Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat

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Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat

I’m so excited to be sharing my Porto Travel Guide with you! Michael and I try to set aside two weeks every year to go on an international trip. This year, we decided on Portugal and Morocco. We visited Lisbon and Porto (Douro Valley too!) in Portugal and Marrakech and the Sahara Desert (with pitstops along the way) in Morocco. If you missed them, check out my Lisbon Travel Guide and my Morocco Travel Guide!

Portugal has been on my travel list for a while now. Once we started planning our trip, we had to decide where to go! Porto immediately topped our list as it looked like a really cool city and it’s close to Douro Valley, one of Portugal’s wine regions.

Porto exceeded every expectation I had. The people were friendly, the city itself is beyond charming and beautiful (old European feel), the food was great, and it was generally an easy place to visit and a place where we really felt like we were on vacation. Uber is available and most people speak English. And it’s on the far western side of Europe so it’s an easy hop from the East Coast. And the wine region was outstanding!

Porto Travel Guide

Let’s dive in!

Getting There

As I mentioned, Porto was part of a two-week trip to Portugal and Morocco. We spent the first few days of our trip in Lisbon, then we visited Morocco. We flew from Morocco to Porto on Ryan Air. It’s a short 1.5 hour flight from Marrakech to Porto. If I had to do it all over again, I would avoid booking Ryan Air flights.

Ryan Air is a budget airline, which means they nickel and dime you for every single thing. The check-in process is also a nightmare. The only reason we flew Ryan Air was because they offer the only direct flight between Marrakech and Porto. However, in hindsight, I would recommend booking TAP Portugal and dealing with a quick layover in Lisbon. We flew TAP Portugal from the US to Lisbon and also from Lisbon to Marrakech. They offer great service!

Where to Stay

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat

I can’t say enough good things about where we stayed in Porto. We stayed at the Sheraton Porto Hotel & Spa. The hotel is centrally located, an easy Uber ride to anywhere in the city. It’s also VERY nice. In my opinion, Sheraton properties can be hit or miss, this one is a hit! Because of Michael’s Marriott status from work travel, we were upgraded to a suite, which was amazing, especially after coming off of a week in Morocco.

What to Do

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat

There’s so much to see and do in Porto! But with three full days to explore, I think we did a pretty good job of covering the highlights. As a caveat, Michael and I like to explore cities through food and drinks. We’re not huge museum or art people. Michael is more of a history buff than I am, but I do enjoy seeing historical landmarks when we travel to different cities. We also enjoy walking around new-to-us cities to get a feel for the different areas of town and different neighborhoods.

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat

H&M Dress (wearing small) | Kendra Scott Earrings c/o | Sarto Boots (old, similar) | Anthropologie Bag (similar) | Quay Australia Sunglasses ($55) | Gorjana Sunburst Necklace 

Douro Valley // This is a MUST! We spent an entire day in Douro Valley, Portugal’s equivalent to Napa Valley. We hired a driver to pick us up from our hotel at 9AM. Our driver, Miguel, was amazing! He helped us pick out the vineyards we wanted to visit ahead of time (all via email), and he handled scheduling everything too!

Douro Valley is about an hour drive from Porto. It’s really beautiful and the drive goes by quickly. We visited three vineyards in total.

Our first stop was at Quinta dos Frades. It was so beautiful, and we had our own private tour and tasting. The property was beyond gorgeous and the wine was amazing.

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat
Quinta dos Frades

H&M Dress (wearing small) | Kendra Scott Earrings c/o | Sarto Boots (old, similar) | Anthropologie Bag (similar) | Quay Australia Sunglasses ($55) | Gorjana Sunburst Necklace 

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat
Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat
Quinta dos Frades

Our second stop was at Quinta do Pôpa. They have a picnic option, which we reserved ahead of time when we (Miguel) booked our tour/tasting. We opted for the picnic instead of going to a sit-down restaurant so we would have more time at the vineyards. The picnic spread was so delicious, and it came with a bottle of our choice of wine from the vineyard too! The tour and tasting was in a group setting, but it was fun! We ended up meeting two couples that knew some mutual friends of ours!

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat
Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat
Quinta do Pôpa
Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat
Quinta do Pôpa

Our last stop was at Wine & Soul. This was my favorite spot as I loved getting to spend time with the owner of the vineyard. We tasted some of the most amazing Port wine I’ve ever tasted! I officially became a Port fan!

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat
Wine & Soul with Miguel

H&M Dress (wearing small) | Kendra Scott Earrings c/o | Sarto Boots (old, similar) | Anthropologie Bag (similar) | Quay Australia Sunglasses ($55) | Gorjana Sunburst Necklace 

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat
Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat
Wine & Soul

All of the vineyards we visited are small vineyards, which is what we prefer. You won’t find tour buses full of visitors at these three. I highly recommend contacting Miguel if you’re planning a trip to Douro! He was awesome, knew all of the vineyard owners and wine makers, and took care of us the entire day!

All in, our trip to Douro took up an entire day. We left our hotel around 9AM and returned around 8PM. It was SO worth it!

