Porto is Portugal’s second most important city and with its surrounding metropolitan area of 16 municipalities is the largest urban conurbation in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. Porto has 240,000 inhabitants, while the metropolitan area comprises 1.6 million residents. The historic centre of Porto has been classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and the city also enjoys specific cultural assets such as the Serralves Foundation and the Casa da Música. In addition, Porto is a gateway to further World Heritage Sites in both Portugal and Spain.
However, Porto is also a forward-looking city. Its tourism industry is continuing to develop, the airport has been recently modernised and expanded, and a new cruise liner terminal has been developed in the nearby Leixões seaport. The hotel offer is also rapidly expanding and improving. Porto is now the third most visited tourism destination in Portugal and won the award for Best European Destination in 2012, beating over 19 major European cities to the accolade. Along with holidaymakers, the city is also a popular venue for international events, fairs and exhibitions, seminars and congresses. The city was a European Capital of Culture in 2001.
Porto has the region’s largest seaport, whilst also being an important hub for innovation, mainly influenced by the presence of six universities, several higher education institutes and a series of R&D centres. Specific industry clusters have been formed in the IT and creative sector, biotechnology and health, and mechanical engineering.
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