Why Porto Should Be on Your Travel Bucket List
If you haven’t been, Porto, Portugal should be on your top bucket list vacation spots this year. Not only is it one of the more affordable places to visit in Europe, but it is rich in culture, history, and some amazing food and wine.
We feel so fortunate to have been able to visit Porto last year, just outside where our shoes are ethically made, and are so excited to share our top travel tips for visiting Porto!
Best time to visit
There really is no bad time to visit Portugal, as the climate is similar to California. But if you’re looking for the mildest weather and sunshine, plan your trip between May - September.
We visited last July and while there were tourists, it wasn’t nearly as overcrowded as some other European cities we’ve visited. The weather was pleasant and not too hot or humid.
Where to Stay
Intercontinental Porto - You can’t beat the location of this hotel. Right in the city center and walking distance to most sights. It’s where we stayed and highly recommend checking it out.
Pestana Vintage Porto - Another great location, this one is right on the Duro river! Great for people and boat watching, and lots of good eateries at your doorstep.
The Yeatman - Located directly across the Douro River, the Yeatman has some of the best views of Porto. Bonus - this hotel neighbors some of the best port wine houses and World of Wine museum (a must-visit!).
What to Eat & Drink
If you love fresh fish, you’ll love Porto. With direct access to the Duoro River and Atlantic Ocean, there’s an endless amount of seafood to try. They’re famous for their sardines. Pair with some olive oil and fresh bread for a tasty appetizer, or light fare.
Similar to Spain, many restaurants offer tapas (or small plates). Perfect for sharing, or trying lots of different dishes!
When in Port, you must try Port wine! While there are famous brands to try (Tawny’s, Grahams), we discovered this more local brand, Niepoort, that we loved. They even make a white port wine, which was refreshing from the traditional red!
Finally, for something sweet, you have to try their Pastel de Natas. With a flaky, croissant-like exterior, and creamy, custard-like interior, these will leave your mouth watering. Eat during the morning with a coffee if you want to look like a local, or for an afternoon snack.
What to See & Do
Livraria Lello Bookstore - This popular bookstore may just be one of the most beautiful bookstores in the entire world. It’s rumored to be where author J.K. Rowling got her inspiration for Harry Potter. Tip: buy your tickets online ahead of time so you can skip the line - it gets really long!
World of Wine Museum - We were blown away by this state-of-the-art museum dedicated to winemaking all over the world.
São Bento Train station - whether you’re going somewhere via train or not, stop inside this gorgeous train station. This iconic interior boasts 20,000 hand-painted tiles making for the perfect photo op.
Ponte Dom Luís I Bridge - One of the most recognizable structures in Portugal, the grand Dom Luís Bridge was designed by the great French engineer, Gustave Eiffel - yes, of the Eiffel Tower! For one of the best views overlooking Porto and the neighboring city Villa Nova de Gaia, walk across the bridge on the pedestrian path.
There’s a whole lot more to explore, see and do in Porto. We can’t wait for the day when we’ll be able to return and share even more tips.