Travel Journal

4 days in Porto, Portugal

Porto, I have now made such good memories with you. I absolutely loved the city and I came home, after 4 days, with wonderful memories and I can honestly say that it was one of my most memorable trips ever. Ok, maybe I say that about all my holidays but Porto, you hold a special place in my heart.

Check the links in red at the end of this to see the amazing street art.

To recap, I went to Porto for a friend’s 40th Birthday. Prior to that, I have to honestly say that I had never heard of Porto before. Now all I talk about is Porto. When choosing a destination, I was disappointed at the choice, only because I had been to Portugal before and I wanted to visit a new country,  but the birthday girl chose it as it was full of culture and history.

To my delight, I recently found a portuguese restaurant in Essex, family owned business and I even got to introduce port wine to my friend, who does not like wine, but now loves port wine.

I stayed at Crowne Plaza Hotel, which is about 20 mins by bus to the old town, which is the main area for the touristic places. I had a Porto travelcard, bought at the airport , which allowed me to use the bus and trains as much as I needed which was very convenient and a good value for money.

I got to the hotel by taking a train from the airport, and once I reached the destination I had to walk about 20 minutes to the hotel. That was why I took the bus for the next few days as the bus stop was just outside the hotel, therefore less to walk.

The people were generally very friendly and helpful. The ones that spoke English were the young ones mainly and they all helped with directions.

The hotel is not in a touristic part, therefore not many people spoke English. American tourists even came to us to ask for directions and help with the bus routes as they heard us speak English. We had communication trouble in a few restaurants, where they could not speak English or French, so we had to google translate everything we wanted to say. Very amusing situations. Now I know how to say butter, chicken, drink and so on in Portuguese.

At one point, we took a taxi, and the driver did not speak English, although he was eager to learn, and he learnt a few words from us. We ended up communicating with him via the concierge at the hotel.  But he was the most helpful, friendly taxi driver I have ever met, despite the language barrier.

Last holiday, I went to Algarve in Portugal and I did not struggle with communication there as 95% of the staff spoke French, so I was in my element.

What is special about Porto?

  • The River Douro

The river is one of the major ones of the Iberian Peninsula, starting near Soria Province,  flowing through Spain and Porto before it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. It has been said that it is one of Europe’s most photogenic river.
I could not agree more.

  • The food

Bacalhau is a must. It is the portuguese word for codfish and there are so many ways to prepare it ( grilling, boiling and baking ) so there are a lot of different bacalhau dishes to try.
Francesinha – This is a twist on a classic french sandwich, filled with meats, covered in cheese and sauce.

Salted cod fish
Bacalhau Pasties
Grilled fish with potatoes
  • It’s street art

Every corner I turned, there was something to look at, be it a tiled building, or simply art on the walls.

  • It’s downhill, uphill alleyways

  • Tiled buildings all over the place


  • The port wine cellars

I learnt all about the making of port wine, visited the cellars and got to taste it too. IMG_0057IMG_0062

  • Bookstore – Lello Livraria

Harry Potter fans, this is where J.K Rowling got her inspiration for her book. The setting of the library is similar to the setting of Hogwarts. It is also often said that Lello Livrairie is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.

It is the bridge I needed to cross, to go from the old town to the port wine cellars. It is a double deck metal bridge, similar style to Eiffel Tower, since it was designed by a student of Gustave Eiffel himself. I love bridges and this one is impressive as it is used for both pedestrians and the metro.

  • Porto’s Old Tram

Another way to see the town is by taking the tram which has 3 regular routes. Two pass through the town while one goes along the river Douro.

View from tram
  • Sao Bento Station

One beautiful station. I would happily wait there for my train everyday and gaze at the art work.

Cathedrals and churches

There a lot of churches and cathedrals in Porto, some free and some with an entrance fee. The ones I visited were Palacio da Bolsa, Igreja de San Francisco, Igreja dos Carmelitas and Church of Sao Pedro dos Clerigos.

I even got to see a wedding, well guests of the wedding and a blushing bride.

