Porto is the second largest city in Portugal behind Lisbon, and in my opinion just as beautiful and quaint. One thing that they both have in common is the amount of hilled streets you will come across whilst you’re here! If you’re looking for a place that has culture, sun and affordable food then this is the place for you. Here are 10 things I
recommend doing whilst you are in Porto.
1 – Go on a Portuguese food crawl
Portugal has some great food, and after doing some research I found that this city in particular has a few local specialties. The most famous is their ‘francesinhas’, a meat filled sandwich covered in cheese and tomato sauce. Secondly you have ‘bifanas’, which are similar to montaditos de lomo but covered in a delicious spicy sauce. This had to be my favourite! Cachorro hot dogs and cod fish are also popular options in this region. Lastly, you can’t leave Porto without trying a few pastel de natas (custard tarts).
2 – Book a port wine tour
This was such a fun experience, just make sure you have a big meal before this because you will end up tipsy! We booked our tour online through GetYourGuide and it lasted around 3 hours. Our guide was informative and funny, we tried 3 different port varieties and by the end of the tour we had 9 glasses of port and one table wine of our choice. My personal favourite was the ruby port, I’d love to know your thoughts if you do this tour!
3 – Visit the Duoro Valley
If you’re a real wine enthusiast, then I recommend a visit to the Duoro Valley. You can either take the train from Sao Bento yourself, or book a guided tour which arranges the travel for you too. There are even tours where you can pick and stomp on the grapes yourself!
4 – View the city from the Torre dos Clerigos
The Clerigos Church Tower is also a great navigation point if you lose your way around the city, but the view from it is also lovely! There’s plenty of cafes and restaurants surrounding it, so it’s also a good place to sit and have a coffee and people watch.
5 – Visit the charming Livraria Lello Bookstore
We didn’t go in ourselves because there was a pretty long ticketed queue to enter the bookstore, but if you’re a book lover then you don’t want to miss this place. It has a charming red staircase and resembles something out of Beauty and the Beast. Tickets to enter cost 5 euros, but if you buy a book inside they will deduct this from the price of the book.
6 – Cross the D Luis I Bridge and walk along the Nova de Gaia area
When you cross the bridge and head down the very steep hill to the Nova de Gaia promenade, you’ll find a range of bars, restaurants and port wine cellars here. You will also find the Mercado Municipal de Beira here which offers lots of different food stalls. There is a stall here that sells ‘brigadeiros’ which are Brazilian fudge balls and they are delicious! Along the promenade you can also try a cod and cheese croquette at the Casa Portuguesa.
7 – Snap some pics in the Sao Bento Railway Station
This is one of the prettiest stations I’ve been in (after the Toledo station in Naples), and even if you’re not planning on travelling anywhere it’s something worth seeing. As mentioned earlier in this article, you can catch the train to the Duoro Valley from here.
8 – Walk along the Jardins do Palacio de Cristal
The Crystal Palace Gardens are free to enter and is the biggest and largest green space in Porto. Here you’ll find different gardens with fountains and sculptures scattered around the park. It’s a great place to take a walk through or if the weather is nice, bring a picnic.
9 – Enjoy happy hour at one of the many bars at Galeria de Paris Street
I don’t think I’ve ever paid 5 euros for an Aperol Spritz anywhere, and this is what you’ll find here when it’s not happy hour. If you do like your fancy cocktails and cool interiors, then I suggest grabbing one at The Royal Cocktail Club. A lot of these bars have dance floors in the evening, so if you’re looking for a night out this is where you want to be.
• Try and catch a festival whilst you’re there!
The main reason for our visit to Porto was for the Primavera Sound festival, and I would definitely go again. The organisation was great, an Uber was only 10 euros from the centre and we didn’t have to wait too long, and the range of artists they brought catered for all different age groups and music tastes.
I hope you have found this article useful, and if you have been to Porto yourself, I would love to hear what your highlights were!