What to do in Porto? Eat, Stay, See and Drink in Porto.

Porto is an enchanting city, with its cobbled streets and charming alleyways; you can feel the history of the place as you walk around. Beautiful plazas, churches and colourfully tiled buildings are everywhere you go and, most importantly there is now a buzzing food and beverage scene! Enjoy VIND’s guide of ‘What to do in Porto?’

The city is a small one, so pack good shoes and be prepared to do some walking. The first thing I like to do upon arrival is take the Guindais stairs, winding down passed old merchant houses, towards the river, and then cross the bridge over to Gaia. Take a stroll along the Douro and marvel at the beauty of this majestic place — which is built high above the river — then decide what’s on the itinerary…


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We’re biased, but when you’re in Porto, you have to check out the Port scene. Not just because of the amazing Ports, wines and authentic houses here, but because it is synonymous with the history of Porto (you can claim it’s culture)! First things first, let’s look at the amazing places to STAY, EAT, DRINK and SEE in this wonderful city.

The wonderful tile art all around the city.

What to do in Porto? STAY: 

So where should you stay in Porto? At VIND, we love boutique hotels and Torrel 1884 is the epitome of a boutique hotel, offering 12 gorgeous rooms inside a former palace. Another gorgeous and chic converted townhouse (with a French twist) is Hotel Teatro, although if contemporary and design-led is your style then try Rosa Et Al Townhouse or the modernist Tipografia do Conto.

For the more laid back, try EXMO and immerse yourself in Porto’s vibrant culture. The 1872 River house is in a beautiful spot on top of the Bacalhoeiros Wall and there are many cool and affordable Airbnbs in the city too. If you want some bigger, more traditional hotels then there’s always Pestana Porto a Brasileira and the prestigious Maison Albar le Monumental Palace.


Pastéis de Nata, a must have!

What to do in Porto? EAT:

Onto the important stuff…food! There is so much great produce grown and reared in Portugal, and there is the amazing resource of the Atlantic ocean too, so where should you eat in Porto? Here are some of our best restaurants in Porto.

We loved Mistu. It’s cool, a great atmosphere and wonderful modern cuisine. In a similar vein are Flow and Mito, both downtown, offering quality and contemporary Portuguese cooking. If  you want something a bit fancier than try or Euskalduna Studio which pays homage to the Basque country. If fish is your thing then O Valentim is a quality fish restaurant in Matosinhos which is just out of Porto. But if you’re looking for ‘traditional’ dishes then the most famous dish to try is “Francesinha”. It’s an absolute beast and Porto’s most famous dish. We would recommend going to Cervejaria Brasao Aliados for this and ask to sit upstairs. You’ll probably only want half a francesinha rather than a full one and wash it down with a beer! 

As we know, restaurants come and go, so this is only a tiny sample – please do let us know if you thinks there’s something else worth trying!

The above options are evening focused. However, you’ll find some great brunch spots too such as Zenith or Fabrica (which doubles up as a great place to work if you need a couple of hours to catch up on emails)!

Take a boat up the Duoro River

What to do in Porto? DRINK:

This city isn’t short of great little bars but here are few from our experience. Base, in the heart of the city has a great outdoor vibe to it and “R. da Galeria de Paris” has many places to continue the night. For a drink with a view, head over to Gaia and the Yeatman rooftop bar to soak up the views, or for more of a vibey  rooftop check out Santa Catarina. There are tons of awesome bars around Porto and I’m sure you’ll drink plenty of great local wine, make friends with many waiters and locals alike, but for some authentic favorites check out Ferro, Candelabro, Aduela or our friends at Churchill’s Port House who have created the 1982 bar. It’s casual and relaxed – grab a Port and Tonic and sit in the garden enjoying the views, and be sure to see what’s on there – Jamie plans some great parties.


The medieval and hilly streets of Porto

What to do in Porto? SEE:

Take a morning to walk around this magnificent city and ‘tick off’ many of the touristy things to do, such as checking out the multiple churches, the tilled Sao Bento Station and even Livraria Lell, which is supposedly one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world with links to Harry Potter (it had a huge queue so I cannot confirm this fact)! Grab a famous Pastel de nata (the delicious local custard tart delicacy) at Manteigaria and a coffee at Armazem, which is a fascinating ancient furniture shop. Wander over to Rua Miguel Bombarda to get your art and ceramics fix and for the active, there are tons of things to do, including surfing at Matosinhos beach, multiple golf courses nearby, and there is even a cricket ground (Oporto Cricket And Lawn Tennis Club)! 

To truly see the city, then walking is the way to do it. To the west of the city you can stroll around Serralves gardens and museum, or even walk up along the coast from Foz to Matosinhos (where you can eat great fish). For views head up to Palacio do Crystal gardens or watch the sunset at Jardim do Morro. Walk (or take the tram) along the river banks of Porto and Gaia and soak up the atmosphere or take a boat along the Douro to discover the most beautiful wine making region in the world! Read our article coming soon on ‘What to do in the Douro.’

Last but by no means least head over the river to Gaia for a Port tasting, tour or more…

Port Houses

Portugal has a long history of wine making from the Roman times and has over 250 native grape varieties. Port was originally created as a way to protect the wine from the long journey to the UK. This was done by adding brandy and fortifying the wine. The barrels came downstream to Porto where they were stored in the cooler cellars of ‘Port Houses’. Here are some Port Houses to enjoy whilst in Porto…

Graham’s Lodge, is a magnificent 1890 Port House situated on a commanding ridge in Gaia. Check out their restaurant, Vinum’s after a tour. The Graham family actually sold their business to The Symington Family (owners of several quintas and port houses throughout Porto and the Douro), however, Johnny Graham, who was a young man at the time had the itch to make wine like is father did. Johnny Graham created Churchill’s in 1981 and the business is still family run; they produce excellent Ports and still wines. Check out their tasting room where they’ll talk you through their fantastic range, and head to their 1982 bar after for drinks and an amazing view of the city! 

Cockburn’s Lodge (also owned by the Symington Family) is the largest wooden Port cellar in the historic area of Gaia. Here you can enjoy a traditional Portuguese picnic on arrival and settle in! Or for a fully immersive experience, check out Taylor’s, which is now in its fourth century. Taylor’s recently renovated its 300 year old Cellars to incorporate a modern and innovative museum. You can learn about the history of Port wine and its production today, the Douro Valley and the house of Taylor’s!

There is so much fun to be had in Porto, you’ll need more than a weekend! Enjoy.

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