Portugal is more than just it’s capital! If you’re looking for a slower paced visit to this beautiful country, try Porto. I did a long weekend in the region, and took it very, very slow..
Here are a few suggestions to kick off your city break:
Cruise Along the Douro River
The Douro River runs right through Porto, which was built on the hills along both sides. A great way to take in the full view of the city is to get on a boat for a little cruise down the river! Porto has some stunning buildings, but is also quite famous for it’s many bridges.
Boat tours can be purchased from various companies along the river, or online.
Walk the Bridge
And which bridge is the most famous of them all? It has to be two tiered Dom Luís I Bridge that carries cars, pedestrians and transit across the Douro. Opened in 1886, the bridge towers over the river at 45 meters high, offering great views to those who cross it on foot.
If you’re scared of heights like me (clutching the railing for dear life), take it slow! And whatever you do, don’t look down onto the metro line tracks. You can see right through!
Teleférico de Gaia
Another great view can be found in the Teleférico de Gaia, a cable car that runs from the top Luís I Bridge to the pedestrian boardwalk below. It runs along the river, and grazes the tops of some beautiful buildings and rooftop restaurants along the way. It’s a quick trip, only lasting around 5 minutes, but it comes with great views and nice wine bars at end.
If you’re taking a river cruise, you can usually get a ticket for both attractions at a discounted price.
Explore the Douro Valley
Visit the countryside! The Douro Valley that surrounds Porto has the most breathtaking views, and is home to the world famous Port Wine. There are many tour companies in the area that operate day trips, or you can hire a private car to tour you around the valley and it’s wineries in style. It’s not as expensive as you think!
We visited Quinta do Bomfim for a tour and wine tasting. I was so in love with their white wine that I brought a bottle home in my luggage — it was only €4.95!
Don’t let the capital cities suck you in, Northern Portugal is definitely worth a visit!