Updated: Apr 28
Here it is, my first time in Portugal!
During my three days escape, I found an incredibly artistic city with colours and original shapes everywhere. This is mainly due to the Azulejos tradition, squared tiles painted by local artisans to decorate public buildings (São Bento station), houses facades, streets (Rua das Flores, Boavista or Santa Catarina) and churches (Do Carmo & Misericordia church). Visiting Porto is like a treasure hunt to find the most original ones!
But ART also means music performances all over the city, a magician than enchants children, young dancers with the rhythm in their veins, an Erasmus student playing the guitar who touches your heart, an Allevi song coming from a piano that makes a sunset so magic.
Porto is all about up and down.
Only by strolling in its streets, you’ll be likely to come back home with your legs muscles perfectly trained! Elegant gothic and baroque buildings as Dos Clérigos Tower or São Francisco church are right next to coloured houses with wet towels hanged on the balcony and a typical lady seated on her chair observing the city movements.
Douro river divides the city into two parts. One is full of history and culture with ancient churches, narrow streets, artisanal shops and political buildings (as Palacio da Bolsa). The opposite site instead, is dedicated to PORTO, the typical liquored wine with a worldwide reputation. Discovering this tradition with local passionate producers, visiting their factories and having a porto tasting makes you realise how this product is part of their culture.
Another keyword is patience.
We took a bike to reach Foz do Duoro, the ocean side of the city, perfect spot for passionate surfers. By passing all along the river we spotted local fishermen, people playing cards on a table along the street or eating a Pastel de nata (the typical pastry) while chatting outside a local bakery. The old typical tram runs throw the city’s narrow roads as a reminder of the evolution of public transports.
Porto is also about the tastes and savours of a rich gastronomy made of simple ingredients.
Apart from Pastel de nata, Francesinha (filled toast covered with cheese, eggs and a meat sauce), Prego sandwich, Bacalhau fish, grilled Octopus with potatoes, Sardinhas or tasty Petiscos, the Portuguese tapas. What I love the most when it come to eating abroad is finding the most hidden and simple restaurants, normally frequented by local people. And this is how we ended up trying the authentic Porto’s specialities in a football fan club (Gruppo desportivo infante d.henrique GDIH) with a local lady taking care of us while a wine bottle exploded inside the restaurant. I can still laugh thinking about the Portuguese ‘mamas’ all trying to clean the men’s white shirts from red wine stains :D .
Porto has a special atmosphere. Both sides of the river are vibrant all along the day as the city never sleeps.
This little escapade just made me curious to know Portugal deeper, to visit the stunning Douro Valley, Lisbon, Sintra and the small authentic villages!
Here a plan to help you visit Porto in a few days with the highlights and the useful tips!
Itinerary in 3 days
São Bento station, Sé Cathedral, São Francisco church, Palacio da Bolsa, Urban Market, Palácio de Cristal Gardens, Photographic Museum (ancient prison), Dos Clérigos Tower. Ponte Luís I.
Breakfast with local pasties
Lunch at Sandinha
Dinner at Adega do Conde
Rua das Flores, Do Carmo church, Botanic Gardens, Boavista Street, Palàcio de la Música, Mercado Bom Suceso, Porto tasting and cellar visit at Quinta dos Corvos, sunset on Vila Nova de Gaia hill, Latino bar Hora Extra.
Brunch at Chocolataria das flores
Pastel de nata factory Manteigaria, Café Majestic & Lello library on J.K. Rowling steps, Aperola do Bolhao shop, Fabrica e armazem Carmelitas shop, O mando fantastico da sardinha portuguesa shop, bike rental at Vieguini Bike & Scooter rental to reach Foz do Duoro, Paparoca do Foz bakery, lighthouse.
Breakfast at Manteigaria
Lunch at Taberna de Galeria de Paris
Dinner at Gruppo Desportivo Infante d.Henrique (GDIH)
Do not hesitate to ask me for tips and suggestion!