Portugal is one of the treasures of Europe, and is becoming an increasingly popular destination. Porto, the second city of Portugal, is a city not to miss. The Western Rise team travels there at least twice a year to visit our factories located just a few miles outside of town. Here are a few of our favorites haunts for a quick trip:
Where to STAY:
There are many beautiful neighborhoods in Porto. If it's your first time to the city we recommend the Ribiera or Baixa. Filled with restaurants, cafés, beautiful, quirky houses and most of the major landmarks they will locate you in the heart of the action. You could entertain yourself for days just walking the neighborhoods and exploring the winding cobblestone alleyways.
Stay in an AirB&B for a more local (and affordable) experience located in the hub of activity.
What to SEE:
An ideal day in Porto combines both the grandeur of its history and its modern shops and experiences. While we appreciate the iconic Museums, Train depots, and other classic spots some of our favorites have more of a local feel.
- Morning walk/bike down the Ribeira- Lined with fisherman and port boats the path that follows the Douro River from the heart of Porto to the beach is a beautiful start to the day. Stop by one of the historical cafes and grab a croissant and coffee, a classic Portugues breakfast.
- Igreja de Sao Francisco- Even if you don't like churches this one is worth a stop. From its balcony views, austere Gothic exterior and dazzling Baroque interior, you won't find another one like in Portugal. The catacombs are worth a stop as well.
- Crystal Palace Gardens- Take a bottle of wine and tapas at sunset just hang out they have the best view of the city and Duro river. The peacocks add a nice touch as well.
- Dom Luis I Bridge- Designed by Gustave Eiffel the bridge is a beautiful connection between the Ribeira and Vila Nova de Gaila. Walk across the ridge at sunset (preferably back from Port tasting as sunset) and you won't be disappointed.
- Nightlife- If you're interested in the late night scene Rue de Paris is the place. It warms up around midnight.
What to EAT:
One of the pleasures of Porto is exploring new tastes and flavors. You should always try the county's classics. In traditional Mediterranean style, breakfast is usually lite, with long lunches, early evening tapas, and late dinners. Fish is a large part for the menu for good reason. Marketo De Bolhao on Saturday morning is one of the freshest spots to try the local seafood.
- Bacalhau- Salted cod has been part of Portuguese culture since the Vikings came to trade cod for salt. It comes in many delicious varieties. Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá (a casserole of potatoes eggs and cod) is a specialty of Porto as is Bacalhau a Bras (fired cod with tomatoes sauce and chips).
Sardines- These are not your grandfather's sardines! From fresh grilled on toast to tinned, Portugal is the best spot to try sardines. Try them freshjust off the beach at one of the many restaurants off Ave do Brasil in Foz do Duro, or all the many flavors in a tin at one of the many places in Baixa or Rue De Flores.
- Octopus- Polvo is a Portuguese classic. Grilled, roasted, stewed - just say yes.
- Port- Porto is known for port wine for good reason white, pink, 40-year reserve they are all unique. One of the best places to learn about the making of port and have a great tasting is Taylors.
- Portuguese wine- Portugal also has fantastic wine from the light and bubbly Vino Verde to full-bodied Duro Tinto. Stop by the Wine Box before dinner and ask them about their favorites from the 14 different regions.
48 hours it the perfect amount of time to see the highlights and make you think about our next trip to Portugal.