Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

Porto - Casa Oriental (Rua da Vitoria 112) - Krista photo

.

“The city is full of trams, smart alecks, decadence and life, and there’s a surprise waiting around every corner. Before I arrived, I assumed that five days and five nights would be plenty to explore the city, but when I left I left I’d barely scratched the surface.

Porto is the kind of city where you can hop on a tram and it’ll take you right to the ocean. On one memorable night, a misunderstanding meant that I took a wrong turn on my walk home, and only realized my mistake when I found myself by the ocean. Still, I suppose some people even get there on purpose.”


-------------------------


“This city buzzes with tourists, but it never felt crowded in the way some parts of Lisbon did. You’ll find some striking building on almost every corner, and many houses and churches with tiled walls. We discovered the zigzag streets, on almost every one of which is a church, chapel or monastery.” (2019)


-------------------------


“Porto is the second largest city in Portugal, and there is a continual rivalry between Lisbon and Porto. The Portoans think that southerners are lazy, while Lisboans consider Portoans rigid and unable to enjoy life. The opinions of my acquaintances are very diverse. Many love it, while many really don’t. I think the old town is beautiful, in a great location, and with lots of atmosphere.

Many of the streets in the old town are narrow and cobbled, so it’s best to explore the city on foot. There’s a wonderful azulejo display on a wall of the waiting room in the main train station. The bridge across the river, designed by Gustav Eiffel, looks great. It’s worth just sitting down at a café with a river view, ordering a coffee and a snack, and enjoying the spectacle.



Practicals

Transport

If you are in good physical shape and don't mind walking uphill and downhill, you can walk to all the famous sights in the central area.


Krista photo

------------------

“I think in Porto you can get most places on foot just fine, and it seems a shame to waste time and money on the bus. The only transport I’d recommend is the sightseeing tram, which here (unlike in Lisbon) has three lines. Two follow a circular route around the city, and the other takes you all the way out of the city toward the ocean. The price of a trip is €3, and a 24-hour ticket is €10/person. If you want to take a tram more than once and/or interrupt your journeys, it is worth getting the day ticket, but if you only want to travel back and forth on one line, it makes more sense to just buy a single ticket both ways, for a total cost of €6 per person.” (2017)


Porto - Airport train - kr photo

Porto - Mercedes taxi - kr photo

Porto - tram - j.k. photo

Porto - Luis I Bridge - walking&biking - Krista photo

Porto - Tram 22 - mainly for tourists - Krista photo

Porto - tuktuk - kr photo

Accomodation

x

Porto - small hostel in the Old Town - Krista photo

Food

“The most popular fish here is bacalhau (cod). Though it is beloved by the Portuguese, it can generally only be obtained now from Norway. Cod is the primary ingredient of most traditional Christmas and Easter dishes, but we heard that there are hundreds of recipes based on cod. However, the local specialty of the region is ‘Francesinha’, which in my opinion is a pretty shoddy attempt at creating a true, internationally recognized dish. In fact, the dish consists of putting seven different slices of meat and ham between two slices of toast, then putting melted cheese on top, plus sometimes a fried egg, and then over the whole thing - and in my opinion, this is perhaps the only point of the dish – they pour a beer-based, seasoned, spicy sauce. If you’re in the city you should give it a try, as well as the grilled octopus, pastries, local coffee, and – the thing I had the highest expectations of before arriving – the wine.”



Mercado Bom Sucesso

Porto -stylish indoor food market - Mercado Bom Sucesso - Kr photo

Porto - restaurant table on the street stair - maximizing space utilization - Krista photo

Porto - a recommended restaurant, Concept 31 (Rua dos Caldeireiros 41) - Krista photo

Porto - restaurant - kr photo

Porto - Mercado Beira-Rio de Gaia - Krista photo

Porto - breakfast - coffee and two pastel de nata - f.a. photo

Shopping

“The Mercado do Bolhão – the market hall. For me, this was perhaps one of the highlights of Porto. Bustling life in an old, slightly run-down building, old ladies, a diverse selection of fruit and vegetables, fish counters, olive vendors, souvenir shops, and wine terraces. Everything to stimulate the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth can be found here. It is located in the so-called Bolhão district, centrally located not far from the Câmara Municipal do Porto, at the intersection of Porto’s two widest roads. And the wines here are relatively cheap! In one of the small shops/wine terraces, we tasted the famous vinho verde, which literally means green wine. This refers to the freshness of the wine rather than its color. "Vihno verde is a light, acid-rich, low-alcohol wine, whether white, rosé or red" (source: vinoport). We tasted a white variation. We managed to do this at 11 in the morning - although we intended to leave the wine for the evening, it was so inviting, with a cozy terrace, nice, English-speaking waiters, and great prices. So we couldn't miss it. I also recommend trying wine at the market if you can! They are open from 10:00 to 17:00 on weekdays and from 10:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays. The name of the cellar on the terrace of whose shop we sipped wine is called Wine House Bolhão.” (2017)


Porto - El Corte Inglés, the best quality department store of the city - m.l. photo

Public safety

x

Porto - police cars in a touristy area - Krista photo

Porto - The big cat is watching you! - Krista photo

Others

1. In Porto, a funny trait is, that you can easily get lost, thereafter you quickly find yourself in one of the main points of the city, like Ribeira, Boavista, Foz, or Cordoaria.

