This year in January I was just back from our classic girls NYE trip to Vienna and I had returned to Rotterdam, however the travel bug did not want to leave me alone just yet. As one does I browsed the net during my lectures for some cheap destinations to give me one last trip before my internship would start. As I have never really been to Portugal the Ryanair flight to Porto seemed more than a good idea. I made a blog post about it being my first solo trip earlier this year you can check it out here.
This one is going to be all about the beauty of a very rainy Porto and my days I spend there. To be fair even though it poured down most of my day one and two and occasionally during all the other days it was still so worth the visit! As we all know Portugal is well known for its tiles and boy do they have some pretty ones. I mean if you could choose any house colour wouldn’t you choose tiles as well? I thought so! You will see in the picture below that there are houses covered entirely in the most beautifully crafted pieces you have ever seen. Here are just some of my favourite patterns. And make sure to not miss out the train station in Porto, this is some handcrafted tile porn gallore as well as the Church of Saint Ildefonso.
There are most certainly areas of Porto that might seem rather unattractive but for me those where the parts I enjoyed the most. Especially the old houses in Ribeira where an array of little alleyways leads you to some beautiful look out spots and the locals still live there. Especially on Saturdays the smell of freshly washed laundry will make you feel like you are walking in your grandma’s house. You can genuinely see the real Porto there and if you pass by one locals just say a ‘bom dia’ with a smile and you will be sure to get one back. Just to clarify this I am not talking about the pretty part of this town right be the river but the houses that start just after that, they might be less polished but they don’t need to be the authenticity those have could not be bought with all the money in the world.
I already mentioned the pretty part of town and when the sun is out, also when it is raining, it is something else. Both sides of the Douro River a worth a visit and the views from there are something else. You might be reminded of the Eiffel Tower while looking at the Ponte Dom Luis, well your eyes did tell you right that good old mister Eiffel was involved in the process of this beauty connecting Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia. Yeah the other side of the river is a whole other city, but there are all the Port wine tastings so I am not sure which one to vote for….well who am I kidding there is more than enough of this delicious wine in Porto as well.
As you know no trip of mine would be completed without trying some traditional food. In Porto I got told by an amazing tour guide [yeah I did one of those free walking tours…don’t judge me] that the one thing to try is a Francesinha, which is in a away a croque-monsieur but better. It consists of two bread slices filled with almost anything you could imagine, covered in a thick tomato and beer sauce and topped with melted chesse. If this does not sound like the right thing to warm you up after a couple of hours in the rain I don’t know what will. It might not look like the most appetizing thing but make sure to check out the broad selection at Verso em Pedra. I won’t forget to mention the divine sausage that was flambeed right in front of my face and just tasted delicious with a little spice to it.
At this point there is not much more to add but make sure to also check out the Livraria Lello [you do have to pay entrance but they have English books so you might just want to invest in a new one], the Clérigos Church [where I saw one of the prettiest sunset ever] and the Mercado Bom Sucesso [a really modern indoor food market with real fancy stalls]. In case you also plan to solo travel I can more than recommend the Tattva Design Hostel right in the center with the friendliest staff and amazing interior as well as views from the rooms!