North West of Portugal - Porto

Porto, our second destination in Portugal, is located 4hours and a half by car from Carvoeiro. Limited by time, we made the trip directly, but several points of interest are on this path for a longer trip. Fatima, Tomar and Coimbra are examples. We chose Porto because we love intimate cities and especially for its reputation in the production of alcohol of the same name, as well as the beautiful region of the Douro. We have selected our accommodation for its location within walking distance of the old town and for its absolutely necessary indoor parking. The Eurostars Das Artes is a comfortable 4 star establishment without luxury, nevertheless it offers a good breakfast in a small room in the basement.

Accomodation: Eurostars Das Artes, 160-164 Rua do Rosario, Porto, Portugal. (www.eurostarshotels.fr)


Porto is known for its mutated wine of the same name, so it is essential to visit the large cellars located along the banks of the Douro in Vila Nova de Gaia. A visit gives an overview of the traditional Porto production process, as well as a tasting opportunity and even a purchase. The wine cellars are within walking distance of the magnificent Dom Luis 1 bridge. This bridge was designed by Gustave Eiffel's devoted follower, engineer Teofilo Seyrig. The bridge has two levels accessible to pedestrians, so it is possible to choose the level according to the desired destination. The upper level offers a great view and connects the Cathedral district to the Morro garden. The lower level connects the Cais da Ribeira to the Cais de Gaia where the cellars are located.

Villa Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia
Superior level view from the Dom Luis 1 Bridge

A stroll in the Ribeira district is not to be missed. The old neighborhood has been listed as World Heritage by Unesco since 1995. It is pleasant to stroll through the cobbled streets where there are several shops and restaurants.

Ribeira District

Another must-see attraction especially for Harry Potter fans is the Lello Bookstore. Considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, its magnificent staircase, its woodwork and stained glass are worth the trip and the inevitable wait. It is said to have inspired J.K. Rowling to write her novels when she gave English classes in the city. To reduce the wait, it is better to visit at the end of the day, the bookshop closes at 7pm. An entrance ticket must be purchased at the neighboring shop at a cost of 5 Euro per person. Another place that inspired the author of the Hogwarts saga is the Majestic Coffee shop. Thus, to continue in the world of magic, you can stop there to taste their famous cinnamon French toast in a Belle Époque decor.

Lello Library
Lello Library
Majestic Cafe
Cinnamon French Toast of the Majestic Cafe

In Porto, as in other Portuguese cities, the buildings are often decorated with azulejos (painted earthenware tiles) depicting scenes of daily life in the country. One of the best places to observe them is the Sao Bento train station, which contains no less than 20,000 of them.

Sao Bento Train Station
Pinhao Train Station

The tourist region of the Douro Valley is about 1 1/2 hours drive from the city. It is therefore easy to get there for a day. In addition, the N222 road linking Peso da Régua to Pinhao is one of the most beautiful roads in the world. The village of Pinhao is very pretty and has a small train station decorated with beautiful azulejos. We chose to visit the Quinta Do Crasto located in Sabrosa, a 35 minutes drive from Pinhao by a breathtaking road offering breathtaking scenery! Our guided tour of the facilities was followed by a lunch accompanied by their wine in an unforgettable setting. An incredible experience not to be missed that requires a reservation in advance on www.quintadocrasto.pt.

Quinta do Crasto

Foodies Must:

Breakfast, Lunch or snack:

  • Moustache Coffee House, 104 Praça Carlos Alberto, 8 am until 8 pm except on Sundays 2 to 8 pm.
  • Cafe Progresso, 5 Rua Actor Joao Guedes, 8 am to 10 pm except Friday and Saturday until 11 pm.
Cafe Progresso
  • Majestic Cafe, 12 Rua Santa Catarina, 9:30 am to 11:30 pm but closed on Sundays (great cinnamon french toast).
  • Chocolateria Equador, 298 Rua das Flores, 11 am to 7:30 pm. Great Hot Chocolate.
  • Mantegaria, 24 Rua de Alexandre Braga, 8am to 9 pm except Sunday 8 am to 8 pm. For pastéis de nata in Porto!

Night restaurants:

  • Puro 4050 Mozzarella Bar, 84 Largo Sao Domingos, 6:30 to 11 pm, closed on Sundays.
  • Cantinho do Avillez Oporto, 166 Rua Mouzinho da Silveira, 7 to midnight.

Until next, happy travel!


Megan Chartrand-Robichaud

January 17, 2020