TG Tips – Porto

I finally made it to Porto this year (2017). You are probably familiar with the feeling of ‘travelling trepidation’ that accompanies going to a place everyone says is wonderful.

IMG_20171112_180440

Well, that certainly turned out to be unfounded. Porto is a great city. Really more like a big village. I spent three wonderful days there and only wished (which is only a positive thing) that I had more time… I mainly visited the river area – preferred the Southern bank and ventured off to the Atlantic. I must return to visit more of the ‘old town’ sites, but these days when I travel, I don’t rush around and try to see everything.

Here are my Tour Guide Tips to Porto… Enjoy

Accommodation

Guest House Douro, Rua Fonte Taurina 99 – 101 S Nicolau. Well, what a find! In the more than 1000 hotels I have been privilege to spend at least one night in, this one comes closest to perfection. A true example of you get what you pay for (for it is not cheap). Wonderful location, fabulous room (small, but who cares with such a view).

708-1

Incredible hosts and staff – you can trust them to take care of your entire stay if you like, restaurants, tours, transfers etc. Breakfast is a work of art. I will be back for sure. My hotel of the year 2017 without a shadow of a doubt. You can reach them Guest House Duoro – contact.

Restaurants and Food

Well, firstly, if you are staying in the hotel listed above, you can let them take care of all your dining needs. If not, here are a couple of places they found for me, plus a couple I discovered by myself…

Terreiro492, Largo do Terreiro 30. This was the best place I ate in during my time in Porto. Were I the sort of person who returns time and again to the same restaurant, I would have certainly done so to this. I loved the ‘up table’ by the window (see photo) and the food – I ate only seafood – was wonderful.

IMG_20171113_073823

I simply asked them to bring me whatever was good that day, and it did not disappoint. The bill was far less significant than it would have been in most European cities. Reservations are essential. Try this number +351 22 201 1955 as I did not find a website.

Mercado Beira RioAv. Ramos Pinto, 148. The South side of the Douro turned out to be my favourite part of Porto. I spent hours here. This ‘market’ is more of a foodcourt really. I stumbled upon it one evening and thought there were a few tourists, during both visits, I saw mainly Portuguese people there.

image

You can go at any time of day, lunch, pre dinner ‘tapas’ style or even just to have dinner. There are stalls with all sorts of food – I loved the Bacalao soup – and wine and beer, in fact good beer and lots of port as you’d expect. Great place. A happy find. This place does have a (good) website, with a youtube video. Mercado Beira Rio.

Escondidinho do Barredo

photo3jpg

Adega São Nicolau, R. de São Nicolau 1. Another great place found for me by the hosts of my hotel. And as such once again a place that allows you to sit back, relax, not look at the menu (always love when that’s the case) in favour of letting the house pick for you. Once more, sea food – though they also have meat – and fabulous wines.

AdegaSNicolau-Convida-2017-010

And at such reasonable prices. One cannot really compare, but what this meal would have cost outside of Portugal, well… The only ‘blemish’? No Portuguese diners in sight, but then I am not a Portuguese diner either. Couldn’t find a website, but they were turning away people who didn’t have reservations.

Bars…

Well, there are hundreds. The big question seems to be do you want to sit in the sun looking South of the River, or sit South of the Douro with a view of the sun drenched Cais da Ribeira area? The discovery I made here was (white) port and tonic – yum. I am not sure I knew there was such a thing as white port before this visit, but what I am sure of as a result, is that find a place in the sunshine, mix with with ice, a slice of lemon and top it up with tonic, and it doesn’t half go down nice around sunset…

Ribeira 50R. de Cima do Muro 62-63. The address of this bar translates as ‘the street on the top of the wall’ which… is exactly where you’ll find it. Along here there are many many bars from which to get a drink, from the very rustic ‘associations’ to more sophisticated spots.

2a77f6a1141c69ae12667ce53372c9dc

This was as good as any I came across and with a decent selection of tapas to boot, perfect as a place to take in the view of the bridge and do a little reading. I was soon joined by a friendly seagull, which is never a bad thing.

Praia da Luz. Av Brazil, (The Atlantic). I took the tram only on my last morning to the Atlantic coast and found this place. How beautiful. I was by myself on this trip, but were I return in company this bar is where you’ll find me at sunset. (It is also a great strip to run along during the day).

Travel Portugal Porto

The bar is open all day wit food and drinks. There is a cafe style beach bar sort of place down near the sea, and what looks like been a more posh restaurant up behind it. I had only an hour or so here, but I could have spent much much more with a good book and the sound of the sea. Their website is Praia da Luz, Porto.

Port…

So, chances are you will want to visit at least one Port making place whilst here. After all, every bar and restaurant (and if you are lucky enough) hotel, will ply you with the stuff almost from dawn until dusk. Truth be told I was close to a little ‘ported out’ by the end of my three days, having never drunk so much Port in my life before. But I do love the stuff and I would like to recommend two places for two reasons; the tour and the merchandise.

Graham’s Port LodgeRua do Agro 150. (Can be tricky to find). Once again my visit to this lodge was thanks to my wonderful hotel. I was told as tours go, this is the one. Firstly, I got there much to early for my tour, but fortune favours the brave, for what a site! After the uphill walk I was ready for a drink a coffee and there can be few more beautiful places for that than at the bar attached to Graham’s Port Lodge.

IMG_20171113_125151

So, get there early. The tour itself was good, just the right length and the tasting – take the premium (why not?) is relaxed in stunning surroundings and with all the time you need. Tours go at different times during the day and in different languages, so make sure you book ahead. Graham’s Port Lodge website.

SandemanLargo Miguel Bombarda 3. Like most (all?) of the Port Lodges, located South of the Douro, this is the place to go for merchandising. I actually didn’t try their port on this occasion, though they have what appears to be a fabulous cocktail bar outside in the square.

porto-sandeman-port-wine

But I love the poster and everything they sell. In fact I confess to buying the original (and very warm) ‘Estudiantes’ cape from their shop – along with posters, fridge magnets etc. They do a tour also and of course have a Sandeman website.