It’s no secret that I have a love affair with Portugal, specifically the northern city of Porto. It’s one of my favorite European cities, which I loved it so much, I returned to visit the Alto Minho region. If you only have a short time, and are wondering what to see in Porto in 1 day, keep reading.
Cobbled streets and hints of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, neoclassical and modern designs are everywhere. To put it simply, Porto is beautiful.
What to see in Porto in 1 day
1. Visit the Ribeira
As a first stop, the Ribeira in Porto tops my list. The sun glaring over the colorful hillsides overlooking the mouth of the River Douro makes a picture perfect postcard.
From the center of town, hop on board one of the iconic brown and beige trams and take in the sights as you edge towards the bottom of the hill. Don’t miss on seeing the awe-inspiring Torre Dos Clerigos; it’s an important Porto landmark.
As you can imagine, there are many restaurants, bars and cafes in the area to taste the best Porto food. Sitting outside during the summer months is a must, all made better of course with a glass of port wine.
2. Get to a local wine bar
Porto is wine country, and they have the breathtaking Douro Valley to thank for its rich and plentiful harvest. While my short stay didn’t allow enough time, I’d urge you to book a cruise of the Alto Douro region.
If your time’s really stretched and you can’t do the cruise, opt for a wine tasting instead. Porto’s known for their excellent port wines, and if you’re an avid wine drinker like me, you’ll really enjoy visiting. Whether you taste wine via a cruise, train or cellar, these tours are guaranteed to be a lot of fun.
3. Check out the shops
With every city comes a treasure cove of shopping delights, and in Porto, it’s all about the leather bags and shoes. Shoes and bags are everywhere — so if these are your weaknesses, Porto’s your Mecca. To give you idea of the cost and quality, I came home with not 1, but 3 leather handbags!
Because of this, you may want to consider paying for hold luggage; it’s not easy stuffing shoes and bags into a cabin luggage!
A pair of well-made shoes will come in handy for the amount of walking you’ll do in Porto. Whether it’s a walk through the main shopping street of Santa Catarina, or walking to Praça Liberdade, your legs will get a good workout.
4. The restaurants
I can’t write about Porto without mentioning the excellent gastronomic experience. To sum up in one word, the food in Porto is phenomenal.
Give the traditional Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa a go. It’s a casserole of smoked cod, potatoes, eggs, olive oil and onions, and very delicious.
Also make room for the sumptuous fish stew and my personal favourite, roasted octopus. The rich Portuguese version of the Big Mac, the Francesinha, may not suit everyone’s taste, but try one for yourself. Porto eclairs and the iconic Pasteles de Nata will satisfy the sweetest of tooths.
What to see in Porto in 1 day — the verdict
Whether you have 1 day or longer to spare, Porto’s really worth seeing. The people are extremely friendly, and the food and drink is superb; I’d return tomorrow if I could.
The city, along with many other in Portugal, suffered terribly after the 2008 financial crisis. However, the city’s rich and vibrant culture, and the resilience of the people helped the city ride out the storm.
My memories of Porto — like the delicious bottle of Meio Quejo I sampled — only left me wanting more, and that’s never a bad thing.
Beautiful boutique hotels in Porto
If you want to spend longer in the city, I can recommend some wonderful boutique hotels. I particularly love the drop-dead gorgeous The Yeatman and Torel Avantgarde. The former offers luxury accommodation with views overlooking the River Douro and a 25,000 bottle wine cellar!
Boutique hotel Torel Avantgarde opened in September 2017 and boasts a 5-star rating. Its 47 rooms are colorful, unique and offer the highest quality in comfort and design.
Have you been to Porto? If not, would you like to visit? Drop me a comment below.
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