Portugal was never on my Europe to do list until recent times and I am disappointed in myself that I didn’t add it sooner! Porto exceeded my expectations and cemented why I am starting to fall in love with Portugal. It has good quality food, wine, port (which is no surprise) and custard tarts which helps the growing love even more.
How to get from the airport to city?
It’s an easy trip into the city, costing about €2 euros and a quick 30-minutes metro ride. When you arrive prepare yourself for lots of hills and staircases, the city is a gym in itself!
Here is my Ulitmate Three-day Guide to Porto!
Wander around the charming streets of Porto and make your way to Livraria Lello which is a neo-gothic bookstore that opened its doors in 1906. We were a little shocked when we found out it cost to enter the bookstore, it is €4 to enter. Across the road is a lovely park and just around the corner is one of the many titled churches in Porto!
Continue your walk to the Rivera and Ponte Dom Luís I (Dom Luís I Bridge). The Rivera is the most photographed spot in Porto, it is easy to see why it is.
On the other side of the Rivera is the port house area in Vila Nova de Gaia. There is no shortage of port houses and it is so hard to choose what you should explore. Fado was on the agenda and Cálem Port Households an English tour at 6 pm, this ends in a tasting room where you’ll enjoy two ports, one white and one tawny plus a 45-minute performance of traditional Fado music. A ticket will set you back €17.50 for the English and fado tour.
After the show, it was a massive hike back up the hill (boy! Those hills were tough). As it’s your first-night Portuguese food should be on the menu for the night. A good Portuguese restaurant is O Buraco. It was a bit confusing when you entered the restaurant, does someone seat you or do you wait? It turned out you just stand around until you get seated. The restaurant served simple food, done well. Always a positive is a price with an average meal costing €10 with wine, what could go wrong!
Free walking tours are the best way to get the history and navigation of the city, we opted for Porto Walkers. This company offers two free tours per day which start at 10:45 am and 3:30 pm from Praça da Liberdade. They used to do a 4-5 hour tour covering both parts of the city and I could imagine that would have been super exhausting.
It was an engaging walking tour, the guide was entertaining and promised chocolate cake and mousse! The morning tour is the only one offering the chocolate cake at Cozinha doce, offering the deserts at €1.40 each. This deal was only with the walking tour but if you say you’ve been on the Porto Walkers tour and she’ll serve you.
The tour ended at the Rivera just in time for another food stop, lunch. The restaurants along the Rivera are more on the pricey side and if you’re looking to save money head back to the Vila Nova de Gaia which has more affordable lunches, again averaging €10 a person with wine.
Being on the port side again, there has to be more port tastings! We found a boutique port house Quinta da Corvos only producing 30,000 bottles of port per year. The port tastings ranged from €5 – €15, we had the special wine and port offer, this gave you four glasses. The menu doesn’t suggest it with the order, start with the wine first and then move onto the ports afterwards. The LBV (Late Bottled Vintage) was the best port we tried on the trip.
You probably need some food by now! Another thing we were recommended to try is a Francesinha. The sandwich originated from Porto, it is made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat and covered with melted cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce served with french fries. Some places even serve vegetarian version!
Go to Lado B Café for a vegetarian or meat version. If you are a meat eater, then go to the father and son owned restaurants, Sandiago or Café Santiago F. All three restaurants are within approximately 100m of each other.
If you haven’t already, you need to try a custard tarts for breakfast. Lots of the local cafes sell them so they are pretty easy to find. Time to walk off all the calories, after spending the first couple of days near the Rivera head to the other side of the city to Palacio de Cristal. The gardens are lovely to walk around and the views of the Durro River are beautiful.
Overall a fantastic place for a walk and picnic. If it’s not picnic weather try Bugo which prides itself in the art of burgers, unfortunately on Sunday it’s closed. Alternatively head back to the city and try Honorato which also offers excellent burgers.
Make the most of your last day and visit the Se Cathedral and Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar. Walking across the top of the Ponte Dom Luís to get to Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar. I must admit the walk was a little terrifying. You can enter the building for €1, it allows you to walk around a small section and watch a movie on the history of Porto.
Top Tip: If you are there on a Sunday, you can also visit the museums for free until 2 pm.
What are your favourite places in Portugal?