After many weeks on the road stopping a few days in each location, we wanted to find a place to stay put for a bit, take it slow and recharge. Y had heard great things about Porto so we decided to go. Even though Porto is a relatively small place, we thoroughly enjoyed our week there and could’ve easily spent another.
One quick tip if you visit Portugal – the locals here are very adamant that Portugal is not Spain. Although you greet with an “ola”, thank you is NOT “gracias!” It is “obrigada” (if you’re female) and “obrigado” (if you’re male).
Apparently Porto was made popular because Ryanair thought the airport was pretty nice. We thought Porto was named so because of the Port that comes through. Apparently, that’s not the case.. it’s named Porto because it was a port!
Train station, churches, blue tiles everywhere. There’s things like a speed radar that also tracks humans! Run on the left side of the road towards the radar to get your speed in kilometers. A pretty McDonald’s!
So not to repeat ourselves, the list of Portuguese food to try is here. However, here is what we enjoyed!
Nata Porto (★★★)
This shop may have our favorite egg tarts yet, although Fabrica da Nata is really beautiful and you can see them making it! They are just a touch too sweet, but still delicious.
We enjoyed this place tremendously. The garlic shrimp was delicious and octopus rice was spot on. We came back for their lunch special, which is €5.50 for wine, soup, and fish or meat entree – a steal! You can leave your mark on their wall… see if you can find our signature!
Icara Churaschia (★★)
A simple Portugese diner. I think this maybe be the best bifana em pao yet, the sauce has a nice kick to it.
Lado B (★)
We had the famous Francesinha here while watching Germany lose to South Korea (I know, crazy right?) It was a hearty sandwich, perfect for sharing. We’re not sure that you’d want to this too often but definitely worth trying at least once!
All the port houses are in Gaia, so you have to cross the short bridge to get into it. Parked by the edge are old boats with the flags of all the port makers.
Portowalkers Port Tasting Tour (★★★)
We thought this was a great deal at €25/person for 7 tastings at 3 porthouses. Because of the price, the participants skew on the younger end too, as many of them asked us which hostels we were staying at and if we were joining the bar crawl – too old for that! 😜 We learned about the four types of port: white, rose, ruby, and tawny. White and tawny became easy favorites for us.
One day we decided to visit a porthouse on our own. We were going to try Ferreira, but they don’t do tastings without paying for a tour and all we wanted to do was drink (what? we already knew how they made the port and had seen cellars and old memorabilia!). After a steep trek up to Cockburn’s (L was complaining all the way) we met the very friendly Paulo who suggested glasses instead of their tasting flights (which were priced to include the tour, so would not have been a deal for us). He was generous with his time and his pours, and we learned the difference between a LBV (late bottle vintage) and vintage port years. We got to try a sip of the famed 2011 vintage – apparently that year was the perfect climate for the perfect grape. It was smooth and succulent, especially when we contrasted it with the newly out 2016 vintage. However, we decided we are still at heart tawny drinkers, and tasting the 20 year tawny made us very happy indeed.
Full of food shops and you can also find bars here with very cheap port tastings.
A small town outside of Porto, there are beaches to stroll along and an amazing seafood restaurant we found. The 500 bus this is a cheap and pleasant way to ride on a double-decker along the water.
Mister Couto (★★★)
Lunch was so freaking good. Definitely get the crab. Besides the crab meat they serve you the crab back with a mix of crab fat, beer, whisky, mayo and other secret ingredients. Also if you’re adventurous try the snail appetizer. Good beer snack.
Love by K (★)
For all the ladies, this is a cute boutique shop, the owner is Swedish and just the nicest! Curated with pretty and quirky pieces, L wishes she had the luggage space to add some pieces to!