So these were a few things that I did. There was also free walking tours around the town, which had to be booked in advance. Everywhere I went, I saw walking tours and I did wish I had booked one.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who approach tourists and ask for money. Some of them would spin stories about their sick child, and that it would be really helpful if we could spare a few euros and then you would overhear them spinning a completely different story to another tourist about how they lost their wallet.
It did get uncomfortable at times, to be approached by such people who would follow you around.
Below are some links to places I visited and things I did, in more details or in photos.

Porto Portugal Guide

This post is proud to be part of the following linkups
#citytripping #farawayfiles #theweeklypostcard #followmefriday
Two Traveling Texans


  • frankie

    I’ve only been to Porto once and really enjoyed it but I don’t know how I missed the great Street Art, I’ll definitely look out for it when we go back. #citytripping

  • Cathy (Mummytravels)

    We were also in Porto earlier this year and it is such a wonderful city – although we were really unlucky and it rained almost all the time we were there. Despite that we did a lot of the same things you did, it’s such a wonderful place to wander around and lots to discover. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  • Sandra

    Porto is such a great place! You visited some cool spots I didn’t have time for and now I want to see them really badly!

  • Jessica

    I love Porto so much! I had never heard of it either, but one of my host families in Spain insisted that it was worth a visit since we were going to Lisbon. However, they did lead us astray in one part… they told us we really only needed to stay for a day. I really wish we had stayed longer! Such a beautiful city, this post brought back so many great memories. I’m in love with the scenery and the river, and the port wineries were a lot of fun. And oh, the Francesinha! Heart attack on a plate haha but so delicious. I don’t recall all of the street art, but it looks great! That just means I’ll have to return. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂 #FarawayFiles

  • Katy Clarke

    It’s been way too long since I was in Portugal. I would love to go to Porto – it looks like so much fun. My daughter would love that rabbit mural. I would love the wine cellars! Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  • Anna

    I loves Porto as well – Bacalhau was so delicious! We went for a special occasion and stayed in Hotel Teatro Porto, which had a bathroom in the middle of the room and curtains instead of doors! So many great memories – would love to go back one day! #feetdotravel

  • Deborah Regen

    I like port wine and cannot imagine how much better it would be to sip a sample while in Porto itself. Beyond that, I would enjoy the scenery, food, and the classic old blue and white tiles and other porcelains. Beautiful! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  • Anisa

    I loved Porto too, but we just had a little more than a day there. My one regret is that I didn’t get to try the Fransceshina. I was just too full from the cod. I want to go back and also tour the Douro Valley. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard

  • Kat

    I loved Porto too! I was there at end September last year – great weather, great food and great wine! Somehow I found bacalhau a little salty for me; didn’t game enough to try francesinha but worked well for me was port wine 🙂 I agree, Duoro River is the highlight of the city. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  • Mary {The World Is A Book}

    We never made it to Porto when we were in Lisbon and this post makes me want to go back to Portugal and Porto will definitely be at the top of the list. Much like Lisbon, I love the tiles and street art here. But, those port wines are such a great added bonus.

  • Vicky

    I would love to make a trip to Porto! Everyone raves about it when they return. I love the architecture and the food looks delicious! #farawayfiles

  • Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler)

    Porto Portugal seems to be the favorite places to visit. Great tips on visiting Porto. Good hotel choice with the bus stop out front and to purchase a Porto travelcard for public transportation upon arrival. The Bacalhau smothered in cheese looks so yummy! Porto was not on my radar to visit but now is. Great photos and thanks for sharing! #feetdotravel

  • David Johnston

    I adore Porto, it’s such a fascinating and beautiful city and it certainly seems like you saw many of it best qualities. Definitely a place worth talking about non-stop haha #TheWeeklyPostcard

  • Tracy

    Portugal is one of the few countries I haven’t explored in Europe and I really enjoy reading about it! Porto looks like a great place to visit and I am really looking forward to getting the chance one day!

  • Travel Lexx

    You guys visited some cool places in Porto – it was definitely one of my favourites on my visit to Portugal so thanks for bringing some great memories! Glad you enjoyed the trip!

  • see here now

    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch since I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

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