Although Lisbon and the Algarve region are the big eye catchers of Portugal, Porto can’t be missed if you’re interested in Portuguese culture, port and great food. I spent my time in Porto on a few rainy days in February, whilst suffering from a cold. It didn’t stop me to see (and taste) the highlights of this incredible city. Here are my reasons to visit Porto.
It’s pretty obvious that the best place to drink port is in fact Porto. While Lisbon is famous for its cork production, Porto is widely know for its incredible port. You can find many port tastings along the Douro river (on both sides), but my favorite was Quevedo Port Wine, just behind the cable cart company at the river. Your tasting is held in a beautiful building and is accompanied by some wonderful Portuguese cheese and ham. Big plus: you get a free tasting with your cable cart ticket. Ideal for those traveling on a budget.
Portugal is famous for their blue painted tiles called Azulejos. You can find them everywhere, from houses to the inside of big train stations. Sao Bento station (right in the city center) is famous for this art form. You can easily walk in and take a look at it (for free). In the rest of the city you will also see beautifully tiled houses everywhere.
Dom Luis I bridge
One of the cool bridges going over the Douro river, made for pedestrians and public transport, and a pretty cool way to get those views over the most touristic (and beautiful) part of Porto. The bridge is iconic for Porto and it might be one of my favorite places in the city because of the amazing view. Don’t forget your camera on this one!
There it is! A strong along the Douro river is a must when you’re in Porto! Restaurants, shops and cozy bars attract many people, so especially in summer this place is fun to go to. During my winter stay it was somewhat on the quiet side, but I still loved to be here.
What’s better than drinking on a rainy day? Well, a lot actually, but not when in Porto. The bars where you can find ultra cheap sangria are everywhere, and so it becomes very hard to resist. Every place has its own recipe, so be prepared to make yourself a tour to figure out which one is best. I still don’t know…
The coolest looking book shop in the world! Wooden staircases and gorgeous book shelves is what this place is famous for. Many travelers have this library on their list when visiting Porto. Although it can get a little crowded here, you don’t want to go home without a shot of this gorgeous place!
Great dinners for great prices. Every night I went out to dinner I had a blast in one of the local restaurants. Flor dos Congregados was my favorite, hidden in some alley in the old center.
As a Dutchie, I can’t pass on a plate of fresh, delicious Portuguese cheese. Like wine, cheese is important in the Portuguese culture, but somehow it’s a bit overlooked by us travelers. During Port tastings you get to try different kinds of cheese (and ham) to go with your drink, but the real deal is found in special shops or restaurants. I found a great cheese plate at Abadia do Porto.
In Portugal a good beach is never too far away. If you’re not doing a February trip like me, you can take a trip to the beach as well. During spring and summer Foz is completely taken over by tourism, but that’s just the deal with great beaches, isn’t it?
A movie themed hostel
Fortunately Porto is friendly for our wallets and so is accommodation is this great city! I spent my nights at Rizoli Cinema Hostel*, which has movie themed dorms and private rooms. I slept in the Amelie room, which looks exactly like Amelie’s bedroom in the movie! As it is one of my favorite movies of all time, you can imagine I jumped with joy when I saw the interior!
See a Fado show
Fado isn’t exclusive to Lisbon and can be enjoyed all over Portugal. A visit to a Fado cafe is one of the best things to do when you want to experience Portuguese culture. Grab a bite and some wine and try to hold back the tears this melancholical music brings out in you. My favorite spot for attending a Fado show is Calem Port House.
Did I miss anything? Tell me about your adventures lovely Porto!
Although I just spent a few days in Porto, whilst recovering from a nasty cold, I had blast in this gorgeous Portuguese city! These 10 reasons to visit Porto are just a start of all the cool things to do during your visit. As always, tag me in all your travel photos, make me jealous!
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