I’ve always loved Portugal. I might be a little biased, seeing how I actually spent most of my childhood in this beautiful country. I spent most of my time in the center of Portugal, closer to the capital – Lisbon. I had always heard amazing things about Porto, so this past month I finally went!
I only had enough time to spend an afternoon in Porto, which was very bittersweet. So, if you only have a few hours to spend in this amazing city, here’s your game plan:
As it is in most cities, driving through the streets of Porto was hectic! Small and narrow streets are very typical in Portuguese cities. Knowing this ahead of time saved me a huge headache. If there is one tip you should use while visiting Porto (or any major city, for that matter) is: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION!
If you’re driving to Porto, like I did, leave your car in a parking structure and roam the city as locals do!
Here is a simple layout of my trip to Porto, including all of our main stops and which metro stations we had to get off of. One thing that I should mention is that Porto is smaller than it seems. So if you enjoy a good walk, it is totally doable to walk through the city without paying a dime for transportation.
Points of Interest:
With only a few hours to explore Porto, I really had to prioritize and make a short list of places I absolutely had to see before leaving. Luckily, all of these places were along the same metro line! This made it super easy to get from Point A to Point B. So here are my Top 3 places to visit while in Porto:
1) Câmara Municipal do Porto
I know what you’re thinking… “Why would you want to visit City Hall??” Well my good friend, this is not your typical City Hall. The architecture of this building, and those surrounding it, is breath-taking. If you’re an architecture or history fan, you would love spending a couple of hours just roaming around the streets of Porto.
Unfortunately, I did not have hours to roam around. So after being in awe for a few minutes, it was time to snap a quick picture and move on to the next destination!
2) Livraria Lello & Irmão
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you may have heard about this bookstore. Livraria Lello & Irmão, est. 1906, was frequented by JK Rowling when she used to teach English at the University of Porto and is said to have inspired her writing.
Even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, I’d still recommend visiting this bookstore. There are so many amazing things about this place: the smell of old books, the architecture, and the incredible staircase are just a few reasons to visit!
In order to enter the bookstore, there is a small entrance fee. At the time I went, I waited in line for about 10 minutes and paid 3€ to get in. What’s great is that if you end up purchasing a book, that fee is discounted towards the cost of the book!
3) Teleférico de Gaia
Once you cross over the River Douro, you’ll find yourself on the south side of the city. On this side of Porto there are dozens of wineries, boat rides, and restaurants to experience. Despite all those possibilities, they are nothing compared to the view you get of the entire South bank of River Douro when you ride the Gaia Cable Car.
I included the Gaia Cable Car ride as it’s own point of interest simply because of the view. It is breathtaking. It is a popular tourist spot, so prices are a little steep for the 5 minute cable car ride: 5€ one-way, 8€ round-trip. Personally, I thought it was worth every penny.
Where To Eat:
The city of Porto is known primarily for it’s world-renowned University, but mainly for it’s wine. Port wine, that is. Yes! Surprise! Port wine originates from Porto! Which means that there are many, many amazing wineries to tour.
I made the mistake of visiting Porto with only a few hours to spare, which means I wasn’t able to explore as many restaurants and wineries that I had hoped. With that in mind I narrowed down my choices and, I must say, I was not disappointed.
Espaço Porto Cruz
This is one of the most famous brands of Port Wine. In this building there is a formal sit-down restaurant, a small gift shop with a tasting room, a small museum of Port wine history, and a rooftop bar/lounge.
Not only does the rooftop have this amazing view, but it also serves light lunches and snacks along with their signature Porto Cruz Port Wine sampler. It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the view with delicious food and wine.
They have retractable sunroofs that allow you to lounge on the couch and soak up the sun, or chill in the shade.
Learn from my mistake and please, please, PLEASE stay in Porto longer than a few hours. I would recommend at least a weekend to fully enjoy all that this beautiful city has to offer!
Have you ever been to Porto? Let me know if I missed anything, or if you have any suggestions!
○ peace, love, & obnpt ○