Tuesday, 11 July 2017

A Weekend in Porto

a weekend in porto

Last weekend I headed to Portugal's second largest city and what's been voted The European Best Travel Destination 2017 - the beautiful city of Porto. 

Arriving in Porto

The city of Porto is services by it's own international airport, we flew direct from Manchester on a Monarch airlines scheduled flight, which takes around 2 hours 20 minutes. 
To get from the airport into the city we used the metro system. All the machines have a button for translation into to English so it's pretty easy to get a ticket to São Bento (which currently costs €2.55).

Sao Bento Train Station Platform

São Bento is the most central station in Porto and has access to both trains and the metro and from here it should be fairly easy walking if your hotel is in a central location. 
Tip: Make sure you validate your ticket before you travel. 

Where to Stay

If you're thinking of travelling to Porto and wondering where is the best area to stay we'd definitely recommend the old town area close to the River Douro. Porto is a great city in the everything seems to be within walking distance but if you really want to be in the heart of it then this is definitely the best location. 

the house ribeira hotel treats

We stayed at The House Ribeira Hotel and could not recommend it highly enough! Not only did we get a glass of Port upon check in but had a little treat waiting for us each evening as part of their turn down service and a cookie when we did check out. 

Things to see

Porto is a beautiful city with many things to see and do, here a re just a few things to get you started on what you can do.

See the view from Clérigos Tower

clergios tower porto

view of the river douro from clergios tower

It's hard not to spot Clérigos Tower, it dominates the Porto skyline making it the perfect way to get a birds eye view of the city  from the top of the tower. It costs €4 to enter the church, enjoy the exhibition inside and climb the 240 steps to the top of the tower. 

Visit São Bento Station

Ask anyone who's been to Porto what's on their must see list and I'm pretty sure everyone would recommend stopping by this train station. 

sao bento station

sao bento station tiles

If challenge you to find a more beautiful train station than São Bento. It's entrance is adorned with beautiful ceramic tiles covering the walls, telling the history of Portugal. 

Try a different mode of transport

If you're feet are getting a bit tired from all that walking fear not, Porto has plenty of interesting options when it comes to transport.

porto tram city tour

We didn't have time to try out the tram, but this cute old fashioned mode of transport has tracks all across the city - plus it looks adorable!

porto funicular

The funicular is an interesting little mode of transport. Situated next to the Dom Luis I bridge it's perfectly placed for the weary tourist who just can't be bothered to climb the hill to the top of the bridge. 

porto cable cars

Looking for a quick route down from the bridge? Why not hop on the cable car, your ticket also includes a free port tasting at one of the nearby Port Houses so it's well worth the 6. 

porto douro river cruises

Take a cruise on the river. For around €15 you can catch a number of different tour boats that'll take you on a 50 minute cruise on the Douro River. You'll get to see the city from a nice perspective as well as visit a few more of the many bridges that span the river. 

Taste some Port

Let's face it, what is a trip to Porto without drinking the wine that was named after it?

taylors port house porto

During our stay we decided to visit one of the largest Port houses, Taylor's, for a self guided audio tour followed by a Port tasting. The tour was €12 Euro's and lasted around 2 hours explaining the history of the Port House as well as how the Port is produced and most importantly explaining the difference in variety. 

port wine cellar barrels

After the tour you enter the bar area to sample two of Taylor's ports, a Chip Dry White (of which they pioneered the variety) and a Vintage - both of which are delicious though I'm more partial to the red!

Taylor's port

Visit the Balhão Market

If you entered the city via Metro then you'll be familiar with the Balhão area, just next to the metro station is a market square where (on Saturday morning) it's packed with all sorts of stalls - from live animals to tourist gifts!

bolhao market square

chicken stall bolhao market

hungry cat wants fish

Enjoy your beautiful surroundings

Porto is definitely best seen on foot and it really is a beautiful city. Take a stroll along the Ribeira and enjoy the Douro River flowing next to you or explore the crumbling but stunning architecture of the old town. No matter where you roam there are always beautiful sights to see! 

Rabbit Street Art Porto

Porto old town empty buildings

view of Porto from Dom Luis I Bridge

Porto Ribeira

Dom Luis I bridge porto

Porto is a stunning city, it's almost hard to believe a place like this actually exists! It's easy to see why it's been named European Travel Destination 2017 and I wouldn't be surprised if you started to hear that more and more people are planning on visiting - we'd recommend it to everyone!

Are you planning on visiting Porto?
 Have you already been? 
What's your favourite thing about the city?


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