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Porto: Portugal's northern gem, and Europe's latest favorite spot.

Behind the industrial veneer, this mildly Mediterranean city has many charming facets. It is one of the less popular traditional tourist destinations that are ascending on the must see lists. Built on the hills where the the Douro river meets the Atlantic ocean, the city has for centuries served as a major port, hence the name, and has witnessed the rise and fall of many civilizations going all the way back to the Roman Empire.

One very distinct attribute that separates Porto from the rest of Portugal is its cuisine. The city has traditional markets teaming with vendors of vegetables, fruits, fish and meat almost all originating from the surrounding areas, giving it a rare authenticity and a unique flavor. Mercado do Bolhão is such a local favorite, crowded with food lovers seeking the freshest of ingredients and the tastiest dishes at very affordable prices.

Climbing the steps of Torre dos Clerigos is no easy task, but for those who can handle a little bit of cardio, it is definitely worth the climb. The panoramic views from up there are very beautiful. Palácio de Cristal is a welcome break from the narrow streets and stones of the alleyways, and provides a refreshing spot for greenery. The Ribeira, near the river, provides breathtaking views of the cities hillside buildings, and teams with restaurants and cafes with terraces overlooking the river.

Discovering the city on foot is a choice that many tourists make, although it can be a real labyrinth and time can go by quick while strawlling and enjoying the views, the museums and historical landmarks, it helps to jot down a few choice ones and get the most out of your day.

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