From the moment we got off the plane we knew this would be an unforgettable city break…
Our taxi drove us from the airport along the Douro River which gave us a first glance at breathtaking bridge views and the terraces of quaint clay rooftops and spires of the local history that banked on either side – it was a warm welcome indeed.
- Breathtaking Views
- Wonderfully Warm People
- Delicious Food
- Amazing Port
- Relaxing City Escape
- Great Shopping
- Epic Architecture
- A Memorable Experience
- Romantic Town
From a visual perspective, there is much to enjoy about the landscape of Porto – historic to modern, the Terraces either side of the Douro, the Louis Bridge designed by the famous [engineer of the Eiffel Tower] and the narrow rustic street that tells a story of the past.
But all that in good time as first on the list was relaxing, unwinding and dropping a few gears to enjoy the local charm and hospitality (and wine!!).
Staying in the Oxford Circus of Porto, Rua Das Flores, we had easy access to bars/restaurants, shops and links should we have decided to leave town. We found a lovely small Tapas Restaurant, [insert name] right down the road and had our first sampling of Portuguese treats, Rosé and hospitality – one thing you will notice is that the locals are such warm and friendly people. We very quickly made new friends with the staff and later hung out with them and was introduced to their hometown, Gaia across the river). Good times
Need to know
We flew in from London straight to Porto, no problems
At the airport, there is a regulated taxi stand out the front – you do need cash as no cards are accepted – €15-20 is plenty and it’s only a 20min journey to the heart.
There are some amazing hotels in Porto, you are actually spoilt for choice, however, as we were staying for 10 days / 8 nights there’s no medal for guessing that we got an AirBnB Studio Apartment (£597TTL) which was literally in the heart of the city (and thankfully this heart wasn’t a packed as Oxford St!!). We had access to everything – shops, restaurants at our door, tapas, breakfast, bars, plazas and cultural sites all within walking distance.
We did also spontaneously spend one night at the historic and recently refurbished 5-Star Infante Sagres Hotel. The interior here was absolutely stunning and you can not fault the Portuguese service and, should you be passing by their Vogue bar, which is a collaboration with Vogue Magazine, between 19:00 and 20:00 you can expect 2-4-1 espresso Martini (or cocktail of your choice)!!
Things to do
In general, you really can’t go wrong with food and drink in Porto, however, I would recommend taking advantage of the seafood that is available – Prawns, Sushi, Ceviché, Fish and Francesinha (a local favourite – after having it, I would advise not eating for 6-hours beforehand!!).
- Panca Ceviche – I cannot express how amazing this Ceviché was.
- Manga Sushi House
- CrioSauna – €35-45 you can have a 3min Cryo session at a temp of 192˚that has a wide range of benefits for your body get in touch here
- Infante Sagres Hotel and Vogue Bar – Happy hour from 19:00 to 20:00 weekdays.
- Visit Chef Sergio Crivelli in Matosinhos (15min car ride) – a charming man with a charming restaurant that operates as a family and is set in what is by day a Market. He will cook for you the most delicious and true to cuisine authentic Italian food and in between orders he’s out conversing with his guests and see in them enjoy his creations. I had the Prawn Pizza (pictured above – not my usual high standard image but it takes a lot for me to put the camera down and this was one of those times…) and there is no emoji that can portray my expression of taste satisfaction at that precise moment!! Oh, the flavour…
- Port tasting – Across the river, you are spoilt for choice for cellars and, if you cross on the lower bridge level with the cars, the Burmeister Cellar is just after the bridge on the left. One of the smaller cellars in the region but not short on character and as you enter you’re faced with a sight reminiscent of a medieval hall… I won’t say anymore as I don’t want to spoil it for you… The Sandeman is the larger of the two. Different, grander and equally as tasty – I tried to ask myself the question of ‘if I could choose one, which would it be…?’ TBH, it’s a hard decision as I like them both but the medieval setting of the Burmeister resonated more with me.