Port Wine, Francesinha, and Tiles
Porto is an exciting city that feels more intimate that its population of 2 million people. Characteristic cafes and bars are filled with locals called Tripeiros (tripe eaters) and tourists alike, both drawn to the local industry, Port Wine.
A Short History
Humans have been in what is now Portugal since about 30,000 BC. Celtic tribes were known to have lived around Porto since at least 300 BC. The Celts were defeated by the Romans who were followed by Germanic tribes that ruled Porto after the fall of the empire.
In 711 AD, the Moors invaded Portugal and held much of the southern and central parts of the country. But, the northern part, including Porto (also known as Oporto), was a different story.
The drive to push the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula started 868 (the Moors wouldn’t be completely defeated in Portugal until 1248) and it was here in northern Portugal that the fledgling County of Portugal was created even as it was a part of the Kingdom of Leon.
In the 13th century, Port Wine, produced in the nearby Douro Valley was beginning to be transported by flat bottomed boats (rabelos) to Porto. The English (an important Portuguese ally) developed a taste for Port and eventually came to own several Port houses.
Serra do Pilar Monastery, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal (photo: Brent Petersen)
French troops loyal to Napoleon invaded Porto in 1809 but the Duke of Wellington defeated the French by launching an attack from the Serra do Pilar Monastery across the river using wine barges.
When King Miguel I rejected a new constitution in 1828, Civil War broke out in Portugal. Porto rejected the king’s absolute power and sided with liberal constitutionalists. The king’s troops laid siege to Porto, which lasted 18 months. Porto outlasted the army, earning the nickname Cidade Invicta (undefeated city).
Industrialization (and wine) made Porto rich in the 19th century and a building boom took place. This included the construction of several magnificent bridges (see below) that earned the city another nickname, The City of Bridges.
Forces in support of a Portuguese Republic revolted against the monarchy in Porto in 1891. Eventually, the monarchy was overthrown and the modern state of Portugal was created on October 5, 1910.
But, the Monarchists wouldn’t go away that easily. In 1919, Monarchists staged a revolt against the republic and created royal state known as the Monarchy of the North with Porto as it’s capital. This rebellion was squashed in less than a month.
Glasses of Porto’s famous Port Wine (photo: Brent Petersen)
While the Portuguese people were hopeful that a constitutional democracy would improve their lives, poverty was still widespread, and in 1926 the army took over the government. Dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar ruled from 1932 to 1968. During that time money was spent modernizing Portugal, but the people remained poor. Portugal was the poorest country in Western Europe and Salazar crushed political dissent with his secret police.
Eventually, the police state was overthrown by the Carnation Revolution in 1974 and Portugal again became a democracy.
Today, unemployment is still high, but the construction and creation of new businesses in Porto is impossible to miss as the city grows and welcomes visitors.
Food in Porto can be heavy on the pork (Bifana) and sausage (Francesinha), but nothing delights me more than sitting down to Petiscos, and a glass of wine.
Petiscoes at Wine Quay in Porto (photo: Brent Petersen)
Petiscos is known as the Portuguese version of tapas. But, don’t say that to a person from Portugal! To them, it’s something completely different.
Tapas has it’s roots in the bread used to cover glasses of wine to keep flies and dirt out (see out Foodie City Guide of the Sherry Triangle for more on Tapas). On the other hand Petiscos is simply smaller versions of larger plates. Popular Petiscos include seafood like Octopus Salad or Clams and meat stews.
My favorite place for Petiscos also serves the simplest dishes. Wine Quay doesn’t even have a full-service kitchen. A bowl of olives, some roasted peppers, fresh bread, and tomatoes seasoned with olive oil and sprinkled with oregano. Add a nice glass of wine and I’m in heaven.
Moisés, proprietor at Wine Quay, with another fine selection (photo: Brent Petersen)
There’s only a couple of tables (a few inside and a terrace outside) at Wine Quay. Expect to wait if you haven’t made a reservation.
Karen and I lucked out. We snagged the last table inside and the owner, Moisés, took great care of us. We told him what we liked and he chose some wine to go with our simple Petiscos. His first picks were so spot on, I just asked him to bring me something I’d like for the second glass. Another home run. Same for the third.
By this time, some seats opened up on the terrace and Moisés led us to a spot where we had a perfect view of the Douro as the sun set and made the town of Vila Nova de Gaia across the river look like it was glowing. Unmatched.