Porto - a very practical Spot Luggage&Lounge (Rua de Camoes, 33) - Krista photo

Porto - Chinese tourist lady poses -Krista photo

Porto - interesting wall walkers - Krista photo

Porto - Teleferico - Krista photo

Background

Porto - total view - Krista photo

Destination in brief

Population (2020): 1.3. million

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 820 Euro

For tourists, Porto is slightly cheaper than Lisbon.

In Porto, you can see many abandoned houses; they are like ghost buildings. These give a terrible impression. There is no well-understood architectural character in most parts of the city. A big, 21st-century building is next to a house from the 18th century, a high building next to a tiny one.  Porto's architecture-wise is an embarassing mess. Notwithstanding, the experience-hungry visitors like the city. (l.p., 2019)

Krista photo

Climate

x

Porto - Liberdade Square - It's a rainy day, hallelujah! - f.a. photo

History

x

Porto - old bakery - Krista photo

Porto - late 19th-century classic - m.l. photo

Nowadays

"We walked among a mixture of small and large houses, villas, and well-kept gardens. The rich live in this part of the city. Quite a large English population also still lives here, with their own school and club. Here we saw the modernist residence of Cristiano Ronaldo’s manager, which is more a palace than a house. If the manager can earn enough to buy this, how much must the person he’s managing be earning?
I finally learned the explanation for the emptiness and abandonment of the houses in the historical parts of the city. I also came to understand why Lisbon’s historic city center has been so devastated. The beautiful medieval houses we admire are not easy to inhabit. Narrow, street-facing apartments consisting of several floors linked by steep staircases are not conducive to modern life. Nor can they be rented. People prefer to go to the suburbs to live in the new, larger, and mostly single-story apartments currently being built. The old ones stand there empty – there is no money for renovation, and it’s not worth it. The solution that seems to have begun in Porto is for companies to buy the houses next to each other and, while retaining the historic image of the exterior facades, modernizing the floors together, adapting them to the needs of today. They are rebuilding for their own offices or making flats out of them, which can be rented out. I think they will be grateful soon. If we are able to come back in twenty years or so I think we’ll see a bustling modern city with a historic character. (2017)


Porto - Rua Santa Catarina - Krista photo

Attractions

Ribeira

Porto - view on the Ribeira (Old Town) - Krista photo


Porto - railway station with azulejos and tourist crowd - Krista photo

railway station (azulejos)

Porto - Cathedral - patio - Krista photo

Porto - Cathedral (Sé do Porto) with azulejos tiles murals - Krista photo

Porto - Cathedral (Portuguese: Sé do Porto) - Krista photo

Porto - Cathedral - corridor with azulejo mural - Krista photo

Porto - Cathedral - courtyard -Krista photo

Cathedral

Torre dos Clerigos

Porto - Torre - Krista photo

Porto - view from the Torre - Krista photo

Bridges

There are many bridges, each prettier than the last. But the one unmissable bridge for tourists is The Dom Luís I Bridge. Whether on foot or by tram, you’ve got to take a trip across. Then, for instance, you can walk back on the lower level. It’s a great photo subject too, but don’t expect to get across quickly. On the top level, pedestrians can walk on the tram tracks, so it’s worth keeping a lookout for trams. The lower bridge is more dangerous, since it’s a roadway, and car drivers pay little attention to tourists taking photos, who in turn seem oblivious to the cars. The sidewalk is very narrow, so if someone stops to talk or take photos, their backpack can easily knock the following person into the traffic. Despite the crowds, the bridge is a must-see, if possible both by day and by night. In the evening, when the lights go on, everything on the other side of the bridge that looked ugly and characterless by day suddenly takes on a much more attractive look.

Visiting all the other bridges is primarily something to do by car – the heavy traffic means I wouldn’t recommend crossing them on foot.


Palace of stock exchange  (Palácio de la Bolsa)

Porto - Bolsa - Krista photo

Porto - Palacio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace) - Krista photo

 Vilanova de Gaia

Library of the Lello Brothers


Other churches

Porto - Church of Saint Ildefonso - Krista photo

Related posts

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.