Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe

Posted in Portugal
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe

After spending a quick weekend in Madeira last year, I knew I wanted to visit mainland Portugal. The people there talked about how so many things were incredibly different between mainland Portuguese versus the people of Madeira and any other who speak the Portuguese language. If you’re unaware of the history of Portugal, they had a powerful colonial past building ports and infrastructures in vastly different parts of the world. I’m talking about ports in places like India, East Asia, Africa and beyond. Each region was completely different in its cultural makeup and today all those historical roots are prevalent today. The people of Porto were proud, warm and caring. In my guide to Porto you will find that hospitality is at the forefront and daily life is freckled with traditional tendencies. So let’s begin the guide to Porto, shall we?…

Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe

Guide to Porto: What I Wore

Though we went in the off season, the weather wasn’t too terrible. On the sunny days, we were able to get buy with just a leather jacket or a light layer. It did, however, rain and that is something you have to look out for in the off season. Nonetheless, I prefer to travel in the off season as crowds are mild and the locals come out. Before this guide to Porto, I wrote about the most versatile dress of the season that was also shot and worn in Porto.

outfit one

dress BODEN tights WOLFORD boots NEXT blog post HERE

outfit two

jumper BAUKJEN skirt GREAT PLAINS and SIMILAR boots NEXT

outfit three

blouse BODEN jeans JOULES shoes NATURALIZER

Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe

Guide to Porto: Attractions & Sites

  • Igreja do Carmo - This is the church that is all over Instagram. All the churches and their tiles are impeccable, but the open area and the full tiled wall makes it very photo friendly. I would recommend visiting this one!
  • Livraria Lello - If you’re a Harry Potter fan, then you will recognize this bookstore immediately. The only problem is that there are just entirely too many visitors and you have to buy a ticket to go inside, which can be reimbursed with a purchase.
  • Clergios Tower - If you’re looking for a panoramic view of the city, climb the tower from Clergies Church and you will have a gorgeous view of the orange roof speckled Portuguese city!
  • Sao Bento station - I thought I had seen some impressive train stations, but this one {through quite small} is incredibly impressive. The tiles tell a story and you can get close and see the illustrations.
  • Mira Duoro - Another view of the city is from this funicular, but on this one you will get a closer view of Porto and the Douro River. Though we didn’t do this, our hotel manager said to take it up and just walk down as the views are better.
  • Stock Exchange Palace - Or the Bolsa Palace, is a palace that was built in the 19th century by the city’s Commercial Association in Neoclassical style. It boasts its interiors, so be sure to get a view!
  • Praca da Ribeira - This is somewhat like a boardwalk and though it’s not too impressive, it is quite tranquil. We ended up watching a sunset here and enjoyed some port wine with it!
  • Chapel of Souls - Another gorgeous church with stunning tiles. It’s a bit crowded around there as it’s a major shopping center.
  • Igreja Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso - This was my favorite church in Porto and mentioned in this guide to Porto. It almost sits on a hill and seems to have so much personality yet acts a bit “minimalist” compared to the other churches.
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe

Portuguese Aperitif Recipe: Porto Tonico Recipe

Fill the glass ¾ full with ice. Add 1 part port, 1 part Angostura bitter, 2 parts quality tonic. Gently stir until well mixed. Finish off with a twist of lemon and mint as a garnish!

Guide to Porto: Eat & Drink

  • Nata Lisboa - You must have pastel de nata when you’re in Portugal. A Portuguese egg tart that is then topped with cinnamon and icing sugar! We loved Nata Lisboa place compared to the other 4 places we had nata.
  • Livaria da Baixa - We just randomly stumbled upon this place roaming around the area. The cute cocktail bar is made of deep woods and vintage books and records, making it the perfect spot to cozy up with a porto tonico!
  • DaTerra - If you’re looking for a lunch idea and need a breather from the meat and fish, head over to Da Terra for a vegan feast! The buffet has an array of salads for under 10 euros.
  • Jimao - I had saved this restaurant a while ago and was excited to visit! Jimao serves up tapas of recipes originating from Olivença, a disputed territory between Portugal and Spain. Go for any of the Jimao specials!
  • Churchill Port - We didn’t get to make it to any of the wineries, but had a taste of the Churchill Port, which was our hotel’s (Mercador Guest House) favorite! It velvety and rich!
  • Cafe Majestic Porto - Considered the most beautiful cafe in the world, Majestic is highly frequented by tourists. Honestly, it’s okay, but it’s worth a visit just to see the interiors!
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe

Guide to Porto: Shops

  • A Vida Portugesa - If you’re looking for unique souvenirs, then I would highly recommend A Vida Portugesa—a curation of all things Portuguese and that represents Portuguese culture.
  • Claus - The Dyptique of Portugal, it’s a home fragrance, soap and candle shop. The branding is stunning and if you go to the second floor of the flagship store, you will learn about the brand’s history!
  • A Perola do Bolhao - I love these type of stores. They’re quirky and full of local food. From canned sardines, cured ham, chocolate and more! I ended up purchasing some organic dark chocolate that was made in Portugal from here.
  • Fernandes, Mattos & Ca Lda - On the first floor of the same building as A Vida Portagesa. It’s just a very cool shop with all sorts of unique things like vintage globes, Swedish backpacks, random kitchen utensils you didn’t think you needed…
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe

Guide to Porto: Tips & Advice

  • Stay at Mercador Guest House - It’s like staying in Porto during the 19th century. The house is full of history and the intricate details make it charming. You can read about my stay here!
  • Take an Umbrella - In the off season, Porto can be very rainy and windy. I would highly recommend a sturdy umbrella even for days when it’s not forecasted to rain.
  • Dress in layers - I may be a Londoner now, but do dress in layers. It was cool in the mornings and evenings, but got quite warm in the afternoons. There are lots of hills as well, making it a proper workout getting around. I took this versatile dress to take me from day to night!
  • taxi vs. trains vs. walking - We ended up getting a 3 day travel pass from the airport and quickly realized that it wasn’t all that necessary. If you’re staying in the city centre, then you won’t need public transport all that much. Most of our travel routes required more walking than staying on a bus and when we wanted an easy way back, the taxis and Ubers were extremely economical.
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe

And that is the end of my guide to Porto! It was a lovely city break right before the Christmas mayhem! Have you been to Porto? What would be on your guide to Porto? Also, if you’re looking for additional trip inspiration, Brenda of of Sundays & Somedays has shared her Porto itinerary as well!

Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe
Guide to Porto: and a Portuguese Aperitif Recipe