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Oporto » City Info » Geography

Oporto (or Porto) in Portuguese is recognised as a Gamma-level global city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group. Located along the Douro River Estuary, Oporto is the second-largest city in northern Portugal.

In 1996, it was registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Sé do Porto (Oporto Cathedral) is the oldest surviving structure in the city, and other famous architecture includes the small Romanesque Igreja de Cedofeita (Church of Cedofeita), the Gothic Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis), the remnants of the city walls and a few 15th-century houses. The magnificent baroque style can be easily visualised in the elaborate gilt work interior decoration of the Igreja da Misericórdia (Church of Mercy) and the Igreja dos Clérigos (Church of Clerics), the churches of St. Francis and St. Claire (Santa Clara) as well as the Episcopal Palace of Porto, etc. During 19th and 20th century, the city experienced much transformation together with construction of glorious monuments such as the magnificent Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace), the Hospital of Saint Anthony, the Municipality, the buildings in the Liberdade Square and the Avenida dos Aliados, the tile-adorned São Bento Train Station and the gardens of the Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace).

Photo Credit: Creative Commons/User:Eduap

Many old houses in Oporto are at the stage of demolition, and the city population has dropped by almost 100,000 since the 1980s. However, Oporto's permanent residents are growing in the outskirts and satellite towns. It also bags number 3rd rank in the most livable cities survey of living conditions. The city is divided into 15 civil parishes such as Aldoar, Bonfim, Campanhã, Cedofeita, Foz do Douro, Lordelo do Ouro, Massarelos, Miragaia, Nevogilde, Paranhos, Ramalde, São Nicolau, Santo Ildefonso, Sé and Vitória.

It is intensively hilly, as well home to buildings resembling a cliff overlooking the river. Oporto visit is really awe-inspiring as you get a chance to explore the picturesque and unforgettable wonders.

Climate

Best time to visit Oporto is between April and September, when the weather is warm and sunny. Oporto enjoys Mediterranean climate resulting in plenty of variations. So it experiences dry, warm summers and rainy, mild winters. Almost throughout the year, the city has sunny days and mild temperatures. This continues even in rainy season though it is considered amongst the wettest cities in Europe.

During sunny summers, the average temperatures are between 16°C and 27°C . Sometimes, mercury rises up to 38°C when occasional heat waves flow. Because of heat waves, the humidity is very less and so forest catches bushfire adding haze and ash in the air. The cool blowing wind at Oporto beaches is more comfortable than the urban areas.

In the afternoon, Oporto temperature reaches 20°C in summers, sometimes followed by showers and rains. In winter, the temperature rarely drops below 0°C at night.