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Second Cities: Here’s Why You Should Go to Porto, Portugal

Travel Noire’s R. Peña sheds light on some of the best “Second Cities” to visit in major countries across the globe.

What Is TN’s Second Cities?

Photo Credit: Magda Ehlers

When most of us start getting the travel bug, we usually go to popular destinations worldwide. Major cities like Paris, Rome, New York and others have the resources and attractions to invest in tourism. The great thing about these locations is it’s easy to get around, accommodations are similar to our homebase and many people have been to these cities.

Our “Second Cities” series is contrary to all of those things. It’s for the traveler that genuinely wants to discover the country’s culture. It’s the cities where people work to maintain the country’s authentic traditions. There’s no watered-down version of the meals. There are not so many fusion restaurants, and locals are the only ones that populate the beaches. Your experiences will not only be more authentic, but also typically cost less money. TN’s Second Cities speaks to the those who seek authenticity in their quest to understand different cultures in travel and points out the hidden gems in popular cities.

Where is Porto and Why Should You Go There?

Photo Credit: Ninety Studio

The city of Porto is a coastal city located in Portugal. It’s north of Lisbon and sits on the Duoro River, which leads into the Atlantic Ocean. The city is known for its port wine and is the second-largest city in Portugal. It is considered one of the oldest European cities that were, at one point, an outpost for the Roman Empire.

Photo Credit: @TheBrunchxGod

When you’re in Porto, the people are calm and friendly.

They have plenty of bars and restaurants and some quirky cuisines that you’ll find quite filling. There are plenty of beautiful landmarks, cathedrals, art galleries, parks and dining along the water. There’s also a wide variety of wineries to visit for tastings.

You quickly can tell the city has been influenced by many of its neighboring countries. There are cobblestone streets, waterfront shops and people from all over Western Europe that have migrated and reside there.

During the warmer months, you can hop on a train to the town of Matoshinos, where the locals gather along the beach daily to eat lunch, drink wine or picnic with their families. The beach is in front of a row of businesses and residential buildings. Dining options are available at one of the restaurants in the plaza.

Portugal’s Relationship with The Black Diaspora

Portugal was one of the first countries to stumble upon Africa as they searched for fabrics, gold and spices from South Asia. At some point, the Portuguese were leaders of the transatlantic slave trade and competed with other European countries to enslave Africans for labor. In their prime of exploration, Portugal managed to colonize over 50 lands, such as Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde Islands and Guinea.

Within recent years, there has been a migration of Black people moving to Portugal in search of a better quality of life for themselves and their families. For many, it has been a peaceful experience.

The cost of living is lower than in Los Angeles or New York City. You can get a one-bedroom apartment for about $800. In the city’s center, a three-bedroom apartment could cost between $1,000 and $1,500. A family of four can make it with just a little over $2,000 a month, according to numbeo.com.

You can find plenty of Black expats speaking on their experiences on Youtube or right here at Travel Noire.

Things To See In Porto, One of TN’s Second Cities

Photo Credit: @TheBrunchxGod

Porto is full of unique sites and restaurants to try. Their food is inspired by surrounding countries, such as Spain, France and Italy. Since it is a coastal city, they also have some of the freshest seafood in Europe.

There are also plenty of historical sites to see, considering it’s one of the oldest European cities in the world. One of the main attractions that I had a chance to visit was the Serralves Museum & Villa. It’s a pink mansion on the west side of Porto, which also has an elaborate Art museum where artists around the world showcase their pieces each season.

Another attraction you don’t want to miss is the Church of Santa Clara. Similar to the cathedrals of Florence or Milan, the Church of Santa Clara was designed with attention to detail. Completed in 1457, the walls and moldings are adorned with carvings left from the Portuguese empire.

Best Time Of Year & Ways To Get There

Photo Credit: Tap Air Portugal

The best time of year to visit Porto would be in the late Spring or early Fall. There are fewer tourists during those seasons, and the weather would still be amazing.

You can fly directly to Porto from New York on TAP Air Portugal for about $400 to $500 roundtrip. Airbnb has hosts available and there are stays near the attractions or close to one of the beaches.

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