The colourful, laid-back city of Porto charmed me the first time I visited 2 years ago. This summer I was lucky enough to go back and fell in love all over again. Portugal is one of my favourite countries with it’s picturesque landscapes, ornate tiling and delicious wines. Not only did I get to revisit this remarkable city but I also got to reconnect with a friend I hadn’t seen in 4 years. I had a few days in Porto before heading to Lisbon to visit another friend that I had met for only 2 days last December. It was a fun-filled, memorable trip and I only hope it won’t be too long before I’m back.
I arrived in Porto to a downpour combined with high winds and a chill in the air. Having come from a sunny day in Scotland, this was comical and I couldn’t quite believe my luck. One short metro ride to the centre, and a walk down to the river took me to the gorgeous apartment that my friend had booked for us and finally, after 4 years apart, we were reunited.
We had volunteered together in Greece back in 2015 and had become very close. We’ve always kept in touch since then, but with her teaching job in South Korea, we hadn’t exactly been geographically close. For only 2 weeks she was back in Europe and I couldn’t miss seeing her and her mum so I immediately booked a flight to Portugal. I am so happy that we could spend 3 days together, catching up, enjoying Porto and drinking copious amounts of Port. It was just dreamy.
Having already visited Porto, but staying in the seaside suburb, I was keen to wander around the town more and explore the quaint cobbled streets and towering tiled buildings. Porto is so picturesque and the town is utterly charming. There is a lot to see and do, so I was more than happy to be revisiting this little city.
We wandered around the city all day, eating good food and marvelling at the sights. My favourite part of the day was actually when we wandered over the bridge to the south side of the river. This area seemed cool and laid-back, with loads of bars and port houses as well as a market, street food and buskers. The atmosphere was amazing and we stayed way into the night.
We started with a stroll up the market stalls and a sit down with a pastry before we headed to a bar to try some of the good stuff. We were immediately enticed with a ‘5 for 5€’ offer, which included 5 rather sizeable glasses of different types of port to try. We found this quite entertaining, as did every single person passing us, as we looked like two measly female tourists who couldn’t handle port. They were wrong. We definitely can handle our port.
After trying the port and finding our favourite (the ruby), we headed to a couple more bars to drink some more. Accompanied by a lovely Columbian family who we met, we had a great night. The rooftop bar was the highlight for sure.
Cycling around to Foz do Douro
On our second (and unfortunately last) full day, we rented bikes so that we could cycle to the beach suburb, where I stayed last time I visited. This area is pretty, green and has a rugged coastline met with fierce Atlantic waves and a chilly breeze. After an enjoyable cycle ride and tasty lunch, we chilled on the beach and then headed into the park for a cycle. The sprawling green park is stunning and full of locals having picnics or doing exercise classes which was fun to see.
After dropping off the bikes we discovered a vintage bar/warehouse/shop. It’s called Armazem and was a mixture of vintage-styled rooms full of antiques, as well as a stylish bar and a few shops. A very quirky place and we loved exploring it.
Sadly this ended my short and very sweet stay in Porto, as I was heading off to Lisbon on a 6:45am bus the next morning. I thoroughly enjoyed being back in Porto, and especially seeing one of my long distance best friends. Hopefully it won’t be another 4 years before we reunite again!
Thank you Porto.
PS. Here is a link to the post I wrote following my first visit to Porto: Pretty Porto.