__As the official travel partner of the UEFA Champions League, we've journeyed to the homes of the clubs through to the last 16 to give you the lowdown on the hotspots for your next away trip. For this article we head to Porto, home of FC Porto.__

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Porto's old town could hardly be prettier. Houses, painted in buttercup yellow, burnt orange and lilac, ramble uphill from the banks of the Douro. Bridges loop across the river, flowers spill from balconies and stone steps lead to tucked-away corners and plazas.

There's just something about this Portuguese city, whether you're sipping port in a bodega or navigating the maze of narrow medieval streets. Porto is like a living, breathing museum, albeit one with plentiful modern charms, from the dynamic food scene to modern-art museums and sculpture gardens.

This makes it a winning city break destination at any time of year. Time a visit with one of FC Porto's home games, however, and you'll feel the place truly come alive.

Meet the team: FC Porto

Any club that can claim it launched the career of José Mourinho demands to be taken seriously. The manager led FC Porto to the treble after taking over in 2002, topping the Portuguese first division, the Primeira Liga, and winning the Taça de Portugal (Portuguese Cup) and UEFA Cup. What's more, the club already has two UEFA Champions League wins to its name, in 1987 (as the European Cup) and 2004.

Aside from Mourinho, FC Porto's biggest legends include former players João Pinto (who played a whopping 587 matches for the club), Vitor Baía (who stood in goal for 25 trophy wins), Radamel Falcao and Jackson Martinez.

The Dragons, as the team is nicknamed, were founded in 1893, though the team only played a few matches before the president lost interest. Since reforming in 1907, though, FC Porto has pretty consistently remained in the big leagues. It's the only Portuguese club to win five consecutive league titles, dominating the pitch between 1995 to 1999.


Image Credit: Tourism Media


FC Porto was founded, appropriately, by a port wine merchant, António Nicolau d'Almeida, who was inspired to launch a football club in the city after becoming hooked on the beautiful game during several trips to England.

Visiting Porto's football stadium: Estádio do Dragão

Estádio do Dragão - Campanhã district

FC Porto's ultra-modern stadium has a capacity of just over 50,000, with match tickets usually available online or at the gate (though big fixtures tend to sell out fast). Its sleek white curves have made it an architectural icon in this newer part of the city, while it has also received accolades for its sustainability efforts.

Catch a match if you can. When local supporters come out in force (and they've been known to fill all the seats on more than once occasion), the atmosphere is so exhilarating that goosebumps are guaranteed.

It's worth taking the guided stadium tour even if FC Porto aren't playing, if only to discover more about this forward-thinking club and its high-tech experiments. Recent trials include allowing fans to order food and drink directly to their seats via an app - a far cry from many other stadiums, where you have to stand in line for a pie.

Any football fan will get a thrill from striding through the tunnel, exploring the dugouts and peeking into the presidential box. The onsite FC Porto Museum is worth a visit too, stuffed with memorabilia and trophies. Purchase a combined ticket for a discount.

Getting there: Picking up a hire car at the Porto airport? It should take around 20 minutes to drive to the stadium, or 15 minutes if you're coming from the city centre. By public transport, it's an easy metro journey from the city centre. Most lines go direct to Estadio do Dragao, right next to the stadium, or you can change at Trindade.


Image Credit: Tourism Media

Where to eat and what to do in Campanhã

The stadium is surrounded by greenery and forms part of a huge sports complex with shopping malls, restaurants and pools. While largely a residential and business district, it's nice to just stroll around the grounds.

And there are a few gems, such as the grand Quinta de Bonjóia, an 18th century, pale yellow palace overlooking manicured lawns. It's a 20-minute walk from the stadium.

The area is also home to some nice Porto hotels if you want to stay close to the action, and the nearby Dolce Vita shopping centre is a good choice for a quick bite. There's a food court with sandwiches, burgers and pizzas for pre-game grazing, plus a handful of nice cafés.

But, really, there's only one pre-match snack in Porto, and that's the 'Francesinha'. Don't be fooled by the fancy name. This is a serious sandwich, stuffed with ham, sausage and steak before being smothered with molten cheese and drowned in tomato sauce. Find it at pretty much any café, or at one of the kiosks in the stadium.

For a post-match meal, taste Portuguese specialities like bacalhau a bras (salted cod) and grilled sardines at Barcarola Costa Cabral, a 15-minute walk away, or nearby Líder.[1]

Barcarola Costa Cabral, Rua de Costa Cabral 806, 4200-212 Porto; Líder, Alameda Eça de Queirós 120, 4200-272 Porto


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Partying in Porto after the match

Celebrating after the match: parties in the plaza

It isn't hard to find the party in pocket-sized Porto, especially following a victory on the pitch. The streets, squares and bars fill up with fans wearing huge grins and, usually, blue-and-white stripes. To be right at the centre of the celebrations, though, follow the crowds to Liberdade Square in the old town. This is where supporters gather en masse to celebrate league title wins, trophies and any time they beat their closest rivals.

Going out in Porto

Couldn't get a stadium ticket, or just fancy jostling with the jovial local crowds? The university area has a buzzing atmosphere on match days, with spacious bars and cafés packed out with fans. Piolho is a fun option.[2] Stay in the university area after the match, when the party really gets going.

Ribeira, the portion of the old town that hugs the riverside, is always atmospheric. Crawl between cocktail bars, low-lit jazz and blues clubs and, of course, places to try the region's ubiquitous port.

Piolho, Praça de Parada Leitão 45, 4050-064 Porto


Image Credit: Tourism Media

Practical information

You can fly direct to Porto from several UK airports. It takes two hours and 20 minutes from London, two hours 40 from Manchester and two hours 45 from Edinburgh.

Ready to explore Porto's old town and soak up the atmosphere at the Estádio do Dragão? The city has the elegant hotels in Porto, vibrant nightlife and cosy restaurants for an ideal city break, wherever you watch the match.

Want to find out more about Porto? Check out how to spend 24 hours in Porto!