Robert K. Stephen, Porto, Portugal
One facet of Porto in Portugal I like is that it is a bit gritty with some rough edges. It is also incredibly beautiful. So beautiful and unique it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I decided in my last visit to stay at the impressive Pestana Palacio do Freixo which when you turn left at its entrance you have a 30-minute walk partially through Freixo into Porto. Ignore the industrial ghost sites at your peril as they have their own beauty. Pass the Freixo Marina which restaurant and bar is packed with locals and boasts a view of the Douro River and keep walking along the walkway on the river to Porto.
Turn right and up the hill you have another side of Freixo. In fact not only rough but poor looking. A scraggly restaurant at the base of the hill but otherwise not much of any commercial activity. It barely looks like it is hanging on.
Rest assured no tourists were seen in this part of Porto. Yet it is part of Porto and a walk through its streets shows all that glitters is not gold. In a sense Porto City Centre is becoming a bit of a Disneyland particularly with the advent of cruise ships. Freixo is perhaps a bit of a gritty side of the glittering Porto City Centre but worth a walk for those seeking a little adventure in Porto. I would not dress up nor would I recommend walking in its streets at night. Welcome to reality.