Traveling through the beautiful city of Porto last week, I discovered a new found love for smaller cities in western Europe. While not as fancy as the big cities around, Porto is one of the most beautiful & lively cities, I’ve ever been to. Moreover, the fact that it is absolutely walkable makes it cheaper & more desirable for a budget traveler. With architectural sites, beaches, local wine, Porto took my breath away (literally too, because of all that walking). So, here’s my Porto Travel Diary for you from the 24 hours (1 day) I spent in the city.
The only other city in Portugal, after Lisbon, to enjoy the status of a ‘global city’, Porto is a quaint but very lively coastal city in northwest Portugal. It’s characterized by its glocal cultures, stately bridges, and port wine production. It’s another old city that dates back to Roman times & has a combined Celtic-Latin name, Portus Cale. In fact, the city’s name is considered to be the originating source of the country’s name, too (Porto- Portugal).
Porto is one of the oldest European centers and its historical core was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. It’s based alongside the river Douro River in east and western part of its urban area extends to the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Its newer but rich architectural representation was also created to impress the investors and generate tourism business. The entire city is within the walkable limits. Whether you love relaxing and soaking in the beauty of a place or want to literally dance on the streets, this city is your calling.
Much like Lisbon, Porto has pleasant weather from March to October. However, since the city is smaller and thus cheaper & kind of off-beat, June (summer) is the best time to visit this city. Even when the city is crowded near the center, where all the tourist attractions are, it’s much more doable than any other big cities in western Europe.
1-day itinerary: Porto Travel
Hike in the Crystal Palace Gardens
These 150+-year-old gardens offer the most beautiful city views for the takers. The place is beautiful for a relaxed yet active start and you will see most of the city when here. I recommend taking your time to follow the hiking trail around the corners of the garden be charmed by views like these. Also, I recommend the garden for some resting & napping on the right day.
Walk in the city center and see all the wonders of the city in Ribeira from the colorful houses (Cais da Ribeira) of the district – the most typical district of Porto as well as a UNESCO heritage site – to the rest of the historical center consisting of charms like:
- Cais da Ribeira (iconic)
- Igreja back Grilos (iconic)
- Saint Lawrence Church
- Rua de Ferreira Borges
- São Bento station (iconic)
- Pont Dom-Luís (iconic)
Don’t forget to indulge in some of the Porto wine, something that is iconic.
Watch the sunset & chill Foz District
You can stay in the Ribeira area for the sunset and catch this view…
However, I would call that a mistake because you can actually go to the western part of the city -Foz district- and watch a surreal view. The lighthouse- Phare de Felgueiras- here is a known beach point of the city of Porto and makes for stunning Atlantic views. You can then take a walk on the stunning beach road & make the most out of the beauty it has to offer.
Stick around in Foz or head back to Ribeira for the nightlife of the city which is still evolving but stays charming nonetheless. There’re several great bars in the Ribeira side for the young & hip. If you’re looking for the ocean breeze, beach views, & poetry, Foz is the place to be for you. Beware that Foz is a little more expensive than Riberia and you must decide on the place to be before going there since not all of them close to each other.
I personally couldn’t find the right time/weather for it but here’s a list of swimming beaches to check out while you’re in Porto:
- Praia do Carneiro: Small but popular choice within the city limits
- Matosinhos (Praia de Matosinhos): Most popular & largest sandy beach close to the city
- Mindelo (Praia de Mindelo): About 25km north to the city, one of the best beaches in North Portugal
- Praia do Senhor da Pedra: About 14km south to the city
Probably the root of its English counterpart, the Porto Belo Market is your one-stop shop for antiques, records, classic books, etc. Not only that, there’s a lot of unique antique furniture, and all kinds of homemade treats and sweets freshly made. And it’s right near the center of the city.
Since I had only one day in this beautiful & diverse city, I wanted to look coastal but be comfortable at the same time. So, I got this beautiful ensemble off-shoulder + wrap skirt set from Shein & paired it with a pair of comfortable white over-sized shoes. Basically, followed my own advice of putting comfort as the priority but doing that in style. *wink* Of course, I added my white crochet sling bag to finish the look.
Towards the afternoon/evening, I traded the skirt for a pair of denim shorts just for a bit more comfort of walking about but the Bardot top worked perfectly with it. I used a denim jacket for layering.
So, that was my Porto travel diary. Do share with me if you think I missed out on something so I can cover that on my next trip to the beautiful city. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my travel in style diary & recommendations, so don’t forget t comment about that, too.
Big shoutout to my partner site Shein for all the featured outfits here & making this blog possible. Go show them some love, check out their daily updated collections, & get it all for an additional 15% off with code ‘9ADITI’.
For more of my travel in style adventures, keep following ERTSY. Till then, keep exploring, keep discovering!