I’ve been wanting to write a post about my trip to Porto for a while now. I very quickly fell in love with this city and wanted to share my experience as I think everyone should have it on there list of places to visit.
My trip was a last minute 48hour one and so I didn’t stay in the most central location although it was a lovely hotel and room. Porto is best explored on foot and so I’d suggest booking a hostel/hotel that is more central as you’ll quickly rack up those steps!
First and foremost I’d recommend starting your trip with Porto Walkers, a free guided tour on foot of the city run by locals. It’s the best way to get your bearings quickly and see things you may have missed otherwise.
This image here shows you what I would consider as one of the key areas to explore. In this photo you can see the famous livraria lello bookstore (left of the picture) I’d suggest making sure you get in the queue early on in the day, it looks long but does go down quite quickly. Here are a few of my snaps inside…
In this same square (and where the top image is taken from) is the clerigos tower. Long queues form here in the day but catch it in the evening or at dusk and it isn’t as bad (It’s also cheaper in the evening). Beware those who aren’t good at confined spaces and heights (obviously!) as there are a lot of narrow parts as you climb the steep stairs up.
Walking down towards the river there are lots of restaurants and bars to visit as well as the famous Port cellars (most of these being on the other side of the bridge). There are many ways to walk down to the river, on the first day with Porto Walkers we went through the old town, Ribeira, which is a designated World Heritage Site. The streets reminded me of parts of Italy with narrow passages and colourful buildings.
There are two levels to the bridge, I crossed on the bottom the majority of the time so I’ll try and explain where to go from here! Once you’ve crossed the Ponte de D. Luís bridge from Porto natural instinct takes you along the riverside. If however you cross the road and find a slightly inconspicuous path uphill, take it! It is steep and long and your calves WILL burn but the view from the top is worth it! I did this both during the day and evening and highly recommend coming to watch sunsets here, they are incredible! The park at the top is called Jardim do Morro.
Another must see is the market. This is another great place to visit in the morning to get the buzz of the fishmongers selling etc. I only managed to squeeze an afternoon trip in but I do highly recommend a visit here.
My absolute favourite part of the trip and one that wasn’t on any blogs or vlogs that I looked into before going was spending the afternoon in Jardins do Palácio de Cristal. I found a perfect little spot by the water on some palletboard seating and tucked into some food. It was so peaceful and tranquil. Here are some photos…
Whilst I’d say Porto isn’t the best city to explore with young children (mainly due to the steep hills and cobbles) the park did have lots for children to keep themselves occupied with.
Rather than blabber on I’ve compiled a list of places that I visited and would recommend at the end of this post and I’ll leave you with some more highlight images…
Places to visit:
- Livraria lello bookstore
- Clerigos tower
- Ponte de D. Luís bridge
- Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
- Mercado do Bolhão
- São Bento railway station
- Church of São Francisco* (Must see!)
- Palácio da Bolsa
- Port Cellars
Food and Drink:
- Try the famous Porto sandwich (francesinha), I barely made it through half but give it a go! I ate with some fellow travelers at: Restaurante Verso Em Pedra
- O’ Mercado (upstairs restaurant)
- Zenith – Brunch & Cocktails Bar (If you’re into instagram this is a mecca for those wanting a ‘good’ picture of their food!!) Worth the wait though and breakfast is good!
- Amorino porto (for ice-cream)
Hope you enjoyed flicking through my trip and if you go do write to me below!