City Breaks: Porto
If you’re looking for an autumnal city break the delightful city of Porto in Portugal could tick all the boxes. Don’t be fooled (or hideously insult anyone) thinking Portugal is similar to its neighbour Spain, they’re very different. Here are our tips on exploring Porto…
PUTTING THE PORT IN PORTO:
Clue is in the title we know but was it just us that didn’t click that Port is from PortO?! Anyway ahem… Definitely try a port tour. Cross the bridge to Gaia and wait for an English tour unless your Portuguese is excelente. (That’s as much as we remember sos.)
We recommend Calem. It’s fascinating, only 6 euros and you get two tasters – red AND white port – bloody bargain. But fear not you can do more port tours, hurrah! Taylor’s was the next best but be warned it’s up a massive hill. Just careful not to roll down it after you’ve drank too much port.
FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD:
Where to begin. The food is ridiculously reasonable in Porto so much so you can afford to go to fancier places. That said there are some real local treats. Antunes is a local restaurant, the delicacy is pork knee, order for a few to share – it’s basically a pig on a plate. It’s epic. They cook the potatoes underneath the pork and it’s so flavoursome we demolished it instantly.
Cantina 32 is pretty good with plenty on the (yummy) menu but book to go as it’s also one of those cool to be seen in places. If you fancy something a bit different Book is a quirky restaurant – complete with books on the ceiling. It’s a bit pricy but it’s worth it for the experience and the food is delicious. If you’re a pudding fan the pear crumble is heavenly.
If you’re craving a burger (hey, we’re not judging) Bugo art burger does some mouthwatering burgers, but you have to book in advance. If you can’t get in don’t run to Maccy D’s just yet, Dona Maria Pregaria is a low-key burger place back up.
If you’re after some sarnies or tapas Mercearia Das Flores won’t break the bank. If you’re with your mum and fancy afternoon tea or you just love cake Jóia da Coroa is crazy cute. Chandeliers, intricate decor, crockery in cabinets, this place owns it. You can grab lunch here too but this place is worth a trip even if you just have a cuppa.
Cafe Majestic is a stunning Art Deco cafe slap bang in the shopping area of Porto so it’s busy. But it has original features from carved wood and mirrors that date back to 1920s make this a spot not to miss. (The scones are yum here too.)
FANCY A TIPPLE?
Porto is lacking in bars mainly as it rocks a cafe culture…. fortunately the cafes sell booze alongside a good coffee too, phew!
Café Candelabro is crazy cool without being too try hard, our dream. It’s full of locals but you won’t feel excluded. A stumble away is Champanheria da Baixa which sells amazing wine, and does a strawberry cocktail everyone who’s anyone drinks. And for a good reason, it’s bloody good.
A great spot for daytime drinking (you’re on holiday after all?!) is on the river front in Praça de Ribeira. We were sold by Botequim Nostalgic bar with quaint wooden tables, empty gin bottles with flowers in and the waiters were the most beautiful men WE’D EVER SEEN. They wore braces and would fit in East London no probs. The sangria here is delicious (white and red), complete with cinnamon sticks so don’t mess about with a glass when you can get a jug, whoop! The tapas is delicious here too.
SEE THE SIGHTS:
The architecture alone in this city is enough to keep you gasping round every corner. The houses with orange roofs provide insta-worthy shots and the blue and white Azulejos (Portuguese tiles) that embellish buildings bring the place to life. São Bento Railway Station shows a great scene from the early twentieth century with the infamous tiles. The church of São Francisco is one not to be missed, it’s pretty cool inside with Baroque decoration aka blinging with enough gold to make Kanye jealous. And whilst you’re quaffing some Sangria or Port along the river take note of the Iron Bridge built in 1887 by Gustave Eiffel (we’ll let you guess what else he built…)
Porto is really hilly so be prepared for a workout, amazing views, delicious food, lovely people, delectable drinks but whatever you do don’t bring heels.
Have you been to Porto? Let us know! @tweetjanes