National Geographic Traveller (UK)
12 hours in PORTO
COFFEE WITH THE LOCALS
Do as most locals do, and start the day with an espresso — o en taken on one of the city’s many terraces. Older generations call this a cimbalino — a er the highpressure Italian La Cimbali coee machines used to make it. Alternatively, try a meia de leite (milky coee) with arrufada, a puy cake that looks a bit like a bread roll. The sta at Ribermel, a venerable cafe near Porto Cathedral, recommend you eat it with butter in the middle.
BROWSE FOR PAPERBACKS
Join the queue for one of the world’s most famous and beautiful bookshops, Livraria Lello. A mixture of neo-gothic, art deco and art nouveau, the glorious facade and interior have been refurbished. The big draw here is the majestic staircase, which looks like it’d been carved from wood but is actually painted concrete and plaster. For many years, fans of Harry Potter believed it to be the inspiration for the stairway in Hogwarts Castle, but the school of wizardry’s creator, author J K Rowling, claims she’s never been to the shop, despite a stint living in the city. Entry costs €5 (£4.25), which is deducted from any book purchase. livrarialello.pt
GO TO MARKET
Porto’s diminutive upmarket grocery shops centred around the old Bolhão Market (currently being refurbished) are a joy to behold. They’re worth a visit not just for their o en-stunning shopfronts but for their time-warp interiors and array of produce from across Portugal (and the countries it conquered during the Discoveries). Look out for A Pérola do Bolhão and Casa Chinesa; the latter dates back to 1938 and has an old marble counter and shelves stacked high with produce. mercadobolhao.pt
HEAD TO THE TOWER
Take a tour of the baroque-inspired Clérigos Church (once home to the charitable Brotherhood of Clerics) and Casa da Irmandade museum, then climb the 225 steps of Clérigos Tower for panoramic views of Porto and across the river to Vila Nova de Gaia. Once the highest structure in Portugal, the 250 tower is the perfect place to get your bearings, either from its top or when you’re looking for a landmark to help guide you as you explore on foot. torredosclerigos.pt
Getting there & around
Airlines flying direct to Porto include British Airways from Heathrow; EasyJet from Gatwick, Bristol and Manchester; Ryanair from Stansted, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester; TAP Air Portugal from Gatwick; and Wizz Air from Luton. ba.com easyjet.com ryanair.co.uk flytap.com wizzair.com Average flight time: 2h20m.
The Porto Card offers free and discounted entry to various attractions, including museums, wine cellars, sightseeing buses and boat tours. It can be upgraded to include free use of public transport. From €6 (£5.10). visitporto.travel
When to go
Early and late summer are ideal times to visit Porto, when temperatures average a balmy 16-20C and there’s little rain. Winter sees some of Portugal’s coldest and wettest weather, however, with temperatures dipping below 10C.
Where to stay
Doubles at Vila Foz Hotel & Spa from €280 (£239). vilafozhotel.pt
Doubles at Maison Albar Hotels Le Monumental Palace from €250 (£213). maison-albar-hotels-le-monumentalpalace.
World of Wine. wow.pt
Pedro Lemos. pedrolemos.net Euskalduna Studio. euskaldunastudio.pt Almeja. almejaporto.com
Conservas Pinhais. conservaspinhais.pt
How to do it
offers three nights at five-star Vila Foz Hotel & Spa, Porto from £549 per person, B&B, based on two adults sharing. Includes return flights and private transfers. classic-collection.co.uk