Beautiful Porto! It’s beautiful indeed and I really hope it was not just the Port effect!
We’ve spent a couple of days in Porto, but I wish we could have spent more! I definitely need to go back soon as I’m sure I left so many things undiscovered, so many places unexplored, so many glasses of Port wine waiting for me, so many croissants brioche uneaten. OMG, if there would be only one thing to recommend you in Porto, this would be going to Padaria Ribeiro (thanks Juan for the tip) and ask for a croissant and an espresso! They also have seats outside, so you can proper enjoy your break.
And since you’re there, you could also pay a visit to Livraria Lello. The only thing to bear in mind is that you’d need to buy an admission ticket (you can buy online on the way there), as they are obviously trying to limit the number of people entering. The good news is that the value of the ticket can be used as voucher when purchasing any item in the library.
Another thing you could plan is a visit to Bolhão market – it will soon go under refurbishment, so it’s a good occasion to see before that. As Juan, our host said, it will never look the same again.
If no plan is the plan for you, I’m happy to say that just wandering on the streets of Porto and admiring the Azulejo tile style, is a lovely experience in itself. Probably the most beautiful railway station in the world and the most well-known tiled building in Porto is the São Bento Railway Station. Over 20 thousand tiles covering the walls of the old station illustrate the history of Portugal. And this is just one example.
Where to stay?
My home in Porto can definitely be your home away from home. It was definitely ours and we can’t wait to be back! Oh, what a lovely time we had! Gorgeous Portuguese house, rooms with high ceilings, large bedrooms, beautiful living/dining room, and the most important, an amazing host. Thanks again Juan for having us, for preparing us breakfast and coffee every morning, for helping us with tips on what to see in Porto, for recommending us restaurants (definitely have to come back for Miss’opo) and for being such a great and patient host!
Where to eat?
A few places we’ve tried and we would definitely recommend.
Vinum restaurant, at Grahams
I can guarantee you it’s not just for the view. Excellent service, lovely food and an amazing setting, all in all we’ve had a great experience. I’d definitely recommend this place for lunch, as you get to enjoy a stunning view of the city while sipping a glass of Port.
If you’re up for a cellar tour at Graham’s and ‘wine’ not, a wine tasting, please make sure you call and book in advance as the tours are in different languages and you’d probably want to be able to understand the guide.
Is probably one of the most sophisticated restaurants in Porto, eagerly looking to receiving its Michelin star. This restaurant is owned by the well-known chef Rui Paula, with the aim of offering traditional Portuguese dishes in an reinterpreted and creative way. It’s located right in the heart of the Porto’s historic centre, a lovely place like the restaurant itself.
I’ve had the Portuguese cheese platter (btw, the Portuguese cheeses are just amazing) accompanied by kiwi marmalade (delicious!!!!) and the traditional pata negra, followed by the red mullet gnocchi. And like you’d think, I couldn’t hold myself for enjoying a glass of Portuguese white wine.
I highly recommend this restaurant, with the mention that it’s worth booking in advance.
Other restaurants worth trying (some of them tried & tested):
Miss’oppo, Tapabento, Cantinha do Avillez, Cantina 32
If you’ve got enough time, I would suggest hiring a car (which shouldn’t be more than 20-30eur a day) and exploring for a day the Douro Valley.
A few wineries I would recommend:
Quinta de la Rosa – small, but beautiful family-owned cellar, located on the banks of duoro, very close to Pinhão. They offer tours and wine tasting – it’s worth checking ahead the tours schedule.
Quinta do Seixo – up on the hill, ii’s a modern winery. They offer guided tours and wine tasting, and no appointments are required. The view is just breathtaking!
Quinta do Portal | Quinta da Romaneira | Quinta Nova
Time to stop for lunch?
We’ve had a lovely experience with the restaurant at the Six Senses resort on the Douro Valley. From the setting to the food, everything was just excellent! This was definitely the highlight of our day trip!
You might also want to check my impressions about Lisbon!