Let your memory be your travel bag.Alexander Solzhenitsyn
July 3-16 2017
Leaving Lisbon, we headed north and after a few hours by train we arrived in Porto, Portugal’s second city. Porto is best known for it’s stately bridges and Port wine production. What we found was a very youthful city, home to Portugal’s largest University and full of hip and alternartive cafes, bars, and boutiques that come with it. You can defiently tell that the city is experiencing a renaissance with a lot of construction activity and building renovations taking place.
The views from each side of the Douro River, as well as from the many bridges, were fantastic. The cities most famous bridge, the Dom Luis, is the main attraction, built by Gustav Eiffel, sharing some resemblance to his famous tower in Paris. We really enjoyed sipping Port wine in the many tasting rooms as well as hanging out in the many cafes, parks, and plazas during our stay. It seems the bar parties go all night long, everyday of the week, while the plazas host markets and other events during the day.
Overall we enjoyed Porto even more then Lisbon, although both are great cities, we found Porto to be more beautiful and the Portugese culture easier to absorb. Lisbon has a lot of visitors, which can sometimes be difficult to escape from, and because of this we think the locals are a bit less outgoing when meeting you. Daily life seems to move at a much quicker pace, while Porto is more laid back and has almost a small town feel. Lisbon being much larger does have quite a few more sights to see, especially if you consider Sintra, so it is really just a matter of preference. We think even with a minimal amount of time it would be easy and worth it to check out both.
After our month spending time in Lisbon and Porto, we can highly recommend a visit to Portugal. It is often overlooked when visiting Europe, overshadowed by it’s larger and more popular neighbor, but the culture (unique even compared to Spain), food (we ate a lot tasty canned sardines, amoung other local delights), and landscape (next time we’d like to visit the southern part of the country) is just as wonderful and exciting as anywhere else, and as a bonus, we found the costs to be very affordable by Western European standards, which was a very nice surprise.
Again, keeping this one short, I’ll stop here and let you enjoy some of the scenes from Porto, below.