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Cheap Flights to Porto

The famous birthplace of Port wine, Porto is an obvious lure for tipplers, but it is also a multi-faceted and fascinating city bedecked in charming pastel colors. There are numerous Pinterest-perfect moments to savour in Porto, such as a lazy cruise along the River Douroor on a stroll through the UNESCO-listed old town of Ribeira. Eye-catching Baroque-style churches punctuate Porto’s low-rise, red-roofed skyline, while the city’s skinny and winding back alleys are a constant source of inspiration. Crumbling mosaic-tiled buildings are something of an art in the city.

Porto’s Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport is the gateway to the beaches of the Costa Verde and the fertile Douro Valley, and it is a busy air hub for low-cost flights throughout Europe. This airport is also just a direct seven-hour flight from Canada, with Air Transat serving the airport once a week from Toronto and seasonally from Montreal. It is simple and stress-free getting to downtown Porto from the airport. The airport links to the violet-colored Line E of the Porto Metro, to Estádio do Dragao station in downtown. There are SCTP public buses that serve the city centre around the clock, along with a host of private airport transfer services. Once you exit the Porto Airport terminal, public taxis are ubiquitous and they cost around $44for the 30-minute trip to the city. Note that there is a 20% surcharge levied on rides on weekends and late at night.

The best way to get your bearings in Porto is to begin with a leisurely cruise on the Duoro River. It is the beating artery of the city and it flows lazily beneath Porto’s famous sextet of ornate bridges.  While Porto revels in its low-key quaintness, there is beauty too in its grand and opulent landmarks. The 14th century Gothic-Baroque church of São Francisco and the Palacio da Bolsa exerted a dominant influence on the city’s architectural landscape. In contrast, the daringly different Casa da Música is a post-millennial masterpiece. This cube-like concert hall, built by Rem Koolhaas, is in fact very cool and it hits the right note for striking the minimalist style.

When the sun breaks through the clouds in Porto, all roads (and Porto’s vintage tram) lead to Foz do Douro, which is situated where the Douro River meets the Atlantic. This is the swanky beach playground for Porto urbanites, with a wide promenade vaguely reminiscent of the French Riviera. There is a stylish collection of beachfront cafes and seafood restaurants there, and the wild Atlantic coast’s barreling waves have fashioned a vibrant surfing community in the area. A very different port of call is at the opposite end of the river – the famed Douro Valley, a popular pilgrimage for Port wine aficionados. Along the banks of the majestic Douro, visitors find terraced vineyards hugging the hillside in a landscape of verdant splendor.

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