Portugal: great weekend in Porto!

I love traveling, and I like to think I travel a lot. But I always end up going to other countries, when sometimes I should be visiting my own. This time I went to Porto for a weekend, the second biggest city in Portugal and maybe (just maybe) the most beautiful.

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Praça da Batalha

It’s a city in the north of Portugal, also by the sea, which tourists call Oporto. They add an “O” for some reason no one knows. Honestly, if I thought Lisbon was a small city, then Porto should be called a village. We stayed at YES Hostel, close to Clérigos church, and I swear we were walking distance from every single place we wanted to go. The city is also famous for the Port wine, reason why the hostel welcomed us with a generous glass of red Port.

We did a lot of walking around the centre, looking at all the old beautiful churches, small markets and narrow steep streets. We visited the famous ancient book shop, the Livraria Lello, and the incredible train station covered in mosaics. I had the best croissant of my life at Pastelaria Bela Torre, which was a very unexpected surprise, and I tried for the first time the delicious ‘Sande de Pernil’ from Casa Guedes – I guess, in English would be ‘leg sandwich’, which sounds really weird but in fact is just a part of the pig’s leg.

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Cais da Ribeira

Apparently, we were also lucky to get a nice sunny weather, which doesn’t happen that often. So we walked to the Ribeira, down by the Douro river, and saw the old colourful buildings along the coast, with the usual old ladies at the window watching people passing by or hanging their laundry by the window for everyone to see. Porto is a very traditional city, it has an amazing typical architecture, really small neighbourhood shops everywhere and extremely nice locals that make you feel like you’re in a little countryside town. 

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Besides touristing, we also did a lot of going out. Porto has a hectic nightlife, full of street bars and different clubs, all really close to each other and packed with people. The spirit is similar to Lisbon, people start with drinks on the street, usually at Galerias de Paris, hopping on and off from bar to bar, and then everyone moves to a club around 3am.  I think the one club really worth mentioning is Plano B, which almost looks like a tea room when you go in, and then, as you go down it turns into madness, with two different crowded rooms and incredibly good music.

I hadn’t been to Porto in a long time but it was actually a great idea to go back. It was exactly like traveling to visit a new European city, except everyone spoke my language. And believe me, when you’re from such a small country like Portugal, it doesn’t happen that often. 

Here’s a short video so you can get a better idea of the city:

Visit Portugal: Weekend in Porto from Catarina Coutinho on Vimeo.