Adoration 4 Adventure’s 5 reasons to visit Porto, Portugal.
I might be biased but Porto is now one of my favorite European cities. It has everything this girl could want in a destination – easy to walk around, incredible views and very affordable. Plus, it has the added bonus of giving me an opportunity to practice my Portuguese.
Since living in Brazil in 2013, I have been studying Brazilian Portuguese using various methods including group classes, private lessons, books and apps. So you can imagine how excited I was to be visiting a city where they speak the language I am learning. Well…. sort of. Actually the Portuguese from Portugal and Brazil are a little different. Especially in the accent. For the most part though, everyone could understand me and I could at least follow along in conversations.
Don’t worry if you don’t speak a word of Portuguese. The citizens of Portugal generally speak excellent English and are more than happy to converse with you. In fact, even if you don’t speak English that well, they will still try to understand and help you.
Sounds amazing right? Well read on for more reasons why you should visit Porto.
Everything about Porto is easy. Taking the train from the airport to downtown is very simple and cheap (just a few Euros). Then once you arrive to the center, chances are you won’t need to take public transport again because this city is very walk-able!
There is so much to explore and my favorite way to do that is by foot. I actually took two walking tours while staying in the city – as one morning tour covered half of the city and the afternoon covered the other half. In addition to that, there are still many gorgeous and winding alleys that you can wander off on your own.
One thing that I loved about both Porto and Lisbon (Portugal’s capital) was the number of incredible rooftop views that the cities provide. Porto is not shy is showing off it’s beauty. Some of the best city views, including Vitoria and “the path of virtues” are included on the free walking tours.
Portuguese cuisine on a budget
Porto has two dishes that are traditional to the area. The first is a “Tripas”, a tripe and bean stew. I decided to take a pass on this one, however don’t let that stop you from diving in. If you are unsure about the tripe then you can ask for it on the side.
The second dish is the “francesinha”. This is one monster sandwich! Basically they take two slices of white bread and fill it with meats such as beef, sausage and ham then cover the whole thing in cheese. The bowl is filled with a tomato and onion sauce which may include other liquids such as whiskey and Porto wine. If that wasn’t enough, the meal also comes with a side of fries. I highly recommend sharing as I didn’t meet anyone who had finished it on their own. For “uma francesinha e cafe com leite” (and coffee with milk) I paid 8.30 Euros.
Bacalhau (cod) is also a popular dish, although not specific to the region as you can also get this in other parts of Portugal and Brazil. Still if you like fish, this can be a really nice meal or snack to have with a “cerveza” (beer).
All in all, I found the food to be really cheap! For breakfast hit up the local “padaria” (bakery) to enjoy fresh bread and coffee for under 2 Euros. Then at lunch time, look for a sign that says “menu do dia” (menu of the day) which will include a starter, main and a drink for as little as 5 Euros. This meal is also huge so don’t be afraid to share.
Any Harry Potter fans here? If so, then you will definitely want to add Porto to your list. JK Rowling lived here at the time of writing the first book. There are many obvious connections between the city and the novels which I will let you discover by yourself (hint: a lot of these will be covered on the free walking tours).
You can even visit some of her favorite places to write, including the Cafe Majestic and Livraria Lello.
Oporto City Hostel
While staying in Porto you will want to be somewhere central and fun. Oporto City Hostel provides a relaxed and social environment in an excellent location. The hostel is an easy stroll from all the major historical attractions and an even shorter distance from the Trinidade Station.
I found the staff to be super helpful and always smiling. At the front desk you will find information about the free walking tours that I mentioned, as well as a pub crawl and port wine tour. In addition to this, they can provide you with a city map and recommendations.
Location: Rua Guedes de Azevedo 219, Porto
I was a complimentary guest of Oporto City Hostel however my opinions are my own and will always remain unbiased in order to provide the best recommendations to my readers.
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