Portugal's second largest city, Porto is not as popular as its beautiful sister city Lisbon. Nevertheless, it does not lack assets, which can be discovered as you stroll around the friendly-sized city centre. It is very pleasant to wander around the small paved streets, spend a quiet moment in one of the Baroque churches, stroll through the gardens, walk along the river and shop in the ultra-trendy vintage shops. An ideal destination for a city-break, it attracts couples in search of a romantic weekend as well as friends in search of somewhere lively and festive to spend their holiday!
A guided tour of Casa da Música, or the 'House of Music', designed by Rem Koolhaas. It has become an architectural and cultural symbol of Porto and visitors are free to visit its largest rooms, including the famous main auditorium.
A visit of the House of Art Nouveau and the Serralves Foundation Museum and Gardens.
A cruise on a traditional boat on the Douro River.
A shopping session in the district of Miguel Bombarda. You will find many trendy shops and shopping centres like the CCB (Central Commercial Bombarda).
A visit of the bustling Bolhão Market, with its jumble of fish, seafood, cooked meats, olives, flowers, etc.
The colourful façades of the buildings. Some of them boast 'azulejo' tilework, the famous squares of blue and white ceramic.
The old districts of Porto, where you will find traditional shops: grocers, old bookshops (including the famous "Lello"), cafés (Guarany and Majestic), etc.
The many churches (Clerigos, Carmes, Carmel, Saint Francisco?) dotted around the city.
The old renovated administration buildings, modelled after the court and the prison which have been transformed into the Photography Museum.
Swap your high heels for a good pair of walking shoes. The city centre is not too big and so everything can be discovered on foot!
As in all large cities, beware of pickpockets and avoid walking around the cathedral alone. However, Porto is not a dangerous city.
Porto is full of restaurants and even has one with a Michelin star. Try to have lunch or dinner on the banks of the Douro River. They quays are overflowing with cute little establishments.
Also, don't miss out on trying the local specialities: Porto-style tripe (beef tripe with beans), Gomes de Sá-style cod (potatoes, cod, eggs, parsley), fresh fish in summer (grilled sardines but also sea bream and whiting), roasted kid, bread soup, seafood rice or even octopus with rice.
It is impossible to come back without a bottle of the famous eponymous drink! Don't forget to pack it carefully in the suitcase that will be your hold luggage. In terms of gastronomy, try to remember to pick yourself up a bottle (or several) of olive oil from the Douro region and some Serra cheese made from sheep's milk.
There are many stores where you can find objects made of cork (umbrellas, purses, etc.), ceramics, earthenware tiles, embroidered linen (tablecloths especially), as well as ultra-trendy clothing and homewares.