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Your opinion of Porto

We are thinking of visiting Porto this spring but are not sure if there are enough attractions there to justify 3 nights there.
We will be coming from Lisbon.
We usually don't do more than 1 church and 1 art museum per city.
I'm not into visiting big parks but would consider going to one if DW wants it.

What was your experience in Porto?
Was it similar to Lisbon?
In what area did you stayed?
Where did you lodge?

Thanks for you replies.

Posted by
5634 posts

No, Porto is not like Lisbon and I recommend that you visit. It had a reputation as a grittier area but that has changed. The river flows by the city dividing it from Vila Nova de Gaia , where the Port houses are located. The area next to the river in Porto is a nice place to hang out and is filled with restaurants.
We visited the historic stock exchange building and took a day cruise including lunch East on the Douro River.
We stayed at The Hotel Infante de Sagres which was very nice and had excellent service.

Posted by
172 posts

We will have done 4 nights by tomorrow and like it a lot. Staying in Ribeira. City center looks like it has possibilities. Some chains coming in (Starbucks, for example) but haven't pushed out the locals yet. Porto is smaller, more intimate, easier to get around than Lisbon (if you like walking as we do it helps). Haven't ridden trams yet but from what I've seen, as opposed to Lisbon you can get in and get a seat.

We did take a day for a cruise up the duoro, return by rail. Well organized, much better than expected, china, silverware and a bottle of wine for lunch

Posted by
915 posts

There is definitely enough to keep you busy for three nights - which is really only two days. It’s still Portugal but has a lot of differences from Lisbon.

A food tour is a nice way to see the city while trying some of the food and wine. A trip across the river to Gaia is very fun. Some of the port lodges have regular wine, if you’re not port fans. Take the bus or metro out to Matosinhos for lovely grilled fish. Take a short cruise on the Douro or take the train.

I’ve stayed both close to river and quite a bit inland from the river. The river area is much preferred.

Porto is quite lovely and very much worth your time.

Posted by
443 posts

Thank you Helena Andrade.
That was useful information.

What would you recommend for old/historic structures besides the wall, museums and charming streets?

Posted by
2 posts

I really liked Lisbon and found it beautiful. There was a lot to do, but I never relaxed because it was so crowded. When I made it to Porto, I absolutely fell in love with the country. There was so much to discover there. The riverfront area is breathtaking and both sides have a lot to offer in terms of restaurants, port wine tours and tastings, boat rides, street performers, etc. The best part was finding something you didn't expect like a street that looked run-down at first glance, but actually was being revitalized and had some trendy little restaurants and shops mixed in. I ended up having some flexibility in my schedule and stayed in Porto five nights and did two day trips from there (Guimere/Bragga, Fatima/Coinbra).

Posted by
2234 posts

Nestor, I enjoyed Porto, and spent 6 nights there. But, I did not remain in Porto for all that time. I took three day trips, either group tours by van, into the more rural areas of Northern Portugal, visiting sites, farms, wineries, etc. Also one day trip by train, on my own, to Guimaraes, celebrated as the birthplace of Portugal. I had already visited the Douro Valley on the way to Porto, but that is another popular day trip, or overnight trip, using some combination of boat, bus, train or car.

Posted by
4128 posts

We loved Porto and spent three nights there after our Douro River cruise.

We stated in the best B&B we have ever stayed in. It is the InPatio Guesthouse in a great location not far from the riverfront.

Book early, it only had five rooms.

Posted by
104 posts

Spent 3 nights in Porto last June, including a Douro valley day tour; wish I had stayed in Porto a little longer. Also wish I had had Helena's list! I really enjoyed a street art walking tour that covered a number of different city neighborhoods. It was from At Will Tours, but other agencies offer them as well. Kind of glad I did not stay in Ribeira because that area seemed much more touristy. I stayed a short walk further up (at Maison Nos B&B) in what I think is called the Vitoria neighborhood within the Miragaia area.

Porto's Tile Bank (or Banco de Materials) is but one example of a quirky non-museum visit. It is a repository of hand-painted building facade tiles and some other architectural decoration, historical to modern, arranged by century, in drawers one may open and browse. My (limited) understanding is that people restoring old buildings can make contributions and withdrawals. It is located in one of the many charming plazas.