Our flight from Madeira and Porto was quick and easy, and when we landed we followed signs to the metro, which took us 40 minutes into the city.
When we surfaced, we were standing in what felt like the center of old porto, amongst 17th century gems like the Porto Sao Bento train station and Saint Anthony’s Church. After resting, we returned to the hustle of the streets.
We stayed at an Airbnb right across the street from the Porto São Bento train station. Logistically, it was the best location we could have picked. Right in the middle of everything, with easy access to the train.
We walked north to Mercado do Bolhão, an old market popular with both locals and visitors.
After eating a hearty lunch of Porto’s famous sandwich, the Francesinha, we wandered towards the Douro river.
On the other side of the river, we drank port wine and sangria at Sandeman winery.
That night we dressed warmly, crossed the Ponte Luís bridge, and sat at the top of a terraced bar to capture the sun setting behind the city.
While just our second day in Porto, we could have opted to explore more on foot. But how could we resist a guided, relaxing tour on the Douro river? We opted for a daytrip and left early in the morning.
Click here for a more detailed story about our Douro River Cruise.
The boat offered multiple viewing decks as an alternative to the dining area; one on the bow, and two above the dining room. The city sites soon gave way to more greenery. Along the way, the captain came over the intercom in first Portuguese and then English, sharing history about the surrounding areas.
The boat floated along passing villages, abandoned buildings, and even a shipwreck!
Around midday, we dined on a plated meal and debarked at the city of Régua, to drink more wine of course.
The 5pm train back to Porto arrived. The train took off, chugging through the golden light of the evening, past century old wineries, bed and breakfasts, the sparkling Douro river below.
On our last morning of the trip, we spent the 4 euros and took the 30 minutes to wait in line to enter JK Rowling’s inspiration, Livraria Lello (a bookstore).
We again wandered, getting lost in back stairways where young boys kick around futbals.
Porto is a walkable city, especially when staying around the Porto São Bento train station. Bustling streets break off in every direction leading to some of the best sights Porto has to offer.
After wandering, we dined at a riverside cafe and drank the biggest drinks on a patio near the Ponte Luís bridge.
There are dozens of cafes and restaurants on the north side of the river and just west of the Ponte Luís bridge. Most of the wineries are located on the south side of the river and just west of the Ponte Luís bridge.
We bid farewell to Porto sometime that afternoon, taking a two and a half hour train ride into north Lisbon in the contemporary neighborhood Parque das Nações, where we would spend one last night.
If you want to see more photos or find specific travel information about our sights, find our Portugal destinations within the Explore tab!