I wrote these for a friend recently and then realised I should probably share them here too. For a city with so much do, see, eat and drink, Porto feels a little overlooked. This year I’ll visit for, I think, the eighth time, and I’ve no doubt I’ll discover even more.
Quick tips for a long weekend in Porto
First up, climb to the top of Torre dos Clerigos for a view of the whole city. It will help you get your bearings.
Near to the tower is Livraria Lello, one of the most striking bookshops in the world. You need a ticket to get in now, due to its popularity (it’s thought to have inspired JK Rowling), but the cost is refunded if you buy something. There’s a little cafe on the upper floor if you need to recharge.
Most of the port wine houses on the other side of the river, Gaia, will do tours that include a tasting. We’d recommend Sandemans. There are two bars outside where you can continue to sample.
Along from Sandemans is a restaurant called Bacalhoeiro where you can get a good selection of the country’s famous salted codfish – and green wine.
I really like Taberna do Largo, back on the Porto side of the river. It’s a great place to end an evening with wine and huge platters of meat and cheese.
The Cathedral (Sé) is nice to look around but the Igreija de Sao Francisco is even more impressive.
If the weather’s warm you can take a boat trip down the river. You can also take a boat all the way to the Douro Valley and then take the train back to Porto.
Casa da Musica is the main concert hall. It’s a bus ride from the centre but it’s worth checking to see if anyone interesting is playing. The architecture is very impressive, so if you’re in that part of town it’s good to visit anyway.
Obviously make sure you eat a Francesinha (Google it!)
For bars, go to the area called ‘Baixa’ near the tower and the main university building. Our favourite was called Fabrik, but this may have closed now, so look for The Gin House instead.
The best place – by far – for ice cream is a cafe called Santini’s. It’s a Porto institution and you’ll see people queuing out the door at 11pm.
If you want to go to the beach you can get the metro to Matosinhos and walk around there, or get the bus to Foz and Castelo do Queijo.