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.