Lux Nomade’s City Guide to beautiful Porto in Portugal. Where to eat, sleep and explore.
A perfect destination to visit with friends or a lover, Porto is the city that offers fun, class, and romance – all in one. There are many things to do here – ranging from visiting the infamous Livraria Lello or the beautifully built train station (both the interior and exterior are amazing), to taking a sip of the lovely Port wine – and this article will explore the many activities you can enjoy in a short holiday. If you are feeling a mix between the European vibe with red rooftops and the vibe of seafood alongside the beautiful sunset, Porto is a lovely small place you can visit for just less than a week, but have a lovely time, which will allow you to recharge and definitely want to come back for more. Here’s our city guide to Porto.
Where to eat in Porto?
Porto is renowned for its seafood – especially its octopus risotto – and nearly all restaurants offer their unique rendition of this specialty, there’s even a famous cooking school. If you love seafood, especially octopus, you should definitely try this dish and because all places offer a slightly different style, even if it does include the same main ingredient, there is no need to worry about whether you should try the same dish again in a different place. In fact, the difference in dishes (whether it is the sauce or the base of the dish such as which kind of carbohydrates are used) is what makes the wonderful and popular dish so delicious! Of course, there are many other things for those of you who aren’t really into seafood – there are various steaks or, if you are still feeling the local delicacies but just not seafood, there is the francesinha, which is a big sandwich-like piece of bread and meat with cheese and an egg on top, not to mention the classic sauce which adds just that deeper level of flavour. Another tip is to go during the day, where some places do course meals for a great deal, and remember to always ring and book a table beforehand, if you are going with many people, or especially if you are going in the evening as the spaces are easily and quickly filled by the many tourists who are also in love with the lovely Portuguese food.
Any city guide to Porto would be incomplete without introducing another Portuguese delicacy – something less heavy and more enjoyable for a light snack, or even dessert for after a meal – is the infamous nata (or egg tart). In the main square/city centre of Porto, there are several nata shops and they all produce and sell freshly made nata, hot and tasty, ready to eat there or ready for take-out to enjoy for your convenience. Take one bite of this nata and it will literally melt in your mouth – it is the perfect combination of sweet and a little hint of savoury, so it is not too sickly like other more heavy deserts, and the pastry is so crunchy and flaky, leaving the perfect contrast of the crunchy pastry and warm cream in a mixture of a lovely sentiment of fulfillment. To further increase your quality of satisfaction, why not try a glass of quintessential Port wine, sweet and fruity? The hint of fruitiness (of the ruby wine) goes really well with the sweet nata, although usually, the nutty hint (of the tawny wine) is what suits the sweet desert, according to the flavours of the Portuguese cuisine.
For more information visit: https://www.fabricadanata.com
Where to stay in Porto?
Finding a place to stay really shouldn’t be a problem in Porto – firstly, there are many Airbnbs to choose from and they range from two rooms to a whole flat, which is suitable for at least five people. Secondly, the prices are extremely cheap in Porto, compared to the UK, so I suspect that many other tourists who visit will feel the same – although, please don’t take my word for it if you are from a different part of the world. As long as you find a place in time, there won’t be any problems in finding a cheap, yet luxurious and well kept, place to stay for your time there. Also, a tip is to find the homes which offer a wonderful, panoramic view of the river below and even a glimpse of the infamous Dom Luis I Bridge! Most places that offer such a view will likely have a terrace, which is also a plus as you can sit and enjoy a glass of wine and a few nibbles with friends or a loved one, whilst watching the gorgeous pink-hued sunset.
For more airbnb properties visit https://www.airbnb.com.au/s/Porto–Portugal
Where to find the best bars in Porto?
A definite must for when you visit Porto is to try the infamous, sweet Port wine. There are many tours which you can book beforehand, from different wineries (one of which I have linked down below) which offer the perfect combination of history and a well-deserved tasting session of the beautiful delicacy. Most wineries will ask you to pick a package deal and it is recommended to try the deal with all three types of Port wine – rubies, tawnies, and the vintage wines which have aged well. If you decide that you want to spend less on a tour in a proper winery, then you can always pop into one of the wine tasting bars, in which you can enjoy a lovely glass (or more) of a certain type of wine (rather than all three) along with some other nibbles, in a quiet space. The wine also definitely suits the overall atmosphere of the city – the beautiful river and the picturesque Dom Luis I Bridge is the perfect view to match your sweet wine, enjoyed on a lovely holiday with a group of friends or a loved one. It is even better if you can spare some time to enjoy that lovely glass during the sunset, whilst watching the twinkling lights of the bridge and the river below, with the gentle breeze completing the wonderful, romantic mood. If there are children around, of course, it might not be the best idea to go to a winery or a bar but, if your company allows it, be sure to try out the wine!
For more information visit: https://www.grahams-port.com
What are the fun activities in Porto?
Aside from visiting the beautiful Dom Luis I Bridge, either by a taxi or the cable car (which is recommended as you can see the view of the whole river and the shops/houses alongside the bank), which is an absolute given, there are many other activities which you can also enjoy and we’ve listed a few in our City Guide to Porto. Be sure to visit the bridge at sunset (if you can, as the picturesque sunset is just a gorgeous setting for the bridge) and take many pictures, as you will definitely capture one for your next profile picture! Also, in the rare case that there is too much wind that the cable cars are not working, there is always the option of a taxi, or even a metro/tram, which stops right in front of the place where you can ride the cable car (obviously if it is too windy you cannot get to the right top, but if you just get off there, then you can take wonderful photos with the bridge as your background).
Further, many other activities include visiting the Livraria Lello (Lello Library), which is the infamous red-staircase library used in the movie franchise ‘Harry Potter’. There are many sections which you can visit, and these range from children’s books to non-fiction adult books and you can get a voucher when you buy a ticket to enter the library, which can later be used to get a small discount off a book if you wish to purchase one inside the library.
For more information visit: https://www.livrarialello.pt/en-us/
Aside from the library, there is also the Clerigos Church and Tower, which allows you to experience the history and the spiritual side of this beautiful, historic city and needs to be included in our City Guide to Porto. Inside the church, there is the wonderful main hall of prayer and worship, where you can sit and take a look at the beautifully decorated altar and statues. If you wish to go a little further, you can always climb up to the top of the tower, which offers a magnificent, panoramic view of the whole of Porto from all sides, for just a small entrance fee. It is definitely worth it, as you can experience the cool breeze up there, whilst enjoying the view of the city with cute red roofs and, of course, there is much more to see than just the bridge from up there, which is exactly what Porto is – so much more than just your average holiday!
For more information, please visit: https://www.introducingporto.com/clerigos-church-and-tower
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