Great Ideas for Wedding Activities in Porto

Planning a wedding is hard enough, but pile on the requests for travel planning and advise for what to do and see and you have suddenly added ‘travel agent’ to your list of responsibilities. Wedding websites are a great way for brides and grooms to share information with their guests and it is also a great way to give them plenty of what to enjoy the city while they are here.
So if you are a bride or groom looking for wedding weekend suggestions for Porto, look no further, I have got you covered. Or maybe you are planning a bachelorette party/hen do or a bachelor party/stag do, either way I promise to make life a bit easier. And feel free to copy and paste to your own wedding website!
Let’s start where good things almost always begin, with food.

Things you must definitely eat while in Porto:

  • “francesinha” – Translation: little french woman. Start with two thick slices of bread, place inside different types of meats and sausages, cover in a special, tangy beer sauce and then top with a fried egg.  Be warned, it is estimated to have 2,500 calories, so maybe pass on dessert. I prefer to eat mine at Santiago F.
  • “rojões à moda do Porto” – “rojões” are cubes of pork meat and “à moda do Porto” means, cooked in the way specific to Porto, specifically referring to the addition of tripe to the meal. It is a beautiful dish of meat and rice, both of which you can’t go wrong with.
  • “bacalhau” – There are 1001 documented ways to cook “bacalhau” or salted and dried cod fish, which is dried and salted codfish. It’s known as the national dish and any of it’s cooking ways is good. If you are bit squeamish about the idea of it, I recommend starting out with pataniscas de bacalhau. You can thank me later.

One more, highly important note on this topic. Beyond being a wedding celebrant, I am also the co-founder of the best food tour company in Porto, it is called Taste Porto Tours are offered Tuesday through Saturday with a 10 person limit on the tour. I am not one to toot my own horn, so you can check out the TripAdvisor reviews for yourself, but I will say we are some of the top game in town, especially for food lovers. If you would want to arrange a private tour or tours for your wedding guest that is also possible, just take a look at the website. And even if you or your guests don’t want to do the tour you should at least eat at all the places we visit on our tour!

Taste Porto Food Tours
  1. Loja dos Pastéis de Chaves – serves a traditional pastry from the north of PT, they have both sweet and savory versions and I enjoy breakfast there
  2. Bolhão Wine House – is located in Bolhão (our big market) and they have a great wine selection
  3. Flor dos Congregados – go for lunch and ask for the pork sandwich or go for dinner and order anything – it is all delicious
  4. Guarany – one of the most beautiful coffee houses in Porto!
  5. Leitaria da Quinta do Paço – they make the best eclairs! Originally a milk and butter store they have since evolved into eclairs
  6. Taberna do Largo – a wine bar that serves small plates, the owners are our age and super knowledgable about wine, having on offer far more than just Port wine!

Next let’s make our way to some must visit locales.

There are some things, no matter how touristy, you just need to do, luckily for you, Porto is not like London or Barcelona, so worry not.

  • Downtown – tuck your map in your pocket and start to wander. Each winding alleyway will bring you to a new courtyard, cafe or shop. These small streets are the heart and soul of Porto.
  • Casa da Musica (House of Music) – which looks like a giant meteor crash landed in one of the main roundabouts of the city. Nevertheless, it is architecturally superb and has incredible acoustics for music concerts. It was built for Porto’s year as a European Cultural Capital in 2001. You can do a tour in English about the structure, getting a look at all of the different rooms and learning about the acoustics of them. Or you can catch a concert there, in summer they even move outside to enjoy the warm weather. Or just pop by the delicious coffee shop for a break and a bite to eat. One the weekends, in the evening the cafe hosts free concerts.
  • Serralves – a modern art museum that brings exciting art to the city. The museum is is located on 18 hectares of land that make it an incredible value for the entry price as you can spend hours wondering around or enjoying a picnic. The museum also has a high quality buffet restaurant that makes for a lovely lunch in
    Clérigos Tower

