Where we stayed: Fabulous Occasion Grey (airbnb)
Length of stay: 6 days (Oct 21–27)
Favorite activity: Exploring the botanical palace gardens and the incredible views of the city
Favorite meal: Chocolate melting cake paired with tawny port wine at the Mercado Beira-Rio
Porto was the very last stop on our three month journey through Europe and it was such an amazing way to end the trip. Every day was so relaxing and enjoyable as we soaked up that last week. From the port wine (paired with the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had), to the beautiful buildings along the sparkling river, the days were simple and lovely. Just like in Lisbon, I was constantly awe-struck and inspired by the tile-covered buildings. Unlike Lisbon however, Porto seemed to be a little more progressive in renovating and updating the city. I really appreciated the more modern conveniences and design within the beautiful old architecture.
While strolling the small streets of shops we also noticed the odd familiarity to a Harry Potter film, learning that the first books were actually inspired by L.K. Rowling’s time teaching at University in Porto. So fun! Not only was this one of my favorite cities, but it was also one of the least expensive, making it a much more accessible destination.
Things we did:
- Walked through the Palace gardens (Jardins do Palácio de Cristal) and took in the amazing views of the city and the weird bird wildlife
- Tasted port wine, beer, and food, at the indoor market (Mercado Beira-Rio)
- Explored locations that inspired the imagery in J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel for their incredible architectural design alone. These include the Livraria Lello bookstore, the narrow streets that look similar to Diagon Alley, Säo Bento station, and Café Majetic.
- Savored some delicious gelato at Cremosi
- Visited the iconic blue tiled churches, Igreja Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso and Igreja do Carmo
- Devoured pulled pork sandwiches on our way to the other side of the river at the cute Camiōnete food truck
- Visited the tastiest and most beautifully designed chocolate store, Chocolateria Equador (you have to try the port wine truffles!)
Tips and tricks:
- The city isn’t that big so you can stumble across everything you probably wanted to see by simply walking.
- Unless you’re a huge Harry Potter fan, it’s not necessary to pay and wait in line to go into the bookstore. The outside is gorgeous enough on its own.
- Don’t take out too much cash. Everything is so inexpensive we were having a hard time using what we took out before heading back to the States.
- Check out potential day trips. While we didn’t end up taking any because we loved our time in the city so much, there were many nearby cities I’d love to check out if we go back.