Listed in categories, these are the highlights, organized to provide easy access to a wealth of information on things to do or places to have a meal here in Porto, a list that can be of good use to any runner currently visiting the city or planning to do so, very soon. Just tap the icons to learn more:
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"Long live the King! Long live the people! DEATH TO THE COMPANY!!"
February 23rd, 1757: Leading the crowd that morning were many tavern keepers followed by some coopers, wine merchants but mostly were... tavern regulars! This blog post contains a short overview on one of the most humiliating episodes of the city's History, where 26 of the involved people were hung, beheaded and quartered and their bodies displayed in several locations within the city...! (...)
Though this might have been a rather gloomy introduction, take it as an invitation to learn more about about the oldest Portuguese wine company and its recently opened restaurant, cigar club & wine tasting room and an interactive museum, '1756 - Museu da 1ª Demarcação'. We already visited it. This post includes photos & two short videos!
Running itself is a gift.
Out front Jana and Hans-Christian's accommodation in Porto, just as I was about to wrap up and thank them, after our 2hr running tour (which was a birthday present to Jana, btw), Hans-Christian reached deep into his small backpack for an item and handed it out to me: it was an oficial 2019's Nikolauslauf Tuebingen half-marathon official t-shirt!
In this blog post I'll unveil the reason for this kind offer and explore the fact that running experiences can be such a memorable gift , whether it is a race entry such as the amazing Nikolauslauf - Nicolau's/Santa Klaus' run in English - held in Southern Germany or a city running tour of Porto, in northern Portugal.
Also taking this opportunity to tell you about yet another Nicolau - not Santa Klaus - and his Porto-based wine company - the oldest still active!
est.reading time: 7 min
Unexpected gift, directly from Tuebingen, Germany: an official Nikolauslauf t-shirt!
...Portugal's first filmmaker was a florist in Porto?
In this post we unveil how Aurélio da Paz dos Reis, a successful merchant and flower producer, decided to start his 'adventure' in the world of 'animated photography' back in 1896 here in Porto... and also how he failed to do business with the Lumiére brothers...!
est. reading time: 6 min
Porto was the setting for Portugal's first ever F1 Grand Prix!
The urban circuit of Boavista hosted only 2 editions of the most prominent of all car competitions, in 1958 and 1960. Stirling Moss, the 'best driver of the world' who never won a F1 world title for himself, flew home from Porto with the first Portuguese F1 trophy, in '58.
Porto is always a good idea
It's that time of the year : public Christmas lights were switched on last Saturday - the official kick-start to the holiday cheer here in Porto. For runners visiting the city during this season we prepared something special, too...!
30/11/2019 photo credits: AgoraPorto
Tried and tested tips :)
Porto may not be the most child-oriented city but there's naturally a few places to take your little ones and have a fun half-day. No matter which one you choose, a bit of creativity will take you a long way when running for the podium in the category of <most fun parent in the world>...!! :)
Here's some suggestions that may help you plan a fun day out with kids (prior to that 'boring' wine tasting you have your eyes on) >>
If you are looking for a stylish dinner or if you're in the need to impress your running partner, than you may want to skip Porto's traditional 'francesinha in a beer-house' or the 'bifanas @conga' and make a reservation at a more exclusive place like the ones on this list.
We run right past the front entrance of most of them in Porto on our running tours and that may help you decide which one fits you the best, based on its location and some of the information we provide!
Read on for our 2020's short list of restaurants for a Michelin-starred food experience in Porto:
STCP Tramcar Museum - here's a sneak peek
The calls to fight climate change are now growing louder around the world and electric mobility has indisputably come into vogue but the silent and charming zero-emission tramcars are actually running on tracks here in Porto for more than a century now...!
Let's head down memory tracks and unveil some of the past, see how people used to move around the urban area of Porto - when run-commuting wasn't yet that popular - is it popular now??! Jump in and grab on for a glimpse of the STCP tramcar museum & depot, once the not-so-green coal power plant that powered the entire tramways' network... (!)
