Europe Travel

Port Porto Portugal

Porto 2-2542I think I fell in love this weekend, head over heels with the lovely city of Porto. I took a very much-anticipated trip with two girlfriends to Porto in Portugal (also known as Oporto)  and I can truly say that my Top 3 of favourite European cities needs revising, as this place needs to be in there. Porto is the second city of Portugal (after Lisbon) and with ‘only’ 250.000 inhabitants, it’s a very friendly and kind city. Though lively, it’s not hectic; exactly what my friends and I needed for this three-day trip; a break away from hectic times back home. 

If I would have to sum up Porto in a few words, the words colourful, easy-going and authentic spring to mind. I have also seen Lisbon years ago, and I much prefer Porto. It may be that I have a soft spot for underdogs, but I just find the atmosphere in Porto more pleasant.  You have to go see it for yourself. I Insist.

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Porto is a coastal city, located in the North of Portugal, situated on the Douro river.

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The quaint waterfront properties are stunning, and you will find more of these colourful buildings throughout the city.

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Porto is mostly known for its Port wine and the many Port houses along the river, which I tell you all about in this post. The Luis I bridge is a famous landmark, connecting Porto to Gaia where you can taste all that lovely port.
Perhaps the bridge reminds you of the Eiffel tower; it was designed by Théophile Seyrig, business partner of Gustave Eiffel.

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The rather industrial bridge is a stark contrast with the historical buildings  surrounding it, but in a weird way, it fits.

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From ‘Cais de Ribeira’, the quay in the historical area of ‘Ribeira’, you have a great view over the bridge and the river. It’s a great spot to have a late afternoon glass of wine…

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… while enjoying the sunset…

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… and see how all port houses on the other side light up at night.

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When walking back uphill to the metro, we noticed this is a city where you can leave your laundry out at night.

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That’s always a good sign.

After a good night of sleep, we had breakfast on the go.

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We didn’t want waste any of this sunny day, so we were adventurous and got some coffee and pastries from a local bakery by pointing things out that looked tasty, and sat down on a bench in the gentle Southern European November sun.

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If you do want to have breakfast (or lunch or dinner) at a café or restaurant, you will find a lot of small, local places to eat on both the quay and on the ‘balconies’ above.  Find a hidden staircase and go up there, it’s worth it!

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Porto is a bit stretched and hilly, but if you don’t mind that, you can see a lot by foot.
Should you want a quicker way to get around: there is a very convenient metro system too that will get you around town seamless and efficient, and it won’t costs you a lot (we paid 14,50 EUR each for 72 hours). Taxi’s are not very expensive either.

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Our hotel, the always reliable Sheraton, was located in a more quiet business area, a little bit outside the city centre, but close to a metro station that linked directly to both the airport (within 20 mins) and the city centre (within 5-10 mins).

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If you want to visit Gaia on the other side of the river, a fun way is to walk over the Ponte Luis I, and take the cable cart down.

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The views from both sides of the bridge are amazing.

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Another fun way of transport is the old-fashioned tram line.

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You can take various lines, but make sure you pull the cord in time or it won’t stop.

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Along the way, you’ll see some pretty sights.

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One of the lines runs all the way to the beautiful coastline.

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If you can’t get enough of ‘transport-bingo’ after tram, taxi, metro, cable cart and walking, you can always take a boat tour on the river to see the six bridges.

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Apparently, the Dutch love boats even though we have a love/hate relationship with water ourselves in NL (a big part of our country being below sea level and all).
We had to keep up with that reputation and booked a boat tour. I just find the different perspective from the water intriguing.

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We had a lovely weekend, and I will absolutely be back in Porto as soon as I can.
The laid back atmosphere, the sights, the wine, the food (indeed, wine and food ARE priorities for me. 🙂 ), it ticked all the boxes for me. A lot of people speak decent English too, which always helps with getting around more easily.

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I had the very pleasant company of two very close friends, and nothing beats spending a weekend with girls who you go back with 20 years, to just have fun and chat about nothing and everything.

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    1world2feet
    24 November 2015 at 13:21

    Looks beautiful!

  • Reply
    Sergio
    2 December 2015 at 20:28

    Magnificent post! I moved to Porto 5 years ago and also got to love this old city of merchants! Now I guide running tours here and tell all about the History of Porto and Portugal (closely linked) to inquisitive minded visitors who like to run 🙂 Thanks for all the great photos and kind words you posted

    • Reply
      Tall Wife
      2 December 2015 at 22:40

      Thank you Sergio. 🙂 Do you have a website? In the new year, I’d like to pick up running again and I love running abroad as it’s a great way to explore a city! At the moment, I’m a bit out of shape, but should I be back in Porto and back into running again, I’d love to experience a running tour!

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