Last Summer, my boyfriend and I wanted to make a trip together. Our very first one, to be precise. We have some kind of history finishing a whole bottle of port wine together, beginning from before we were dating. Since he celebrates his birthday in July, the idea of buying him a plane ticket to what other place than Porto spinned inside my head for quite a while already.
Three weeks before departure, we scoured the internet for potential holiday destinations. Porto seemed to meet our expectations! And since I’m such a professional traveler, I booked a nice appartment in the heart of the city. No sooner said than done, before we knew we were watching series on our plane to Porto!
I listed our appartment’s address, my favorite places of interests as well as restaurants and bars below. My advice would be to go to Porto for 5 days for a great balance between visiting everything worthwhile and relaxing to the max!
The nice thing about Porto is that it isn’t that big so you easily get everywhere by foot! To get to your residence when you arrive, you can catch a tram that leaves from the airport. The appartment that I booked via Booking.com was so nice and well located that I might as well share it with all of you: click here for the real deal!
Btw, I’ve got a great tip to make booking a little less expensive. Earnieland is a device that offers you extra discounts on all kinds of webshops, mostly in the fashion branch but also on Booking! If you want to enjoy your 2% extra discount on your hotel/appartment, all you have to do is sign up here!
↠. THE MOST IMPORTANT MUST-DO’S
♥ We immediately kicked off our first evening with a port tasting. We bumped into some of my boyfriend’s mates so we decided to go there together. You can imagine the atmosphere was immediately set! We heard that the Ferreira house would be much better than the classical Sandeman house & tour, and that’s why we followed a tour there in Spanish, since the English ones were fully booked already. I didn’t understand a lot of it but let’s be honest: the museum tour is pretty secondary when it comes to port tasting, isn’t it?
♥ Did you know J.K.Rowling lived in Porto for a while, teaching English? Livraria Lello is where she got her inspiration from for Hogwarts’ idyllic library. True, it’s more of a typical tourist attraction but inside the library is really beautiful and, despite the bustle, peaceful in some way. Nerdy fact: I bought the last Harry Potter book there.
♥ You can always walk past Mercado do Bolhão: Porto’s most known market place where they sell any kind of food that you can imagine. Impressive to see.
♥ Hire a bike and go to the beach! There are several bicycle rentals located in the city.
♥ Jardins do Palácio de Cristal is a beautiful park to just chill out and relax, or read a book. Freely walking peacocks included.
♥ For a nice overall view over the city, visit the Torre dos Clérigos. An obligatory must-do when you’re in town!
↠. BARS & RESTAURANTS
♥ Our main chill spot was called BASE, right next to Livraria Lello. We went there for cappuccino’s in the morning, sometimes even twice a day! A laid back lounge bar with the coolest Jamaican bar tenders, this is where you need to be.
♥ One of the best places we went for dinner was Cruel Restaurante. They work with a menu and it’s not the cheapest restaurant around, but still not that expensive since Porto is rather cheap (in Belgian terms). You can mix & match between dishes from their Cautious, Fearful and Cruel menus. A real recommendation!
♥ On the other side of the street, Champanheria da Baixa is facing restaurant Cruel. A nice winebar where we spent the rest of the night! Tip; take the champagne sangria, it’s delicious and typical for Porto.
♥ If you’re as into tapas as I am, try Cantinho dos Bragança! An excellent address.
♥ Café Majestic: great for high tea! This place is included in every book about Porto, so I doubt you would miss out on it.
♥ Go have dinner or lunch in one of the restaurants next to the Douro river. We went to Chez Lapin, and don’t worry the food is way better than its name suggests haha. Very romantic!
♥ My n°1 tip for you: Le Chien qui Fume. My boyfriend looked up Porto’s best restaurants and came across this one, which was only a few steps away from our appartment. We never noticed it before, it’s so inconspicuous that we always walked past it. Its interior isn’t really nice but the food tastes heavenly. The best steak my boyfriend had ever eaten, the same counts for the fish I ordered. Le Chien qui Fume really is an unrecognised treasure, certainly because their prices are ridiculously low for what you get.
When it was time to give back our appartment keys to return back home, it ached my heart to leave everything behind. We had so much fun together! Everything about this city was just so beautiful, and it always will be. Now that I’m seeing all of the dots listed above, it makes me remember all of the great moments we lived in each place. Porto definitely is one of the best city trips I’ve ever made, if not the best.
Ofcourse, there are a lot more things to see and do when you’re in Porto than I mentioned. But shamelessly copying the ordinary tourist book was not in my intention. Than you might as well just browse the entire Internet for nice places of interest and not be here, am I correct? I prefer objectively sharing my experiences with you in order to give you advice that’s actually useful. I hope I could inspire you to get on a plane and get wonderfully lost in the streets of Porto, just like I did!