“Welcome home, Elena.” 🙂
As soon as I arrive in Porto, the city as well as the beautiful, warm-hearted Portuguese people really make me feel like that: “Home again”. Welcoming me to a city that has won my heart in many ways. Welcoming me, yet again, as I am on my way to delivering my first-ever keynote speech for Tourism Portugal’s Heritage Fair in the university town of Coimbra.
And what could be more natural for me, the creative traveller, to discover firsthand, a new and exciting creative travel addition to the city of Porto? You probably all know, or at least have heard about, Porto’s famous Port wine cellars, the riverside bars & restaurants, the charm of the old town. But did you know that you can now paint your own Azulejos tile after an “Azulejos” walk around the city? Enjoy a delightful fusion of Argentinian & Portuguese food in the recently opened Belos Aires restaurant? Or even be welcomed “home” with a home-made foodie basket, delivered straight to the door of your apartment, featuring local delights from the city of Porto — all made with love? 😀
Here are 10 creative foodie travel tips not to be missed during your next stay in Porto – easily manageable in three days. Or more. As you are likely to lose yourself, your heart and your calorie counter here …
1. “DaJoana”. It literally means, “From Joana”. (With love).
Joana is a wonderful, powerful, and very creative woman. She has an appetite “larger than life” and, quite literally, won’t stop talking if you quiz her on the right topics – food & Porto, that is. Throw in a good knowledge of marketing as well as her absolute love for the local food from Porto, and you get a welcome gift of a kind: A basket complete with her home-made food, drinks (Espumante do Porto!), cutlery, glasses, board, everything you need delivered to your Porto doorstep upon arrival to the city.
2. Francesinhas. Those “little French girls” have at least 2.000 calories each (we are talking about a sandwich of a kind .. not the real French girls of course).
So do dare and go for the Francesinha experience when in Porto. O Golfinho, Taberna Santo António, as well as Taberna Santiago all share good portions of them. Read more here about why they perfectly complete your #winelover experience of Porto, as seen through the eyes of my local friends here in Porto.
3. Belos Aires pairs a love affair of food & people for the cities of Buenos Aires and Porto.
Check out Belos Aires Restaurant in Rua de Belomonte, just two steps away from the city’s famous Palácio da Bolsa or Clérigos Tower. If you are a meat lover, then this is your place to go to: Juicy Argentinian steaks are preceded by a creative fusion of typical, local Porto flavours.
4. FishFixe. The “Cool Fish” restaurant, right by the riverside of beautiful downtown Porto.
If Belos Aires is your place for a meat lover experience of a kind, FishFixe is the place to go to for fish & seafood of all kinds. “We will be here again in November”, my friend Rita tells me with a smile, proud of mentioning “FishFixe” as one of her partners in the Second Brazilian Bloggers Congress taking place in Porto next month, a congress that has me speak about “Turismo Criativo” yet again – in Portuguese, that is. You see, Porto has this thing about sticking on you … easily, I’d say. Here are more reasons why.
5. For walking off all those calories … head over to the Gardens of Palácio de Cristal, offering some of the most beautiful views of the Douro river & Vila Nova de Gaia.
Lovely, especially now in the autumn as the leaves start changing colours … take your friend, partner or else by the hand and head over here, where …
6. Never to be missed – A visit to the enchanting Livraria Lello.
And I still recommend you to do so, despite the fact they are now charging you a “tourism tax” of € 3,- per person just to enter. The enchanting, central wooden staircase, the bookshelves towering on both sides as you walk in, the feeling of inspiration J.K. Rowling got here and that continues to remind you of Harry Potter today … It is worth your while to get lost in here, book worm or not.
7. On your way down to Douro river, stop at Estacão São Bento Train Station as well as Porto Cathedral for a wonderful view across town.
8. Cais da Ribeira. There is a reason why they are hugely popular with the tourists …
… and sometimes, it does feel good just to relax and mingle with them, trading in adventure & discovery for a chillaxed, lazy morning coffee & sandwiches on Porto’s famous riverside banks, called “Cais da Ribeira”.
9. And as we are talking about Douro river, we need to talk about (and pause at) its most famous bridge, A Ponte Dom Luis.
I recommend you to cross it just before nightfall, as it yields the most exciting opportunities for great travel photography. Trust me, even if you are not a very well-trained photographer: The light and the ambiance will certainly do wonders … Check this out.
10. Last but not least, here is my perhaps most interesting creative travel revelation as of recent kinds. Try “Passear & Azulejar”: A walking tour around historical, Azulejos-tile-covered buildings followed by painting your own Azulejos in Porto!