Porto was the perfect city to start my most recent European vacation. It was sunny and scenic and small enough to wander anywhere we wanted to.
I had a couple hours to kill before Darran arrived to the city, and wandered in the sun, getting a sneak preview of where we’d spend the next few days, and embracing those first feelings of freedom while on vacay.
A few things I love love loved in Porto…
Admittedly the most touristy strip we walked, it was equally scenic and also lively.
Teenagers basked in the sun, while buskers entertained (depending who you ask) patrons of restaurant patios that lined the river.
I was also goofily taken with all the brightly painted building exteriors. Love that colour-blocking, Porto.
J.K. Rowling apparently lived in Porto in the early 1990s, so this little book shop is now cited among the locations the “Harry Potter” author was struck with inspiration.
And it’s not the most outlandish claim. The unique spiral staircase and ornate shelving and walls do feel something magical.
The store is also a legit tourist attraction, costing three Euros to get in, which counts toward the cost of a book should you buy one.
You will find yourself dodging tourists (like me), who are angling for their best shot of the bookstore for Instagram. Still, it’s worth stepping into this gem for a little browse, and soaking in the history of one of Porto’s oldest bookstores.
Well worth the walk up the tower of Clerigos church for stunning views of the city in every direction.
A Sandeira do Porto
We stumbled into this hole in the wall 10 or 15 minutes before it opened, and it was just so darn cute!
Plus, the sandwiches were tasty. Recommend.
Port cave tour
To be honest, the appeal of Porto being the home of port wine was a little lost on me. I don’t have a very refined palate when it comes to wine, and I specifically knew going in that I didn’t enjoy port.
Still, you can’t ignore a city’s major claim to fame, right? So I went into our Sandeman port wine tour with an open mind… until our tour guide told us that if you don’t like port wine, you should stop trying it, because you will never like it.
That was a valuable takeaway! So I drank up my port samples at the end of the tour (I had already paid for them, after all), then two more samples that nobody had claimed, and moved on with a nice little buzz to to live a port-less life from here on out.