The home of Port wine, Dom Luis I Bridge and all-around stunning architecture, Porto is situated in the Northern area of Portugal, close to Spain. In fact, you can get a train from Porto to Vigo, that will only take you 3 hours. Placing all of its known wonders aside, Porto is possibly one of the best cities in Portugal for a weekend break. In this article, I shall explain precisely why, and how to plan it.
1) Everything is compact.
Possibly one of the best cities to be a tourist. Why? Because you don’t have to take any public transport what so ever! All you have to love is walking (and hills, as you can’t explain the steep terrain in Porto.) Book your hotel in the city centre, and the city is your oyster, literally! It is slightly more expensive if you do decide on booking a hotel in the centre, however, if you are only visiting for a couple of days, like I did, it saves you a lot of time which you can use to experience the city.
2) They are known for their food and wine.
Something you have to do in Porto is trying Port wine. Even once. This tasty sweet alcoholic drink is usually served after your starter, before the main course, and once again after you have finished your main course, before emerging your taste buds in a delicious dessert. However, you don’t have to go all out and follow Portuguese customs with every meal (especially if you are doing a lot of walking as one glass is enough to make you a little tipsy) but a small sample of this famous drink is a great way to experience a little bit of Porto.
3) It’s cool.
Yes, by now we should all know Porto is cool. But the atmosphere and vibe the city projects is very relaxing, and you may lose the sense of time while you are there. From art being displayed in all areas of the streets, watching the formation of the ripples on the river, as buskers sing their songs and you check out the market stalls should be enough to entice you to this place. It sure has made me want to plan a trip back really soon!
4) It was the inspiration for Harry Potter.
As if Porto enough isn’t a fantastic place, it is reportedly the inspiration for Harry Potter! Livraria Lello is the bookstore where JK Rowling often visited while she was teaching English in Porto. Once you visit the place for yourself, you can see why. Although it is difficult to avoid the crowd of tourists which frequent the bookstore. When you do buy your ticket, the price you paid is discounted from any book you buy! Livraria Lello is a must if you are a bookworm.
5) It is home to one of Gustave Eiffel’s designs.
Dom Luis I Bridge, designed by the famous Gustave Eiffel, is situated proudly between the city of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia joining both places together. To witness the beauty from above, you can either take a cable car or steps and relax as you see everything from above.
6) You will feel refreshed.
That is what everybody desires from a short getaway or holiday, and that is precisely what Porto provides. You will feel inspired, renewed and rejuvenated when you return to your daily life. There is always something magical about places like that.
My time in Porto was short but incredibly sweet. The city had been on my bucket list for the past year, so being able to tick it off was amazing! It lived greater than what my expectations were expecting and has me planning a trip back. Hopefully, many of you will be adding Porto to your bucket list after reading this article, if you haven’t already. As always I wish you all happy travels!