Porto, Portugal

Porto. This is by far one of my favorite cities in all of Western Europe. The second largest city in Portugal, it is most known for its world famous Port Wine. But more about that in the next post.

Porto is one of the most enjoyable, laid back cities I’ve ever visited. The cobblestone and pedestrian streets make this city extremely walkable, though you will find some areas have steep hills as well. But exploring on foot is really one of the best ways to explore. And if you get too tired, you can grab one form of public transportation or another. You’ll have a few options.

One of the advantages of getting out on foot is that you get to take in all of the lovely details along the way. There is art, and color, unique structures, local vendors, and street performers all along the way. The photos just below were taken on one of the most charming streets in all of Porto. It was drizzling lightly that day, and the diffused lighting created an almost fairytale-like feel as we strolled south toward the river.

Just look at how quaint the homes and the streets are!

Along the way, we made a detour to visit what has become one of our favorite open air fresh markets, the Bolhão Market, to sample and take along a little picnic with us. Not only do they have excellent produce, freshly baked breads, and many varieties of cheese, but there are also little cafés and stalls with homemade sandwiches and pastries that are ready to go.

If you’ve ever been to a European market before, you already know what to expect, but one of the things that took us by surprise was the wine stall. You are able to sample a number of different wines and port, and even purchase a glass or two to enjoy while shopping in the market. That was a fun little twist for us. At this stall, we discovered that the flavors of one of our favorite Portuguese desserts (Pastel de Nata) had been authentically replicated in a liqueur, Creme de Pastel de Nata. It was delicious, subtle, creamy, and not overly sweet like I had imagined. I regret not sending any home to Chicago!

After spending about an hour at the market, we continued on our way. Once we reached the banks of the Douro River, the city just came to life. This area, the Ribeira District, is so lively and fun. There are colorful buildings lining the narrow alleys, along with shops, restaurants, bars, and street performers, all set by the riverside. It’s a fantastic place to take an stroll, and to just watch the lights, the boats, and sneak in a little people watching.

When it was time to head back, we grabbed a taxi, stopped for dinner, and then walked the remainder of the way home. It was a beautiful day and we couldn’t wait to explore some more.

As always, more to come later. Hope you enjoyed!

2 Comments on “Porto, Portugal

  1. Good Afternoon: I see you all are still traveling and exploring the world.  I hope you remember me from our Cancun Trip so many years ago.  My daughter, attended Messiah College with you. I see the kids are all grown up now. Do you have any information on Cost Rica, Liberia? Thank you for sharing all your travel experiences with me.   Bettie

    • Hi Bettye. It’s nice to hear from you again. Yes, it’s been a while. Did you need assistance booking a vacation? I’m happy to help. Please email me the details of what you are looking for, and I can send you information about how we work. My email is dtgainor@gmail.com, and my website is http://www.myglobalgetaways.com. If you go to my site, you will also see additional information under “About Us” and then “How we work.” Thanks, Bettye. Have a fantastic day.

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