City Trips: Porto

My first trip to Portugal was to Lisbon, attracted by its architectural, old-world flair and the melancholic music of fado. But Portugal is not just Lisbon, and I was not the first to hear of the charm of Porto in its north.

View of the river and the opposite bank of Douro River where the port wine cellars are located.

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We had an Airbnb room in the city center, which turned out to be a cheap hotel that listed lower prices than we had paid. However, the location was great. It was right around the corner from the tower connected to Igreja dos Clérigos “Church of the Clergymen”

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View from the top of a nice place to relax, have some coffee and soak in the sun

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I enjoyed just meandering through the streets.

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The riverside

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Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto)

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The Igreja Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso is in Baroque style and covered with tiles

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IOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIgreja dos congregados and São Bento Railway Station on the right. The station is adorned with approx. 20,000 tiles depicting scenes. It is considered one of the most beautiful railway stations in the world.

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Capela das Almas

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We had a great meal in Book Restaurant, where fantastic food is served in an old bookstore. But of course there are many good restaurants in Porto. Another one where we had this delicious bacalao.

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A specialty from Porto is francesinha, a hefty sandwich with meat inside and covered with melted cheese. Actually enough calories for the whole day.

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The arched Don Luis I Bridge is double-deck and has a length of 172 meters, making it the longest of its kind in the world. The metro crosses it, but cars are prohibited. Walking across, you have great views of the river and both sides.

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There is a cable car on the other that takes you down to where the port wine cellars are.

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Port wine made from grapes from the Douro region in northern Portugal. Although I am not a great fan of port wine, a visit to a port wine cellar is a must. As is obvious, port wine got its name from Porto, the harbor from where it was exported to places around the world.

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Back across the bridge to the other side, you can take a cog railway back up the hill, which is especially convenient if you tasted a few too many glasses of port wine.

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Old streetcar that takes you to the seaside with the Capela das Almas in the background

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We took it to the seaside and had a long walk along the coast, very relaxing after two days in the city.

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P.S.: I intentionally did not describe the history of the various churches and buildings, since I forget such things anyway after leaving a place and there would just be too many dates and facts. It’s nice to read about a building when you are in there and I am not indifferent to culture, but I simply enjoy the ambiance of a place more than memorizing historical facts.

9 thoughts on “City Trips: Porto

    1. Yes, not that long ago. Portugal is definitively worth a trip, and we’re planning a hike only the coast next fall. Decided to post about European cities that are not the biggest tourist attractions such as Paris or Barcelona, since many people already know them.

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