Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Things to Do in Portugal - Part 1

Over the course of this 3 part article, we will explore the various regions of Portugal and what they have to offer when you are on holiday in Portugal, because there is more to Portugal then  just beach, wine and food.  

We hope that by showing you some different options you can return from your holidays in Portugal truly say that you had an amazing, fun, active time.  This week, will with start with the North, and over the course of the next few weeks we will work our way down through Central Portugal and the Southern Portugal – Commonly known as the Algarve.

Those looking to visit the North of Portugal can find regular flights into Porto.  Considered as the capital of Northern Portugal, whilst in Porto, take a trip to the Centro Português de Fotografia (Portuguese Photography Centre (C.P.F.)).

A beautiful building dating back to the XVII century (1767 to be exact) it is brimming with history; previous uses include a district Prison and Courthouse. Look carefully and you will still find details from that era on the Judge's private room, court and toilets.

Open to the public from Tuesday to Friday 10am-12.30pm/3pm-6pm and Weekends/Bank holiday from 3pm -7pm. The C.P.F is closed every Monday.

Afterwards, pay a visit to Restaurante "Uma Rosa", just a few minutes away. Serving typical Portuguese dishes from all regions of Portugal, you can enjoy the ambiance whilst enjoying a breath taking sunset and magnificent views over the Douro River, one of Portugal’s largest rivers.

Another great place to visit is the Teatro Nacional de São João.  Unknown by many, Portugal has a long history with the arts. Opened in 1992, it boasts to having houses plays  such as “The Storm” from Shakespeare, produced by Silviu Purcarete.

In the month of June, Porto plays host to the traditional commemoration of Dia de São João (St.John's Day) between 23rd & 24th

A very Portuguese party, the air will be filled with balloons, music and the streets covered with colours, as people dance and sing to live music played by local artists. Celebrations start in the early evening and continue until dawn, as locals and visitors alike will head to the Douro River and invade the small street. 

Don’t be alarmed if you receive a knock on the head from someone with an oversized plastic hammer, join in the amusements and purchase one yourself.  As the night draws on the main events take place around midnight, with 1000 balloons being released and an intense firework display. But don’t expect to head to bed before 6/7am, full of exhaustion and muscle fatigue from laughing so hard from all the fun.  

Those looking for Porto’s nightlife, will not go wrong with a recommendation to visit Porto-Rio bar, located on a huge boat on the Douro River, it offers a peculiar and unique atmosphere, with a variety of entertainment. 

On the main floor you will find staged rock concerts , with the upper deck offering a chill out area. Whilst in the warm months an outer deck offers the prefect seating area to enjoy the balmy evenings, with its own bar and a area reserved for the smokers amongst us.

Stay tuned next week, for more Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal.