At the start of March we headed over to Porto for a long weekend with some friends. Check out what we got up to.
Friday 9th March
As is a common theme with our trips, it started with an early morning in Dublin airport. Unable to function without breakfast, I grabbed an orange juice and scone, while BF grabbed a pint and a scone as we waited for our friends to finish up getting drug swabbed at security. For once it wasn’t me! Once our duo became a quartet it was time to board our flight. The two and a half hour flight allowed me to knock a few more hours off my jetlag (I had just gotten back from a work trip in the States the day before) and we were soon touching down in rainy, miserable Porto. We hopped on the metro and were soon in the centre of the town. A few minutes walk downhill later and we were at our Airbnb.
Our Airbnb was absolutely gorgeous! Open brick walls in the living area, amazing views, the complimentary port on arrival, bread and pastries fresh every morning! Loads of Instagram worthy spots! Check it out if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Porto, you might be convinced after reading this blog post!
Once we had finished our port, got changed, and I straightened my hair, which was totally unnecessary due to the wind and rain, we headed out to explore. We decided to go on a short boat trip down the river, but first food! We stopped at a small restaurant down beside the river for something to eat! I went with calamari, which was insanely good! We all ordered port to drink, start as we mean to go on! Once we were done with food it was time to go out on the boat and just as we were walking to the boats the heavens opened! The first downpour of the trip and my ripped jeans were no match for it. We got on the boat, which I was not very trusting of, and we set off down the river, to see all of the bridges that Porto had to offer. Now I’m no architect but by the time we finished the tour I felt like a bit of a bridge connoisseur. Something to check out if you’re into that kind of thing.
OOTD: Coat – River Island, Jeans – Hollister, T-shirt – American Eagle, Boots – Zara, Scarf – H&M, Bag – Dunnes Stores
Once we were done with the bridges and boats we decided to trek up to the top of the main bridge in the town and cross to the other side where all the wineries and wine bars are. And sweet mother of god what a trek it was. Nobody warned me about how hilly Porto was. By the time we got to the top, we were all searching for the next wine bar. The view from the bridge was pretty breathtaking, we managed to get all the way across, despite the wind trying to blow us away. Once at the other side, we got the cable car down to the riverfront, where all the wineries were. We got free wine tastings with both the boat trip and the cable car so it was time to go sample what Porto had to offer. The first tasting was pretty alright if you could call it a tasting. They were pretty stingy with the port; we got a taste of white port and ruby port. We also bought a taste of tawny port and vintage port to sample. I really liked them all but as an avid white wine drinker, I think the white port was my favourite! The next tasting was at Porto Cruz where we tried a Rose Port and a Tawney Port. The Rose port was a bit too sweet for my liking but the Tawney Port was pretty tasty.
After the wine tasting, we headed back to the Airbnb for a little haboo and to get ready for dinner. On the way back we stopped at the shop to pick up some shnacks! We were heading to the restaurant next door to our Airbnb and it was such a good choice. ‘Cantinho do Avillez’ was recommended by our Host but also was one of the first places to pop up on Yelp, and it didn’t disappoint. I got the Braised Tuna with veggies and a glass of super good local white wine. Everyone was super happy with their food and cocktails. And for dessert, both couples shared a Chocolate Cake with strawberry ice-cream. We were all in agreement that it was a really good meal. We then had the short walk back to our Airbnb, before we headed to bed; the early morning and the many, many hills we had climbed had really taken it out of us.
OOTN: Dress – Zara, Boots – River Island, Lipstick – Fenty Beauty
Saturday 10th March
On the Saturday I was awoken by my friends crashing around the kitchen, enjoying the bread and pastries that our Hosts had left for us that morning. Once breakfast was done and we were all dressed and ready we parted ways for the morning, BF and I went to find a pub to watch the football and grab a few beers and our friends went to explore some more of Porto.
OOTD: Jumper – Zara, Jeans – Hollister, Boots – Zara
After the match was finished we headed back to the Airbnb with the plan to head out and have a few more drinks. What actually happened was that we sat down for a few minutes and ended up falling asleep until our friends got back. We quickly got ready and then headed out to the Porto Exit Games. We booked it online and were stuck between the most difficult game, Lost Memories or the scariest game, The Sacrifice. Considering the tagline of The Sacrifice was ‘One must die so the others can escape…’ and BF and myself don’t do too well with the scary we decided to go with the difficult room. Dressed in a super cute Zara dress and some heeled booties we let the boys lead the way. The way involved an awful lot of hills and by the time we got to the Escape Room, the sweat was dripping off me! Not the best day to wear booties!
