Porto & Douro Valley
Once a sleepy riverside city best known for its fortified wines, Porto has emerged as a vibrant arts capital that’s rightfully getting a lot of buzz as a great value destination. At the vanguard of the city’s bohemian art scene is the gallery-lined Rua Miguel Bombarda – liveliest during Simultaneous Openings when new exhibitions and streetside concerts create a festive ambiance. Big museums such as the Museu de Arte ContemporÃ¢nea in Parque de Serralves host cutting-edge exhibitions. Meanwhile, Rem Koolhaas’ wildly designed and hugely popular Casa da MÃºsica keeps the music going at year-round performances, including free outdoor concerts in the summer. Celebrated new restaurants have also tapped into the city’s creative new outlook. Rui Paula’s DOP showcases Portuguese ingredients with a contemporary twist. Historic port wine lodges provide tours and tastings for free or a nominal fee. Beyond Porto lies the Douro Valley, a picturesque region of steep terraced hillsides covered in some of Portugal’s most celebrated vineyards, with river cruises and scenic train rides for day-trippers.