We loved Porto. After three short days in Lisbon, walking a lot, the smaller scale of Porto was a relief. Both places were very interesting, but Porto was characterized by incredibly friendly people, affordable prices, and a vibrancy that was very compelling. At the same time, Porto was run down in places, with a lot of empty and derelict buildings, and apparently quite a lot of people living with not very much.
We were fortunate to have found an apartment right on the river, in the old town. We’d been warned it might be noisy, but it was fine, and so nice to have a little home where we could make some meals, and relax at the end of the day.
Porto is on the river Douro, which is the source from which a lot of Portugal’s wine comes. It’s a very long river, reaching into Spain, and we took a boat down a part of it, watching the hilly vineyards pass by, and seeing what look like freshwater beach towns, complete with heavily populated beaches.
The food was spectacular – inexpensive, and strong on seafood. We limited ourselves to dinner out, because we were usually busy walking during the day, but the octopus was incredible, as was the sea bream cooked in salt. Actually it was all great. As was the port, which has become an evening ritual for us. We did the tour at Sandeman, which was deliciously informative.
There’s a lot we didn’t do – so we have to go back. Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what we saw.