Porto is a 3 hours drive north from Lisbon or you can always fly direct to Porto. Porto is the second largest city in Portugal, after Lisbon and its blessed with a beautiful river, hills and wonderful seafood! It is one of the oldest European centers and it has wonderful wonderful old buildings that are Unesco protected.
Walk along the Douro river near Ribeira and you will quickly fall in love with the bright mustard yellows, greens, reds and blues on the houses. The balconies, doors and windows are so cute you want to kiss them! I would love to stay in the wonderful houses and sun my laundry and have the evening sun on my face when I sit out. Yes, I fell in love with the riverside house because it’s so beautiful.
Porto has many churches and they are all beautiful inside and out. You have churches that are tiles and painted blue, you have churches that are gothic style and Romanesque. Se is a must see because it’s so huge and it has a beautiful cloister and treasury. The San Francisco church you have to pay to enter but you can see the extent of the riches Porto had in the hay days because everything inside is GOLD on wood and it’s beautiful and not Gawdy. The tree of Jesse had me admiring it for 15 minutes.
Porto is a large town and it’s easy to walk around and it’s a great work out because it’s hilly. You are bound to come across the beautiful train station, touted one of the most beautiful in the world and I agree. I had a juice in the cafe there and the Portuguese egg tart is the bomb maybe because it was freshly baked. I had one at another cafe and it wasn’t as good.
There is also street art on the electric boxes you can admire in Rue Da Flores and the houses there are amazingly old and beautiful.
One of the most beautiful book stores is located in Porto and it’s called Livraria Lello. It’s gotten so crowedd with people visiting you now have to pay 4 euros to visit but you can offset that with a book you buy. They have English books, don’t worry! Around that place is a happening bar and also, you can climb up the tower of Clerigos for a wonderful view.
And of course if you’re in Porto, how can you not taste the port? Cross Ponte Luiz and you will reach Villa nova de Gaia. You can visit Burmester or Calem for the tours and tasting. I did mine at Calem because it was more convenient. You will learn everything about Port here in the museum and during the tour. The ports are affordable too! On the other side, do remember to climb up to the monastery and then walk back on the upper part of the bridge. The views are beautiful in the evening because the sun is behind you.
I made a stop at Pinhao which is a cute little town and it has 2 wineries that you can wander around and visit. Go to both because they make different wines and their visits are quite different. Quinta Das Carvalhas and Quinta Do Bonfim are friendly and you can do the bus tour or walk the vineyards of Carvalhas. Or like me, walk the easier Bonfim. Their wines are both biodynamic and delicious, I kid you not. The views from both are breathtaking so even if you don’t drink, just drive there for the views.
I stayed at a big house, small vineyard in Provesende, at Quintas Manhas Douro through booking.com (get your referral bonus here! https://www.booking.com/s/27_8/isoste79). It is an amazing house and the views are great. The service and dinner at 17 euros can’t be faulted. I really enjoyed my stay and it comes with a private pool!
The drives up and down from here can’t be beat. It’s windy roads all the way so drive slow and take in all the beautiful scenery!
Next up, I head to Lisbon so stay tuned to more adventures on Portugal!
Never stop wandering