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Porto

Transportation and Accommodations

Getting There

We actually drove our rental car to a drop-off location in downtown Porto. I’m very glad I wasn’t driving, but it worked out well. We rented from Hertz.

The airport is a decent size so there are a fair amount of flights going in and out. I took an uber to get to the airport early in the morning, but you can also take the metro to/from the airport.

You can also consider taking a train (or bus) from Lisbon or another part of Portugal if you don’t want to rent a car or take a flight.

Getting Around

On foot

We did almost everything on foot! Beware, it is quite a hilly town so you’re constantly walking up and down unless you’re right next to the Duoro river. I loved being able to walk everywhere, and most of the main sights are walkable

Uber

We did use Uber when we went out at night to make it easier to get around and to get to the airport. It’s definitely prevalent in Portugal and both easy and affordable.

Funicular

There is a funicular on the Porto side of the river near the Luis I Bridge, which brings you from the water level up to the top level of the bridge

Cable Car

On the Villa Nova de Gaia side of the river (opposite Porto – across the Luis 1 Bridge), there’s a Cable car that takes you from the top of the bridge down to the main strip along the river on this side. We did this and it worked really well! There’s a nice place to watch the sunset at the top of the cable car as well

Rent Bikes
Metro

There is a metro that people said was pretty easy to use. We never needed it

Accommodations

Ribiera

We stayed in an airbnb in the Ribiera area (near the Duoro River) and loved this area. It was an easily accessible location to all the sights we wanted to see in Porto ~ allowing us to walk everywhere we wanted to go. It also offered lots of restaurants and places to grab drinks or quick bites as needed

Things to do and see

Clerigos Church

Church in downtown Porto with a tower to climb that offers a nice panoramic view over Porto. We did this at the beginning of our stay in Porto and it helped us orient ourselves

Cais da Ribiera

Riverside (nice to walk along and lots of restaurants / places to grab a casual drink with a nice view)

Luis 1 Bridge

Giant bridge in Porto over the Duoro River. It is nice to cross the bridge on the top where cars don’t drive (just the tram and people walking) and offers a great view of both Porto and Villa Nova de Gaia

Church of Sao Francisco
Villa Nova de Gaia

Other side of the river from Porto but worth the walk over. There are tons of Port Cellars on this side of the river including:

Taylor’s Port (Rua do Choupelo 250)

Taylor’s does not require reservations in advance and you take an audio guided tour of the cellars where you learn about how they produce port, some history of Taylor’s, along with other information.

There is a beautiful terrace outside in a little garden where you can do a port tasting and get some snacks with your tasting. We did this one as well

Sandeman (Largo miguel Bombarda 3)

Cockburn’s (rua Serpa Pinto, 346)

Related to Grahams, so we signed up for an afternoon guided tour here. We got a tour of the cellars and learned about how they produce the Port. At the end of the tour, we had a port tasting. The tour was about 45 minutes – 1 hour.

Graham’s

Very well-known one, but you need to make reservations in advance. We were unable to get a spot on a tour so we tried 2 of the others.

Dow’s

Se Cathedral
Igreja de Carno

Nice blue/white tile on side of the church

Serra do Pilar

Jagged hill above Duoro river with nice view especially at sunset. We bought snacks (wine, cheese, meats, nuts, fruit, etc) and brought a little picnic up here at sunset! Make sure to give yourself enough time as we were rushing to get there in time for sunset.

Sao Bento Train Station

Inside has a a lot of blue/white murals (don’t need to make a separate trip to)

Livraria Lello

Famous beautiful bookstore – on Rua das Carmelitas

FC Porto Museum
Rua de Santa Catarina

Main, large shopping street in Porto

Duoro Valley wine tour

This is a must! We did this at Oporo Sensations Tour (http://www.oportosensationstour.com/Douro-and-Wine/) and absolutely loved it. We saw two wineries (a small and a large distributor) and stopped in two towns (Pinhao). We also took a 1 hour boat tour which was great as the weather was beautiful outside with gorgeous views. On the way back to Porto, we stopped at a nice viewpoint over the valley.

Matosinhos

Venture to Matosinhos which is a town near Porto on the beach. We watched the sunset here one night and then got dinner.

Food and Drink Recommendations

Food

Adega Sao Nicolau

Wonderful restaurant in Ribiera (seating inside and outside)

Cafe Majestic

Didn’t go here but supposed to be a well known place to grab a coffee or dine. It’s on the main street, Rua de Santa Catarina

Rib Beer & Wine

Didn’t get a chance to try this place, but it was right along the river

Cafe Santiago

Try a Francesinha – …. Or don’t. I didn’t because it is not something I’d enjoy whatsoever BUT the girls I was traveling with wanted to try it. It’s a sandwich with a bunch of different meats, covered in a thick sauce and melted cheese along with some other things

Tito 2

We had multiple locals tell us to go to Matosinhos for the best seafood and fish. It was delicious! We had the most amazing chorizo, some sea bass, seafood rice, and a few sides. I loved it and would highly recommend going to this area for a meal one night. We ubered there from Porto. There are tons of good fish restaurants on Rue Herois de Franca.

Nightlife

Every time we asked locals where they recommend going out, they just would say oh up at the top. This really meant that up towards the higher portion of the city, there were a bunch of streets with lots of bars and clubs. The two streets with a lot of bars that we wandered around are:

Rua da Galeria

Rua de Candido dos Reis

Other Notes

Make sure to try Port while you’re in Porto. Port wine is only classified as Port if it’s grown in that region. The grapes are grown in the Duoro Valley and then the wine is brought to Porto where it ages in cellars

We spent 2.5 days here and it was perfect. If we had another full day, I would’ve done a day trip to the national park nearby. You only need about 1.5 days to see the main sights in Porto, but tagging on a day trip or two is really nice and it was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Portugal, overall, is very affordable. We would get bottles of wine for 12 – 15 euros that were very good. We tried to drink local wines as there were a lot