Top 10 Experiences
Look at a “World’s Most Beautiful” list and you’ll most likely find a reference to Porto under “world’s most beautiful book stores,” “world’s most beautiful train stations” and “world’s most beautiful cafes”. Here are the world beauties and other experiences you shouldn’t miss in this city:
1) Lello Bookstore
We can’t say it for sure but, some rumors have stated that this Porto’s bookstore served as an inspiration for the world acclaimed Harry Potter novels. Believing or not you should go check out for yourself and make your own opinion. But, if you don’t care about the famous wizard, go for the more than a century old noveau pearl with gothic details bookstore. The exotic and gorgeous red staircase are worth your time. As it got more famous the bookstore now charges for the entrance. But, on the bright side, you can use that as a discount on any purchase you make.
2) Port Wine Tasting
The port wine is kind of a big deal in Porto, and it should be! We can all agree that the best place to try something different is on the place where it was born. So, make time in your vacation itinerary to go to at least one of the Porto’s wine cellars. You can have a guided tour (see here the one that we recommend) to learn a bit more about the history and varieties. At the end, comes the most important part: a Port tasting.
3) Majestic Café
Going to have a coffee in café Majestic is more like going back in time and feeling like you are a part of history. The place was built in 1921 and it stills breathes the 20’s air with all its political debates and Belle Époque. You could also say that none of this means anything to you. Then we would tell you to go anyway because it’s gorgeous just to look at. There is also some quite amazing pastries.
4) Tile Murals
5) Douro Valley
The place was not nominated a World Heritage Site for nothing. Besides all the wine producing lands (port and table wine), you will find there the most amazing landscapes where the valleys meet the river.
Take a cruise or a tour down the World Heritage Douro Valley.
6) Time-Warp Shops
As a gift or for yourself, there are quite a few interesting items that you can shop around Porto to take home as a souvenir. We recommended A Vida Portuguesa and Pérola do Bolhão. There you can find traditional items, many of them hand-made and others more retro. There are quite a few retro shops downtown, many preserving wonderful Art Nouveau façades.
7) Local Market Bolhão
A market that sells fresh produce, what could be a better Portuguese experience. At Bolhão you will find farmers selling fruits, vegetables but also Portuguese sausages and cheeses. There are also the usual souvenir stores all in this lively and colorful environment. Go in the mid morning and have lunch at one of the cafes inside that serve a really tasty traditional Portuguese food for a hard-to-believe price.
8) The Atlantic - Foz
You had lunch and are now wondering what to do. In case you find yourself in this situation, which you probably will, go to the Foz and just spend the afternoon walking around. Enjoy the view and when you tired, just sit in one of the cafes and have a drink. We’re sure you deserve it.
If you liked the stroll in Foz, you should reserve the next day for the beach. There are numerous beaches around Porto that are amazing for a day in the sun. There are choices if you want near the city, or if you don’t mind going a little bit further. If you want something more crowded or deserted. And if you want to have the full beach experience or just go to a cafe that is beach front.
10) Gardens with city view
One of the most amazing things about Porto are the views. The city has a breath taking beauty that somehow it gets even better when viewed from the top. Whether you want to make a picnic out of it or not, there are quite a few gardens that are a perfect place to go, sit and just breath in the city. To say a few, and the best ones i dare to say, are the Crystal Palace Garden or the Morro Garden.