Porto was our favorite city on our Spain/Portugal trip. Even though it rained the full two days we were there and our Airbnb host was 30 minutes late to let us in to the apartment, we were infatuated with the little city’s charm and history. Everyone in the family is already plotting their trip back.
Who// me, my mom, & my grandparents
What// a two-day stretch of our twelve-day vacation (not long enough!)
Where// porto, portugal
When// winter; december 13-15, 2017
Why// i've recently started hearing about porto as a must-visit destination in portugal, so thought we'd check it out
How// we took a one-hour flight from madrid to get to porto (~50 euros/person)
Where to stay:
- Airbnb// We loved our place in Porto! Check it out here.
- Only complaint was that it was a little outside the hustle & bustle. Next time, we mind consider staying closer to the waterfront, where most of the action is.
- Also, due to this being an old building, the circuits would blow if we had too many heaters plugged in. We made do, but just something to keep in mind!
- ~30 euros/night/person
The perfect two-day itinerary:
- Make or grab a quick breakfast
- Start your day with the free walking tour, end on the riverfront
- 10-20 euros suggested donation
- Grab lunch at Caravela, just up the street
- I got the soup of the day, chicken with rice, potatoes & salad, tea, and water and it was unbelievably good. I also had leftovers. Ambiance is typical Portuguese pub/cafe.
- < 10 euros per person
- Walk the Porto riverfront, across the famous bridge, & along the Gaia riverfront
- Stop into the Ramos Pinto port wine cellar for a tour & tasting
- Make sure to arrive before 4:30 pm, which is their last tour time
- Get the port tasting flight & have fun filling out the tasting cards (color, aroma, taste), as I believe it enhances the tasting experience :)
- 15 euors
- Go across the street to the Teleferico for a ride over the city
- 6 euros
- Possibly hit a few other port cellars, as they're all located along the Gaia waterfront
- Walk or Uber over to Sai Cao Restaurante for dinner
- Another insanely delicious Portuguese meal of steak, fries, rice, salad, and wine. More leftovers.
- 7 euros
- Grab a bottle of Portuguese wine & finish your night relaxing at home
- We loved JP Azeitao Red, which is a three-grape blend out of Portugal.
- 3 euros
- Make or grab a quick breakfast
- Spend the morning shopping on Santa Catarina
- I found my new pink shag jacket at Pull & Bear, a Spanish retailer out of the Zara conglomerate. I also got a cute army green pinafor there :)
- Stop by the Majestic Cafe
- This is the oldest cafe in Porto and very ornate inside. Extremely overpriced for lower quality, so best to just stop in for a look.
- Lunch at Cafe Santiago
- Go for the aforementioned Francesinha or “croque monsieur on steroids,” which is a traditional lunch in Porto.
- Walk to the Lello Livraria & check it out
- JK Rowling lived in Porto for some time and was even married to a Portuguese man (also just for some time). Rumor has it that she drew a lot of inspiration for Harry Potter based on this library and the university located next door.
- 4 euros for entry, which you can deduct from the purchase of a book
- Explore the area, possibly hit one of the many museums in Porto
- Dinner at Braganca
- Recommended by our walking tour guide
- Traditional Portuguese food
- ~10 euros per person
Why you'll love it:
- Wifi is posted everywhere in Porto, so no feeling like an annoying tourist (& crap person) having to ask for it all the time.
- Everyone speaks at least a little English, so it's easy to get by. If you know a little Spanish, it's even easy.
- Probably the best looking people of our trip were found in Porto. Our Airbnb host was even an actor on a Portuguese TV show!
- The food here is SO cheap, yummy and just overall great value.
- The city is so charming with it's colorful houses, beautiful waterfront and tiled everything. It all feels very storybook.
- Basically, this feels like one of those recently discovered European gems. I think in a few years it will have gone through a lot of renovation to accommodate their rise in tourism. My suggestion would be to go sooner than later, so you can experience some of the authentic Porto.
Porto is SUCH a magical and romantic city. I'm not even sad that I went with my grandparents, just sad that my grandpa was sick during our time there, so him and Grandma couldn't walk around holding hands (like they always do). I for one plan to come back for a special anniversary.
If you're hanging out in Portugal for a little longer, definitely check out my Lisbon Itinerary for the perfect three-day stay. You will not want to miss the European city that reminds me of San Francisco.