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!
- 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
- Bolhão Wine House – is located in Bolhão (our big market) and they have a great wine selection
- Flor dos Congregados – go for lunch and ask for the pork sandwich or go for dinner and order anything – it is all delicious
- Guarany – one of the most beautiful coffee houses in Porto!
- Leitaria da Quinta do Paço – they make the best eclairs! Originally a milk and butter store they have since evolved into eclairs
- 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
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.
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
And to catch a bit of sun as well.
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.
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.
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.