Porto is Portugal’s second largest city and also the capital of the Northern region. This is the hectic business and financial center. The location itself isn’t really populous (about 240,000 inhabitants), but the Porto city area (Big Porto) rates high about 1,500,000 residents within a 50 km radius, along with cities like Gaia, Matosinhos, Maia, Gondomar and Espinho.
Porto includes a semi-Mediterranean weather, although it’s strongly stricken by the Atlantic Ocean that makes it cooler than other Mediterranean cities. However, temperatures can go up as high as 40C in August in the course of occasional heat waves. Winters are moderate and moist, with occasional colder nights where temperatures may drop below 0C.
Porto is definitely a mercantile city, which is evident within the type of buildings that front onto the Avenida dos Aliados, the center in the downtown area. The central town, unlike some other major Portuguese cities, which are inclined towards the baroque, is granitic and monumental. Inhabitants of Porto are known as Tripeiros (tripe eaters) allegedly due to the fact the city went without having meat as a way to provision the fleet that eventually left to overcome Ceuta in North Africa and had to subsist on tripe soup, nevertheless a specialty of the city.
The city is fairly variegated architecturally, along with ancient as well as advanced living as well. Porto’s geography is hard within the feet, however pleasant to the eye. The city is extremely hilly, with many buildings constructed into a cliff face that overlooks the river. Stairway cut to the stone go up and down the cliff face and gives a toilsome however satisfying walking tour. Over the river from Porto proper, in the suburb of Gaia, can be found the warehouses of notable businesses managing Port Wine, like Kopke, Sandemans, Calem, Fonseca, among others.
If you converse in Spanish to some local, you will be mostly comprehended and usually they will freely talk on you, but every once in awhile, more so with all the older generation, you may be nicely reminded that you are in Portugal and also the native language is Portuguese.
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