Experience Porto’s exuberance; Raphael Kadushin; Star Tribune

Portugal – Historic Centre of Oporto, Luiz I Bridge and Monastery of Serra do Pilar

Portugal’s second city gets a first-rate revival with a fresh culinary scene and architectural updates.

As a friend planned her upcoming Portuguese vacation, I quietly encouraged (OK, tirelessly browbeat) her into taking a side trip from Lisbon to Porto. “I’d only have time to get off at the train station, turn around, and come back,” she protested.

“That’s reason enough to go,” I told her.

I wasn’t being facetious. Porto’s São Bento Train Station qualifies as one of the world’s great unrecognized artistic treasures, a transportation hub cum ethereal landmark. Hanging in its long cathedral-worthy vestibule are no fewer than 20,000 painted tiles offering a sweeping tour of Portugal’s history, landscape and culture by way of monumental panels.


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