Oh, and did I mention that glasses of wine range from just over 2€ to about 7€.
Rabanadas is the Portuguese version of French Toast. Rabanadas is usually made with a baguette and not sandwich bread. Another nice thing about Rabanadas is that it is topped with a syrup of Port wine!
The Majestic is the most famous cafe in Porto and for good reason. It is absolutely opulent. And the prices reflect it. 5 € for an espresso? Are you kidding me? But, they make a very good Rabanadas.
Cafe Guarany is owned by the same people as The Majestic and has the same menu as its sister cafe. While Guarany isn’t as fancy as the Majestic, it has great style and the prices are cheaper.
Caldo Verde (photo: Brent Petersen)
Caldo Verde is the most popular soup in northern Portugal. Made with potatoes and Greens (usually kale but other greens are sometimes used) and flavored with onions and garlic, sausage is added at the end of the cooking process.
Almost every little cafe in Porto has Caldo Verde on the menu and even high-end establishments offer it as well. O Astro Cervejaria Petisqueira in the residential neighborhood of Fontainhas has an excellent version (their Bifana, a pork sandwich is also famous) and if you want a vegetarian version, Em Carne Viva is the place to go.
Cafe pushing their Francesinha (photo: Brent Petersen)
Francesinha (aka Little Frenchie) is a massive meat sandwich that was based on the French sandwich, the Croque-Monsieur, a ham and cheese sandwich. The Francesina is loaded with ham, sausage, steak, roast beef, and/or linguiça. The sandwich is covered in melted cheese and a sauce made of beer and tomato.
The sandwich can vary based on how much and what kinds of meats is added to the sandwich. But, the sauce is the real difference between purveyors of the Francesinha. It can be spicy or mild, have special herbs added, and have different ratios of beer and tomato (or no tomato sauce at all).
Francesinha is available all over town and diners in Porto will argue endlessly about who makes the best one. Cafe Santiago F is famous for theirs and believe it or not, there is a vegetarian version of this meat bomb available at Em Carne Viva.
Drinking in Porto
Porto is know for its namesake, the famous fortified wine, Port. But there’s more to drink in Porto than the sweet stuff.
Old bottles of Port (photo: Brent Petersen)
Porto is famous for the wine that takes its name from the city, Port. Port is a fortified wine like Sherry or Vermouth. A liquor made from distilled grapes is added to the wine which kills the yeast and stops the fermentation process. This leaves sugar in the wine which would normally be eaten by the yeast and accounts for port’s (usually) sweet taste.
There are several different types of port, which are usually distinguished by quality and how long or where the port is aged.
Ruby Port is normally the least expensive, having been aged in stainless steel casks. Higher quality Ruby Ports are Reserve, Late Bottled Vintage (aged 4-6 years), Vintage (aged in wooden barrels and meant to drunk after 20-30 years).
Tawney Port is aged at least two years in wooden barrels and is generally sweeter in flavor. Some Tawney Ports can be aged 10-40 years with prices escalating accordingly.
Getting ready for a tasting at Portologia (photo: Brent Petersen)
White Ports and Rose Ports have also become more popular recently.
Buying Port in the U.S. can be a tricky business. There is no law regulating who can call their wine “Port.” So, you’ll see stuff called Port that was made in the United States, Australia, and even India! Be sure to check the label before buying to make certain you’re getting the real thing from Portugal, where Port Wine is a protected product (you can only call it Port in Portugal if it meets certain criteria including where the grapes were grown.)
The biggest Port producers line the river across from Porto in the town of Vila Nova de Gaia. In the days or yore, traditional Rabelo boats transported barrels of Port from the vineyards in the Douro Valley to Vila Nova de Gaia but today, barges do the job.
Sandeman, Taylor, Graham, and Cálem are some of the most famous producers of Port. You might notice that a lot of them have English names. That’s because in the early 18th century duty was lifted on Port Wine coming into England from Portugal. The English were at war with France, so the Brits were cut off from their favorite bottle of Burgundy. The British became involved in the Port making process leading to the English names on Port bottles.
All the biggest Port producers have Port Lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia where you can tour and taste. I’m going to give a bit of advice that’s contrary to other websites and guidebooks. Don’t bother with the Port Lodges. They all basically give you the same tour and the tastings tend to be overpriced.
That said, there is one Port Lodge I can recommend. Ferreira Cellars is one of the few Port producers to have remained in Portuguese hands and its history is dominated by the towering figure, Dona Antónia Ferreira. The tour finishes in the tasting room that dates to the 19th century.
