Esposende & Porto

Esposende, like many small towns in Portugal, has a long and ancient history. There is much archaeological evidence of this time – from stone age through to the Roman occupation, although you might not see very much today. The town has been important as it is strategically situated between Oporto to the south and Vigo, in Spain, to the north. Esposende has a long maritime tradition and people from Esposende were amongst the first to cross the Atlantic to Brazil and return to Portugal as "Brazileiros de torna viagem" – literally meaning, Brazilians make the trip!


Nowadays, you are more likely to find and enjoy the various small town squares with their cafes and the stunning sandy beaches – which have long been appreciated by Portuguese holiday-makers and today are being increasingly appreciated by foreign tourists. To the north of the town is the nature reserve – The Natural Park of the North Coast – a large area covering some 1,200 hectares and famous for its wetland areas and beautiful coastal sand dunes. It was the need to protect these magnificent sand dunes, that led to the creation of the protected area you see today. During the migration period of spring and autumn this becomes a prime spot for bird watching. Further inland, lush pine forests surround the town.


Esposende offers a wealth of activities and culture all year round for non riding partners and families, with many traditional restaurants famous for their seafood, bars and cafe's offering good food and live music, its easy to find something to do in the evenings.



The city of Porto is best known for two things: its river, The Douro, and its port. But the historic city itself should not be overlooked. One of the oldest cities in Europe, Porto’s UNESCO world heritage site ,the Ribeira (riverfront district) , is a remarkable tangle of historic streets and alleys. The traditional barcos rabelos (flat-bottomed boats) bob at the foot of the pretty hillside, down which medieval buildings, Rococo façades and Gothic churches tumble.


When the 15th-century caravels of empire weighed anchor in Porto on their way to go conquer Africa, the city’s inhabitants gave up all their available meat, leaving themselves with nothing but offal. Hence’ tripeiros’ ( Tripe people ). Amid the haphazard beauty of Porto’s old city, the people display a rare sense of hospitality. “They say that in Lisbon if you can’t find somewhere, they will tell you once. But in Porto, they will take you there.”


As with Lisbon, it’s hard not to like Porto A large city, maybe, but it’s also a beguiling one, with a lengthy history – it was known in Roman times as Portus Cale (the “sheltered port”). However, there the comparison with the capital ends: as the saying goes: “Coimbra studies, Braga prays, Lisbon shows off and Porto works”.


The prosperous business core is surrounded by a labyrinth of cramped streets, ancient alleys and antiquated shops. But since 2001, when Porto was declared European City of Culture, many of the city’s streets and squares have been reconstructed and historic buildings restored, particularly in the riverside bairro of Ribeira ,where the waterfront cafés and many restaurants are an obvious attraction. The various river cruises are the best way to see the city’s famous bridges – there are five more besides the landmark Ponte Dom Luís I, notably the Ponte do Infante, whose central 280-metre reinforced concrete arch is the world’s longest, and further east upriver, Gustave Eiffel’s iron railway bridge, Ponte Dona Maria Pia. For many, though, it is the port wine trade that defines the city, with its centre of operations at Vila Nova de Gaia , on the south bank of the river, the home of

the famous port wine lodges.


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