By luck I was in Porto recently. This was my first contact with Portugal and I must say it wasn’t too shabby. Although it is a city that has both good parts and bad ones, I’ve decided to stay on my optimist side and keep a positive view of the city. If you are just interested in checking the main sights of the city, I think one day of intense walking would be enough for that. But I’m warning you: at the end of the day your muscles will leave your legs and refuse to return. Not to mention that it would be a real pity if you didn’t visit the city by night. It is absolutely gorgeous because some of the abandoned parts are hidden by beautiful lights and the city seems to have a life of its own.
Where is Porto?
Porto is the second largest city in Portugal and it is located in the northern part of the country. In 2012 and 2014 it won the European Best Destination awards, being preferred by millions of people.
What to visit in Porto?
1. Gardens of Palácio de Cristal – these are located in the center of the city and they were designed by the German architect Émille David in the 19th century. Visitors can enjoy the views of Jardim Émille David, Avenida das Tílias, the forest and the balconies designed over the river Douro. The river is truly amazing and the gardens are the home of the Environmental Education Center. So you can be sure that you will have a lot of interesting things to learn.
2. Taylor’s – it would be a pity to go to Porto and not visit their famous vineyards. Taylor’s offers one hour tour that includes a tasting of three type of port wines. You will surely be impressed by their vintage atmosphere and gigantic barrels, one of which contains approximately 100,000L of delicious wine.
3. Livraria Lello – Harry Potter fans will surely agree with this choice. This is a normal bookstore that has been named the third best bookstore in the world. But this is not even the best part. The most famous attraction here is the gorgeous staircase that influenced J.K. Rowling into creating a similar one in the Hogwarts School. Majestic and thrilling for HP fans and convincing for those who still haven’t seen the famous series.
Where to eat?
Aquário Marisqueiro – you can find this one on Rua de Rodrigues Sampaio and for great prices you can choose to eat either specific Portuguese food or tasty seafood. Don’t leave Porto without eating their famous dish, Francesinha, a sort of sandwich that was originally intended to serve as a midnight snack. This dish can be eaten all over Porto but the original was created in A Regaleira (Rua do Bonjardim, 87).
If you happen to have a layover in Porto or you simply want to visit this city, don’t dismiss it. This city has a unique beauty and it would be a real shame to miss it!