I prefer to find a nice wine bar where you can sample Ports from several different producers, especially the smaller ones, and get a better idea of what you like and don’t like.
Portologia is a great spot for a Port tasting. They carry Ports from both large and small producers. You can try all manners of Port as well, including Ruby, Tawney, White, and Rose. I like sharing a tasting of 6 different Ports and try as many different wines as possible.
There’s no doubt that Port is the industry of Porto. Lots of people work to make it, store it, ship it, and serve it to thirsty visitors. But you can’t really drink Port with a meal and Portugal, the Douro Valley in particular, also produces excellent red and white table wine.
The best way to sample these wines is at one of the fine wine bars in the city.
See above for more about my favorite place in Porto for wine and Petiscos. But I can add that the wine list at Wine Quay is top notch. I loved the Lacrau wine we had from the Douro Valley there.
All in Porto
Bottle display at All in Porto (photo: Brent Petersen)
All in Porto has one of the best wine lists in Portugal. Everything is curated by the owner and you can tell the care they put into it. The food is also top-notch. I like to get some wine with their cheese board. The selection of cheeses is high-quality and diverse. Plus, the staff will pair the cheese perfectly with wine. Highly recommended.
About 25 miles northeast of Porto is Singeverga Monastery. Benedictine monks from the monastery make an herb liquor called Singeverga. The recipe for Singeverga is a secret kept by the monks, but it is said that the monks themselves cultivate the aromatic plants that are used in making the flavorful liquor.
Because the production is done by the monks, Singeverga is not widely available. But, you can get a glass at Monstra Nacional in Porto, a lovely little bakery that also sells bottles of stuff.
I’ve found a few places online where you can order Singeverga (it doesn’t seem that they have a U.S. distributor), but the cost of shipping one bottle will, in effect, triple the cost.
Things to Do in Porto
Porto is a city in transition. The dictatorship of António de Oliveira that stagnated the country ended less than 50 years ago. Then, the recent global recession battered Portugal’s already fragile economy.
Today, signs of a recovery are everywhere in Porto. Construction is booming and new businesses are opening everywhere. But, Porto is trying to strike a balance between growth and hanging on to a traditional culture that many see as being in danger of disappearing.
The Bolhão Market has been around for over 100 years. Back in the day, it was simply a produce market where farmers came to sell their wares. In recent times, it has added vendors who sell prepared foods, wine, cheese, and souvenirs for tourists.
After years of neglect which saw structural problems plaguing the building as well as a run-down atmosphere, the city finally decided on a restoration project costing over 40 million Euros. Upgrades will include outdoor heating, direct access to the metro stop, and expansion of the fresh market to the lower floor. The new and improved Bolhão Market is expected to open in July 2020, but construction is, of course, behind schedule.
The temporary location of the market is in the huge basement of the La Vie Porto Baixa Shopping Center. While this spot may lack the charm of the old location, it is still a must-visit. Many of the vendors who were at the old location have migrated to the temporary one (their pictures are on proudly displayed on banners above the staircase leading to the market) and the quality of the produce is still very high.
This signs adds to mistaken thought that Gustavo Eiffel designed the Dom Luís I Bridge (he designed, or helped design, the nearby Maria Pia Bridge) Photo: Brent Petersen
Our friend Andre took us to his favorite produce stand in the market and started explaining the different local melon varieties on display when the clerk working the stand began yelling at Andre. He laughed and shouted back at her, explaining to us that they were arguing about the previous day’s futbol result. Only in Portugal.
Ask questions about what’s in season. You’ll be blown away by the freshness and variety of the different fruits and veggies in this bountiful region of the Iberian Peninsula, many of which we cannot get in the U.S.
Porto is often called the “City of Bridges.” That’s not because of the number of the bridges, but because of their exceptional beauty.
Dom Luís I Bridge
Beautiful view of the upper deck of the Dom Luís I Bridge (photo: Brent Petersen)
By far the most famous bridge in Porto is the Dom Luís I Bridge. This double-decker bridge connects Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia, the town across the river where all the Port Cellars are located.
Many people believe that Gustave Eiffel (of Tower fame) designed the Dom Luís I Bridge. Adding to the confusion is the fact that Avenida de Gustavo Eiffel runs along the river, directly in front of the Dom Luís I Bridge.
