Although Lisbon is the big eye catcher of Portugal, the city of Porto has a lot to offer, from food to architecture. Discover our top 5 reasons to visit Porto! There are a lot of things you can do in Porto, it’s located in the North of Portugal and offers its visitors not only the incredible city but is also very close to other great cities, as Braga, Guimarães and Aveiro. Built on the hills rising from the Douro river that winds through the center until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean, the charming city of Porto is bursting with culture and packed with amazing experiences!
Port Wine and Port Wine Cellars
Because of its unique soil, the Douro Valley is renowned worldwide for its wines and the Port Wine is certainly the most famous in the region. If you want to discover more about this wine and how it’s produced you should definitely cross the Don Luis I Bridge to Vila Nova de Gaia and discover the Port Wine Cellars. Here, you can learn how they produce this fantastic and velvety Port Wine and have tasting sessions.
Founded in 1906 and built in the neo-gothic style, the Lello bookstore is considered to be one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world (if not the most) and is classified as a public interest monument. The wooden staircases and gorgeous bookshelves served as an inspiration for J. K. Rowling for the Harry Potter saga. Indeed, you can notice the similarities between this bookstore and Hogwart’s library and the “Flourish and Blotts” bookstore.
When it comes to buildings and architecture, Porto is full of old buildings that give the city its charming and colorful but also gloomy mood. Porto’s architecture blends medieval and modern and it looks stunning. Moreover, the historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre so you should definitely wander in the streets to have a look at all the historic buildings. We recommend you go to Cais de Gaia, where you will get a beautiful view of the old riverside buildings that demonstrate the beauty of the city! You’ll also be able to find great restaurants by the river in this area.
Portugal is a country known for its rich and enviable cuisine. In Porto, you must try the fantastic and traditional Francesinha. It means “little Frenchie” in Portuguese and it is a sandwich with ham, sausage, steak, covered with cheese and thick beer sauce, finished in the oven, topped with a fried egg and served with french fries. Besides the Francesinha, Porto is also famous for its “Tripas à Moda do Porto“, its Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, and the bifanas. If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, you can experience The Yeatman (pictured above), which offers the best views over the Porto and a Michelin starred dining experience.
If you want to take a break from the city, you can definitely head to one of the many parks and gardens located all across the city. You should make a stop at the most popular park in the city: Parque da Cidade. This large park is a great spot to make picnics and is very close to the beach, so it’s the best of both worlds! If you prefer smaller and more intimate gardens, we suggest you go to Jardins Do Palácio de Cristal. It’s known for its peacocks (yes peacocks), beautiful flora and a great view over the city! It also offers a wonderful sunset.