My 7 Porto Highlights
I’ve already waxed lyrical about Lisbon, but now it’s time for Porto to take center stage.
A smaller city with a population size that is roughly half of Lisbon’s, this coastal city is brimming with its own breezy brand of Portuguese charm. There’s a humble opulence to Porto, with its lavishly formal baroque buildings juxtaposed against the sun-drenched riverside district.
When I think of Porto, I think of endless terracotta tiled roofs, super fresh seafood and of course, the namesake nectar that the city is famous for…Port wine. I was there for a few sweet days and here are the activities I would recommend in a heartbeat.
Walk along the Dom Luís I Bridge
I’ll be honest, this was a slightly unnerving experience for me as I’m not great with heights. But I’m glad that didn’t stop me from walking, albeit cautiously, across this iconic double-deck arch. For my bravery I was rewarded with a brief feeling of total serenity, while admiring the bustling old town below.
Try a Francesinha sandwich
What a beast. This colossal slab is constructed of bread, ham, sausage, roast meat, melted cheese, drowned in a beer sauce and often topped with a fried egg. I would suggest sharing one of these, as polishing this tasty monster off el solo is a bit of a challenge.
Walk around the arts district
Start on Rua Miguel Bombarda and wander around its adjacent streets to explore the artsy, craftsy side of town. Here you’ll find contemporary art galleries, vintage clothing shops and independent boutiques crammed with tempting bits and bobs.
Browse a magical bookstore, Livraria Lello & Irmão
Frequented by JK Rowling when she lived in Porto, this bookstore is rumored to have inspired depictions of Hogwarts. But take note, it’s now a busy tourist attraction and there is a 4-euro entry fee. But it’s worth it if you’re a HP enthusiast; the selection of English language books is small, but the allure really lies in the art nouveau staircase.
Get tipsy on a Port wine tour
My sister and I decided to do this on a whim while walking past Burmester Museum and Wine Cellar, and lucky we did, because it’s where I discovered Port wine is bloody delicioso. A tour guide talked us through their winemaking process, before we were treated to a tasting of three amazing wines.
Stroll along Cais da Ribeira
Revel in the good vibes on this lively riverfront promenade, where your eyes are treated to the shimmering Douro River and the cruise boats bobbing rhythmically on its waves. Take your pick from tons of buzzy restaurants and bars if you fancy a refreshing pit stop.
Climb the Clérigos tower
It’s definitely a narrow tower to climb, but the encroaching claustrophobia is immediately forgotten once your reach the top. Snap your next Insta pic and head back down to visit the Clérigos Church, which is worth a look for its highly decorative baroque style.
Is there anything else you would add to your ‘must-do in Porto’ list?