Although Eiffel submitted a plan for the bridge, it was not accepted. Instead, Eiffel’s protege, Théophile Seyrig, who had recently left Eiffel’s company to work for Belgium’s Société Willebroeck won the job with his design.
Crowded lower deck of the Dom Luís I Bridge (photo: Brent Petersen)
The bridge is accessible to pedestrians and it’s quite a thrill waking across the upper deck. From here, you can see most of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia which makes for stunning photos.
The upper deck is also less crowded that the lower deck. I’ve crossed the bridge on foot (both lower and upper decks) and frankly the lower deck can be uncomfortable, especially around sunset when it seems everyone is jockeying for position. I was concerned for Karen’s well-being because of all the jostling and the cars running along the bridge, so I had to position myself in front of her as we made our way across to prevent her from being knocked over. Needless to day, I’d suggest crossing at other times of day or, better yet, crossing on the less crowded upper deck.
Maria Pia Bridge
Maria Pia Bridge, Porto (photo: Brent Petersen)
The Maria Pia Bridge isn’t far from the Dom Luís I Bridge and it also crosses the Douro River. The Maria Pia is often confused with the Dom Luís because they have a similar design and are near eachother.
Although Gustave Eiffel is credited with the design, it is likely that Théophile Seyrig, Eiffel’s business partner at the time, did much of the work. Looking at the bridge, it is easy to see the similarity to Eiffel’s famous tower in Paris.
The bridge is rather lightweight for its size and has undergone several series of repairs over the years to correct structural issues. It was closed to traffic in 1991.
Tiles decorating a building in Porto (photo: Brent Petersen)
Portugal is famous for its distinctive Azulejos tiles. Azulejos (from the Arabic “al zulaycha” or “polished stone”) came to the Iberian Peninsula with the Moors. But, they didn’t become popular in Portugal until King Manuel I, visiting Seville, saw the colorful tiles, and decided to decorate his palace with them in 1503.
Early Azulejos were mostly geometric patterns as the Moors’ Muslim faith prohibited the depiction of people or animals. But, by the 16th century, elaborate tile murals were constructed to tell stories, mostly religious.
Azulejos are still visible throughout Porto, decorating everything from churches to train stations to apartment buildings. Unfortunately, even though there are laws to prevent the removal of Azulejos, many installations have been lost.
Tiles are so important to the cultural heritage of Porto that a Banco de Materiais (Bank of Materials) has been established to preserve them. The bank stores thousands of tiles in its repository. The fire department brings in tiles from buildings that are in danger of collapse, the police add tiles to the collection when they confiscate them from thieves, and building owners can take tiles free of charge if they are working on a restoration project. The bank even helps builders find reproductions of tiles if originals are not available.
Azulejos Porto has done an excellent job of trying to catalogue these lost works of art.
Capela das Almas de Santa Catarina (photo: Brent Petersen)
To shop for tiles, Gazete Azulejos is a good place to go. They also offer tile painting classes.
São Bento Railway Station
One of the most magnificent examples of the Azulejos art form is at São Bento Railway Station. Huge tile murals by Jorge de Colaço take up almost 6,000 square feet of wall space inside the terminal. Stirring images from Portuguese history dominate, but there are also depictions of the history of transportation as well as traditional geometric designs.
While the station is busy with commuters (especially during rush hour) and tourists looking at the art pieces, the São Bento Railway Station is a can’t miss when in Porto.
Capela das Almas de Santa Catarina
Near the São Bento Station is the Capela das Almas de Santa Catarina. The exterior is decorated with tiles in classic blue and white and the depict scenes from the lives of St. Francis and St. Catarina.
The work is amazing in its scope and detail as it covers both the front facade and side of the church and is at least 30 feet tall in places.
Church of Saint Ildefonso
Church of Saint Ildefonso facade (photo: Brent Petersen)
The Church of Saint Ildefonso is an18th century Baroque church with 20th century Azulejos tilework. The 11,000 tiles on the facade of the church were designed by Jorge de Colaço, the same man who did the tilework at the São Bento Station.
Igreja do Carmo
Rather than having the tiles on the front facade, the mural depicting the founding of the Carmo order is on the side of the Ingreja do Carmo. The artwork was designed by Silvestre Silvestri and painted by Carlos Branco.
Ribeira Negra Panel
The Ribeira Negra Panel is a great example of modern Azulejos. Painted by Júlio Resende in 1987, the mural does an excellent job of depicting life in the busy and rowdy Ribeira neighborhood.
