Europe

Glass of Porto, anyone?


With the excuse of my book launch, I had the opportunity to visit Porto in late 2011 (with a little hop to Spain), which is Portugal’s second largest city. The city which gave its name to Port, Oporto has been the home of British wine shippers and their families for over three centuries.

A view of Porto - a lovely city

A view of Porto – a lovely city

It had been 5 years since my last visit to this exciting city – and wonderful to see how much prettier it looked! Getting there can be challenging with flagship airlines, but air connections have improved dramatically with the advent of low-cost airlines, such as Easyjet, who have indeed helped bringing life and many new visitors to the city.

With the help of Carolina, our private guide, I was taken around out and about like a true out-of-towner and was amazed with how much the city had to offer!

 

Museu Serralves

Museu Serralves

We started at Fundação Serralves, which is Portugal’s first large-scale contemporary art museum. Its museum was designed by Alvaro Siza Vieira, one of Portugal’s better known architects. It is also home to wonderfully landscaped gardens, one of the city’s best kept secrets.

From there, we decided to hit the shops, and did so at Avis, a residential complex just outside Porto (and Portugal’s) largest street, Avenida da Boavista. Quite an odd street, over 5km, where the shops are organised in little clusters and walking is not really an option!

 

Rua de Santa Catarina

Rua de Santa Catarina

We then hit downtown, Rua de Santa Catarina, where interestingly you will find a mix of the usual high street suspects, but still many old-fashioned independent retailers, which add a lot of charm to the place.

 

Livraria Lello & Irmão

Livraria Lello & Irmão

Our next stop was Livraria Lello & Irmão, a lovely art-nouveaux bookshop. If you like the style, a little stop to Café Majestic is also a must!

Design and style-conscious shoppers go down Rua Miguel Bombarda which is known for its art galleries and CCB – Centro Comercial Bombarda, a not-your-typical-shopping-mall clustering art and design shops. I was incredibly surprised with this little find and a visit to this part of town is really recommended.

 

Delicious chocolate cake at Pimenta Rosa

Delicious chocolate cake at Pimenta Rosa

We noticed that everyone was queueing for some chocolate cake at Pimenta Rosa.. and of course we had to have some!

And didn’t you have Port Wine, I hear you ask? But of course! It would be like going to Rome and not seeing the Vatican.

Carolina took us to Calém, one of the best known Port Wine brands – there are 40! Calém is known especially for its Premium Vintages, Late Bottled Vintages and Aged Tawny. All the Port Houses are located in Vila Nova de Gaia, on the other side of Douro River.

Porto Calém Cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia

Porto Calém Cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia

I learned quite a bit about Port Wine – which is now being marketed to the Portuguese, who traditionally didn’t drink a lot of this wonderful juice. New trends include White Port as an aperitif (Port & Tonic) and Rosé Port, which is delicious with mint and ice! So much so, that I promise to write a whole post about it!

A room with a view at The Yeatman

A room with a view at The Yeatman

The day was coming to an end.. so surely must be time for food? We were incredibly lucky that our stay coincided with one of The Yeatman’s weekly wine dinners and we were able to join in! A luxurious, light-filled wine and spa hotel set high among the port lodges, with stunning views over historic Porto, the Yeatman opened in 2010 and its restaurant was recently awarded a Michelin star. We sampled the first wines produced by L’And Vineyards which were very very good – and promised to stop by this great resort in the summer of 2012.

The Yeatman sent a brand new series 7 BMW to collect us in style – a nice touch that Mrs. O loved!

Time for bed, and as usual, with all the mod cons. I love the Sheraton Porto, which has been opened for a few years and on which the Lisbon Sheraton was inspired. Modern, trendy and with impeccable service.. oh and a lovely spa!

The modern Sheraton Porto

The modern Sheraton Porto

I really enjoyed this trip to Porto and if you haven’t been yet, put it on the list.

Cheers, everyone!