Back to Porto …

Igreja do Carmo & Carmelitas // Two catholic churches separated by one of the world’s narrowest houses. This house was built to make all contact between the nuns and the monks impossible. We went inside of Carmo, and it’s beautiful! There’s also a gorgeous blue tiled wall on the outside of the Carmelitas.

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat
Igreja do Carmo & Carmelitas
Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat

Amazon Sweater c/o (wearing Small) |  Madewell Jeans (size down one size) | Sarto Boots (old, similar) | Anthropologie Bag (old, similar) | Quay Australia Sunglasses ($55) | Stella & Dot Earrings

Palácio da Bolsa // We did the half-hour guided tour of this landmark. It’s a beautiful building and worth checking out!

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat
Palácio da Bolsa

Amazon Utility Jacket c/o (wearing Small) | Joules Striped Top c/o (wearing Small) | Mott & Bow Jeans c/o (TTS)  | Tretorn Sneakers (TTS)

São Bento Rail Station // This is a fully operating train station. It was built in the 19th century and is known for its exquisite tile work.

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat
São Bento Rail Station
Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat
São Bento Rail Station

Amazon Sweater c/o (wearing Small) |  Madewell Jeans (size down one size) | Sarto Boots (old, similar) | Anthropologie Bag (old, similar)| Stella & Dot Earrings

Dom Luís I Bridge // Dom Luís I Bridge is a double-deck metal arch bridge that spans the Douro River between the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. It’s nice to walk along the river and catch views of the bridge.

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat
Dom Luís I Bridge

Porto Sign // We had to stop by the Porto sign and snap a touristy pic!

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat

Where to Eat

Coffee/Breakfast/Lunch

I love checking out coffee shops in the cities we visit. Michael and I like to not only hit up coffee shops for breakfast, but for lunch too! Usually, coffee shops offer some sort of food menu and prices are usually pretty reasonable. While traveling, especially for two weeks, this is a great way to still eat great local food, but on a budget. We prefer to splurge at dinner and on cocktails! 😉

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat
Combi

Combi // I loved this spot! The owner was working the register and was so friendly. The coffee, açai bowls, and cookies were outstanding!

Moustache // This is a great coffee shop for lunch. They have a larger food menu than most coffee shops, but still coffee shop prices and laid back vibes.

Dinner

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat

Amazon Sweater c/o (wearing Small) |  Madewell Jeans (size down one size) | Sarto Boots (old, similar) | Anthropologie Bag (old, similar) | Quay Australia Sunglasses ($55) | Madewell Sweater (sold out, similar) | Stella & Dot Earrings

Tapabento // I received a recommendation from an Instagram follower to try out this spot – it was AWESOME! If you don’t have a reservation, make sure to get there around 6:30 (even thought they don’t open until 7). A line will form outside the restaurant and so long as you’re there early, you’re likely to get a seat. We got in line around 6:30 and were seated pretty quickly. The food, wine, and service were all wonderful!

DOP // If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, definitely check out DOP. The restaurant is beautiful, the service is top notch, and the food is outstanding.

Drinks

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat
Baixa Bar

Amazon Sweater c/o (wearing Small) |  Madewell Jeans (size down one size) | Sarto Boots (old, similar) | Anthropologie Bag (old, similar) | Quay Australia Sunglasses ($55) | Madewell Sweater (sold out, similar) | Stella & Dot Earrings

Bonaparte Downtown // This is a cool, lounge-y bar serving great cocktails. One caveat, we unknowingly sat in the smoking section so we ended up leaving after one drink. When we were walking out, we realized that the front section is non-smoking. So learn from our mistake and sit in the front room. 🙂

The Royal Cocktail Club // Royal Cocktail Club is a must visit if you’re in Porto! The vibes here are outstanding, and I had the best moscow mule I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot). The service was great too!

Baixa Bar // We sat outside at this spot one evening to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail and people watch. The cocktails were great, and it was fun to sit on the sidewalk and watch everyone go by.

Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat

General Tips on Visiting Porto, Portugal

  • It’s pretty casual – no need to dress up for dinner.
  • Uber is easily accessible and pretty cheap.
  • You need converters and adapters. Buy this and you’ll be set for any trip abroad for life!
  • The airport is close to the city center – 15ish minute Uber ride.
  • The currency is the Euro – You can get Euros out at the airport. Most places accept credit cards.
  • My entire Portugal packing list is here.
Porto Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat

Amazon Sweater c/o (wearing Small) |  Madewell Jeans (size down one size) | Sarto Boots (old, similar) | Anthropologie Bag (old, similar) | Quay Australia Sunglasses ($55)

Final Thoughts

Porto is a super easy city to visit as an American. It’s relatively easy to get to, especially if you live on the East Coast. Almost everyone speaks English. Uber makes getting around really easy. It’s a walkable city. The people are friendly. The restaurant scene is top notch. Overall, I highly recommend adding Porto to your travel list if it’s not on it already! It’s a place where you can have a nice mix of relaxing vacation time and exploring a new-to-you European city. I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to get back there soon!

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