Undiscovered Gems: Porto, Portugal

Many talk of Amsterdam or Paris, but has anyone heard of the great city that is Porto?

Though I only spent a couple of days there, I had a lovely time! I’m going to hit you with reasons why you should consider stopping in Porto for a holiday.

The Port Wine

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To my father’s disappointment, I am not a wine person. I am not a fan of the bitter taste, and as a student, alcohol is normally consumed purely for intoxication, meaning guzzling vodka rather than swirling a glass of red.

However, port wine is something I really enjoy drinking. It is much sweeter, often served as a dessert wine. And Porto is the region of which pretty much all port wine is made. So of course, it is served in all restaurants and places at any opportunity.

In Porto, there are many different port houses, which keep the wine stored in barrels and bottles, allowing them to age for years. Some had been in their bottles since the 19th century. Many of houses are open so you can do a tour round them and learn how port is made.

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bottled from as early as the 19th century

Genuinely, actually so fascinated by how it’s made. There is so much love and care brought into making this stuff. Grapes are only planted in certain regions because of the conditions varying. Barrels vary in sizes to control the level of oxidation of the port. They even make sure there is more shale in the soil the grapes are planted because it absorbs heat better.

The best bit, probably tasting it all at the end. Whether you are really bothered about comparing the taste of port or not, you can’t complain about being served glasses of good quality wine with some nibbles.

Pretty Cathedrals

There are many cathedrals dotted across Porto, each with their own bit of history. Generally they are free to enter, or with a donation.

As classic European Catholics, the artwork in cathedrals is heavy. There is so much to look at, your eyes will be a little overwhelmed.

Like we did, you could witness a wedding take place while wondering around a cathedral. One we visited was still open to the public while the ceremony was taking place. That was pretty cute.

Oh yes, the ceilings are super pretty, my personal favourite bit about them.

Pretty Views from Bridges and… Everywhere

Across the river are many bridges, the most popular being the Ponte de D.Luis. There are beautiful views from on top of the bridge.

You can also get a really good view of the bridge just from being high up on the south side of the river. There are many places to stop and have a drink just to have an excuse to sit and admire the view.

And if climbing up the steep hills if the city does not sound like your thing, there is the gondola lift which takes you to the top of the bridge. You save yourself a climb, and also get more great views from them.

The Cocktails

I adore a cocktail, love that it’s sweet and refreshing. The classic mojito can get a bit boring now and again, so the discovery of having port in cocktails was super exciting!

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There are many different cocktails you can make using port, but I had a particular favourite. It contained tawny port, orange juice, some kind of lemon syrup and cinnamon. It was really sweet, but my sweet tooth adored it. The orange and cinnamon reminded me of Christmas, gave a strangely comforting feeling despite being on the rocks.

It was truly unique, never seen cocktails with port in them at any other place!

There is more of course, boat rides, restaurants, and there is a bit of a night life. I just wanted to highlight the unique aspects of the city.

So there you go, visit Porto. There are plenty of places to stay and lots to do, so drop by and explore it if you get the chance. You shall not be disappointed.