Recently, (if you are the type to think that two months are recent) me and my loca friend packed our green backpacks of adventure time and went for a petite journey to Portugal. Having Finn and Jack’s coolness levels, we hustled our way to Porto. Before all the fun began we decided to plan a little ergo picked a couchsurfer with an ideal tree fort to match our theme. Besides that, the plan for the rest of the trip was left pretty much unsorted. We like intrigue, you see.
Plane landed our tipsy bottoms safely yet a slight hint of exhaustion was coming our way due to all that bottle popping at 7am. It’s not an addiction problem: The fear of flight made us do it!!!
Still though, waviness did not get in the way as Porto is small and easy to navigate your way around.
Really a no brainer: pretty much all metro lines cross the city centre. Our stop was Casa de Musica, an area boasting of a very modern city opera hall. Distance from there to all hustle and bustle was also walkable. It was a good start.
If you are planning your next holiday ridiculously early, I would advise to pick dates between June-July. April (that’s what we chose) is still the season of rain, so if you are looking to get a serious tan, push the date slightly further. Despite mere rain drops, we did get time to enjoy the beach for a day and I dare to say that we might have got a bit browner.
To make your life easier get a map from one of the information centres, it has all attention worthy places marked. As some may know, the main attractions there are wine cellars, which we ended up not making to. But during our stay of 4 days we enjoyed Porto wine straight from the shop. If you are also on a budget trip – we might be sharing a storyline here.
Firstly, I would advise to wonder around. Porto is designed for that. Personally, I walked till my feet burnt but enjoyed all of it. The night Porto is as beautiful as during the day, so go on and explore nocturnal mysteries and daylight wonders. You will get to see unique architecture that boasts of very colourful scheme, various shops and cafes.
If you are a planning-type sightseer you should definitely visit the following:
1. Livraria Lello & Irmao (Library that inspired its counterpart in Harry Potter )
2. Clerigos Tower (Um… A tower. You can enjoy the view of the city)
3. Casa da Musica (Try to see a performance, but even the building itself is astonishing and worthy of seeing)
4. Cafe Majestic (Truly majestic cafe)
5. Crystal Palace Gardens (Beautiful views, and an excellent place to rest)
6. Cais de Ribeira (Great place to grab a bite, especially seafood)
7. Foz (Take a stroll by the sea and enjoy one of the bars)
8. Marcado Do Bolhao (An authentic Portuguese market)
9. Art Gallery street down Rua Miguel Bombarda.
Also don’t forget to visit the beach, you can easily get there with a bus or metro from the city centre (we took bus 202 from Casa de Musica)
As for the night life, I would recommend to get out on a Thursday evening – the streets are filled with thirsty people (it’s like a student night; drinks are the cheapest). Everyone’s drinking and then heading to the clubs. Really, just visit one of the pubs in the centre, chances are they all packed. Stick to where the crowd’s going and be happy go merry. (Unless you hate the scent of cigarettes – they all chain-smoking indoors, basements or whatever you’ll find yourself at during your night out).
Overall, I think four days was about the right amount for Porto. We have seen a lot of it. I think, it would have been better if we visited during the warmer season and could have spent our days on the sand, baking our bacons. The city is small, yet full of hidden charms waiting for you to stumble upon.
If you like the sound of cats, beach, wine, seafood and Pastel del nata – Porto is a must see for you, pal(-s).