Welcome in Porto! The city of the port wines in the picturesque and spectacular Douro Valley. Take Porto City Tram linha 1, to discover the city by tram, starting point is by Ponte Dom Luiz 1. When you descend the steep streets and alleys in Porto you will arrive at the river Douro river. You will see the rabelos, the traditional boats on which the barrels with port, were transported. On the sails you see the famous names, like Sandeman, Dow’s and Taylor’s. Cross the bridge to the other bank and you arrive in Vila Nova da Gaia. Here you find all the port cellars; like Kopke (de oldest, since 1638) and other names like Calem, Cockburn, Graham’s and of course Sandeman. In the cool buildings you can enjoy a 30 – 45 mins tour and tastings, for +/- € 15,-. We liked the Calem tour and tasting that comes with “live” fado music.
Have a drink in the afternoon on Cais da Ribeira. Even in winter this is a fun place to hang out, with many cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops, art and street performers. The houses of the Ribeira neighbourhood are colourful and decorated with the famous tiles, azulejos.
Baroque churches and neoclassical buildings dominate the skyline, the many museums display their valuable content that take you back centuries. Porto has a thriving modern arts scene and music venue. Crossing the bridge to Vila Nova de Gaia is a sightseeing highlight. Consider a cruise along the Douro and a ride on the cable car that glides from one end of the quayside to the other. Stroll the Avenida dos Aliados and admire the Estação de São Bento and Praça da Liberdade. If you want to unwind on the nearby beach, Praia de Matosinhos is where the locals hang out and popular with the surf crowd.
Where to sleep in Porto? Eurostars Porto Douro is great value for money. Al rooms have a french balcony with a view onto the river and Dom Luiz I bridge. Everything is on walking distance. Tip: book a parking spot for your car at the hotel as limited parking space. Our best find in the centre of PortoBay Flores in Porto is Cale Guest House, very affordable and supurb lodation! A bit more luxurious in the same area is Port Bay Teatro.
Where to sleep in Porto when travelling with your adolescent children? Travelling with your adolescent children and looking for a family hotel in the centre of Porto with two full-size beds for your children and no sofa bed? All family members will love the Chic & Basic Gravity Hotel 700 meters from the Sao Bente train station.
EXPERT TIPS PORTO
For a longer stay in Porto you can benefit from discounts with the Porto Card.
FOOD & WINE tips for Porto
Café Majestic on Santa Catarina, in Art Noveau style, originates from 1912 and is one of the 10 most beautiful cafés in the world. J. K. Rowling author of Harry Potter, wrote his favorite chapter of the book here.
Fish lovers have to taste the typical dish Bacalhau (cod in a salt crust) at restaurant Bacalhau (Ribeira), Muro dos Bacalhoeiros 154, www.bacalhauporto.com, +351 960 378 883.
Everywhere in Portugal you will find the influences of the Arabian rulers, so why not indulge in it!
Belly dancers, water pipes and typical Arabic drinks and food at at Khan el Khalili, Rua 5 de Outubro, +351 226095729.
If Fine Dining is your thing, you defenitely have to visit Chama restaurant. Too busy? Try its off shoot The Lucky Duck +351 936 374 359. Another restaurant of a very passionate chef downtown in in a beautiful property is Ode +351 913 200 010, they serve incredibly delicious food. Elemento serves also very good food and lovely drinks, in winter you can warm yourself at the open fire.
Lunch! Between Rua de Formosa and Rua des Fernandes Tomás you will find farmers market, Mercado do Bolhão. On Friday and Saturday this market is the busiest. Foodstalls with olives, cheese, fish, meat etc.
A typical dish in Porto is Francesinha, a Portuguese sandwich made with sausage, steak or roasted meat and topped with melted cheese. The sauce and the beer are the secrect ingredients. Find here the best spots to eat Francesinha.
Calem Port tasting, there are many places where you can taste the port wine of Porto. We liked Calem as they start with a very informative tour about the different port wines and their port cellar is impressive. Another cellar we can highly recommend is Burmeister, right at the bottom of the Dom Luiz I bridge on the Gaia Nova side.
Another option is a tour with a local port specialist for 4 hours, inclusive tastings.
Shopping! We enjoyed shopping at Rua Santa Catarina em Porto, see my insta post