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PORTO WITH A&K
The perfect place to escape the temperamental Great British 'summer', Porto is a tightly-clustered assortment of colourful tumbledown houses, soaring bell towers and stately Baroque churches, connected by a winding network of narrow streets and zigzagging staircases which emerge in pretty, sun-drenched plazas. The city has undergone somewhat of a renovation of late with an efficient metro system and innovative shopping centres; the Contemporary Art Museum and the cubist cool Casa da Música are well worth a visit, but Porto's traditional design still holds true. In ancient, UNESCO-listed Ribeira, Roman ruins lie beneath the city's foundations and locals mingle with tourists before peeling shop fronts. Nearby Vila Nova de Gaia offers a taste of rural Portugal.
A river cruise takes in the magnificent Rio Douro, a wide, meandering waterway flowing under the two instantly recognisable iron bridges, Dom Luís and Maria Pia. Porto is loved by the literati: browse the shelves of Livraria Lello, one of the world's most beautiful bookshops with its Art Nouveau façade and seemingly floating scarlet staircase. Traditional blue and white azulejos adorn a magnificent wall of the Igreja do Carma convent, whose interior is a richly gilded example of Baroque and Rococo architecture. In Ribeira visit the adegas - wine cellars on the harbour, for a taste of local Port.
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Our recent awards
The hotel (Intercontinental Moscow) was brilliant, nothing too much trouble and they seemed genuinely pleased to see us and our rooms were very comfortable, room service really good and the food excellent as well as the service in the restaurant.
- Bedford, RH