Mrs O

 


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63 Comments

  1. Bruno@ Geeky Explorer

    October 6, 2016 at 11:35 am

    You can’t go wrong with Porto. Great views, great food and specially amazing people!
    Bruno@ Geeky Explorer recently posted..Porto: A Complete City Guide For DummiesMy Profile

  2. Annie@GreenGlobalTravel

    September 11, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Great post and beautiful pictures! I was just wondering, the 5 km shopping street, if walking isn’t an option, what means of transport do you use there? Or did I misunderstand you..?
    Annie@GreenGlobalTravel recently posted..INTERVIEW: African Children’s Choir Brings Hope to the Children of UgandaMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      September 11, 2013 at 9:56 am

      Hi Annie, sadly it was not a whole shopping street. There are pockets – which make it even more difficult. Half of it is purely residential. A car needed to be used!

  3. Pingback: Love Portugal? Win a luxury 10-night holiday with Starwood Hotels & Resorts | Mrs. O Around Portugal

  4. whatkatedoesnext

    September 17, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Gorgeous gorgeous hotel! Can I swap lives w you for a day? 😉

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      September 18, 2012 at 8:09 am

      we can try 😉

  5. Francesca

    June 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Lovely, Mrs. O! Thanks for the introduction to Porto. I really love the look of the livraria!
    Francesca recently posted..Hometown travel: Chicago area adventuresMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      July 1, 2012 at 10:03 am

      Pleasure 🙂

  6. Pola (@jettingaround)

    June 30, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Porto sounds absolutely fantastic! I can’t wait to visit Portugal and when I do, there is no way I’m skipping this city! I love the picture of the bookshop.

    Ana, this post just made me sign up for airfare alerts. 🙂
    Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..Mexican Connection – Interview with writer Robin BayleyMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      June 30, 2012 at 10:28 am

      Really? To Lisbon, I would think 🙂 It is a cool place, you will like it!

  7. OportoCool

    June 29, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Great post about Porto Mrs O! Thanks for sharing. Cheers 🙂
    OportoCool recently posted..ArquivoMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      June 30, 2012 at 10:29 am

      My pleasure. I feel guilty not going more often 🙂

  8. John

    June 28, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    I’ve heard amazing things about Porto, I would love to go sometime. That bookstore looks incredible

  9. D.J. - The World of Deej

    June 28, 2012 at 11:50 am

    The Sheraton looks like my kind of place. And white port?…yum…
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..Copperhead at Innisbrook Golf ResortMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      June 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      white is very good! dry with tonic or sweet as dessert wine. Now, the coolest thing.. the rosé port!

  10. the lazy travelers

    June 28, 2012 at 2:50 am

    ahh porto has been on our list for awhile, and almost entirely because of that insane staircase in livraria lello!

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      June 28, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      And that is a good enough reason 😉

  11. lola

    June 28, 2012 at 12:24 am

    i am DYING to go to Portugal. i’d say it’s on my short list for sure. it would be the *tops* to do it with you, Mrs. O.

    xo

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      June 28, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      It will be a pleasure 🙂

  12. craig zabransky (@StayAdventurous)

    June 27, 2012 at 3:56 am

    I still need to get myself to Portugal someday, especially if I can also be invited to the Yeatman. Amazing view.
    Stay adventurous, Craig

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      June 27, 2012 at 6:38 am

      I know, a great discovery! It is owned by some of the Port houses, so you can imagine what comes from the taps 😉 everywhere!

  13. Tawny - Captain and Clark

    June 26, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Ahh! I want that bookshop in my house! I could probably live there and be happy forever. Looks like you had an amazing time in Portugal. I can’t wait to get there myself.

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      June 26, 2012 at 9:17 pm

      I totally agree with you 🙂 that shop is quite something and Porto is indeed lovely, I need to go back again!

  14. Leah Travels (@L_e_a_h)

    June 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    That book store is AMAZING! I’d love to go even though I probably couldn’t read any of the books. There’s something I love about the smell of books. Mmmmmm

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      June 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      I shall take you there when you venture all the way to Portugal. Something tells me you would like the wine as well!