Porto can seem like a very traditional city. From the painted tiles to the stuffy port houses to Gothic churches to magnificent bridges, it can feel like you’re in an outdoor museum.
But, in some ways, Porto is a very modern city as well. The Porto Leixões Cruise Terminal and the Vodofone Headquarters buildings are both very contemporary in design.
The street art scene in Porto is vibrant and also falls on the modern side of the design spectrum. Murals range from the abstract to the figurative and from small works to giant pieces that are several stories high.
If you want to take a tour of street art in Porto, Joao has created one at With Locals. Joao is an enthusiastic guide and the tour only costs €12
Away from the crush of riverfront Ribeira and the tourist attractions of Baixa is one of my favorite parts of Porto, the Fontainhas neighborhood.
Does this look like an abandoned slaughterhouse to you? Me neither. (photo: Brent Petersen)
There’s no real attractions here. An abandoned slaughterhouse is fenced off with weeds growing all around, but look at the building and tell me you’d think that used to be a slaughterhouse. Karen and I walked by and we speculated on it being a school, a rectory, and several other things, but it wasn’t until I looked it up that we discovered it used to be a slaughterhouse.
No, Fontainhas’ charms lie in the Tripeiros (people of Porto are called Tripeiros because of their fondness for tripe) who reside in the neighborhood. Without all the tourists, Fontainhas can breathe and live. Restaurants cater to local tastes. Every cafe, it seems, has Francesinha, Caldo Verde, and Bifana on the menu.
Fontainhas is the kind of place where you will want to wander the streets and get lost. Stop and listen to people shouting from balconies, even if you don’t speak a word of Portuguese.
View of the Douro River from Fontainhas (photo: Brent Petersen)
Then again, they could be shouting in Russian.
There’s a small Russian Orthodox Church and Russian market that serves the Slavic ex-pat population in Fontainhas. Since 1999, their numbers have grown as Portugal has imported workers from Eastern Europe and Russia.
The Alameda das Fontainhas has one of the most scenic views in Porto, and that’s high praise for a city filled with spectacular vistas. And speaking of spectacular vistas, the Guindalense Futebol Clube challenges for the top spot in Porto. A small bar on the far end of Fontainhas, the Guindalense Futebol Clube has views of the river and Porto’s famous Dom Luís I Bridge.
Day Trip to the Douro Valley
Terraced vineyards in the Douro Valley (photo: Brent Petersen)
The Douro Valley is a major wine producing region of Portugal and where the famous Port Wine is made.
You might ask why you should trek all the way to the Douro Valley when you can just sample Port in Porto itself. Fair question. The reason is because of the stunning beauty of the Douro Valley. The winding Douro River reveals immaculately terraced vineyards, farm houses, river villages, and magnificent wineries.
There’s several ways to get to the Douro Valley, but I recommend taking the train. Driving is nice, but the person doing the driving misses most of the scenery or is distracted by it. There are also river cruises that will take you from Porto to the Douro Valley, but you’ll spend six to eight hours on the boat just getting there and not have much time for anything else.
A window in Pinhão (photo: Brent Petersen)
There are a couple of trains each day leaving Porto in the morning (bonus, you can leave out of the gorgeous São Bento Railway Station) and arrive in the Douro Valley town of Pinhão two and a half hours later. There’s also two returning trains in the late afternoon meaning that for a day trip you’ll have from five to nine hours in the Douro Valley.
Pinhão itself doesn’t have a lot to offer. If you’re looking for Port, there are a couple of wine shops but, unexpectedly, most don’t offer tastings.
Walking down to the waterfront, there is a great view across the river to some well manicured terraced vineyards. If the lady who makes fig cookies is set up on the riverfront, buy a bag, they’re fantastic.
Rabelos are flat bottomed boats that were used to transport port wine from the Douro Valley to Porto. Today, barges are used for this job. Along the waterfront, several companies offer one and two hour boat tours of the Douro River, just the right amount of time if you’re on a day trip. Some of the river tours offer rides on the traditional Rabelo.
If you take the train, there are a couple wineries within walking distance and there’s usually taxis (there’s no Uber in the Douro Valley) waiting outside the station. If you decide to visit, know that almost all wineries require reservations for a tour.
On your way out of Pinhão, be sure to check out the tile murals at the train station. They depict traditional life in the Douro Valley.
