Have you ever thought about Porto when going on a citytrip? It is less known as Lisbon, but the city has it all: culture, musea, port cellars, hills, bridges, shopping centers and beaches.
To do in Porto
You will find many churches in Porto covered in blue-white tiles. These typical tiles are called Azulejo. The most beautiful designs you will find at Igreja do Carmo, Saint Ildefenso and Capela das Almas. Houses and other buildings can be tiled as well in all different kind of colors across the city, and even Portugal.
The train station São Bento has recently been reopened after it has been restored. Take a look inside. The entrance hall is very artistic.
The bridge Luis I across the Douro is very well known. If you are on it, you have a nice view over the river and the city. You will see restaurants and bars at the waterfront, which is a very cozy area. You can also climb a bit higher to Antigo Casino da Ponte for even a better view. If you like panorama and can get enough of this view, you can climb the Torre Dos Clérigos.
On the other side of the river, at Vila Nova de Gaia, there are a lot of port houses, including the most famous: Sandeman. Most tourists do a round trip here, but one less touristy and interesting is Taylors. This port house is a little more in the back but is very educational and fun, and above all DELICIOUS! After the round trip you will be able to taste 4 different ports.
In good weather (we had 20 degrees in November) you can go to the beach. You can either relax on the beach or rent a surfboard for something more active. The beach is just outside the city. It is easily accessible by tram A (get out at Matosinhos Sul), but you can also take an old traditional tram that drives the Douro. You could also go on foot, but count on a walk of 2 hours.
On our last day we went to Senhor da Pedra. This is a church in the sea. Unfortunately, it’s badly reachable by public transport and you will need a car to get there quickly. We were lucky to have some friends living in Porto with a car that wanted to be our personal guide 🙂
What to eat in Porto
The nice thing about Porto is that they have typical dishes. Porto is famous for its pastries. Be sure to try pastel de nata. This looks like a rice pie, but without rice.
Beside the sweet pastel de nata, there is another local dish: Francesinha. You can eat the best in Cafe Santiago. Francesinha consists of a toast with sausage, egg, melted cheese and a spicy sauce on top. Pretty solid! Order a beer for the perfect Francesinha experience.
It may seem a bit odd to read, but do a quick stop at the McDonalds at Av. Dos Aliados. This McDonalds is one of the most beautiful Mcdo’s in the world. 😉
Have you ever been to Porto?