Your writer is British (having lived in Porto for 25 years) and there is something not very British about blowing your own trumpet, but someone needs to tell the world about what a great city Porto is! Porto has just won a tourism ‘Oscar’ from the World Travel Awards as ‘Europe’s Leading Seaside Metropolitan Destination 2024‘ and it is yet another feather in the cap marking the incredible steps forward as a tourism and events destination that Porto has made over the last 25 years.

Porto was essentially a backwater 25 years ago, with virtually no international events taking place there and now it can proudly sit as one of the go to mid-size city destinations in Europe for both tourism and events. The most recent award as the leading seaside metropolitan destination follows on from other great European cities (Barcelona, Dubrovnik, Istanbul, Lisbon and Venice), which is confirmation if it were needed that Porto now has a seat at the top table.

An old tram trundles along the riverside to the beach

Whilst much of the attention for Porto’s redevelopment has rightly been on central and riverside areas, the mouth of the river Douro, where it meets the Atlantic has also seen some wonderful developments that have somehow kept the original charming character of the area. The area round the fishing docks (known as Matosinhos) has been thoughtfully restored, repurposing derelict buildings, laying down new cobbles and opening up a series of relatively small restaurants generally focused on fresh fish. The old 1950s tram has been restored for the 15 minute ride alongside the river from central Porto to reach the beach and the beach front promenade has all been tidied up. A handful of the grand old manor houses along the front have also been repurposed into boutique hotels, whilst thankfully there have been no large scale modernist hotels built to ruin the vibe.

If you attending an event in Porto, if you have the opportunity for a few hours off, then coming down to the beach front (the area nearest Porto is known as ‘Foz’) is one of your best bets to get away from it all – you can come for a bracing swim in the Atlantic rollers or just a stroll along the promenade.

When Porto Events first came into existence we often felt like a lone voice trying to sell Porto to the world as an events destination and now it feels like everyone knows about us! If you are thinking about holding your event in Porto then please contact us – nobody knows the city like we do!