Starting with Pedro IV's heart: Porto's most precious treasure
Here's a compilation of stories, some of which were brought round by visitors, about one peculiar topic: hearts that were separated & taken away from the rest of their owner's body to a fairly distant burial place or even to be scientifically studied. Today PORTO RUNNING TOURS is celebrating 4 years of operation and so, because one of our best-sellers from day one has been the HEART OF PORTO TOUR, let's start with a shorter version of the amazing story about our dear Pedro IV's heart, our city's most precious treasure, a true story we always share with running visitors...!
A symbol of progress
'PROGREDIOR' was deliberately written over the front doors of the first grand Exhibition hall of Porto, the 'PALÁCIO DE CRISTAL' - the word 'progredior' means 'progress' in Latin and it was deeply symbolic. In the mid 1800s, Portugal, and in particular the city of Porto, were trying hard to catch up with Europe and US's industrial revolution and, at the same time, going through a period of intense... romanticism!
The merchants and industrials of Porto were bohemian, wealthy and seeking class and personal affirmation. A small group of Industrials - an association called AIP - decided it was time for Porto to have a grand exhibition hall, one that could host trade shows, large scale festivals, huge banquets, a space worthy of the the rising bourgeoisie of Porto... all of this surrounded by these 'staged' romantic gardens filled with exotic trees and wandering peacocks, fake ruins, fountains and small lakes, classical looking statues: a dignified space for poets and artists looking for inspiration or for those merely looking for romance, during those long lazy Sunday walks... wearing their best Sunday outfits...!
Exploring the city park and the waterfront of Porto
As a tourist I visited many cities in Europe and in some I opted for a bicycle tour on the first day of my stay. This is such a wonderful way to have a solid overview of more than just the historic centre and escape the busy tourist attractions during the day. It is also a way to share an active day or half-day with your partner, family or friends, especially those who are not into running - or not willing to take you up on that 7AM sunrise running tour you had in mind...!
In the next lines I will pinpoint a few reasons why a bicycle tour + (maybe) a running tour + the city of Porto are actually the perfect combination!
An effective weekly ritual to stay injury-free
(first person narrative) In the past I had to deal with some nagging injuries, brought on by running, which kept me away from doing it for weeks... They were overuse injuries from repeating the same movement, done over and over again, maybe with a slightly off-balance gait... and then maybe also the result of previous injuries that were not given enough healing time... (...)
While I am not saying that you should stop running I am saying that, for me, my body has welcomed the change in movement and also the strength gains that I have been making since I began to train differently and gave Crossfit a try on a weekly basis. The strength that I have gained is having a noticeable impact on my running as well because my legs are feeling much stronger with each stride.
Sometimes we just need to mix things up and try new things to refresh how we feel.
Crossfit Durius has since become my second favorite place to work up a sweat - the first being... my office, the streets of Porto!
WALKING up the arch of the Arrábida bridge ✔️
That item was on the list for a long, long time...! It took me 3 years, many excited reports of visiting runners who had done it and one kind invitation to make up my mind and do it. All I can say I am really glad I did it!
Read on for some (fun) facts about the construction of this bridge and its project's designer, Edgar Cardoso, an inventive engineer way ahead of his time...! Bonus: a short video of the experience, the highest point of my week :)
LOOKING FOR A CHALLENGE?
The running scene in Porto is tremendously active and eclectic, with many well-established and organized races throughout the year. Here's a short list with 8 of the most interesting ones, including Porto marathon (November), Porto half-marathon (September), a couple of 10ks and specially selected introductory videos of their previous editions.
We've even included an orienteering event and a 'one-of-a-kind-mad-two-stages-uphill-race' named Porto a Subir...!! Tap 'read more' to see the videos!
Sérgio is the founder of Porto Running Tours, a keen runner since 1999 and a friendly running tour guide-storyteller since 2015.
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