Tips for a (long) weekend in Porto
Updated: Apr 1, 2020
Hello my friends ! How are you ? I was reflecting on my vacations from this summer and thought I would tell you a little more about my 3 days trip to Porto. It is a very touristic city so it’s a bit hard to choose what to do in just a few days. I loved reading travel blogs posts about Porto before going. So I thought I would give you my recommendations, in an illustrated way. This way I can also show you my travel journal.
So, here are my recommendations :
Take good shoes
Walking is definitely the best way to enjoy the city. But there are a lot of heals and stairs.
You will end up walking a lot even if everything is close by. So defintly take a good pair of shoes, water and if you are too tired take the metro or an uber.
Visit the cathedral
Inside the cathedral is beautiful cloitre with azuleros.
You can climb a few stairs to the top where you will have a great view of the city.
There also is a small museum with pretty christian clothes.
Do a wine tour and tasting
It is really interesting to have explanation about how the wine is made and to see the big barrils and cellars.
Not to mention the caves are fresh, so if you are in Porto in the summer it is a great breack from the heat. The prices are pretty affordable if you take the cheaper ones with one or two galsses of wine. We went to the Ferreira cellar and it was very nice, but I think there are plenty of great ones.
Do take the old tram - but not for daily transport
It’s certainly is a nice experience. You feel like you got back in time. Plus you have a nice and different view of the city.
But we waited more than an hour to have one, it was really crowded, and it is more expensive than the metro and buses. So I would recommand to take it just once, for the experience. You can see most of Porto by foot, and if you are tired or want to go far you can take the metro.
Livreria Lello - maybe don’t go
The Lello library is really amazing, the achitecture is beautiful. The thing is you won't really be able to enjoy it.
If you are on a budget and/or don't have a lot of time in Porto, you should definitley don't go, or if you have agoraphobia.
There are a lot of other shops in the same style in the street nearby that have free entrance and a lot less people. For exemple this one : Fernandes, Mattos & Ca.
Picnic or chill in parks
There are a lot of really pretty park in Porto, and they are not crowded at all. Plus it is very refreshing when the day is warm.
Jardim Municipal do Horto das Virtudes : we were literally alone and it’s super pretty with the different floors and great view of the Douro.
Palacio de cristal : well known so more crowded. But a really beautiful park. They are peacocks, fish and duck pounds, different style of gardens, a rose garden and an amazing view of the Douro.
Parque da cidade : a really big park so you have lots of space to find a nice quiet spot. There are small lakes, turtles, chickens, etc.
Vegetarian restaurant recommandations
We mostly ate sandwiches and groceries to keep the cost of the weekend low. But the food and restaurant in Porto are pretty affordable so we still tested a few restaurants. And since I am vegetarian I wanted to recommand some places with nice vegetarian/vegan options that we tried : First, if you want to try a Francesinhas but don't eat meat, you can go to Santa Francesinhas. They have a very nice vegan Francesinhas that I enjoyed a lot. I would also recommand to eat at Raiz, we had a wonderful dinner there. The food is really amazing.
Eat pastel de natas
Those patisseries are amazing you should definitly try some. We sent to Natas d’ouro, they were still warm, super good, and also cheap (1€)!
Go to Matosinhos
If you are in Porto for more than 2 days I would definitly recommand to check the Matosinhos district. It is pretty close to the city. There are nice little streets form the old fisher's village. You can check the fish market and all the little grilled fish restaurant nearby. You can relax on the beach or have a little swim.
When going to the beach you can also check the Parque de cidad (see below).
Check small markets
When you cross the Douro to check the Ribeira from the other side, or go to a wine cellar. You should definitly have a break at the small indoor market there. They are lots of drinking and eating options (also vegetarian). If you are with people who don’t like the same things you can eat from different places at the same table. The atmosphere is very nice and they are free toilets!
Climb on the other side to see the city
By walking up to the other side of the city you can have a great view of the Ribeira, especially at sunset. It is a very nice place to chill or have a drink.
Thank you for reading until the end. I hope my tips can help you in you trip planning !