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Located along the Douro River estuary, Porto is one of the oldest European centres, and its historical core (Riberinha) was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. The western part of its urban area extends to the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Its settlement dates back many centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire. Its combined Celtic-Latin name, Portus Cale, has been referred to as the origin of the name "Portugal", based on transliteration and oral evolution from Latin.

In Portuguese, the name of the city is spelled with a definite article ("o Porto"; English: The port). Consequently, its English name evolved from a misinterpretation of the oral pronunciation and referred to as Oporto in modern literature and by many speakers. The famous fortified wine - Port wine, one of the most significant export goods of Portugal, is named after the city, since the metropolitan area is responsible for the packaging, transport and export of these fortified wines.

In 2012 and 2014, Porto was distinguished with the prestigious title of Best European Destination. Porto was again announced as Best European Destination 2017, having competed with other great cities, such as London, Rome, and Berlin.

The city was also highlighted by Lonely Planet has one of the top 10 best value cities in 2017, and earlier in 2015, was also elected by USA Today readers as the Best Under-the-radar Romantic Destination.

In the most recent editon of the World Travel Awards Porto was elected the World's Leading City Break destination 2020.

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