One last note. Be sure to ask if you have to switch trains in Régua. Often this is the case and train announcements are not made in English. Don’t be like the lady we saw who was yelling and running after the train as it left the station in Régua. She had a looooong wait in front of her.
Visiting a winery is a great way to spend your day in the Douro Valley, even for folks who don’t like Port. In addition to the sweet stuff, Douro Valley vineyards grow grapes for very fine red and white table wine.
Quinta de La Rosa
Quinta de La Rosa is my favorite winery in the Douro Valley. Many of the Port wineries have been bought up by multi-national conglomerates, but Quinta de La Rosa is still a family-run operation.
In addition to wine tastings (they offer an entire portfolio of quality wines), Quinta de La Rosa also offers olive oil and vinegar tastings. And, they have a terrace at the restaurant that boasts beautiful views of the river and vineyards. Be sure to book in advance, you’ll need a reservation.
Quinta do Bomfim
Quinta do Bomfim is less than a ten minute walk from the train station. A tour of property includes a visit to the small family museum and a walk of the stone terraced vineyards. A visit is €17 and includes a tasting and tour. Reservations are required.
Quinta do Bomfim is also a great spot for a picnic and the folks at the winery will deliver your picnic to you for €25 per person (2 person min., 48 hour advance booking required).
Quinta da Pacheca
Quinta da Pacheca is across the river from Régua, which is a stop along the train line from Porto to Pinhão. If you take the train, you’ll need to take a ten minute taxi ride to the winery.
Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport aka Porto Airport (OPO)
International airport serves most of Europe, Dubai, some former colonies, Toronto, and (seasonally) Newark.
4470-558 Maia, Portugal
Campanhã Railway Station
Arrival station for most long haul trains within Portugal and outside the country.
4300-173 Porto, Portugal
São Bento Railway Station
Local and regional train station with magnificent tiles inside.
Praça Almeida Garrett, 4000-069 Porto, Portugal
The local transportation system includes buses and the metro. Get an Andante Card, load it with Euros, and swipe on and off.
Porto’s handy funicular (photo: Brent Petersen)
Not covered by Andante Card. Purchase separate ticket. Three trolley lines stop near many tourist attractions.
Funicular dos Guindais
Funicular connects the Ribeira and Batalha neighborhoods in Porto, saving a tough walk. Not covered by the Andante Card.
R. da Ribeira Negra 314, 4000-509 Porto, Portugal
River taxi (photo: Brent Petersen)
Douro River Taxi
Quick trip on the water from Ribeira to Vila Nova de Gaia. Not covered by the Andante Card.
Apartado 1311 | 4401 – 501 Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto, Portugal
Index of Things to Do in Porto
Taste Porto Food Tours
Several excellent food tours.
Food tours, pub crawls, and walking tours.
Huge indoor produce and prepared food market. In a temporary location until at least July 2020 while old location is renovated.
508, Rua de Fernandes Tomás 506, 4000-211 Porto, Portugal
Roto do Douro
Several river cruises available.
Street art in Porto (photo: Brent Petersen)
Street Art Tour
Experience Porto’s vibrant street art scene with Joao, a local street art enthusiast.
Sao Bento Station
Train station whose interior is decorated with 20,000 azulejo tiles from the early 20th century.
Praca Almeida Garrett, Porto 4000-069, Portugal
Dom Luís I Bridge
Porto’s iconic double-decker bridge.
Pte. Luiz I, Porto, Portugal
Statue of Porto’s favorite son.
Praca Infante Dom Henrique, Porto 4050-295, Portugal
Igreja de São Francisco
Baroque church with unbelievably intricately carved panels with gold leaf. Catacombs below.
Rua do Infante D. Henrique, Porto 4050-297, Portugal
Church of Saint Ildefonso
18th century church with azulejo tile facade.
R. de Santo Ildefonso 11, 4000-542 Porto, Portugal
Igreja do Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas
Side by side churches with a strange three foot wide house between them.
R. do Carmo, 4050-164 Porto, Portugal
Porto Cathedral (photo: Brent Petersen)
Sé do Porto (Porto Cathedral)
12th century cathedral with fanciful 18th century alters.
Terreiro da Sé, 4050-573 Porto, Portugal
Banco de Materiais
Tiles are so important to the culture of Portugal that there is a tile bank. Located in the Palace of the Viscounts of Balsemão.
