In May we spent a week in beautiful Porto, Portugal with my parents. It was really good to spend time with them, especially since we hadn’t seen them since January. Almost instantly we fell in love with the colorful city. We all enjoyed taking it easy and exploring slowly, stopping regularly for fantastic food and drinks. Here are a few highlights from our trip.
Cheap coffee all day every day
One of my favorite things about Porto is how cheap the coffee is. You can have several coffees throughout the day for the same price as one Starbucks drink (and it often tastes better anyway). I’m all about constant caffeination. All that coffee is even better when paired with delicious pastries. We had pastéis de nata at least once a day, as well as incredible donuts, croissants, and other treats. It’s a good thing we walked so many miles each day cause otherwise I might have gained 10 pounds.
I love the European coffee culture of sitting in cafes with a drink and a pastry, relaxing and chatting. It’s one of my favorite things to experience while traveling!
A good excuse to drink lots of wine
You can’t go to Porto without at least trying port wine. We wrote an article all about it, in case you want to learn more about it and where to drink it. In the name of research, we made sure to drink as much as possible; at a wine tour, at bars, at home from the supermarket… what can we say? We’re dedicated to our research.
Before trying it, I didn’t actually know that it’s fortified with brandy, so I was in for a real surprise when I took my first sip. I loved it though, and would definitely drink more in the future. (I could really go for a glass right now, honestly.)
My favorite bar was called Base, and it’s this cute outdoor bar situated in the middle of a city square. It’s always difficult to explain what exactly makes bars good, but it just had that vibe you know? Good views, good tunes, and friendly staff. Well, the girls were really friendly to Joe at least. Wink wink.
We also had drinks at the rooftop bar on Porto Cruz, where they have a wide variety of cocktails made with port wine. If a city has a place with cocktails and views, you can bet Joe and I will be there.
It’s the climb
One of the most iconic sights in Porto is the Dom Luis I Bridge. Not only does the bridge itself look amazing, but the view from it is spectacular. There’s two levels, and we walked across the lower one several times while going across the river to Vila Nova de Gaia, the city that sits across from Porto. On one of our last days the sun finally came out after a week of cloudy skies, so Joe wanted to go to the upper level of the bridge. I was less keen, because it looked like an absolute mission and I was tired and, let’s just be honest, I hate walking uphill. But I did it (admittedly it wasn’t as hard as I thought) and the view made it so worth it. There’s a lovely wine bar situated near the bridge, so I also got to reward myself for all that work with a refreshing cider.
The pizza cone created by God himself
I’d never eaten pizza in a cone before and I didn’t know what I’d been missing out on all this time. Joe saw (lol) the stand as we were walking along the river and wanted to give it a try. I wasn’t that enthusiastic at first but I’ve never been known to turn down anything pizza related. We went for a flavor with chorizo, cheese, and honey; and honey I’ve tasted few better things in my life. Can we just take a minute to talk about how undervalued honey is as an ingredient? You can instantly improve so many things with honey. In Brussels I learned that honey on sandwiches is incredible. Anyway. This pizza cone changed my life. I went back the next day for another one. I’ll be thinking about it for the rest of my life.
I debated whether to include this as a highlight, because it was definitely a bit overpriced. You pay €5 to go into the bookstore, which you can use as a voucher towards a book, but the books are marked up as well. However, the bookstore is gorgeous and supposedly served as inspiration to J.K. Rowling in her descriptions of Hogwarts, so it was amazing to see. (I’m obsessed with Harry Potter, in case you didn’t know.) The architecture, staircase, and stained glass windows are beautiful, and you could spend hours looking through all the books contained there. Of course there’s a great selection of Harry Potter books. I wasn’t sure if there’d be many English books but there was actually a lot. I resisted the urge to buy a whole stack of books; mostly because I knew I wouldn’t want to carry them around.
We had such a good time and I came back with about 1,000 pictures. Here’s just a sample.
Do you want to plan your own trip to Porto?
We’ve put together a Porto travel guide with all the information you might need!