A Wine and Dine Weekend in Porto
Arts & Culture
Porto is a magical city. Picture yourself walking along the winding cobblestone streets, the feeling is almost like a treasure hunt for street art, with surprises adorning every blank space. And can we talk about the Portuguese and their serious dedication to tiling? Everywhere you look, the buildings are adorned with beautiful tiles, lending an incredible character to the cityscape. Imagine gazing at the colorful buildings that line the Ribeira—it's a feast for the eyes! And the best part? Porto is the perfect destination to satisfy your taste buds with some of the finest food and drinks in all of Europe, without the overwhelming crowds found in cities with similar offerings. Close to the Douro Valley and renowned for being the home of delicious Port wine, there is something for everyone here. Oh, the memories I have of indulging in pastel de nata, Portugal's national pastry, as a delightful amuse-bouche before every single meal. Trust me, this place is a food and wine lover's paradise, wrapped in an authentic and vibrant Portuguese charm.
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Where to stay in Porto
Luxe wine hotel built into the hillside above Vila Nova de Gaia, with 82 rooms and gorgeous Douro River views.
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Vila Foz Hotel & Spa
Come to this sophisticated Porto escape for its luxurious accommodations and prime location, stay for the Michelin-starred cuisine, sumptuous spa and bespoke experiences ranging from active adventures to wine tasting.
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Luxury meets history at this five-star palatial hotel located in Porto's city center.
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Things to do in Porto
Visit the Sao Bento Train Station
A must for its stunning blend of architectural beauty and historical significance, where you can marvel at the exquisite tile murals that depict the country's rich culture and transportation heritage.
Discover the city's many street art masterpieces
Some of the best places to find captivating street art are the neighborhoods of Ribeira, Miragaia and Cedofeita, as well as the areas around Foz do Douro and Campanhã, where colorful and thought-provoking murals adorn walls, alleyways and buildings, showcasing the creativity and urban art scene of the city
Walk across the Dom Luis Bridge to Gaia
Visiting the Dom Luís Bridge in Porto is a must for its iconic double-deck design, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city's enchanting riverside, historic architecture and the majestic Douro River flowing beneath.
(Fun fact: The bridge was designed by a student of Gustav Eiffel who, yep you guessed it, designed the Eiffel Tower.)
Insider Tip: Pictures are best taken when walking back across the bridge starting from the Gaia side. You'll get pictures of Porto's colorful buildings lining the river walk!
Clerigos Tower and Church
Climb the tower for a panoramic view of the city, and visit the adjacent church, an impressive example of baroque architecture! Also if you are a Harry Potter fan, this tower was rumoured to inspire the Astronomy Tower at Hogwarts.
(Fun Fact: It was once the tallest structure in Portugal when it was completed in 1763.)
Buy a book from Livraria Lello
Visiting Livraria Lello in Porto is like stepping into a whimsical literary wonderland, with its breathtaking architecture and shelves adorned with countless books.
(Fun Fact: J.K. Rowling taught English in Porto and it's beauty inspired many references from the Harry Potter series. You can see the influence garnered from Livraria Lello as it's enchanting atmosphere resembles Flourish and Blotts bookstore in Diagon Alley!)
Foz do Douro
Take a leisurely stroll along the promenade in Foz do Douro, a coastal neighborhood, and enjoy the beautiful beaches, vibrant cafes and charming seafront houses.
Insider Tip: Tucked away from the main tourist spots, Praia dos Ingleses is a small and secluded beach that offers a tranquil escape with its rocky cliffs, soft sands and crystal-clear waters, providing a serene and peaceful setting for a day of relaxation by the sea.
Day Trip to the Douro Valley
Hop on the train and be whisked away to the wine lands of your dreams! Taking a day trip from Porto to the Douro Valley is a captivating experience that allows you to explore one of the most breathtaking wine regions in the world. With its terraced vineyards, charming riverside villages and stunning landscapes, the Douro Valley offers a scenic escape from the bustling city, providing an opportunity to taste exquisite wines and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the region, making it a must-do journey for wine enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
Insider tip: Take a cruise down the Douro River and stop at one of the many incredible wineries offering homemade meals with expert wine pairings for lunch!
Visit Taylor Fladgate Cellars for a tour
Established in 1692, Taylor's winery in Porto is a renowned port wine house with a rich history. They offer interesting tours and tastings that showcase the art of port wine production, including cellar tours, guided tastings and unique experiences like vineyard visits and access to limited-edition ports. Enjoying a beverage in its place of origin makes it curiously more tantalizing.
Take some time to relax at the Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa at The Yeatman Hotel
Visiting the spa at The Yeatman is a luxurious and rejuvenating experience that allows you to indulge in a serene oasis overlooking the stunning city of Porto, offering a range of exquisite wine-based treatments that harness the antioxidant properties of grapes and wine, promoting relaxation, nourishment and a truly unique sensory journey for your mind and body. From vinotherapy massages to wine barrel baths, these specialized treatments combine the benefits of wine with expert spa techniques, leaving you feeling pampered, revitalized, and immersed in the essence of the region's renowned winemaking traditions.
Peneda-Gerês National Park:
Nature lovers will revel with a day trip to Peneda-Gerês National Park, the only national park in Portugal! Embark on hiking trails through lush forests, discover cascading waterfalls and admire the breathtaking landscapes of mountains, valleys and lakes. It's a great destination for outdoor activities and reconnecting with nature.
