Travel northwest of Portugal and you will meet and greet the colourful and vibrant Porto, a coastal city with interesting architecture, delicious food, and narrow cobbled streets.
Where To Go:
Most of Porto’s popular sights are quite easy to visit in a day or two. One of the main attractions is the River Douro. The most convenient way to view both Porto and the river is by walking over the Dom Luís I Bridge. This historical double-deck metal arch bridge gives you breathtaking views both day and night! The Ribeira District, a UNESCO heritage site, is a must see.
Enjoy walking through old streets and quiet alleys in the city. I loved the local vibe and street art! Hunt for the best Pastel de nata in the area. There are loads of pastry and cake shops selling freshly made custard tarts. Admittedly, I was having 2-3 custard tarts a day and went into hyperglycemia! (Warning: Just try at least one!)
According to our local insider named Andre, the most beautiful McDonald’s in the world is in Porto. The Imperial McDonald’s exterior explains it all.
Visit the São Bento Railway Station, Livraria Lello, and old churches for stunning architecture. My favourite was the 18th century Igreja de Santo Ildefonso or Church of Saint Ildefonso. Its blue and white facade felt nostalgic and regal.
Where To Stay:
For a budget-friendly option right in the city without the hustle and bustle, I would highly recommend Oporto Near Apartments. The apartment was a convenient starting point for our Porto adventure. Everything was a walking distance (if you like walking) including the Dom Luís I Bridge and downtown.
The best things about staying in Oporto Near Apartments were the ease, comfort, and service. We were welcomed by an energetic young man Andre and he showed us a map of Porto and gave us the perfect tips on exploring Porto. Which leads to…
Where to eat:
Andre, a Porto expert, recommended Venham Mais 5 for dining. He told us that it was a family favourite. It was my first Prego (Portugese sandwich) and I have to say, it was the best sandwich I have ever had! I’m not fond of bread or sandwiches but Venham’s specialty is an exception. The crispy bread, melty cheese, and tender beef steak completely changed my perception of sandwiches! (Thank you Luis and Andre!)
The place was quite busy as locals queued up. It did feel like a bit of a “Diner Dash” but the food was mouth-watering and affordable. Oh and the chocolate house cake!
Tip: Visit Gaia on the other side of the Douro River if you have ample time. It offers great views of the river, Porto, and the Dom Luis I Bridge.
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