Capital of the north of Portugal, Porto is known worldwide for its Port wine, its bridges and its architecture.
The city is cut in two halves by the Douro river, which starts in Spain 700km away, marks the border between Spain and Portugal over a 112 kilometers, then goes through the Douro valley, where the vines are cultivated, under the many bridges of Porto and bordering the Ribeira cafés and finishes up in the Atlantic Ocean.
Many trams circulate in the city, and three lines in particular are interesting: the one going from one bank to the other, which crosses the Luis Bridge, and the two touristic lines, which go around the city center and to the beach on the west end of the city.
The Ribeira, the Vila Nova de Gaia bank and the Luis Bridge
Cafés all along the Ribeira, restaurants on the Vila Nova de Gaia side, the wonderful Luis Bridge, the boats sailing along the Douro or halted along the banks make a wonderful scenery for a stroll and a drink on the Ribeira.
Port wine cellars visit
After a little research, we have chosen to visit the Taylor’s factory, further away from the city center, thus less crowded.
We also chose to go up by foot, and the uphill is quite tough, espiacially under the blazing sun. But the views on the roofs and the Douro are amazing, and the visit in the caves allows you to cool down, furthermore as they serve you a glass of Port upon arrival!
It’s interesting, the guide explains the traditional ways and the different kinds of ports and casks, but don’t expect to see more than of casks, though some impressivily big.
You get to taste four glasses of different kinds of ports, in a refreshing garden, as a reward.
M-F 10am – 6 pm,
WE 10am – 5 pm
Rua do Choupelo nº 250
Vila Nova de Gaia
Specialty of the north, this dish is a bit frightening at first, but the challenge is dared to finish it. Based on a Croque-Monsieur, two slices of bread are filled with ham, steak and sausages, the whole thing covered with cheese and bathing in the “special sauce”.
All the tourist restaurants along the South bank of the Douro serve it, but the best are served in town, at Café Santiago.
You can then finish yourself up with a dessert and coffee at Café Majestic, on the pedestrian Rua de Santa Catarina.
Café Santiago, Rua Passos Manuel, 226
The upper city
Don’t miss the famous Lello & Irmao library, known for its central staircase.
The photos are forbidden, except for an hour in the morning, understandingly, as otherwise everybody would be taking pictures. But you’ll easily find some on the internet.
Next to it is the Rua Galeria de Paris, with several trendy restaurants. Try to find one with Papa Figos wine.
Lello & Irmao library
Rua das Carmelitas 144
M-S 10 am – 7:30 pm
The Foz do Douro beach
Grab the tourist tram Electrico 1 (connecting with Electrico 18 from the city center in Massarelos) in order to go to the Foz de Douro beach. There, you can walk along the shore, laze at the beach and have a drink.
Out of town
Rent a car, take a train or ride on a boat up and down the Douro valley to visit de vines and taste different wines and ports.
3 hour drive from Lisboa, using the freeway.
There is also an airport, and train connections.