Portugal’s second city is the perfect place for a weekend break. Boasting interesting architecture, a maze of alleyways that are ripe for exploring, museums, parks, churches, and fantastic food, it’s a great city in which to spend a long weekend. Not to mention there’s an abundance of its most famous export – port – on tap, too.

Porto lies at the mouth of the Douro River and is connected to the neighbouring city of Vila Nova de Gaia, to the south of the river, by six bridges.

Porto is the only city I’ve been to where everyone I spoke to about it suggested I take one of those hop-on, hop-off buses. And I have to say it was worth doing, as it helped get a sense of the sprawling city and the things there were to do slightly further afield.

Casa Serralves villa

Just outside the city centre is the fabulous contemporary art museum, Casa de Serralves, where you can easily lose a few hours exploring the gallery and its extensive gardens (above). While on the coast, in the Nevogilde district, you’ll find the peculiar fort of São Francisco Xavier and the enormous Parque da Cidade.

A large barrel of port inside Taylor's port house in Porto

Across the Douro River lies the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, where the region’s renowned port merchants are located. The names of famous brands such as Taylor’s, Sandeman and Graham’s are visible on the hillside, and it’s possible to tour most of the port houses, with a chance to sample their wares along the way.

The Serra do Pilar Monastery in Porto

Porto is a gastronomer’s delight and boasts some of the best food I’ve eaten in a European city. Every meal I had was excellent, from the famous pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) for breakfast to tinned sardines with bread for lunch and fine dining at regular people’s prices (above) for dinner.

I loved Porto and had a fantastic time there. It’s a cool, relaxed city full of interesting and intriguing places to discover. The great food and copious amount of port also added to its many charms. 

12 thoughts on “Porto

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  1. I also took way too many photos of tiled façades and churches (if there is such a thing as too many photos…). I’d happily return to Porto – it’d be nice to see some of the surrounding area, as I only spent a couple of days in the city. Glad you enjoyed your trip there!

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