Last week I spent a long weekend in Porto and surroundings. In this article I will share with you my weekend in Porto with the sightseeing must see in Porto as well as where to eat in Porto if you want to eat Portuguese food.
I went to Lisbon 2 times and I have been dying to see Portugal’s other cool city, Porto.
A weekend in Porto – Sightseeing must see in Porto
Stroll around the Ribeira Square
My favorite district of the Porto, is the one people come from all over the world for, the most traditional part. The one that looks exactly like on the postcards, the old city of Porto around the Douro and the Ribeira square. I loved to stroll around the Ribeira Embankment, sit for a coffee or to eat in one of the good restaurants (restaurant tips below) in the area and observe people pass by. Exactly like one would imagine life to be in the South of Europe.
Discover the many galleries and have a coffee around Rue de Miguel Bombarda
The city is also changing and moving in the term of Art. Many young people come to Porto to create Art. They even have a district where they have their coffee shops and galleries and where they meet, around Rue de Miguel Bombarda.
Go on a boat tour in Porto – 6 bridges cruise in Porto
Bridges are a must see in Porto. In between Gaia and Ribeira square there are many bridges raising above the Douro river. Did you actually know that Gustav Eiffel lived in Porto and builded a bridge there: the majestic steel Ponte Dona Maria Pia? It is the construction of this bridge that gave him the opportunity to later build the Eiffel Tower.
Another famous bridge from where you have a splendid view over the city is the Dom Luis bridge, built by a student of Gustav Eiffel.
You will also have a nice view of the embankment from the water. One of the many things to do in Porto. More about that below.
What to do in Porto on a weekend – Culture
Wine tasting in Porto
Porto is famous for it’s Port wine, a sweet red wine produced in the Douro Valley close to Porto. Porto has many caves in the district of Gaia that you can visit to know more about the production. In those caves it is also possible to do a wine tasting. It takes around 1 hour and therefore not too time consuming if you are only a weekend in Porto.
Lello Library in Porto
A few other things not to miss are definitely the Lello Library in Porto aka the most famous book store in the world. It is a truly beautiful old shop made famous by the Harry Potter books and movies at the famous staircase inspired J.K Rowling for her famous stories. Indeed she used to live in Porto for a while and used to go to this bookstore a lot.
Museums in Porto
Porto’s architecture is also to enjoy. Not only for it’s medieval architecture and titled houses but also for some more modern buildings like Casa da Musica or Museum Serralves that is home of the Casa Serralves a pink villa in Art Deco style. Both are very interesting to visit if you are into culture.
A weekend in Porto – Where to eat in Porto
You can’t pass by Porto and not eat the tasty Portuguese cuisine.
Fish restaurant in Porto
Os Lusiadas, for those who love Fish
Os Lusidas was my favorite restaurant during the trip. I love sea food and fish and those are the restaurant’s specialities. I tried for the first time Gooseneck Barnacles (also know as as percebes), a Portuguese delicacy. It looks really disgusting but it’s SO good! And then I ate my first seabass cooked in salt. See picture below.
Cantinho Do Avillez, Porto
Cantinho Do Avillez, for the trendy crowd and revisited Portuguese cuisine.
I already went to Cantinho Do Avillez in Lisbon. It is a quite trendy restaurant that I read always more about in the newspaper because of it’s chef José Avillez a young cook who revisits the traditional Portuguese cuisine into something more modern.
Tapas restaurant in Porto
Fish Fixe for the view and the tapas
Fish Fixe is a super cute tapas restaurant on the Ribeira embankment. Sit outside or at the window to admire the view of the bridge and Gaia.
Drink porto wine at Porto Cruz restaurant
Porto Cruz for the wine
Porto Cruz is a really cool space in Gaia, It’s restaurant : De Castro Gaia is a space for tasting and harmonization of Portuguese wines and appetizers. Porto Cruz also has got a rooftop that I recommend for sunsets 😉
Where to sleep in Porto
While in Porto we stayed a night at Hotel Teatro that is part of the Design hotels group and situated in the center of Porto, 10 minutes away from Ribeira square and a 5 minutes walk away from Santa Catarina street that is the shopping street. As the name says, the hotel is inspired by theatre and you can see it in the decoration. The hotel that was decorated by a Japanese designer, is quite dark and dramatic as well as the decoration in the bar and the lobby while the bathroom and the lights are golden, and remembers of the extravagance often seen in theaters. To complete the theme, the lobby and the bar are decorated with costumes and acting lights. Very cool and stylish.
R. de Sá da Bandeira 84
You can book it here
Porto or Lisbon?
Many people are fighting over which city is the most beautiful, is it Porto or is it Lisbon? I think both city have got a lot of charm. Lisbon is a bit more modern and cosmopolite than Porto but this is also what I like about Porto,that it sometimes feels like it is stuck on time. I love to see abandoned buildings next to well-maintained ones.
Porto is not that far from Lisbon. It is only 3 hours by car so why not combine both trips. Check out my weekend guide for Lisbon!
Also if you want to see more of Portugal, you can go on a day trip from Porto. Maybe to go to the beaches, go surfing or on a cruise on the Douro Valley.