Updated: Jan 3, 2019
To be honest, I was not familiar with #Porto before booking my #Portugal tour. Several people told me that they had some of the best wine, but that is about it. After exploring Porto for 3 days, it became one of my favorite Portuguese cities. With rustic charm and colors, you cannot help but fall in love with it!
Here are six ways maximize your experience in Porto:
1. Cruise the Douro River
Cruising the #DuoroRiver was the absolute highlight of my time in Porto! It was a true, breathtaking romantic experience. The colors and layout of the buildings along the river reminded me of the pictures I have seen of Copenhagen (#goals!). The Luis I metal arched bridge is a signature marker of the city and adds character to your pictures by the river. For some spectacular views, hop on one of the boats to sail under the bridge. As you continue sailing, you will see the Maria Pia Bridge, which was built by Gustave Eiffel.
2. Visit the Church of Sao Francisco
Portugal has its fair share of churches. #ChurchofSaoFrancisco was the first of many, many visits of churches. This church is worthwhile to check out because it is the last Gothic monument in Porto. Constructed in 1425, it is distinguished by its elaborately large rose window, which was part of the original structure. The interior of the church is cool to see due to the very detailed woodwork of altarpieces, ceiling and columns.
3. Walk around Cais da Ribeira (aka Porto's riverside)
Not only is #CaisdaRibeira picturesque, but it is also very lively. There are tons of bars, restaurants, and cafes to choose from both along the riverside walk and the hidden alley/stairways. You will surely get the perfect picture of the iconic Luis I bridge. The best part of area is the entertainment, whether it is young dancers putting on a show or a group performing some classical Portuguese music.
4. Wine Tasting at the Ferreira Wine Cellar
One cannot leave Porto without trying the #Portwine, which is one of my favorite wines because of its sweet taste. That is a result of adding grape spirit in order to stop the fermentation. The wine is then stored in oak barrels from anywhere between two years and four decades. I visited #FerreiraWineCellar for a wine cellar tour and wine tasting. The rich history was evident, especially through seeing some wine bottles from the 1800s. Playing a major role in Porto's #winemaking history, the Ferreira Wine Cellar was built in 1751 by a family of notable winemakers. It was cool to see so many barrels stacked up and learn about how the wine is made. It was even better to try different types of port wine. I, of course, bought a couple of bottles, which were only about eight euros each.
5. The Beach
Interested in taking a dip in the Atlantic Ocean? Porto has its fair share of beaches! The one I went to was an extremely rocky beach with very chilly water called #PraiadaLuz. Although not exactly what I expected, it was definitely quite an experience.
6. Palacio de Bolsa
It is very breathtaking to walk around here! Formerly the city’s stock exchange, the #PalaciodeBolsa is conveniently located next to the Church of Sao Francisco in the historical center of Porto. Constructed in the 19th century by the city's Commercial Association, the highlight is this decadent ballroom known as the Salão Árabe (Arabian Hall), with walls containing elaborate Moorish designs covered thinly with 18kg of gold.