Porto – Truths & Trivia

In Europe, Mini Breaks, Our Journeys, Our Tips, Portugal, Trip-Types, Truths & Trivia, Unesco, World Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

Just a little fun...

So this post is our light-hearted view of Porto in Portugal

It has some of the interesting stuff, a few trivial facts, and our thoughts on this charismatic, welcoming city.

Quick Links

Let’s start with the Truths about Porto

Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city after its capital, Lisbon. It’s located in the north of the country on the picturesque Douro River banks and has a wealth of culture.

Location

The 3 C's

Continent

Europe

Country

Portugal

Capital

Lisbon

As ancient history goes, Porto has a lot to brag about. Especially as it can trace its origins back to around 300 BC.
 
Prince Henry the Navigator, highly regarded for the “Age of Discovery” was born in Porto in 1394, to the Portuguese king John I. There’s a magnificent monument to the Age of Discoveries in Belém, Lisbon.
 
During the 15th-century Porto became prominent for shipbuilding in Portugal and developed as a major trading port.
 
One of the reasons I adore Porto is for its architecture. The beautiful churches with their inlaid façades of azulejo blue tiling are stunning. However, I love the vibrant streets with their intricate wrought-iron balconies clinging to the side of colourful homes. Ladies were peering across their washing lines, having a gossip with their neighbours opposite.
 
Yes, of course, Porto’s namesake needs a mention, it’s the delectable Port wine. This fortified wine is not only produced in red varieties, but you also need to sample the white too. They are amazing!
 
The Historic Centre of Oporto was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1996, followed by Alto Douro Wine Region in 2001.
 
Porto was a European Capital of Culture for 2001, along with Rotterdam.

Porto makes a perfect location for a city-break, with centuries of history flowing through the streets. There’s magnificent architecture around every corner and spectacular scenic views along the Douro River.
 
Porto is a little hilly in places, so be prepared to get the heart racing. However, strolling amongst the intriguing, heartfelt lanes is the only way to appreciate Porto and its iconic cityscape.

National Flag

Portuguese Flag

Regional Flag

Porto Flag

It’s good to talk

What speaks?

Language

Portuguese (English is widely spoken)

International Dialling Code

+351-21

Currency

Euro (EUR)

What Time?

Timezone

Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)

Difference from UTC

0 Hour

Stay Connected

If you enjoy what you see, and you’d like regular updates then join us for a monthly newsletter.

Newsletters
Our big monthly newsletter
Weekly round-up
Each new post - on the day it's posted

So what’s this Trivia then?

Regarding Porto, a European city of culture, famed for port wine, charming praças and the francesinha. All with a smile from the warm-hearted locals.

Did you know?

  • That the thin, narrow boats that have been transporting casks of Port wine along the turbulent waters of the River Douro, since the 10th-century are named Rabelos?
  • The quickest way across the Douro is on the Rabelas River Taxi. For €3 and 5 minutes later, you could be sipping a beer from a riverside bar.
  • Next to each other in Praça de Gomes Teixeira is the Igreja do Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas. These two churches one built next for nuns and the other for monks are just separated by a 1-metre-wide house.
  • The Portuguese Way or the Caminho Português is Portugal’s route to Santiago de Compostela. The route starts in Porto and winds its way north passing Portugal’s birthplace, the ancient city of Guimaraes.
  • The Portuguese appear to love singing. Not only did we listen to ‘tunas universitárias’ the student troubadours on the streets of Porto, but we also observed an elderly local lady serenading the balconies above.
  • Just a few miles south of Porto, in Miramar is the Capela do Senhor da Pedra. The tiny oceanfront chapel dating from 1686, is perched on a rock along the stunning Portuguese Atlantic coastline. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get there; however, this is undoubtedly one for next time.

It's famous for...

Food and Drink

Port Wine Tasting

Yes, most of us have heard of Port wine, but how much do we really know. Surely there’s no better place to put your knowledge and taste buds to the test, than in Porto. Pop over to Gaia on the south-bank of Porto and choose your favourite cellar.

Franchesinha

A sandwich like no other. Inside your two slices of bread are ham, smoked sausage, regular sausage, steak, cheese, and a tomato & beer sauce. If you’re feeling hungry, you can add an egg, and if that’s not quite enough, you can also have a side order of fries.