Just a short distance from Porto, Matosinhos is a coastal town known for its excellent seafood and beautiful beaches. Enjoy a seafood feast at one of the many waterfront restaurants, soak up the sun on the sandy beaches and explore the charming streets and promenade of this relaxed seaside destination.
Often referred to as the "Venice of Portugal," Aveiro is a delightful coastal town known for its canals, colorful Moliceiro boats and charming architecture. Take a day trip from Porto to explore the picturesque canals, visit the Art Nouveau Museum, and indulge in the local specialty, ovos moles (sweet egg pastries).
Places to eat & drink in Porto
Manteigaria: I was absolutely drooling over their exceptionally buttery croissants! Manteigaria is a must-visit for pastry lovers. Their freshly baked croissants are flaky, delicious, and come in different flavors, making it a great spot for a light breakfast.
Café Progresso: A historic café known for its charming atmosphere and traditional Portuguese pastries. It's a popular spot among locals and visitors alike, perfect for a leisurely breakfast accompanied by a cup of freshly brewed coffee
Combi Coffee: For coffee enthusiasts, Combi Coffee is a specialty coffee shop that serves top-notch espresso-based drinks. The cozy and minimalist atmosphere makes it a perfect spot to kickstart your day with a great cup of coffee.
Portarossa: Located near the riverfront, Portarossa is a charming café with a rustic and artistic ambiance. They serve a variety of breakfast options, including fresh pastries, toasts and yogurt bowls. The beautiful decor and friendly service make it a lovely place to start your day.
Padaria Ribeiro: This traditional bakery is a hidden gem in Porto, loved by locals for its freshly baked bread, pastries and sandwiches. It's a local favorite for grabbing a quick and affordable breakfast, with an array of options to choose from.
Fabrik de Nata: A renowned pastry shop in Porto that specializes in crafting exquisite pastel de nata, the beloved Portuguese custard tarts. What sets them apart is their unique port pairing experience, where you can savor the creamy and flaky pastries alongside carefully selected ports, creating a harmonious and delightful combination of flavors that truly elevates the pastry experience!
Tapabento: Located in the trendy Cedofeita neighborhood, and is a hidden gem known for its creative tapas-style dishes and innovative flavor combinations. The menu features a variety of small plates, showcasing the best of Portuguese ingredients with a modern twist. The cozy and intimate setting adds to the overall dining experience.
Casa Guedes: If you're craving a mouthwatering sandwich, Casa Guedes is a must-visit. Their specialty is the iconic "sandes de pernil" (roast pork sandwich) topped with melted cheese and served with a side of flavorful gravy (I'm still dreaming about it.) It's a local favorite and a delicious option for a quick and satisfying lunch.
Bacalhau: If you love cod, then this is the restaurant for you. Bacalhau offers a variety of traditional Portuguese codfish dishes prepared in different styles, showcasing the versatility of this beloved ingredient. From Bacalhau à Brás to Bacalhau com Natas, you'll find an extensive selection of codfish delights to satisfy your lunchtime cravings.
Taberna Santo António: Located in the heart of Ribeira, Taberna Santo António is a traditional tavern that serves authentic Portuguese cuisine. Here, you can savor classic dishes such as caldo verde (kale soup), cozido à portuguesa (Portuguese stew) and francesinha (a decadent sandwich). The rustic atmosphere and friendly service create a warm and welcoming dining experience.
Café Santiago: For a taste of Porto's iconic dish, the francesinha, Café Santiago is the place to go. This local favorite serves up this hearty sandwich with layers of meat, cheese and a flavorful sauce. The casual and lively atmosphere, combined with the indulgent flavors of the francesinha, makes it a satisfying and authentic dining choice. This is a huge sandwich so be sure you are HUNGRY!
DOP: Situated in a historic building in the city center, DOP is a renowned restaurant led by Chef Rui Paula. It offers a sophisticated dining experience with a menu that showcases the finest Portuguese ingredients prepared with creative flair. The elegant setting, attentive service, and exquisite flavors make it a top choice for a memorable dinner in Porto.
Barão Fladgate Restaurant: Located at Taylor's Port Cellars, offers a delightful dining experience with stunning panoramic views of Porto and the Douro River, paired with a menu that highlights traditional Portuguese cuisine with a contemporary twist, accompanied by an extensive selection of Taylor's wines, making it a perfect choice for a memorable dinner in Porto. It was my favorite meal in Porto!
Pedro Lemos: As a Michelin-starred restaurant, Pedro Lemos offers an exceptional gastronomic journey. Located in Foz do Douro, the restaurant focuses on contemporary Portuguese cuisine, featuring seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. With its impeccable service, elegant ambiance and imaginative dishes, dining at Pedro Lemos is a culinary delight.
Yuko Tavern: Two cuisines you never thought to combine! For a unique dining experience, Yuko Tavern combines Japanese and Portuguese flavors to create a fusion of cuisines. The restaurant is known for its exceptional sushi and sashimi, as well as innovative dishes that blend Japanese techniques with local ingredients. The modern and sleek atmosphere adds to the overall dining experience.
Cantinho do Avillez: Created by renowned Portuguese chef José Avillez, Cantinho do Avillez is a lively and welcoming restaurant that celebrates Portuguese cuisine with a contemporary twist. The menu features a variety of flavorful dishes, including inventive seafood creations, grilled meats and delectable desserts. I love the relaxed atmosphere and friendly service!
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Artemis Koutsogiorgas’s guide, Wine & Local Culture in Porto, Portugal.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Portugal.