Escape from New York: Extended Travel

3 Days in Porto

By Seth Fera-Schanes

Three hours, 30 euros and a direct train ride from Lisbon to Porto makes me a happy traveler.  Sipping Port wine along the Rio Duoro as I watch the sunset over the Atlantic and the lights of this tiered city come up means I will be going to Porto again (and again.)img_7868

Neighborhood

I stayed about 1.5 miles away from the river which ended up being a great central location.  Close to a large farmer’s market, shopping, restaurants and multiple subway stops.
img_7764

Transportation

Public transportation in Porto is a great option.  Affordable, consistent and clean (the trifecta.)   There are multiple zones so spend a few minutes looking at the map and then purchase a day pass and great ready for some great adventures.

Boat tours – I took one of the Rio Duoro hour long boat crusises. They run all day but my recommendation would be to take the one closest to sunset for some great photo opportunitites.  If you choose this option, purchase your ticket earlier in the day because it’s a popular trip.

Train rides – Porto has a large train transportation hub which is great for day trips outside the city. Note: if you are downtown, all trains will be routed through a second station that then takes you all around the area.

Walking – Best way to see the city.  I continued my 10 mile walks each day and it paid dividends.  It’s worth taking the time to make some zig zag tours around the city.

Uber – I wanted to get some nigthtime shots of the city.  However, it was 11pm and I really didn’t want to walk anymore. So….uber.  It was a couple euros and with entering your location before you get in the car, it helps eliminate some language barriers while attempting to provide directions.

Food

2 highlights: the 80 year old man who ran a 10 foot by 10 foot store and made cheese or  chorizo sandwiches.img_7881

Restaurante Flor de Congregados.  The best marinated sardines I have ever had, caldo verde was on point and the dessert list was simple but first rate.  A must visit restaurant (be sure to make a reservation.)
img_7909img_7911

Accommodations:

I found an apartment/hotel with kitchen, dishwasher and washing machine.  It was 80 euros/night and the front desk apologized for the expense because they only had the larger apartment available.  This place had room to sleep 4 people.  If you are with a group of friends or a family, then these are the places to stay.

Day Trips and Activities

Bookstore (Livaria Lello) is one of the reasons I wanted to go to Porto and it didn’t disappoint. Entry fee is 3 euros but if you purchase a book they subtract the fee.  A must see in the area. img_7737img_7739

Day trip to the beach.  There are a number of beaches but (Matosinhos Beach) is only 40 minutes away on the subway so I took that option.  It’s close to a major port but the beach had nice sand and was perfect for a few hour stay. img_7828

Guimaraes (old town with castle) takes around 1.5 hours.  You can pay a tourism company for a 1/2 day trip or get on the train and it’s easy to get there and navigate yourself.
img_7883img_7887

You could also do full day wine cruises, 4 x 4 expeditions and lot of other outdoor activities.  Or head to Gaia across the river and tour the many port wine cellars (and drink the afternoon away.)  I did and it was awesome. img_7857img_7848

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s