self-catering holiday visit the Saturday Farmers Market in Lagos

On a Self-catering holiday visit the Saturday Farmers Market in Lagos

Well worth a visit if stay in Lagos, on Western Algarve.

The fruit and vegetable market in Lagos Portugal is well worth a visit. It is located across from the EVA Bus Station on the Avendia Dos Descobrimentos.

If you have wisely chosen Lagos as a self catering base the local Saturday market is a must visit place. It has old world charm, coupled with fresh veg and fruit grown by healthy looking farmers. Note the tanned weather beaten faces and huge hands a product of toiling and tilling the earth in a strong sun for decades.. The men with the check shirt denim trousers and flat cap the women with aprons in place over their dresses. Preservatives and prickles bottled and presented on stalls for sale by bohemian Europeans that have discovered the charm of the Algarve country life.

If you’re staying in Patio Do Convento which is self- catering holiday apartments advertised on www.goholidaylets.com it is only ten minutes’ walk away.

Farmers Markets have become very popular in England and Ireland in the last 10 years. Unfortunately at these markets nowadays you would have to search to find an actual fruit of vegetable grower displaying their own produce. They instead have become more a food market than their Portuguese counter parts

The Farmers Market in Lagos though less sophisticated was created out of high ideals that were similar I have no doubt to the ideals that created the original Farmers Markets in England and Ireland many years ago.

After the revolution (as they say) in 1974 the Portuguese authorities created farmer markets concept to enable the smaller market gardeners and farmers trade their produce direct with the public.

The Lagos Farmers Market is an enjoyable and memorable shopping experience. Every Saturday the local Farmers come out early and set up their stalls which fill the area with their fabulous goods and produce and a fresh aroma. You can get anything and everything here from live chickens, to olives, to fruits, to hot chilli chains, to eggs, to homemade sweets, to flowers freshly picked by old women in the fields that morning.

Local organisations and clubs also use it as a means of collecting funds. You’ll find young girls and boys that have set up cake or craft stalls where they offer you some small item in return for a donation. They are all worthwhile causes which support the local communities.

If your staying in a local hotel or hostel or one of www.goholidaylets.com nearby self-catering apartment you should visit this market. When you visit this market take a while to get the sense of the whole place.

Nowadays they are doing fine they’ll charge you the same as local supermarket. At least the head of lettuce your handed was probably grown by that person or their family or neighbour. In the case of the supermarket lettuce it could have travelled from Northern Spain in a plastic bag hundreds of miles with thousands of others.

It all smacks of times nearly forgotten all over Europe when times were less hectic and less complicated.