A weekend in Porto
After visiting Bilbao in Spain and Milan in Italy, we bring to you another chapter of this 48-hour weekend series, this time in the colorful city of Porto in Portugal, so get ready to enjoy at the maximum and fill up every minute of your weekend with lots of interesting and amusing activities within a period of time that mortal people will consider as short.
Day 1 — 10:30
We land in Francisco Sa Carneiro airport, we have no time to lose and no baggage to wait for as we are just traveling with one small cabin backpack each one.
The line E of the metro finishes with a convenient station at the airport, therefore, we take the next train, that is packed with people from all nationalities going in the direction of Porto’s center, however, our first stop of the weekend is way before.
Casa da Música
As a result of reading some cool blogs, we found out about this particular building, a concert room and a place for musicians to get together and play. After making a bit of research we found out that the construction was made by the same architect that designed Fondazione Prada in Milan: Rem Koolhaas.
How to get there? Metro Casa da Música
12:30 — Time to eat
A bus takes us to the city center to hunt for the best “franceshina” in Porto, according to several sources, the place to go is Cafe Santiago, where we sit at the bar and order the iconic dish. In an honest personal review: it is not bad at all, firstly, abundant, then, cheesy, juicy and spicy! In short, good to give it a try and to calm a big hunger, but that was the only time we ate a franceshina during the trip.
R. de Passos Manuel 226
Near Igreja de Santo Ildefonso
The city center
A quick visit to the beautiful San Idelfonso church to admire the tiles on its facade, this is a very representative spot of the city, so for sure, you will cross if you walk the streets of Porto.
Not so far from there, Sao Bento train station is a must visit, a good way to experience the rhythm of Porto with people leaving and arriving in trains. It’s a super active point of the city. Go inside to admire the walls full of azulejos!
Walk down to Ribeira, we got there crossing Rua das Flores, a quite touristic street, but with plenty of restaurants, cafes and some interesting shops. By the time we arrive at the river, all the restaurants in the waterfront are getting ready for the crowds that will come to enjoy the sunset. This is as well our first encounter with the Luiz I bridge.
Nova Vila de Gaia
We cross the bridge to go find our small-scale port wine tasting at Augusto’s. We arrive half an hour in advance, therefore, we look out for a cafe to kill the time and our finding is so cool: 7groaster cafe. A concept combining a coffee shop, roasting atelier and modern living apartments, that serves us one of the best specialty coffees we drank while in Porto as well as a delicious lemon pay.
R. Franca 52
A visit to the port wine cellars of the most boutique and authentic producers of Porto. A brand still run by family members, that gives a simple description and introduction to the world of port wine. The visit finishes with an explanation while tasting of four different wines.
R. França 10
The visit costs 5 € and lasts 30 minutes.
Stroll on the other side of the river, with a quick visit to the Mercado municipal da Beira-Rio (a miniature version of the time out market in Lisbon). After that we head to the top of the bridge to enjoy the last light of the day.
Ponte Luiz I
Epic sunset from one of the coolest points of view of Porto, in other words, the top of the famous bridge, certainly, constructed by Gustav Eiffel.
Hang around the neighborhood of Se Catedral enjoying street art graffiti and the charming buildings covered in tiles of all the colors. We start to be hungry and to look for a place to have dinner.
The evening starts to get serious: firstly, beers and cocktails at Baixa bar, where we try their signature cocktail with white port, passion fruit, and basil. Cheers!
r 4000, R. de Cândido dos Reis 52
For a happy ending to a very busy day, we have a delicious sangria and after, a generous amount of Portuguese tapas at Brasao Cervejeria Aliados. We recommend this restaurant for the variety of Portuguese meals you can try, as well as the accessible prices.
Brasao Cervejeria Aliados
R. de Ramalho Ortigão 28
Day2 — 07:30
An early start to make the most out of the day, our first activity, is to take in pictures the delightful Capela das Almas, which is just next from our hostel.
We are back on the bridge Luiz I, this time, to watch the fog flowing down the bridge like a river of clouds. After that, the fog dissipates and we walk down to explore the alleys of Ribeira during the morning time when there is not a soul on the streets.
By accident, we stumble upon the stunning azulejo pattern of Iglejia Sao Nicolau.
Time to drink a coffee and have some pasteis de nata for breakfast, for this, we enter a random bakery full of locals. We explore around Clérigos and admire the beautiful Igreja do Carmo.
We make our way to the Cedofeita area, this is definitely our type of neighborhood and consequently, the one that we enjoyed exploring the most during our visit.
Discovery of the concept store: Coracao Alecrim
Tv. de Cedofeita 28
Another coffee is surely not necessary, but, we can’t resist going into Early Cedofeita, one of the coolest cafes we have ever been, visually, everything was just perfect, as well as for the coffee and pastry that we eat like gluttons.
Rua dos Bragas 374
We enter the original space of Ó! Galería, a store that specializes in selling and making people discover illustrations, hence, the talents that created them. After a long time checking all the cool stuff the temptation is too big. We end up buying an illustration.
Rua de Miguel Bombarda 61
Farol das Felgueiras
After walking back to the riverfront we jump into a bus direction to the ocean that is just 6 kilometers west of Porto. As we get down from the bus, the size of the lighthouse strikes us: minuscule. We decide to walk towards it anyway, to our surprise the agitated sea and the huge waves breaking in the base of the lighthouse make the experience special.
Walking back in Ribeira we bump into La Paz, a super cool men’s outfit store with a great offer in clothing. Don’t worry if you are not looking to buy anything, however, just a quick look at the facade and the interior are worth the visit, so photogenic.
Rua da Reboleira 23
Time to take some wine and tapas in the riverfront and under the sun. We head to a bar that someone recommended us: Wine Quay Bar, definitely one of the best-curated selection of local wines in Porto, delicious finger food to share, a great helpful and friendly staff and moreover, a view that will make your jaw drop. Most importantly, be sure to make reservations, because the tables with a nice view fill up quickly after 17:00.
Wine Quay Bar
Cais da Estiva 111
Last sunset in Porto, the sky is on fire and we decide to watch the last light from the terrace of Se Catedral.
We enter the most original and fascinating local bar: Alfredo Portista, a bar dedicated to the Football Club Porto team, decorated all in blue featuring the colors of the team, the walls covered by photos of its players and filled up with sport lovers and life long supporters of the team. For the mind blowing sum of 1,20 € we drink a beer and a bowl of wine (yes it served in a bowl, like cider in Britany)!
R. do Cativo 14
After a long day we walk to the hostel enjoying the mood of a Friday night in Porto. We prepare ourselves for our last morning in Porto and our departure.
Day 3 — 08:00
Next to where we sleep sits the temporary location (while renovations are done) of the Mercado Temporaio Bolhao. We wander around taking pictures of the vendors, we have fruit salads and freshly squeezed juices for breakfast.
Mercado Temporaio Bolhao
Rua de Fernandes Tomás 506/508
Open at 8:00
Time to take the metro back to the airport, this trip comes to an end. Porto, we fell for you and surely we will be back.