Porto vs. Lisbon: Which city wins travel rivalry? - By Paul Ames, CNN



(CNN) — Lisbon has established itself as Europe's hippest city-trip destination over the past couple of years, but now it has a rival that's a little too close for comfort.

Portugal's second-city, Porto, is giving the capital a run for its money as the place to go for a unique blend of history, balmy weather, culture, cooking and nightlife.

With its old riverside center designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its chefs picking up a growing constellation of Michelin stars, as well as its world-beating wines and vast stretches of sandy shore on its doorstep, Porto certainty has a lot to offer, but can it really challenge Lisbon as Europe's capital of cool?

We've put the two leading cities of Portugal head-to-head to find who has the best beaches, the tastiest snacks, the most opulent old cafés and trendiest boutiques.

And because we like to give the underdog a hand, we've asked some hardcore tripe-eaters (as the inhabitants of Porto are known -- see below) to tell us why you should all be heading to their city by the sea.

They tend to hold strong opinions.

Take Rui Reininho, Portuguese rock superstar and front man with the legendary Porto band GNR.

"The baroque surprises, the escarpments of Romanesque granite, the almost obscene sincerity of the people, the impetuously golden river, the swooning camellias, the wild Atlantic filled with fish and seafood, the narrow streets awash with soap suds," Reininho enthuses. "You really shouldn't hesitate between Lisbon's tropical style and the Celtic, European liberalism of Porto."

READ: Lisbon might be Europe's coolest city; here are 7 reasons why

Tripe eaters v. little lettuces

If there's one dish to represent Porto, it's tripas à moda do Porto -- a stew of white beans, pig's ears, cow's stomach lining and other flavorful bits.

Associação de Turismo do Porto e Norte

The people of Porto are affectionately known as tripeiros -- roughly tripe-eaters.