After spending four lovely nights in Lisbon, we got on a train and headed to Porto. We bought our ticket the day before (you can pick up a ticket from any of the major stations in Lisbon), but I would recommend being a bit more organised and buying in advance here.
We arrived at Porto early afternoon and headed straight to our accommodation which is no. 1 of my 5 Tips for Porto:
- Stay in BNApartments Ribiera: I’m going to be honest, until this holiday I’ve always leaned towards hotels, but this trip changed that. The apartments are located in the gorgeous, historic neighbourhood of Ribiera. You can walk to most places in Porto from this location and it’s just one block from the river. I LOVED our accommodation with its beautiful dark wood details throughout. Just a heads up to bring some ear plugs if you are a light sleeper. Historical buildings come with a downside, it’s not very sound proof.
- Visit Crystal Palace Park: After realising we didn’t have enough time (and budget) to visit Serralves gardens and museum we decided to visit the free gardens of Crystal Palace. Holy Porto, it was breathtaking. Not only are the views of Porto and the river worth the steep walk, but the magical gardens will have you dreaming about it for days.
- Take the yellow bus: In Porto we opted for the Yellow Bus tours which was a good choice. Make sure to purchase a ticket that is valid for 2 days to see both circuits but get some breathing time in between routes. I loved the route that took me all the way to the beach and showed me a very different side of Porto. We would not have ventured this far into Porto had it not been for the bus circuits. A must do!
- Eat at 10 EM Sao Domingos: This was a total surprise. I noticed the nice branding of the restaurant and knew they had something up their sleeve. After a fish and chips dinner the owner treating us to a special Portuguese treat; blood sausage grilled on an adorable, tiny pork BBQ made from clay. He pours a bit of alcohol then sets it alight to grill the sausage – amazing. They serve super yummy coffee for breakfast and a variety of Portuguese dishes with a fresh menu created daily. The prices are so good and the owner has a real focus on bringing traditional Portuguese dishes to a younger generation.
- Walk around at night: It is very tempting after a long day of wandering around to head straight to bed, but Porto is very special at night. Make an effort to explore and you’ll be surprised with little restaurants and wine bars. The streets are generally quiet and it’s a great chance to appreciate the beautiful architecture of Porto without hundreds of tourists in the way.There is so much more to do in Porto like shopping, tasting Port, continuing stuffing your face with Portuguese tarts and visiting this little guy:
If you are looking for an easy going vacation in Europe than this is where you need to go.