Porto and the north of Portugal: Adding on awards

“It’s only been 24 hours since I arrived in Porto, Portugal, and I can already tell this is going to be one of my favorite cities.” says the travel writer Rachelle Lucas in her popular blog thetravelbite.com, shortly after setting foot in the City where she was a guest speaker at the TBU Conference. Visitors often report falling in love with Porto’s skyline at sunset, or having their breath taken away by the spectacular views from the Port Wine Cellars, as they sip an old Vintage Port. If, however, the positive word of mouth would not suffice to the picky traveler, this surprising destination keeps adding on awards and nominations so that no doubt remains that this is definitely the European charming gem worth visiting next:
Four different World Heritage Sites by UNESCO
The region of Porto and the North of Portugal comprises four different sites that have been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage. The Historic Centre of Porto was nominated in 1996, based on the outstanding universal value of its urban patrimony and historic buildings. 2 years later, in 1998, Unesco recognized the prehistoric rock art sites in the Coa Valley as one of the most remarkable open-air ensembles of Paleolithic art. In 2001 both the Douro Valley and the historic centre of Guimarães were also distinguished with this prestigious nomination. The first based on the outstanding beauty of the terraced landscape that results from the long-lasting tradition of viticulture on the banks of the Douro River and the last enhances the remarkably well-preserved example of a medieval town that has evolved into the modern city of Guimarães, comprising extraordinary examples of rich building typology and architecture that date back from the 15th to the 19th century.

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Porto – Best Destination 2012, European Consumer’s Choice
European Consumer’s Choice, an independent non-profit-making organization based in Brussels, selected 20 European Cities to compete for the high-status title of Best European Destination 2012. Porto was finally elected by voters as the Best European Destination 2012 and won the title ahead of 19 big european cities.
Porto – in the top 10 Wine destinations in Europe
Trip Advisor’s traveler’s Choice awards nominated Porto among the 10 best wine destinations in Europe.

Architecture
One city, two Pritzker Awards. There aren’t many cities that can brag about having two architects with the “Architecture’s Nobel”. Porto has two: Álvaro Siza Vieira and Eduardo Souto Moura. From the first, there are several examples in the region (the Serralves Museum, in Porto, is mandatory). The second designed, among other structures, one of the most beautiful stadiums in the world, the one from Sporting Clube de Braga, built in an old stone quarry.

Lello Bookshop: the 3rd most beautiful in the world, by the Guardian
The Guardian has called it “Divine”, and named it the 3rd most beautiful bookshop in the World in a short list published in 2008. The bookshop, open since 1881, features a “staircase to heaven”, beautiful stained glass ceilings, astonishing wooden panels and a lovely collection of books.

The Yeatman Swimming Pool – Among Condé Nast’s top 12 infinity pools
Condé Nast Traveler listed the top 12 infinity pools in the world, having included the Yeatman’s decanter shaped pool with spectacular panoramic views over Porto’s Historic Centre in this prestigious list.

Francesinha – AOL Travel included Porto’s Francesinha in the Top 10 sandwiches around the World. The name is Portuguese for “little frenchie” as it was created after the original French croque monsieur, to which Portuguese flavors were added resulting in a melting spicy goodness, not to miss if you’re in town.

São Bento Train Station – Travel & Leisure, one of America’s most read travel publications has named São Bento Station, in Porto, as one of the most beautiful train stations in the World. The article praises both the stone façade and the stunning indoor panels, made with 20.000 splendid tin-glazed ceramic tiles.

Porto International Airport – Airport Service Quality Awards has recognized Porto International Airport as one of the best in Europe, for the 6th consecutive year. The award recognizes airports which have achieved the highest passenger satisfaction ratings in the ASQ survey.
Wines of Excellence – The northern Portuguese wine producing industry has been a longstanding award winner over the past years. The Wine & Spirits Magazine considered “Casa Ferreirinha”, a wine company based in Porto, as “Producer of the Year 2012”. The International Wine Challenge distinguished Luís Sottomayor, Director of Enology at the northern wine producing company Sogrape Vinhos, as the Enologist of the Year 2012. Prestigious international wine competitions such as the International Wine Challenge, Mundus Vini, China Wine awards, Les Citadelles du Vin, among


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