  15. The World Wanderer

    June 26, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Adding Porto to my list of places to visit, sad to say that I have never even heard of it. Looks so beautiful, especially that bookshop – Livraria Lello! As a reading/writing teacher, that is right up my alley. 🙂 Sounds like the perfect place for a little vacation, especially with the port wine and all.

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      June 26, 2012 at 3:04 pm

      Hi Erin, I was guilty of the same, and worse as it is my home country’s second largest city. Sometimes the places closer to home are the ones you leave til later. In your case, if you ever come to Portugal, it is definitely worth a visit 🙂

      • The World Wanderer

        June 26, 2012 at 3:20 pm

        Agreed! Everywhere else usually seems more exotic and you want to get out there and see it. I have barely seen anything in America, but I’ll get there some day! 🙂

  16. Kieu ~ GQ trippin

    June 26, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Omg, I want that chocolate cake!

  17. Ted Nelson (@travelingted)

    June 26, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Great photos and post on a visit to Portugal. I have never been, and I have always wanted to visit. Thanks for bringing me there.

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      June 26, 2012 at 10:30 am

      Pleasure, Ted! It is a place that I should know a lot better, namely as my mother’s family is from there! But better late than never, as they say!

  18. ANN-MARIE

    April 30, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I have fond memories of Porto the lovely cafes, the trams, eating sardines by the river. I must go back soon!

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      April 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm

      Hi Ann Marie, thank you for your kind words and taking the time to comment 🙂 I miss Porto too! 🙂

  19. Pingback: Funny travel incidents: Mr P, “Figura” and the lion… « avatarofmrbean

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  22. WineHarlots

    January 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Great post, makes me want to see Porto myself — I’m hoping this year (fingers crossed!)
    In the meantime, I’ll celebrate with a glass of Port instead!

    Cheers,

    Nannette Eaton

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      January 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      thank you for your very kind words! it is a place worth going for sure – wine and food are amazing!!

  23. Anita Mac

    January 17, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    What an amazing bookshop!!! That chocolate creation looks pretty good too!!!!

  24. Pingback: Discover Portugal: Douro Cruises « GREAT MENTOR

  25. wftristan

    January 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Porto looks nice – great post

    Tristan

  26. Adam

    January 12, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Great photos! Thanks for sharing, it’s definitely on my list to visit now.

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      January 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      thank you adam. it is definitely worth a visit – great restaurants, nightlife etc, very good

  27. inspirngtrvlrs

    January 12, 2012 at 4:10 am

    Wow – that Livraria Lello looks amazing inside!! Cheers for sharing a great tour =)

  28. Mrs D

    January 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    I love Porto 🙂

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      January 11, 2012 at 10:39 pm

      i dont go enough.. have you been to miguel bombarda? you’d love it!

  29. Ayngelina

    January 11, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    I haven’t been to Portugal yet but it is definitely on my list. Beautiful photos.

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      January 11, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      Thank you for your kind words 🙂 it is not a bad place at all!

  30. "Our traveling without moving!..."

    January 11, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    We really enjoyed your post! Thanks for sharing!

  31. Katharine

    January 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    oh my god, I think I’ve seen a picture of that bookstore! It’s so beautiful, I’d love to see it for real!

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      January 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      very nice it is indeed, i have never been before 🙁 but better late, than never!

  32. turismoenportugal

    January 11, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Nice post and pics 🙂

  33. Arjan Tupan

    January 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    OMG! That bookstore is so wonderful! That alone would be worth going to Porto! And the port wine of course. I’m a big fan. Old school colheita and lbv, but curious for the rose one now 🙂

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      January 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      it is nice, i promise 🙂

    • Pedro Barbosa

      January 12, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      Apart from Portwine, Douro region develloped from avarage to top wine quality region, meaning redwine. Try it.

      • mrsoaroundtheworld

        January 12, 2012 at 3:55 pm

        very true and never been wine tasting in the douro.. what a great idea!

  34. Liz Litzow

    January 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Beautiful photos Ana & now you make me want to visit – can I fit it in with my trip to Lisbon I ask?

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