Praça de Carlos Alberto 71, 4050-159 Porto, Portugal
Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace)
Grand building headquarters of the Porto Commerce Association.
Rua Ferreira Borges S/N, Porto 4050-253, Portugal
Igreja de Santa Clara (Church of Santa Clara)
Dull facade with intricately carved Baroque interior.
Largo 10 de Dezembro, Porto 4000-404, Portugal
Capela das Almas de Santa Catarina (photo: Brent Petersen)
Capela das Almas de Santa Catarina (Chapel of the Souls)
Church with amazing tile exterior.
Rua de Santa Catarina 428, Porto 4000-444, Portugal
Serra do Pilar
Monastery in Vila Nova de Gaia with great views.
Largo de Aviz, Vila Nova de Gaia 4430-329, Portugal
The best Port cellar Vila Nova de Gaia, and worth a visit.
Avenida Ramos Pinto 70, Vila Nova de Gaia 4400-266, Portugal
Port Wine Lodge with fancy restaurant on site.
Rua do Choupelo 250, 4400-088 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Sandeman Port cellar(photo: Brent Petersen)
The largest, and busiest Port Wine Lodge. Good introduction to Port.
Largo Miguel Bombarda 3, Vila Nova de Gaia 4404-507, Portugal
Port Wine Lodge with tastings and optional Fado show.
Avenida Diogo Leite 344, Vila Nova de Gaia 4400-111, Portugal
Port Wine Lodge and inventor of Rose port.
do Barão de Forrester 412, 4400-034 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Kopke Wine House
The lodge isn’t open for tours, but tastings available in the plain wine house.
Avenida Diogo Leite 312, Vila Nova de Gaia 4400-111, Portugal
Quinta de Santa Eufémia
Park above the Port cellars in Vila Nova da Gaia (photo: Brent Petersen)
Tasting room for one of few port houses that haven’t been gobbled up by an international conglomerate.
R. de Santa Marinha 77, 4400-266 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Cruises on the Douro River
Rua de Miragaia 103, 4050-387 Porto, Portugal
Two hour boat ride on the Douro in Pinhão.
Cais C – Cais do Pinhão, 5085 Pinhão, Portugal
Quinta do Bomfim
Lovely winery with stone terraced vineyards. Reservations required for a visit and tour.
PInhão, 5085-060 Pinhão, Alijo, Portugal
Quinta da Pacheca
Winery and hotel in the Duoro Valley. Offers grape stomping experience in season.
Rua do Relogio do Sol, 261, Lamego 5100-424, Portugal
Quinta de La Rosa
Winery and B&B in Pinhão.
Quinta de La Rosa 215, Pinhão, Portugal
Quinta do Panascal
Winery famous for Fonseca Port.
N222, 5120-496 Valença do Douro, Portugal
Quinto do Vallado
Hotel and winery.
Quinta do Vallado, Vilarinho dos Freires, 5050-364 Peso da Régua, Portugal
Quinta de Marrocos
Winery and farmstay in an old Franciscan monastery.
N222, 5100-840 Valdigem, Portugal
Index of Food & Drink in Porto
Street art in Porto (photo: Brent Petersen)
Historic cafe is a great spot for a cimbalino (espresso) or Rabanadas (Portuguese French Toast).
Rua de Santa Catarina 112, Porto 4000-442, Portugal
Sister cafe to the Majestic. Not as fancy, but the same menu and less expensive.
Avenida dos Aliados 85 89, Porto 4000-066, Portugal
A Loja dos Pastéis de Chaves
Bringing their filo dough filled pastries from the town of Chaves to Porto.
Rua da Firmeza 476, Porto 4000-226, Portugal
Árvore do Mundo
Excellent vegan restaurant.
Rua Duque Loule N 228, Porto 4000-324, Portugal
Cafe Santiago F
Azulejo tiles in Porto (photo: Brent Petersen)
Famous for their massive Francesinha.
Rua de Passos Manuel 198, Porto 4000-382, Portugal
Confeitaria do Bolhão
Rua Formosa 339, Porto 4000-252, Portugal
Petiscos (Portugues tapas)
Rua do Almada 151 A, Porto 4050-037, Portugal
Sleek, upscale restaurant.
Rua O Comercio do Porto 161, Porto 4050-211, Portugal
O Astro Cervejaria Petisqueira
Good spot for Caldo Verde and Bifana (pork sandwich).