Majestic Café

For a little bit of indulgence head to the Art Nouveau Majestic Café along Rua Santa Catarina. This attractive café that opened in 1921, not only serves exceptional coffee but the surroundings are beautiful too.

Leitão assado da bairrada

Roast suckling pig is a traditional dish in Portugal and shared with the whole family young and old. A local friend urged us not to miss out and recommended Casa Ribeiro. Mmmmm, it was delicious.

See and Do

São Bento Railway Station

This is not just any railway station the foyer is stunning. The huge blue-tiled azulejo panels were constructed in 1916 and depict passages from Portugal’s history and rural scenes, they are exquisite.

Porto Cathedral

A trip to Porto wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the historic Cathedral. Especially to the internal Gothic cloisters, built between the 14th and the 15th centuries during the reign of King John I.

Porto Architecture

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, this is what I adored about Porto. The narrow streets’ lived-in feel, the unkempt edges, the vibrant tiling and the fluttering of Portuguese flags high from balconies above.

Porto Street Art

One of the animated areas for street art is around Vila Nova de Gaia. Just wander beyond the river-front, and street corners, backyards and dowdy corrugated shutters come to life.

Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar

One of Dom Luís I Bridge and Ribeira's most spectacular views is from the former Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar. Just keep climbing once you crossover the bridge and you'll make it. It's worth it, believe me.

Douro Wine Region

If you come this far you wouldn’t want to miss the UNESCO Douro Wine Region. You can either take a river cruise from Porto and meander through the valleys or hop on a guided tour through the hills, you won’t regret it.

A reference guide

If you've yet to visit the charming and colourful city of Porto, then you're in for a treat. I found this DK Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide invaluable. They're extremely informative, easy to follow, and the pictures and maps tempt you to discover more.

And our thoughts on Porto?

(Would we return? Is it good value? And did we feel the love?)

Return-a-bility

or What are the chances of us revisiting?
95%
(0% - You'll have to drag us over hot coals to go back 100% - Why am I not there now?)

Notes:

We loved Porto, especially for its relaxed and welcoming approach to tourism. The city may not be immaculate to the eye and perhaps even a little rough around the edges, but that’s what we treasured.
 
I’d love to discover more of Porto 3-nights just wasn’t enough.

Value for Money

Our value for money index. Don't forget we're Londoners, and that means our baseline is quite high.
90%
(0% - How much? I wanted to buy a drink, not the bar 100% - How much? I'll take two.)

Notes:

In general, I think Porto was reasonably priced, there are always popular spots; however, we found the food was good value. If you take a little wander to where you’ll find more locals, the prices are lower, and the atmosphere is absorbing.

Getting around town

What's it like discovering the city?
 
Is it walkable? do you need to use public transport? did we leave with weary feet?

75%

(0% - It's mountainous and public transport's a joke 100% - I'm in paradise.)

Notes:

Porto is rather mixed in terms of getting about town, it is fairly reasonable to walk around the main sights. However, it’s when you get closer to the Douro River that the hills start emerging and you’ll need your crampons.
 
But don’t forget there’s always a tram to get you around town.

Janis's Hi's & Lo's

Highlight

I loved the warmth and friendliness of Porto, strolling the ancient lanes, admiring the architecture and of course, a splendid glass of Port.

Lowlight

Mmm, that’s difficult, I actually can’t think of anything as I wouldn’t hesitate to return.

Gary's Hi's & Lo's

Highlight

So much, the architecture, the food, the drink - but I guess it's the soul of the city - which you can really feel as you stroll its streets & lanes.

Lowlight

It has to be the hills, but that's a small complaint really

* This post may contain links to affiliated sites where we earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

Inspired to visit Porto?

Grab your overnight bag and let’s start planning.
Search for your flights in one easy place with ebookers.com and open up a world of options. Over 400 airlines are scanned for your favoured routes and chosen dates.
Have a peek at the latest offers from Booking.com, our preferred hotel booking website.
Booking.com

If you enjoy what you see, and you’d like regular updates then join us for a monthly newsletter.

Newsletters
Our big monthly newsletter
Weekly round-up
Each new post - on the day it's posted
The Pin image of our post 'Valencia – Truths & Trivia'

(Why not Pin It for Later?)

About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

Trips100 - Travel Blogs
Trips100
Trips100 - Travel Blogs
Trips100Trips100

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.