We checked into the room and the game started with us having to lock our phones in a safe to get the first code! Talk about next level. I don’t want to ruin the room for anyone planning to go to Porto but unfortunately, we didn’t escape! We had to split up and BF and I managed to figure out our room with a few minutes to spare, but our friends ran out of time. To be honest, we could have used a few more brains to figure out all the puzzles in their room! Either way, we had a great time and I would 100% recommend!
After we finally escaped the room, with some help and well over the hour mark, we went for food. Hard Rock Cafe was the plan for the evening and I ended up getting my usual, Twisted Mac and Cheese and a couple of the somewhat overpriced, but super tasty, cocktails! After dinner, we headed to a gin bar around the corner, The Gin House and my god the selection they had. They had all the expected brands and a load that I had never heard of before. I went with a Portuguese gin called Nao, a port-cask aged Gin, and it was so…..interesting! I liked it so much that I bought a bottle in the airport on the way home! After a few more Gins and the building getting hit with lightning (nope, not joking, the power went out) we somewhat ran home through the pouring rain!
Sunday 11th March
Sunday was going to be another full day of exploring! We started off with heading up to the Clerigos Tower, Museum and Church. The Tower is 75m high and with 225 steps to the top, it was a bit of a trek, but well worth it for views of the city. Word of warning, if you suffer from claustrophobia or don’t like crowded places I wouldn’t go all the way to the top, the staircase gets a bit rickety and you end up in a lot of peoples personal space! I would still recommend, to see some pretty impressive views of the city. After we got down through the tower, we wandered through the church, took a few snaps and then headed over to Costa to grab a coffee.
After Costa, we decided to get the light rail over to the otherside of the river to visit the wineries. It took us a bit of time to find our way back down to river level after the light rail dropped us off at the top of the hills so we decided to grab some food before wandering up to Taylors winery. We ended up in this really nice Italian restaurant, Vila Nova de Gaia. I got the Bruschetta and my friend and I got a pitcher of Sangria to share. Pretty sure we blinked and it was gone. We both agreed that it was the tastiest sangria we had ever had!
After we were done with lunch we walked up another hill to get to Taylors. We did the tour of the winery and had a tasting afterwards. I’m glad that we did this tasting later in the trip, as everything we had tried up until that point would have tasted like vinegar in comparison! It was so good that I knew I’d have to bring some home for my Dad! I picked up a bottle of the Late Bottled Vintage port and a bottle of the White Chip Dry port in the airport to bring home. After we were done at Taylor’s we headed to an Irish bar for a few drinks before heading back to the Airbnb to get ready for dinner.
We were planning to head to Muu, but, as we didn’t book a table in advance they didn’t have any availability. So we ended up back in the Hard Rock again! This time I ordered a burrito bowl that was on their limited edition menu and it was super tasty! After we were done with dinner we found a really cute cocktail bar but we were all way too tired to have more than one. We headed back to the Airbnb to pack and get some sleep before our flight home the next day.
OOTN: Dress – Missguided, Kimono – American Eagle
Monday 12th March
Time to head home! We got up early to clean up the Airbnb before we left. Thankfully we didn’t have to walk up too many hills to get to the train station and before long we were back in the airport. We grabbed a quick breakfast, took a stroll around the duty-free and soon enough we were boarding! I don’t think we had taken off and I was already asleep. After a few hours, we landed in Dublin, said goodbye to our friends, grabbed some snacks for the road and embarked on the drive back to Waterford.
I hope you enjoyed my account of our short, but packed trip to Porto. It was definitely one of my favourite places I’ve been recently and I’ve told everyone that will listen, including all you guys now, that they 100% need to plan a trip there. I now have a few months before my next trip, but I can’t see it staying like that for very long. I’d love to hear your guys recommendations for places that I need to visit. Leave a comment below and keep an eye out for more travel and fitness posts coming soon!