Oh, Porto. If I’ve got just a coin for how many times I’ve been recommended to visit it, this blog post would’ve happened a lot earlier. My best friend kept telling me that Porto has been the only city he has been coming back to regularly. Then some another friend, while drinking coffee I mentioned her that I’m going to Portugal, she took a sip and without even looking at me, said: “By Portugal, I hope you mean Porto, too, not just Lisbon”. Then another random occasion happened on a plane a while ago, some lady sitting near me told me she just got back from Portugal and added: “If you planning to go to Portugal, you shouldn’t miss Porto”. Ok, well, got it. Porto it is.
Took a fast train from Lisbon (don’t forget to read my travel guide to Lisbon here), a nice scenic ride with a Wifi on board and a no cell network many times along the way. But it wasn’t a big deal. The scenery was too nice. I like Portugal. I can definitely see myself buying a house with a pool near the ocean. I’d be coming back there every summer. And spring probably. Autumn, too. Ugh, I’d love that. Daydreaming while looking outside the window.
Finally arrived. And eventually realised that the train ticket from Lisbon to Porto is also valid for the local transport in Porto. Very cool. Leaving the train station in Porto, which is one of the most beautiful stations I’ve ever seen; such a piece of art, and stepping out on the street, I was like : Wow! This is really beautiful. First thing you see, as soon as you get out of the train station, are those beautiful old Portuguese buildings with lots of windows and amazing facades all in brown, green, well pastel colours. They blend in so well. Only few minutes in Porto and I’ve been already very much impressed. What a beautiful town. And also so very different than Lisbon.
Checked-in in the hotel, and hurried up to go out as soon as possible. Wouldn’t wanna lose any time. Meeting at a tourist office, they explained me what to do, where to go, and what not to miss. Very helpful. Such a nice welcome. Thank you very much Carolyna and Rosie.
Getting lost in Porto is a hard thing to do, actually. The city is big, but still not that big. With a population of a little more than 200k, it’s the perfect size for 48hrs of exploration. The city streets are full of nice and interesting building, restaurants, small shops and also musicians. They really create the best possible atmosphere you can have in a city.
Walking through the city centre, and obviously hungry since I’ve just came in, I noticed there are not that many restaurants as there are in Lisbon, which is understandable since being a lot smaller, but also, that the prices are also higher than in Lisbon. Nevertheless, with a little of help of Tripadvisor, I found my place for lunch so I was back on track with the exploring. Coming further down the city centre, you get just a glimpse of the river Duoro through some passages between the buildings. And as the sun was setting, I came to one of the most beautiful views I’ve seen. The river with a beautiful metal arch bridge above it (and I’m such a sucker for bridges), the boats gently floating on and the sun setting to the colourful old buildings along the river. What a sight to see. Definitely a postcard one.
People walking along the riverwalk, drinking wines at the restaurants, eating all the variations of seafood, while in the background the street musicians are performing some romantic ballads; I particularly remember Ed Sheeran’s Perfect. Yep, that was definitely a perfect night.
Porto is a perfect place to come with your loved one. I’ll definitely take my girlfriend there one day. It’s such a romantic place. Like the whole Porto riverfront is an ideal background to an awesome date. Such an incredible evening.
The next day I went to do some sightseeing. First being the Cathedral, one of the city’s oldest monuments…
… and then the viewpoints Miradouro das Virtudes and Jardins do Palácio de Cristal. The latter one being a beautiful park with peafowls wandering freely around. The well spent afternoon I concluded with a nice glass of a white Porto wine. Forgot it’s name. Yeah, maybe there were also two or three glasses afterwards. Who counted. I was on a vacation.
As the night began to fall, I went again to the riverfront, sat there near the river and just enjoyed the view, the energy and the vibe of a beautiful summer night in Porto.
I’ll definitely come back, just to feel that again. It’s a feeling that stays with you for a long time; even when you already get home. Although being completely different than Lisbon… this is the place where you go for a nice evening walks, enjoying romantic dinners and drinking some wine with your loved one. There are no party places like in Lisbon, didn’t even see as many young folks as I saw in Lisbon, I’d say it’s a complete opposite than the Portugal’s capital… Still, it’s definitely worth to, if not the must, visit while you’re in Portugal.
At the end, I finally understand why did so many known and unknown people recommended me to visit Porto. Such a fairytale place. Thank you Visit Porto.
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