Hi All! Heather here from Ohio Girl Travels. With a never-ending case of wanderlust, I’m always planning my next getaway! My travels take me on adventures in my home state of Ohio (USA) throughout the United States and around the globe! I’ve traveled to 3 continents, over 20 countries (many of those several times) and 38/50 United States. When I’m not traveling, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Chad, and dog, Izzy. Besides my husband, dog and travel, my favorite things are reading books, drinking wine and meeting every dog that crosses my path! ;)
Heather let me know that she had been dreaming of Porto, Portugal, and having never been to Europe myself I'm so excited to be able to share her top 5 faves from her time spent there!
From the moment I stepped off the train, I fell in love with Porto. As the first piece of Portuguese history that visitors see when arriving in Porto, the colorful and whimsical tiles are a warm welcome! Nestled along the Douro River, just south of the Douro Valley and an approximate 2.5-3-hour train ride north of Lisbon, Porto greets visitors with Old World Charm.
While I enjoyed every moment in Porto, here are my top 5 favorite experiences in Porto, Portugal! Enjoy!
1. Portuguese Tile Treasure Hunt
Portugal is known for the colorful and whimsical ceramic tiles. The beauty of these Portuguese treasures is showcased throughout the city on building facades, churches and train stations. Everywhere I looked, I found more colorful tiles. It became a game to locate the different colored and patterned tiles throughout the city and I found myself creating my own Portuguese tile treasure hunt!
Although you can view the vibrant ceramic gems throughout the city, the most impressive display is at the So Bento train station. More than 20,000 tiles depict Portugal’s history on the walls of the bustling train station!
2. Lello Bookshop
As a lifelong bibliophile, there are only a few things in this world that makes my heart happy like reading a new book or perusing the shelves of a bookstore! Situated in an unassuming historical building, the Lello Bookshop opened in 1906. With a neo-gothic design, marvelous wood-carved central staircase, built-in bookshelves, and wooden floors that creak when you walk on them, this bookshop is a dream for book-lovers! The Lello Bookshop is believed to be the inspiration for the wand shop in J.K. Rowling’s famous books. With thousands of book titles in several languages and beautiful design, Lello Bookshop might just be my favorite bookstore in the world!
3. Six Bridges River Cruise
With its prime location along the banks of the Douro River, Porto boasts six different bridges that tower above the river. While you can stroll along the riverbanks to view the bridges (especially the most famous bridge, Ponte Dom Lus I), taking a boat tour will provide another perspective of the bridges and the charming riverfront city. *Visitors can find boat tours along the Riverfront Ribeira.
4. Tasting Port Wines
Port-style wine is a medium-sweet wine, with 20% alcohol, and typically consumed as a digestif after a meal. Most of the world’s port-wine is produced in the Douro Valley region and visitors are welcome to tour the numerous riverside port-wine lodges. Although technically not in Porto, but just over the river (a short walk over the pedestrian bridge) in the town of Vila Nova de Gaia, the port-lodges line the riverbanks and hillside.
After falling in love with the views from the tasting room and the delicious port wines at Graham’s Port Lodge, I am still dreaming of my lovely afternoon there, sipping on port and overlooking Porto!
5. Sipping on a cappuccino at Majestic Café
I love to start my morning with a perfectly-crafted cappuccino! While in Porto, the perfect place to sip on your morning coffee is at the Majestic Café. This gorgeous Art Nouveau café was established in 1921 and oozes style of a by-gone era with wood carved details, large ornate mirrors, decorative plaster figurines and beautiful lighting. Enjoy the coffee of your choice and some handmade pastries at Majestic Café, it’s the picture-perfect way to start your morning in Porto!
Porto is a World Heritage City with the perfect combination of Old World charm and an eclectic vibe! A visit to this riverside town will delight any visitor with its historical charms, vibrant Portuguese tiles, local shops and cafes, port-wine cellars and marvelous bridges!
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