Perfect Days in Porto
Porto stole my heart before I even got off the train from Lisbon. Named the Best European Destination for 2017 and a short train ride from Lisbon, it was the city I was most excited for. I am in love with cities by rivers, and Porto has one of the most beautiful and authentic riverside views. One of the best things about it was that everything was completely walkable. And even though 4 days there were not enough for me to see everything Porto had to offer, and I will be back as soon as I can be.
Things to see:
- The magical and awe inspiring Livraria Lello, the famous bookstore that is said to have inspired J.K. Rowling. It does cost 4€ to enter, but that will be deducted from the cost of any book you purchase.
- Blue & White tiles are everywhere in Porto. My favorite spots were there Igreja do Carmo , Church of Saint Ildefonso Igreja Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso, and one of the most famous the São Bento Train Station.
- The Downtown area itself. Filled with winding roads and beautiful buildings that need some repair. Getting to see Porto before it became a larger tourist destination was a highlight for me. I would love to buy one of the buildings and restore it.
- Take a boat ride to see the bridges along the water. On a sunny day you can admire the city from one of the best views on the river.
- Other Suggestions:
- Palacio da Bolsa
- Igreja Monumento de São Francisco
Across the River
Is where we find Port. Port wine, getting it's name from the city, comes from further inland along the river in the Duoro Valley. Crossing the bridge you can find the river side lined with Port Cellars for tastings. Some give tours with museums of the history, while other places are tastings or pairings.
Where to Stay & Eat
The Porto AirBnB we stayed in just added to our experience of the downtown Porto area. Our hostess was warm and welcoming and gave us a bunch of suggestions of what to do and where to eat when we got there. Like Lisbon, many of these smaller spaces are being renovated to be apart-hotel like accommodations.
If I could,I would have my food delivered to me from Porto. The first night we went to Adega São Nicolau, which had the most amazing fried sardines and rice, I wanted to have it every night we were there. My best advice depending on where you are staying in Porto is to ask someone who is local. The restaurants along the water, although picturesque can be more touristy and expensive. Ask someone where to get the best Francesinha sandwich, any native from Porto will have their favorite spot. And if you didn't know, because I had no idea when I got to Porto, it is not in every travel guide. A Francesinha is a layered meat sandwich, covered in cheese, doused in a hot sauce and surrounded by french fries. Try the bakeries, the tapas bars, and just enjoy the hospitality of Porto.