Portugal is known for its warm climate and beautiful beaches, but there’s more to this country than it’s coastal capital, Lisbon.
A new city is now catching the eye of tourists around the world. Stretching across the banks of River Douro is Portugal’s second-most popular destination called Porto.
The city attracts Europeans from northern Spain who cross the border to dig their toes in the sand or enjoy custard tart in the iconic café where J.K. Rowling once sat down to write the first few chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Here’s how you can soak up Porto’s beauty and culture in just 48 hours. Let’s get this adventure started!
Once you fly into Porto, the city center is only 15 minutes from the coast. There’s no need to get a taxi to the main city area, since there is a reliable metro connection running through the entire city. Travellers can take metro directly from the airport to the city’s commuter station, Trinidade.
Start your trip by visiting the historic Estacao Ferroviaria de Sao Bento, adorned with tiled walls, watermills and vineyards that convey the chronicles of the city’s most historic battles and conquests.
If you’re more fond of Portugal’s regional cuisine, head over to Rua Santa Cataria. There, a café named Majestic serves the most scrumptious custard tarts (or pastel de nata in Spanish) you’ll find anywhere in the country. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to secure a seat at the table where J.K. Rowling once sat down in the 90’s to write the chapters of Harry Potter’s first book.
Just a mile from the café is the famous Capela de Almas which serves a history lesson of its own in the form of its typical blue and white tiles which enclose the 18th century chapel where Assisi’s Saints Francis and Catherine spent their lives. If you’re looking for something even more ancient, the 13th Century Se do Porto cathedral won’t disappoint.
The beautiful Morro Gardens are the perfect place to soak up some vitamin D on your post-prandial walk before heading over to Calem Port Wine Cellar for a wine-tasting adventure.
After a breakfast of milk coffee and buttered toast, start off your second day in Porto by riding one of the oldest trams in the country, built in 1930s. You can catch this tram from Ribeira district along Linha 1. It journeys to a coastal neighbourhood called Foz which has some of the best beaches in Porto.
Since breakfast in Portugal is typically light, you’ll probably be ravenous, come lunch time. Luckily there are plenty of restaurants that offer Porto’s classic francesinha. It’s a hearty sandwich dish which has a fried egg, sausage, roast meat and melted cheese wedged between two slices of bread, doused in tasty beer and tomato sauce.
Round up your trip with a delicious local beer from Letraria Craft Beer Garden Porto known for serving the best quality brews.