Porto, Portugal

Our recap of Porto, the city we fell in love with.

Sunset over the Douro River in Porto, Portugal
Porto, Portugal

Porto is vibrant.

We could not have asked for a more perfect place to spend the first few days of our long awaited international adventure.

Everywhere you look, every winding alley you go down (or up, there's a lot of hills here), there is always something delightful to capture your gaze.

You can't help but be hopelessly bewitched by Porto's charm.

Brightly coloured buildings are crammed side by side separated by narrow, steep roads. Many of them are covered in intricately painted ceramic tiles called Azulejos. The city feels stacked almost on top of itself. Walking through the uneven cobblestone roads you find a never ending display of street art. Clothing hangs on lines blowing in a constant and crisp breeze. A stray cat skitters across a stone ledge ahead of you (and if you're anything like me, seeing random cats is always cause for excitement).

The people here are warm and easy going. Food, port wine and coffee are important. Coffee is served small and strong. Meat, cheese and bread and pastries are key food groups. Getting to eat like this on the daily, I definitely felt warm and easy going too.

Stay tuned for our favourite places to eat in Portugal, coming later in this blog series. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list so you don't miss it!


Sunset at Jardim do Morro

A red and blue sky at dusk over the Douro River, winding through the city of Porto
Sunset view from Jardim do Morro, Porto, Portugal (2022)

The aforementioned consumables are best enjoyed on the grassy hill at Jardim do Morro. At sunset, locals and tourists alike gather here to listen to live music and watch the sun go down over the winding Douro River. This is hands down the best view of the city. There are places to get snacks and drinks nearby, but we packed our own beverages and food from the local grocery store to enjoy.

We spent three nights in Porto. On the very first night, our server at dinner told us about sunset at Jardim do Morro. If it wasn't for her, we never would have known to go there. And it turned out that those sunsets were a highlight of our entire time in Portugal.

Our advice to you: ...is more of a request. Please go. You won't be disappointed.

Livraria Lello: The most beautiful bookstore in the world

Inside of a book store with intricate woodwork and a red staircase
Livraria Lello, Porto, Portugal (2022)

Livraria Lello is certainly the most beautiful bookstore I have ever seen. It is also the busiest bookstore I have ever been in. This is a very popular spot for tourists. Not only is the whimsical interior detailed and gorgeous, but it's said to be the inspiration behind the some design elements of Hogwarts.

Our advice to you:

  • Buy tickets online ahead of time
  • Go early to beat the line (try to be one of the first few people if you want to snap some photos before it gets packed)
  • Grab a Pastel de Nata (or six) and a coffee from Manteigaria (don't forget cinnamon!) to snack on while you wait

Other spots to check out

  • Sao Bento Railway Station
  • Church of São Francisco do Porto (Church of St. Frances)
  • Mercado do Bolhão
  • Avenida dos Aliados (Avenue of the Allies)

Where we stayed

Ribeira neighbourhood, Porto, Portugal (2022)

We stayed in a cozy apartment with a fantastic view of the Ribeira, just steps from the Douro and under the shadow of the Luis I Bridge.

This iconic bridge was designed by a student of Gustave Eiffel (sound familiar?) in 1886. The arched, double-deck bridge spans the steep granite banks, between the beautiful 17th century Monastery of Serra do Pilar and the beating heart of Porto's city centre. You can walk across the top level for a great view of the city, making sure to keep a watchful eye for approaching trams. You can also walk across on the lower level, though it was under construction during the time we were there.

Obrigada, Porto

Our favourite part of being here was simply just walking around and soaking it in. It felt euphoric, after years of daydreaming to finally experience somewhere entirely new, and to have that place be a magical city like Porto.

Marking the first step of our lifelong worldwide journey, Porto will always hold a very special piece of our hearts.

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