Porto was our other main destination on our trip (mainly because I wanted to see this bookstore), and it was interesting to see the difference between the two cities, though we only stayed a few days. Porto is so old, with neighborhoods dating back to medieval times, and the city had much more of an old world European feel, as opposed to Lisbon’s much more Mediterranean feel. We both felt like the economic downturn in Portugal was a lot more apparent in Porto as well. There were huge gorgeous buildings around the main square that were empty and crumbling from neglect, giving it a much more haunting atmosphere. Overall, Lisbon was hands down our favorite city, but I’m really glad we ventured north to experience another facet of Portugal.
Note: Francesinha is the iconic dish of the area, and is a delicious gut bomb. We wound up trying one in a small town north of Porto where we met up with a college friend of mine, so I don’t have a good spot in the city to recommend, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to track one down.
Favorite restaurants in Porto:
- Traveller Caffe– This is a fun little spot to get a light meal. Lots of juices and fresh smoothies. They really do try to appeal to travelers (hence the name), so it’s a good spot to hit up if you’re feeling a little homesick.
- Pedro dos Frangos– We loved this inexpensive little local spot. A whole grilled chicken, french fries, sauce picante, and two bottles of sangria later, we were feeling pretty good.
- Solar Moinho de Vento– One of my favorite meals from our entire trip. If we had stayed in Porto longer, we definitely would have gone back. Basically, this placed serves the food that your imaginary Portuguese grandmother who happens to be an incredible chef would serve. Classic dishes, executed perfectly.
- Leitaria da Quinta do Paco Baixa– A lot of our meals/snacks in Porto were from whatever bakery we happened to pass at that moment, and this one specialized in eclairs. So good.
- Sandeman Port Winery– Neither of us had any experience drinking port, and we really enjoyed both the tour and the tasting, as well as learning more about the history of this beautiful city. Well worth the price of admission.
To see my list of recommendations for Lisbon, click here.