The innovative structure of the new Porto International Airport is the first view that most visitors will have of Portugal's second city. Built on the steep banks of the Duoro River that divides the city, Porto is much more than the centre of the Port wine industry. It also boasts numerous cafes and restaurants and the charm of the narrow streets of the old town has led to it being designated a World Heritage City by UNESCO.
Highlights of any city tour include the Clêrigos Tower, the Lello Bookshop, Av. Aliados, the Bolhão Market and the Ribeira - the old quarter. Another must for a visiting group is a Duoro river cruise aboard a traditional Rabelo boat.
Boat is one of the ways to approach the Porto Congress Centre - Alfãndega. This beautifully restored river front warehouse has been transformed into a world class convention centre whilst retaining many of the original features from its historic past.
As you might expect, Porto boasts a number of fine hotels including the five star Sheraton Porto, Le Meridien Park Atlantic Porto and the Hotel Porto Palacio.
But Porto is more than just an interesting city and the home of Port wine, it is also the undisputed capital of the North of Portugal. As such, it is an excellent centre from which to explore the Duoro Valley. This beautiful region is where the Port and Duoro wines are produced and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Just outside the city is the small sea front town of Espinho where the superbly located Hotel Solverde can be found. This five star property has excellent facilities for groups and is used as a pre-match retreat by FC Porto because of its superb spa, treatment rooms and outdoor sports facilities. Close by, and under the same management, is the Casino Solverde an excellent venue for a gala dinner and Brazilian cabaret.
To the north, is the city of Guimarães, birthplace of the Portuguese nation. Apart from an imposing castle and the palace of the Dukes of Braganza, there are many medieval buildings and two excellent museums. The town is special enough to have been granted UNESCO World Heritage status and the small Romanesque church in the main square is reputed to have been the place where Afonso was baptised.
But if culture is not your thing, there is ample opportunity to taste the fine food and drink the fine wine for which Porto and the Duoro region is famous. Locations well worth a visit include Lugar do Vinho in the heart of the old town and Calem Wine Cellars or the restaurant at Taylor's Port Wine Cellars high up on the banks of the river.