Not just port in Porto

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It’s pretty self explanatory what to do in Porto. Taste Port (duh), cross the bridge(s), catch a boat and wander the narrow hilly streets for food, shops and interesting views. 

It’s becoming a trend, but again we ate well. My favourite brunch was at Bird of Passage: a cute little cafe serving well made coffee and tasty breakfast and lunch meals. A bit more of a show was Zenith Brunch & Cocktails, which felt like an institution (huge queue, extensive menu, inflated prices) but deserves the reputation that it’s clearly built up over time. 

Our dinner highlight was a local spot: Restaurant Ciadade. It was authentic Portuguese: barbecued meat, cheap and wonderful service. The pork was to die for. We loved it so much we loved just had to return the following night. Our waiter didn’t speak much English but we could tell he was happy to see us again!

Instead of choosing one winery for a port tasting, we opted for a bar in the middle of them all which let us make up our own tasting, allowing us to sample ports from all the local hotspots. It made the experience cheaper, gave us the freedom to compare and contrast whatever we wanted and allowed us to take our time as we relaxed at a table in the sunshine.

Doing a day trip from Porto is pretty common. Instead of going for the extremely well advertised Duoro Valley (wine country) we jumped on a regional train and headed to a town called Aveiro. We’d heard it described as ‘Venice of the West’, and we both agreed that perhaps that was overstating it a bit. The town was basic, admittedly pretty cute but not a patch on Venice. The canal network was limited and the gondola boats are huge – nothing like what we were expecting. 

We enjoyed walking the streets, indulging at Monlou Cafe, and lazing about the waters edge. We did not enjoy the local delicacy however! These treats, ovos moles, were very eggy and stale. We didn’t realise, but Costa Nova (the pretty striped houses you see when you google image search Aveiro) is actually a further 40 minute bus ride from Aveiro itself. It was a fun day trip but not essential to one’s itinerary. 

In my opinion, Porto is one of the most picturesque cities in Europe. It’s easy to see why it’s so popular: there is so much to see and do just a stones throw away. It even has an airport, so it’s also easy to get to!

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