When someone thinks of visiting Portugal, the first thing they map out is their visit to Lisbon. The capitol city is beautiful and a must see but there is plenty more to discover and one of Portugal’s gems is the city of Porto. Lisbon and Porto seem to have this subtle sibling rivalry much like Mumbai and Delhi do but having been to both I can see how gorgeous each one is. Lisbon is a city people make the time to visit but I think if you miss Porto, you’re missing a lot. These are my top reasons why you should visit this charmingly pretty city.
Porto Food Tours and Andre – This was the highlight of my Porto visit. Andre who heads Taste Porto Food Tours is a breath of fresh air, full of knowledge about the city and where to go for some great gastronomic experiences and most of all, incredibly proud of his city. This is a food centric walking tour but apart from visiting hot spots and hidden gems, Andre takes you all over the city and gives you some great insights, historic knowledge and some great stories about Porto. From the Cathedral, the aqua tiled churches, the Jewish quarters, and even a phenomenal aerial view of Porto, there is plenty to see, discover and eat on this tour.
Cantinho Das Aromaticas – This isn’t in Porto exactly but the nearby town of Gaia which is a ten minute drive. I’ll be honest I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this place as much as I did but it’s so picturesque with its vast amount of greenery, horses grazing in the distance, and it feels like a page out of a story book. The farm grows various aromatic herbs and it is one of the few farms in Western Europe that’s focused on organic farming. It’s one of the prettiest spots and they even encourage volunteers who might possibly interested in working on the farm. They retail a lot of what they grow and you can event shop online at their store here. It’s unlike most places you’ve visited but definitely worth a visit.
The Francesinha– My biggest regret is that I went to the town where this popular dish originated and didn’t get a chance to sample it ! It means ‘ frenchie’ in Portuguese and is actually an adaptation of the famous Croque monsieur but made to pander to typical Portuguese taste. This sandwich is a pork, ham, sausage, steak, melted cheese and tomato sauce fest served with a bed of French fries and usually some local beer. It’s easily found all over the country but Porto is where it’s from and you must try it !
This image is taken from the internet
This images is taken from the internet
Porto Tonic – A lot of people assume that Port wine is red and for the most part they’re right. There is also a white Port wine but it’s seems quite unpopular with locals. To encourage people to drink more white port, they make it a cocktail with white port, tonic water and a lemon wedge and voila! Porto Tonic was born! It’s cool, refreshing and the perfect drink to guzzle. A lot of locals think it’s a fad and turn prefer regular port wine ( which is also delicious ) but I think they’re nuts! I love Porto tonic and it’s something you absolutely positively must try!
Real Companhia Velha – This is one of the oldest and most prestigious wine companies in Portugal. The go back 258 years and own some of the best estates in the Douro Valley which really is the cradle of port wine production. While the estate and vineyards are a little further away Real Companhia Velha can take you through a tour of their cellars and organize exquisite tastings. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but if you are interested in wine this is the place to visit!
I was in Porto for a day and managed to squeeze in a fair bit but I’m sure there’s a lot more to explore and discover in this gorgeous city. If you’ve been there or are a local please let me know what I missed !
Disclaimer – This trip was part of a food tour organised by Aptece but the views and opinions are all mine.