    the sun. Oh, and the first Sunday of the month is free entrance

  • Torre dos clérigos – I am sure you will easily spot this tall, skinny tower in Porto’s skyline or on all the postcards of the city. You should definitely climb it and enjoy the view, it is one of my favorite ways to see the city. I will give you fare warning that there is only one way up and down the 75 meter tall structure and that is with your legs. Think of it as good preparations for eating!
  • Ribeira – the area around the river Douro on the Porto side is a UNESCO World Heritage site – yes, it is that beautiful – and the best way to see it is to go to the opposite side of the river, the Gaia side.
Porto is the main city of the area and Vila Nova de Gaia, also known simply as Gaia, was the suburbs essentially until recently when it became a big city in its own right.  If you cross the Ponte D. Luis bridge – either from below or above, not for the faint of heart or those susceptible to vertigo, but with one of the best views in Porto – and walk about 5 minutes, you will reach an area full of wine cellar, bars and restaurants called “Cais de Gaia” (Gaia’s Pier). It is easy to recognize especially since they now have a cable car, which if you cross on top of the bridge is your best way to get down to the cellar and restaurants.
What they all really come for, the wine.
Now for the wine cellars. The one I know best is Taylors, which happens to have a fantastic view and where my husband and I did a tour and tasting before our wedding. There is also Ferreira, which is a favorite of locals because it is one of the few that has a Portuguese name. A favorite lesser known one is Real Companhia Velha. All cellars will have a tour inside with a free tasting of “vinho do Porto” (Port wine) at the end. There is also Espaço Porto Cruz which has a beautiful rooftop deck for enjoying a glass of port wine with some cheese or chocolate and watching the sunset over the river.

And to catch a bit of sun as well.

Foz Promenade

If you want beaches you have three different options from which to choose. You can take the electric tram along the river on the Porto side towards Foz (meaning mouth of the river). This is beautiful with or without a swim as there is a lovely view from the lighthouse and the promenade along the sea is beautiful and lined with good, though a bit more expensive, restaurants.

The second option is to take a car to the Gaia side where you have 15km of beautiful blue flag beaches with a few cafe/bars and a nice boardwalk to bike, walk, or run on.
And finally, you can catch the metro to Matosinhos for its beaches- also the best location for surfing and fresh fish in the city! For surfing check out Onda Pura or Surfing Life Club, either location will be happy to arrange private lessons or a class for the whole wedding party. As Matosinhos is a protected bay with manageable surf, not to fear, you will be up and riding in no time. If you go for the fish try Lusitano, it isn’t the fanciest, but you will have a very local experience with great food. Ask for what is fresh and then ask them to throw it on the grill. You won’t be disappointed! Alternatively, if you are unsure if a traditional option will satisfy all stomachs, check out Sempre’Assar where traditional fresh fish and other dishes are served along side sushi of the highest quality. Located across the street from the fishing docks, you cannot get much fresher.
For a bit of pre- or post-wedding fun I have got you covered.
To go out at night Galerias de Paris (yes, the translation is the Galleries of Paris ), an area comprised of a few streets around Clérigos tower where there are lots of bars where you don’t pay to enter, just what you drink so people are generally out in the street talking and enjoying the good weather.

If you are look for a wine bar with a different atmosphere, check out Capela Incomum Wine Bar, a former church turned wine bar, and they even kept the alter! Another chill wine bar in town is Prova, where they always have great jazz playing on the vinyl records there and the owner Diogo will be happy to find the perfect glass of wine for you.

Just a little Friday night wine tasting at Prova.
Looking for a venue that isn’t afraid to have challenging art, cheap drinks, lively conversations sprinkled with a Beyonce night here and a line-up of hard thumping DJs  there, look to Maus Habitos, meaning bad habits. Just promise me you won’t go the night before the wedding.
Café Lusitano remains one of the few gay clubs in Porto. Go for the great music selection, everything from the 80’s to today, but stay for the welcoming atmosphere and good drinks. In addition make sure to look around, the building was originally a grain warehouse, but has transformed over the years and they owners have gone out of their way to preserve the Parisian cafe feel from the belle époque.
But we have to bring home presents!
Regarding shopping, if you want well made products produced in Portugal by Portuguese designers, I highly recommend The Feeting Room. They started out focusing on high quality shoes by Portuguese designers, but have since expanded to include clothes and accessories. There is also a hidden coffee shop upstairs with a great brew.
For a few funky stores clustered together I recommend Centro Comercial Miguel Bombarda, in the heart of the art district. You will find alternative stores selling clothes, accessories, and home decor. There is also a quaint and healthy food stop inside where you can enjoy the sun in the internal court yard.

Did I miss something? Is there something you and your wedding party are keen to do, but would like a little local insight? Let me know! I love sharing my city with new friends from around the world.

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