We landed in Lisbon, Portugal and then took a train to Porto, Portugal There are many trains that can get you to Porto, my suggestion is to find the one that has few stops. We noticed that it would have been better to book the train ahead of time because there are seat assignments. Also check in to see if there is a big difference from 1st class to 2nd class, on the return our seats were only $20 difference and it gives you more space and more comfort.
Again I say it over and over again do carryon luggage to Europe or at least small bags, several of the train stops do not have escalators or elevators so you are lugging your bag up and down stairs.
Porto is about a 3 hour train from Lisbon, honestly the hardest part of our entire trip was trying to stay awake on the train from Lisbon after flying in from NYC I can only imagine how difficult it would be if we traveled from the west coast and then took the train to Porto.
Porto is an amazing beautiful city right along the Douro River. I will list below some things that are must do’s while you are visiting Porto.
10 Things to do while visiting Porto….
There is a famous street in Porto that has great restaurants/cafes and tons of shops. Check out Santa Catarina with good waking shoes, the streets in Portugal are done in cobblestone street, so wear good walking shoes to check out all the fun cafes and shops. Best part of Porto is just watching all the tourists walk by so plant yourself at a good café and enjoy the show!
Seriously I hate the thought of even saying this but buy a ticket for The Hop on and Hop off bus, they run are great deal that allows you to tour around Porto, river boat tour and then visit some of the Port Wineries for a low cost of $22 per person for 2 day pass. If you want to visit different wineries and get a tour on your own those cost on average $15 per person. I thought this was a pretty good deal and a great way to rest your legs for awhile.
Do a boat tour, this is included in the hop on and hop off bus tour if you decide to go that direction. The tour is about 50 minutes and takes you down the river to view 6 different bridges. Get your camera ready because not only the views are great of the bridges but you get a different perspective off the shoreline with all the beautiful buildings.
Head to the beach side of Porto, this is called Foz Do Douro, you can get some amazing views of the sunset. There are also a few restaurants to take in the view from. Again, Hop on/off bus will take you there as well just make sure you are on the blue line.
Walk along the pedestrian bridge to see Porto from a different perspective. The bridge is called Dom Luis Bridge, the plans were started in 1881 and finally opened in 1886, at 564 feet tall it has breathtaking views of Porto.
The bridge connects the Port Wineries with the old town of Porto. Really incredible views in the morning as well as sunset. There are a couple of cafes just under the bridge that you can great views of the sunset.
Porto is known for their Port Wine. Port wine is typically a dessert wine, the grapes used to make the port wine come from the Douro Valley, there are at least 52 varieties of grapes. Hubbies favorite was the Tawny, packed that port wine all the way home in our suitcase. Another bit of info….Port wine can only be called “Port Wine” if it comes from Porto, Portugal.
Portugal is famous for their cork. You can find cork wallets, purses, bracelets, etc. Try and stay away from the tourist shops some of the cork their is not as high quality.
Did you know the average oak cork tree can produce up to 65,000 cork stoppers for your wine bottles?
Why is cork so great? Its very easy to clean, just soap and water and its very light, for example if you have a cork purse versus a leather purse you will definetly notice the difference. Cork is available in different shades.
The best quality of cork actually comes from the Algarve area of Portugal.
Take a ride on the cable car in Porto, enagurated in 1893, its maily used by tourists but definetly a fun way to the city. Weighing in at 28,000 pounds be sure not to stand in the way of this mighty cable car. It seats only 23 people, best time to get your seat is get there in the morning. Best place to pickup the tram is in front of St. Francis Church.
Santo Ildefonso Church, the tile work is truly amazing on this church. Actually many of the buiding through Porto have this beautiful Azul (blue) tile on the buildings. Make sure you stop by to check this out.
This beautiful church was completed in 1739, the church was named after the bishop of Toledo.
The church is located near Batalha Square.
Last tip for Porto, find a cafe or restaurant and order a drink. Our favorite things to do is just relax and watch the locals and tourists walk by. Click on the picture and it will take you to restaurants in Porto.
Websites used for this vacation
where we stayed
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Porto City Center. This is a fabulous location, close to the city and an easy walk down to the river where all the cafe and restaurants are, about 25 minutes. This is a brand new hotel, so the rooms are designed quite well, breakfast is a typical European breakfast and of course its free which is always a great thing. When we were in Porto we saw several other IHG hotels and we were very happy we chose this one, with its great location and recently built you will not be disappointed in your stay.
Travel take alongs
I love this travel adapter because you can plug in 2 USB cords, charging up your phone and ipad at the same time.
Great Samsonite luggage, used for carryon luggage. This suitcase is great because its a spinner, never again will I buy a suitcase without 4 wheels, makes it much easier to lug through the airport.
Get updates, travel tips, and more straight to your inbox!