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City of Porto: known for its character and charm. photo courtesy of www.lisbon-and-portugal.com

Monday, August 6:
Travel via train from Lisbon to Porto

8:00h: Catch the train to Porto,Portugal’s second-largest city and the “Capital of the North,” where we will be greeted by Carlos Sá (professional runner and local guide).

With a distinct working-class charm,Portois deemed a World Heritage Site, as the old town survived the 1755 earthquake surprisingly intact.

12:00h: Lunch in the sophisticated and relaxing Foz do Douro district, a National Heritage site on the north bank of the Douro River where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean. 

14:00h: Admittance to Hotel.

16:00h: Cross the Douro River via the Ponte Dom Luís I bridge, a double-decker iron arch bridge built by Teofilo Seyfrig, who previously engineered construction of another arched bridge in Porto (Ponte Dona Maria Pia, upstream) under the direction of designer Gustave Eiffel. The Dom Luis Bridge, rising 150 feet above the river, was the longest iron arch in the world when it opened in 1886, and today, allows metro, auto and pedestrian transit access to a popular tourist destination ...

 ... the Vila Nova da Gaia, the wine caves of Porto. Experience a port-wine tour and tasting, to learn how the sweet, fortified wine is produced 60 miles upstream in the Douro Valley and aged here. Port wine, often served with dessert, originated in the Douro Valley and is one of Portugal’s most famous — and delicious — exports. 

18:00h: Feel free to explore on your own some of the sights featured in this European Best Destinations 2014 video. Check out the monuments in Porto’s Avenida dos Aliados (Avenue of the Allies) in the city center, stretching from the granite and marble Câmara Municipal (City Hall) atop the hill, all the way down to the Praça da Liberdade, a square featuring an equestrian statue of King Pedro IV.

Nearby, find the oval-shaped church with the disproportionately tall bell tower: the Igreja e Torre dos Clérigos (Clérigos Church and Tower). The Italian artist and architect Nicolau Nasoni, who was buried on site, spent three decades working on this church and tower, reclaiming it in the Baroque style. Climb 225 steps to the top of the bell tower for an amazing view.

You might also want to swing by the Lello & Irmão bookstore, one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Its grand staircase and stained glass ceiling are worth a peek.

The Casa da Musica (pictured below) is located northwest of the city centre near the Boavista Rotunda, and is open for tours on Mondays. The 12-story, irregularly shaped white concrete structure was designed by world-renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas with acoustics in mind, and hosts nightly concerts with subsidized ticket prices.  

20:00h: Dinner in Porto (location TBD)

It is said one can find a good Francesinha sandwich (Little French Girl) only in Porto: within the folds of two slices of white bread lay wet-cured ham, linguiça (smoke-cured pork sausage seasoned with garlic and paprika), fresh sausage like chipolata (breakfast style sausage), steak or roast beef, covered with melted cheese and a hot, thick tomato and beer sauce (is Port the secret ingredient in the sauce?), served with french fries. 

22:00h: 12k Night Run in Porto, reminiscent of the annual Meo Urban Trail Porto Night Race shown here. Bring your headlamp.

Meo Urban Trail Porto Video: