My very last stop in Portugal was the birthplace of port: Porto! Now I have to mention upfront that the rain I had experienced in Coimbra unfortunately did follow me all the way to Porto & it ended up raining the entire time I was there. This is why you’ll notice a lot of grey skies in my photos & probably also why I didn’t enjoy Porto as much as I did Lisbon. But looking back, it really was an awesome city to see, throw in a wine tour in the lush Duoro Valley and it really becomes a must-see.
I left my accommodation booking a bit late, so was challenging to find something budget-friendly, but I was lucky enough to find a double room in Faria House (União de Freguesias do Centro) for about R1000 per night. It was very close to a metro stop, which made it easy to get around. The house also had lovely shared areas and an outdoor space, so it ended up being a really great place to stay all round.
On my first night in Porto, I headed down to the Duoro riverside to get my first look at the Dom Luís I Bridge, enjoy my first glass of port wine & to meet up with fellow Capetonian & avid world-explorer, Allison Foat otherwise known as Cape Town Diva.
The francesinha is a Porto “delicacy”. This strange looking sandwich is a combination of ham, sausage, steak, cheese & bread, all drenched in a beer sauce and served with chips. If you think that sounds hectic, it’s because it really is. I couldn’t manage more than a few bites, way too rich & weird for my taste. But from what I understand it is one of those “you either love it or hate it things”. I was definitely not on the “love it” side. 😉
Sadly on that same day, celebrity chef and legendary food & travel documentarian, Anthony Bourdain, had decided to take his own life. This was very sad news to me as I had really fallen in love with his dry sense of humour & bold personality while watching his Parts Unknown television series. I very much looked up to him for his no BS & no fear travel style.
After hearing about his passing, I decided to make it my mission the following day to go and check out this tiny little “snack-bar” he had featured in his 2017 season of Parts Unknown.
The place? Cervejaria Gazela What’s good there? Cachorrinhos (otherwise known as: “hot dogs”)
Other cool spots to check out in Porto:
I also enjoyed exploring the other side of the Duoro River by crossing theDom Luís I bridge. This is where all the Port wine cellars are located, so good if you want to do a couple of tastings. I didn’t opt to do tastings here though because I had booked a Duoro Valley food & wine tour, so decided to just spend my time roaming around
So as I mentioned above, I had also booked a full day Duoro Valley food & wine tour, which I had booked through these guys – Bago D’Uva 360.
What I liked is that they keep the group small – my group for instance was only 8 people & we travelled around in a super comfy, air-conditioned mini bus. My absolute death are those massive tour busses, jam-packed with people. My top tip is always: If you don’t want to do a self-drive or you’re a solo traveller wanting to meet people, small group tours are the best.
The tour included coffee & typical Portuguese sweet treats in the lush town of in Amarante, 4 wine tastings, a lunch in the village of Pinhão, and the most beautiful views.
Was a long day, but definitely worth it. I wasn’t really a port fan when they collected me that morning, but by the end of the day I had a totally renewed appreciation for this fortified wine.
Last mention regarding Porto has to be its trendy food & bar scene. My most memorable meal was at a restaurant called Flow. But trendy eateries are very much common place in the baixa (downtown) area of Porto.
Walking around that area you’ll also find tons of little bars where the drinks are pricey, but creative, and the night can easily run away with you, leaving you with a killer hangover (and empty wallet) the next morning…
To see lots more photos & videos of Porto, check out my Instagram account – ctmylove. I created story highlights for each city that I visited during my trip last year which you’ll find on my profile. Scroll through these and select the one called “Porto”.
Next stop: Zagreb, Croatia!