Rua da Estacao n 16, Porto 4300-171, Portugal
Padaria Ribeiro Express
Praca Guilherme Gomes Fernandes 27, Porto 4050-293, Portugal
Family run spot with homestyle meals.
Rua Sao Nicolau 9, Porto 4050-561, Portugal
Taberna Santo Antonio
Busy spot for Portuguese comfort food.
Rua Virtudes 32, Porto 4050-630, Portugal
Em Carne Viva
Vegetarian Caldo Verde and Francesinha.
Av. da Boavista 868, 4100-421 Porto, Portugal
Photo: Brent Petersen
Vegetarian food, buffet style.
Rua de Mouzinho da Silveira 249, Porto 4050-421, Portugal
Leitaria da Quinta do Paco
Cafe with amazing eclairs.
Praca Guilherme Gomes Fernandes 47,| Baixa Do Porto, Porto 4050-293, Portugal
Flor dos Congregados
Family-run traditional restaurant famous for their slow roasted pork sandwich.
Travessa Congregados 11, Porto 4000-179, Portugal
Photo: Brent Petersen
Small pastry shop that also carries Singeverga.
Rua dos Caldeireiros N. 51, Porto 4050-140, Portugal
Photo: Brent Petersen
Wine Quay Bar
Wine bar with petiscos (small plates). Outside seating along the riverfront.
111 and 112 Muro dos Bacalhoeiros, Porto 4050-080, Portugal
Prova Wine Food & Pleasure
Wine bar with port and so much more.
Rua Ferreira Borges 86, Porto 4050-252, Portugal
All in Porto (photo: Brent Petersen)
All in Porto
Terrific wine bar with small plates.
Rua Arquiteto Nicolau Nazoni 17 27, Porto 4050-423, Portugal
Great bar for port tasting.
Rua de Sao Joao 28-30, Porto 4050-551, Portugal
Aperol spritz at Base in Porto (photo: Brent Petersen)
Hip outdoor bar with beanbag chairs on lawn.
Passeio Dos Clerigos, Rua Das Carmelitas, Jardim, Porto 4050-162, Portugal
Guindalense Futebol Clube
Great views at this little bar in Fontainhas.
Escadas Guindais 43, Porto 4000-277, Portugal
Cute little snack bar with Francesinha (of course)
Rua de Justino Teixeira nr 19, 4300-273 Porto, Portugal
Top flight restaurant in Taylor’s Port Wine Lodge
Rua do Choupelo 250, 4400-088 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Expensive restaurant and wine bar worth the price for the view.
Porto Cruz (photo: Brent Petersen)
Rua do Agro 141, Vila Nova de Gaia 4400-281, Portugal
Rooftop bar has some of the best views in the city. Wine and Port tastings.
Largo Miguel Bombarda 222, Vila Nova de Gaia 4400-222, Portugal
Index of Shopping in Porto
Shop for tiles or take a tile making class.
Rua Comandante Rodolfo de Araújo 162, 2nd floor, 4000-414 Porto, Portugal
Gorgeous Neo-Gothic bookstore with a stained glass ceiling. Usually crowded. 5€ entrance fee refunded with purchase.
R. das Carmelitas 144, 4050-161 Porto, Portugal
Touriga Wine Shop
Excellent selection of wines. Port tastings, too.
Rua da Fábrica 32, 4050-245 Porto, Portugal
Mercado na Invicta
Handmade crafts and souvenirs.
Rua Fabrica 15 19, Porto 4050-247, Portugal
Index of Places to Stay in Porto
InPatio Guest House (photo: inpatio.pt)
InPatio Guest House
Nice guesthouse in the Riberia neighborhood.
Patio Sao Salvador 22, Porto 4050-567 Portugal
Centrally located but still reasonably priced.
81 Rua de Belomonte, Porto 4050-253 Portugal
Has hostel-style dorm rooms and private double rooms as well.
Rua Miguel Bombarda 222, Porto 4050-377 Portugal
Descobertas Boutique Hotel
Nice little hotel in the heart of Riberia.
Rua Fonte Taurina 14 22, Porto 4050-269 Portugal
Wine House Hotel
Sleep in a huge wine barrel. At the Quinta da Pacheca winery.
Rua do Relogio de Sol 261, Cambres, Lamego 5100-105, Portugal
Vintage House Hotel
Luxury hotel on the river in Pinhão. Michelin plate rated restaurant on site.
Rua Antonio Manuel Saraiva, Pinhao 5085-037 Portugal