As one of Europe's hidden gems, Porto is the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon. Porto is known for their sweet port wine so mainly due to my love of wine I headed off to Porto for 2 days of clueless wandering and adventure.
The city is certainly older than Lisbon. I found fewer English speakers and the streets were even more narrow and steep. However, the port was absolutely beautiful. Sitting on a patio, drinking wine while gazing out at the water at nighttime was simply serene. I think a visit to Porto is worth it just to stay by the water.
However, hands down my favourite was Livararia Lello. This majestic library is rumored to have been the inspiration behind Harry Potter’s Hogwarts as JK Rowling lived in Porto teaching English for a few years. With the long winding staircase, stained glass ceilings and intricately carved walls, I can certainly see the resemblance.
The book store is a huge tourist attraction, so you can expect it to be packed full. To get away from the crowds, aim to visit before or after peak times. An entrance fee of 3 euros is necessary to peruse books and wander through the bookshop.
The grand buildings around Porto are frequently tiled in bright colours of blues, pinks and greens. The photo above depicts Azulejos on the iconic Igreja do Carmo. Another must see when in Porto.
If you’re looking for an Instagram friendly location to partake in high tea, lunch and dessert, look no further than the majestic café. With French inspired décor, this café is hailed as one of the top ten most beautiful cafes in the world.
However, achieving the perfect selfie in this spot will be a bit difficult. Due to its popularity, it’s usually packed with eager tourists who will 100% invade your shot. Another downside is the prices are far more expensive than you would find at your everyday coffee shop. If I remember correctly, it cost me nearly $20 CAD for tea service and one Pastel de Nata. Yikes.
Overall, Porto was a nice stop in Portugal, but Lisbon remains my favourite. Next time, I'll have to visit Cascais and the Algarve.
Xoxo - B