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.

Luisi Bar those on a self catering holiday are always welcomed

Luisi Bar those on a self catering holiday are always welcomed

When you visit Artista or Luisi dont worry you’ll be back.

Lagos in the Portuguese Western Algarve is a very popular place to visit and indeed live. Splendid self catering holiday rental accommodation coupled with some excellent restaurants and hotels. Leisure time activities galore with an abundance of water sports available coupled with a number of supreme golfing venues.

I am taking this opportunity to mention one very well known popular hard working local owner of is a man simply referred to as “Luisi”. He is known as the owner of Artista Restaurant and Bar and the adjacent Luisi Bar all within a stones throw of the entrance to the famous and luxurious Lagos Tivoli Hotel. Luisi is also the proprietor of the O’ Amigos Bar at the far side of Lagos on Estr da Ponta da Piedada. If your staying in Patio do Convento on a self catering holiday in a place It’s a must to visit Artista Restaurant or Lusisi Bar. It’s a must to stay in the nearby splendid self-catering holiday rental accommodation.

There is a wide variety on the menu but my favourite has always been the great tasting Beef Stroganoff . Don’t take my word for it. Here are a few comments from tripadvisor:

– “Very nice meal good service and nice ambiance. Really nice food was great saxs on while we there was quite a few people in saying it was the sunday before xmas”

– “Quite simply the best place to go when you are in Lagos. Live entertainment every night, friendly and attentive staff, good food and a great atmosphere. We visit every time we are in Lagos.”

– “During our recent stay in Lagos, we visited O Artista every evening for a nightcap. The staff were very welcoming. They had karaoke and live singers each night. We didn’t eat out here but it was busy some evenings. Service was quick and efficient and free wifi was great. Definitely worth a visit.”

– “We stayed at the hotel across the street and after dinner we popped in for a nightcap and ended up staying for several hours listening to the live 2-person duo who were excellent. Some of us got up to dance as well so it was a very festive place. If we had stayed another night, we probably would have returned and had dinner.”

Whether you’re a local, regular visitor, or fist timer you ll always get a welcome. If Luisi is not there Nuno certainly will be. While next door you ll find Sharon or George. All the staff have excellent English and your welcome to sit have a Bica (coffee) and keep in touch with home as the WiFi is free.

O Amigo’s Bar is owned by Luis is nowadays run by Miguel one of the best in the business. The lamb chops are the business If your holidaying in Self Catering accommodation at Conomino Quinta da Atalia this bar is well worth a visit > Food served all day and all matches shown live. It is on the road to the Ponta Piedade to the lighthouse. By car you come up from town to the ball roundabout, turn left, over the next roundabout, take the 1st left turn before the open land, at the bottom of the street turn right, the Hotel Golfinho(closed) is on your left, pass a little shop on your left and the bar is about 30 meters further on your right.

If you are walking come out of town past the Cultural Centre, through the town wall and keep walking straight ahead on the same road, under the main road, past the campsite and then you will see the Hotel.

Luisi has BBQs on the upstairs veranda during summer season.of you and they still have the upstairs open for meals.

Lagos great place to relax in a self catering holiday accommodation while exploring the local area.