3rd Stop in Portugal: Porto
Updated: Aug 29, 2019
The Douro River, the orange terracotta roofs, the intricately tiled buildings; what is not to love about Porto?
Porto is an excellent, must-see stop on your tour of Portugal. Below are some helpful tips on traveling to this city, where to stay, what to eat, and things to do.
Travel and Transportation
Again, we can not stop raving about public transportation in Portugal, let alone Porto. Check out how we got around during our stay here:
Getting to Porto from Lisbon: We purchased our tickets beforehand for the Alfa Pendular, and after talking to some other tourists, we were glad we chose this line. The train was super spacious, comfortable, and the ride from the Oriente Station in Lisbon to Campanha Station near Porto had limited stops. From the Campanha Station we took the Urbano line to Sao Bento Station located in city-center Porto- a second train ticket that was included in our original booking.
Getting around Porto: We had three options of getting around Porto. The first was streetcar transportation. We took line #22 around Porto and it gave us great views of the city. We mainly used this as a way to see more of the area, but others used it to get from place to place. There are other lines as well that take you around other areas of the city. The second option was Uber, and this did come in hand for us. If you don't have an account, we recommend signing up for one before you come to Portugal. The final option is taxi, but we did find that this to be a bit of a language barrier in trying to get to our destination, so we opted for Uber where we could punch in our final destination.
Getting to Lisbon from Porto: You can get to Lisbon the same way you came- Take the Urbano line from Sao Bento Station to Campanha Station, and then take the Alfa Pendular to Oriente Station. We however chose to take an Uber from our AirBnb straight to the Campanha station after realizing our original booking did not give us enough time to ride the Urbano line and connect to our final train. Be sure to check your connections when booking!!!!
We stayed in the most unique and lovely place while in Porto, and we must recommend it to you all! Please check out Antoine's and Antoinette's Roof on AirBnb. It is a two story apartment with a small deck overlooking the Douro River. The apartment was beautiful- from the swinging ceiling chairs, to the free bottle of wine left for us, we had an incredible experience here. Our check in was very pleasant as well, and we got some great tips of places to see in the city.
Food and Drink
Like Cascais, we really couldn't go wrong with food and drink in Porto. Below are some of the places we ate during our time in this city:
Intrigo: This little restaurant was a block away from our AirBnb. Hidden in a little nook off the cobbled street, you will find a small set of steps that will lead you down to the front entrance of Intrigo. You will have a fantastic view of the Douro with both the indoor and outdoor seating... although we recommend outdoor! The food is delicious and you can't go wrong with any of the items on the menu, but we recommend the tuna.
Fábrica da Nata: This spot was recommended to us by the person who checked us in at our AirBnb, and we were so glad we went here. Try to get there right as they open, because the custard tarts are warm- just out of the oven!
Majestic Cafe: Yes, a complete tourist spot with over-priced food, but being able to sit inside this beautiful cafe is completely worth it. You can get a variety of coffees and pastries, and some good options for more savory breakfasts as well.
Sandeman's Terrace: Sandeman's is one of the major cellars in the Douro Valley, but we only visited their terrace for drinks and a cheese board. The view of the river from their patio is incredible, and we highly recommend ordering Port and Tonics.
Viva Creative Kitchen: We ate here on our last night in Porto. It is a very small restaurant, only a handful of tables, so a reservation is recommended. The food was fantastic.
We tried our best to see as much as we could with our short time in Porto. We had a great time visiting and seeing the following places in and near this city:
Day trip to Douro: If you can book a day-trip to the Douro Valley, it is a can't-miss area about an hour outside of Porto filled with wineries, delicious restaurants, and beautiful views. Please visit our blog post on the Douro Valley for more information.
Walk the Ribeira: The river front is full of amazing cellars, restaurants, and vendors. We had an amazing time walking the south side of this area, as well as relaxing with drinks in hand and people watching. Make sure to carve some time out to visit this area.
Livraria Lello: The bookstore that inspired J.K. Rowling's library in the Harry Potter series. If you like books and architecture, this is a must see. We were told to visit during the last few hours that the store was open- this was great advice. We bought our tickets earlier in the day and then came back an hour before they closed. The line was still long, but it moved quickly.
Torre dis Clerigos: Like the bookstore, the tower offering 360 degree views of the city was a hit with tourists, so the line was incredibly long. We decided to buy the "Night" ticket which gave us access to the tower during the evening hours of the day. This was great because we could go when it was still light out and there was barely anyone at the top of the tower with us- and with those tight spaces we really didn't want other people around!
Porto Cathedral: Although we weren't planning on seeing this, and didn't go inside, we would recommend this area just for the views that it provides. The plaza in front of the church overlooks the city and the river, and is a great place to take photos.
We had a wonderful experience in Porto, but with the limited time we had, I know there were areas we missed. If you have must-see places that we didn't mention, we would love for you to share your knowledge in the box below!
I do ask that this stays a positive and safe space for readers, so please, no hurtful language or remarks about other's experiences. Thank you.