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The city comes with the steady sea breeze, seagull soundtrack, and ever-changing weather that you’d expect from an oceanside city. You’re likely to get sun and rain at the same time — causing the locals to exclaim, “A widow’s going to remarry.” The two biggest draws here are the photogenic riverfront Ribeira quarter and the tourable port-wine lodges just across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia. (Aficionados of port — or of dramatic scenery — can use Porto as a springboard for visiting the nearby Douro Valley, where grapes grow on steep stone terraces.)  Loving Porto

Porto seems entirely made of granite — and even its Romanesque cathedral is stout and stony. But the city’s inviting shopping streets are ornamented with playful architectural touches and lovely blue-tiled facades. Spared by the 1755 earthquake that toppled Lisbon, Porto is charmingly well preserved, and the city has kept its Old World atmosphere. Loving Porto

A prime example is Porto — the hub of Portugal’s north. Just three hours from Lisbon by train, it’s fiercely proud of what distinguishes it from the national capital as it ages happily along the Douro River — along with most of the world’s port wine. But the city also comes with a thriving food scene — including one of my favorite market hall. Loving Porto 

I’m really into “second cities” these days. Over several generations, Industrial Age powerhouses in Europe turned into what we would call the “rust belt,” while their elegant “first city” counterparts enjoyed the luster of the Information Age. But over the last decade or so, the rust has become a trendy accessory and industrial ruins have turned bohemian chic. 

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