Local: Porto

The city named after its country is surely a must visit when planning a trip to Portugal. A Unesco heritage site, Porto is the second largest urban center and maintained all the charms and traditions you would expect to find in the northern part of the country. The splendid Douro river and nearby valleys, part of the city’s history and allure, inspired fado songs and… Read more »

Only thirty minutes away by car, these two small cities are a must-see. They are charming, traditional, very typical of this part of northern Portugal and historically significant. Guimarães is considered the cradle of the nation, since it is Afonso Henriques’ birth place, the first king of the country. Visit the medieval castle and get lost amidst the many cobbled streets and squares. Braga, one… Read more »

The headquarters of the Commercial Association of Porto houses what used to be called Stock Exchange Palace. In this site you will find one of the most beautiful rooms in the whole country, the Arabian Room. The neoclassical building itself is worth a visit, as are the interiors, with wooden paneled rooms, sculpted ceilings, interesting historical facts, relics and coats of arms. Visits last forty… Read more »

The Douro Valley is one of the most beautiful regions we have ever visited, particularly if you appreciate wine. We recommend staying at least two nights, although some travelers prefer to spend the day only. If you opt for a day trip, take a car and leave early in the morning to make the most of your journey. Take the fast route until Amarante and… Read more »

Portuguese azulejo tiles are part of the country’s history and travelers usually enjoy coming across the quintessential blue and white, and occasionally gold, façades and walls. The tiles are a heritage of the Moors occupation of the peninsula, the word azulejo meaning “small polished stones” in Arabic, and it is in Portugal that it flourished the most. They are usually in geometric shapes or in… Read more »

The restaurant O Paparico is probably the best  in Porto and one of the best meals you will ever have on a trip to the country. We were greeted and served in the friendliest of ways, particularly by a kind bearded gentleman, only to later learn that he was in fact the owner and head Chef of the restaurant! The menu has just a few… Read more »

Chef Jose Avillez has become something of a celebrity in Portugal and his acclaimed dishes are served in four or five restaurants in the capital city of Lisbon. And luckily, Porto is now home to one of Jose Avillez’s most renowned restaurants, the Cantinho do Avillez. The food is delicious and the chef has succeeded in giving a modern twist to many traditional Portuguese dishes,… Read more »

It is not very easy to find good eateries around the epicenter of the touristic zone, but O Bacalhau was a very good choice for a meal in Ribeira, overlooking River Douro. The menu is quite concise, there are not many options on the list and we actually expected to see a greater variety of cod dishes on offer, given the restaurants name, Bacalhau, cod… Read more »

One of the best restaurants in town, the DOP is the second restaurant by Porto native Rui Paula, another chef who has become kind of a celebrity in the country. Located in the old part of town, it is the perfect combination of a great dining experience followed by a stroll along the lively surrounding streets. The classical building itself has historical references and has… Read more »

“This modern café inaugurated at one of the central points of Porto, the entrance of Rua Santa Catarina, is one of the most noble and luxurious cafes that we know of, for which its name Majestic is most suited and justified”. Such was the description of Café Majestic on an old newspaper. It is a perfect example of rich Belle Époque architecture and splendor, where… Read more »

Located in The Yeatman hotel, the L’Orangerie will mesmerize you as soon as you enter the restaurant: the views to Porto’s Ribeira and the Douro through its large windows and from the terraces are breathtaking. Service is flawless and food is excellent. While you read the extensive menu, a waiter will bring delicious prosciutto, olives and oil with crunchy bread. Many Portuguese dishes are on… Read more »

Hotel Porto A.S. 1829 is a charming boutique hotel and very well located just blocks away from Ribeira and Palácio da Bolsa, on a tiny square by busy and charming Rua das Flores. Housed in a small building that is one of our preferred in town, with a façade covered in typical Portuguese tiles and historical references, the atmosphere is cozy in graceful ambiences that… Read more »

The Carris Hotel Porto was a bit of a pleasant surprise. The very reasonable prices attracted our curiosity and we had low expectations, but found it to be an excellent cost x benefit choice of stay in Porto. The location is perfect: in the heart of town, basically “on the corner” of Ribeira and at the same time walking distance to many of the city’s… Read more »

The centrally located Hotel Teatro (meaning “theater” in Portuguese) is indeed full of artful drama. Housed at the old theater Teatro Baquet, its large entrance door opens up to corridors, common areas and a reception decorated in dark velvet and golden colors, with theatrical costumes on display and phrases and images from plays depicted on walls, carpets and curtains. We found the small inner courtyard… Read more »

One of the classiest and most beautiful hotels in northern Portugal, the Hotel Palácio do Freixo, is considered a national monument. Once an aristocratic mansion, the stunning property is set within a baroque palace and the owners, the Pestana Group, have been able to preserve the original classic and opulent ambiences. A super relaxing swimming pool overlooking the Douro adds to the allure, as do… Read more »

The Hotel Pestana Vintage was perfectly located to enjoy Porto’s quintessential Ribeira and a short walk took us to many of the city’s attractions and neighborhoods. We particularly liked the hotel’s bar and outdoor terrace, by the river promenade, overlooking small colorful buildings and the city’s famous iron bridge. The property used to be a 4 star hotel and has been recently upgraded, giving the… Read more »

The Yeatman Hotel  in Vila Nova de Gaia, on the other side of the Douro River,  has one of the most amazing hotel views in Porto. Our stay at this hotel was one of our best experiences in the city and our high expectations were completely met, and possibly exceeded. The property is ample and upscale with jaw-dropping views, first class service and superb food.… Read more »