Porto. The city of port wines, beautiful bridges, famous bookstores, lazy beaches and of course; fashion. We went there to find out more and write about its beauty and the things-to-do. Along with that, we thought about the ideal bag to use for every activity. Enjoy.
Stroll the boulevard (by night)
Ideal bag: Mini Tribunal; to bring a sweater for when the sun goes down and carry the souvenirs you buy along the way.
The Douro river is the live-giving aorta of Porto, and that’s noticeable by the way Porto is built up around it. Even though the old city centre is based north, there is a lot to do on both sides of the river. This made it inevitable for Porto to build bridges to connect north and south together, and thank (…) for that. Strolling the boulevard will make you pass lovely little markets with souvenirs and cute bars to sit down at and have a port wine, all the while facing spectacular views Porto and its bridges have to offer.
Ponte de Dom Luis I (Dom Luis I Bridge)
Check out the cool concept- and bookstores
In this lovely old city, we also found some very renewing concept-stores. Both Mercado 48 and Almada em Branco combine fashion, accessories, art and wooden handy crafts in a captivating way. It’s easy to spend an hour in these stores, discovering all the cute and/or smart things they sell. Next to fashion and art, there’s also a big offer of literature in Porto. One of the bookstores, Livraria Lello, was even the true inspiration to J.K. Rowling when she wrote her first Harry Potter book. And if you look at it, it is quite imaginable that it inspired her, don’t you think?
Livraria Lello (Lello library)
Walk through the historical city centre
Ideal bag: Gypsea’s Camera Backpack, to store your camera after using it.
With its history dating back to around 300 BC, the heart of Porto is one of the oldest in Europe. Therefore, in some of the narrow streets, it really feels like you’re back in middle ages. Some of the historical buildings to visit are The Porto Cathedral and The Small Church of Cedofeita – two of the oldest buildings in Porto. But also the Igreja do Bonfim (an old church), Avenida dos Aliados (a square surrounded with beautiful architecture) and the Majestic café (an astonishing establishment which was built in 1921), are worth paying a visit. There’s a reason why UNESCO proclaimed the city centre as a World Heritage Site in 1996.
Igreja do Bonfim (Bonfim church)
Visit the port wine cellars
Ideal bag: The Latina; to carry your essentials around.
Under European Union Protected Designation of Origin guidelines, only the product from the Douro region in Portugal may be labelled as port wine. Therefore, when visiting Porto, the one thing you kind of have to do is visit a port wine cellar and taste some port wine. A lot of port wine cellars are nested near the centre, next to the Douro river. From Cálem and Kopke, on to Offley, Sandeman and many more. They’re all worth paying a visit, but our advice if you want to enjoy the rest of the city as well is: pick a few.
Port wine cellar and terrace ‘Sandeman’
Chill, drink and dance at Rua da Galerias de Paris
Ideal bag: The Nine Streets Mini; to bring your wallet, phone and some make-up.
With a lot of places to sit down at like wine bars, gin houses, beer bars, cocktail bars and everything-you-can-drink-cafes, this street is the ideal place to enjoy a drink and chill. More ideal; when the evening is close to hitting midnight, these bars send their DJ up the booth in order to turn the place upside down. With the pre-drinks you had in the same chilled environment, all there’s left to do is dance.
A busy Rua da Galerias de Paris has a cozy atmosphere
Enjoy an active or chill day at the beach
There is a lot to do on the wide beaches of Porto. People are surfing, playing football, volleyball, beach tennis and more. But of course, like on every other beach, a lot of people are chilling and enjoying the combination of the hot sun and cold water.
Praia de Matosinhos (Marashinhos Beach)
Even though you could fill two weeks of pleasure and activities in the city of Porto, it is ideal to go for a long weekend (Thursday – Sunday) and get inspired by all it has to offer.
Ideal bag for the whole weekend: Moncloa, to pack some shirts, pants, dresse, underwear and a toothbrush.
Correspondent J. for Laauw.