Porto is the second largest city in Portugal located along the Duoro River and it’s about a 3 hour drive from Lisbon. Portugal is having a moment right now and is quickly becoming one of the most popular relocation countries. Aside from being one of the safest countries in the world, with affordable healthcare and low crime, Portugal offers a unique program for citizenship. Portugal offers a residency-by-investment program, known as the Portugal Golden Visa. This five-year residency-by-investment scheme offers non-EU nationals the opportunity to invest in the economy in exchange for five years of residency. At which point you’re eligible to apply for EU citizenship and voila, you then have the option to reside and work anywhere in the EU.
Porto is beautiful and we definitely had the Portugal Golden Visa in the back of our minds as we explored this city. Porto is an old medieval town filled with historic architecture along the picturesque Douro River.
Clérigos Tower is the imposing bell tower of the beautiful Baroque church. The church and its tower are one of the most iconic monuments in Porto.
You’re able to climb 240 steps to the top where you’re rewarded with breathtaking views across Porto and the Duoro River. The number of people able to climb this tower are limited, so be sure to book tickets in advance.
Porto Cathedral is considered one of the most beautiful places in Porto and impressively sits on a hill overlooking the whole city of Porto.
The famous cloisters are beautifully tiled with the blue tiles of Porto. This sacred complex has plenty of gardens and terraces to roam around or simply take a seat and soak it all in. There are LOTS of steps so be sure to wear comfy shoes.
When in Porto you drink port wine… It’s as simple as that! Port is a sweet fortified wine made exclusively in the Douro Valley. Many of the larger port cellars are located in Gaia.
We sampled ruby, tawny, white and vintage port, and if you’re not a fan of this sweet wine, you are covered…. Porto is surrounded by vineyards offering every varietal of wine you can imagine.
The Cais da Ribeira district is filled with bright pastel colored charming buildings stacked on top of each other along the Douro River. This Old Town area is bustling day and night (filled with tourists in the summer) and is one of the most scenic places in Porto.
You’ll find great food, great drinks drinks, and it’s the best place to enjoy a sunset cocktail and ‘people watch’. I’d recommend going there with no agenda, just to hang out and soak in the vibrancy of the area and riverfront.
Duoro Vally is 60 miles outside of Porto, and the incredible landscapes, nature, wines, people, and history are magical. It’s hard to describe the beauty of the Douro valley, the wineries on the side of the mountains with the Douro valley flowing through are beautiful and the scenery is idyllic. The views are stunning and there’s no wonder why the region is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest determined (DOC) wine region in the world.
Baixa is the downtown area of Porto where you’ll find important landmarks such as City Hall and the Cathedral. There’s a young hipster vibe and you’ll find plenty of trendy coffee shops, boutiques and chic restaurants in this area.
The Portuguese love their food and the local dishes are made with simple ingredients that are perfectly prepared. We sampled many regional Portuguese dishes but our favorites were the Bifana, the local codfish and the pastel de nata.
Bifana is a traditional Portuguese soft bread roll filled with thin slices of pork that’s been marinated in wine and other spices, served with plenty of piri-piri sauce. The pastel de nata is a traditional egg custard tart, with a smattering of cinnamon often dusted with cinnamon and was created in the 18th century by Catholic monks in the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon.
The charm of Porto is the beautiful city full of quirky details and architectural delights as you wander the streets – I highly recommend you add to your travel bucket list.
I’m a travel and health writer, digital and brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two active boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising teenage boys, family life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.