I did promise another post about my trip to Porto so here I am, standing by my word. Better late than never, don’t you agree?
So with no further delays, let’s just step into it. And if you haven’t seen my first post about Porto, please make sure to check it out here.
We called Porto romantic, picturesque and full of mystery. But let’s not forget extremely touristic! I mean.. that is what you get after repeatedly being voted one of Europe’s top unsung city-breaks and undiscovered destinations, right?First thing I recommend you to visit in Porto is the Clérigos Tower. It’s one of the most emblematic monuments in the city and climbing its 230 steps will give you a privileged and amazing view over the city and the river. It’s a great start for your Porto adventure, I promise!
You should also know that to reach the Tower you have to pass through The Church of the Clerics, which is beautiful by the way, and finish the journey through the House of the Brotherhood, where the Museum is located. So in the end you kinda get a 3 in 1 deal, for only €6,5 per person. It’s a bargain!
Moving on, at only 3 minutes walking from the majestic Clérigos Towerwe found ourselves in front of the famous Lello Library! This bookshop supposedly inspired Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, in her depictions of the Hogwarts library.
As a huge Harry Potter nerd, visiting this library was on top of my “To Do” list in Porto.
When we arrived the place was packed with people and the queue was endless! I didn’t manage to take 1 good picture without having someone photo bombing my carefully chosen scenario but luckily you can find stunning ones online, with a simple search on Google.
The library has a gorgeous interior and honestly, walking around inspires you to read. Nevertheless, from the 4,000 visitors they have per day, less than 5% would make any purchase, which is why the library decided to charge an entrance fee of €5.
They’ll deduct this fee if you purchase a book, which is really nice, but I must admit that the books are pretty overpriced so in the end the majority leave empty-handed.
Tips: Bear in mind that you have to get your tickets at the Armazéns do Castelo store, just around the corner. You also have to leave there any strollers or bags you have with you. They have lockers in the back where this can be done (you’ll need to deposit €1 to close the locker – when you return the key you’ll get your €1 deposit back). They will refuse you entry to the book store if you have bags with you.As you can see in the above pictures, the weather was not extremely friendly; it kept us on our toes at all time! From this point of view I must admit that April was not the ideal month to visit Porto.
Luckily, we enjoyed a few sunny days also and quickly decided to visit the Ponte Dom Luís I and the famous riverside quarter, communally called Cais da Ribeira.
The grandiose Dom Luís I Bridge is one of the most iconic structures in Portugal. You can walk across the lower deck using the narrow pavements road, or be really brave and traverse the structure using the 60 meter-high top-tier footpath, which also accommodates a metro railway line. Need a head for heights but a wonderful vista from atop!After walking the bridge we made our way to the famous stairs you’ll find on the right side of it, which took us straight down to the Ribeira area.
Filled with boats bobbing along the water’s edge and colorful narrow buildings, the Cais da Ribeira is a wonderful place for a stroll. Ribeira is the quarter of Porto which has most profited from the tourist boom, and hence Cais de Ribeira is often very crowded.The shops, restaurants and pubs are extremely eye-catchy, especially at night when all the lights come on. Nevertheless, as you would expect, they are overpriced and reflect this premium location.
Enjoy the scenery but move a little bit off the main area and prices will drastically go down.A trip to Porto is like stepping back into time, a time where the pace of life moved more slowly and people took the time to enjoy the small moments. Depending on what you are looking for, it can be a great adventure.
Don’t you agree?