Porto: Our Top Picks


If you love beautiful cities with great wine, interesting architecture and amazing food, Porto is a city you cannot miss. We love this Portuguese riverside destination, and so do our clients. We have many visiting here this year on a tailor made holiday.

Often referred to as Portugal’s “second city”, behind the bustling capital of Lisbon, we think Porto deserves a trip in its own right. Lisbon is 200 miles further south so much hotter in the summer, twice as big, faster-paced, and more cosmopolitan. Porto is a small, walkable city with a more traditional vibe. Full of old world charm, enchanting small streets and tile covered corners.

One of Portugal’s most beautiful cities, Porto lies tucked away along the magnificent Douro River in the country’s north. Porto is worth seeing since it is more than just a collection of famous landmarks and popular tourist locations, in contrast to other city trip destinations.

Its true essence, however, is found in the wonderful urban atmosphere and the breathtakingly beautiful old center. Over the years, Porto has also received multiple “best city” and “city of the year” honors from reputable tourist publications.

This month, we are sharing some of our personal top picks in several destinations. We are finishing up the month with pretty Porto.

Where to stay in Porto

There are so many options in our portfolio for Porto. From small, boutique accommodations to luxury hotels, renovated historical buildings to larger properties, we can help match you with your perfect place to stay.

First, we love Maison Albar – Le Monument Palace. Located in the center of Porto and symbolizing the French art de vivre, looks out over the well-known Aliados promenade with all of its original cross streets, alleyways, and squares. This is a neoclassical palace from the 1920s. Here, visitors are welcomed by marble from Portugal, exquisite woodwork beneath lofty ceilings, black ironwork, and rich textures. This property was originally the most famous “café” in Porto dating back to 1930. By selecting this five-star hotel (and member of Leading Hotels of the World), you become a part of history, just like the locals. To conclude, our suite on our last visit just a few months ago was comfortable, luxurious, and full of personal touches and impeccable service.

Or, perhaps a boutique small hotel is more your travel style. A prime example of Porto’s current approach to design-led, boutique stays is Jardins do Porto Boutique Guest House. It is housed in a former bourgeois townhouse and showcases all the positive aspects of the city’s historic bones. For example, high stucco ceilings and showpiece skylight. The decor warm, refined materials, like lightwoods, silk drapes, and dark leather accents. The hotel’s “green” theme—each room is named after a garden in the city – rooms are replete with a healthy assortment of greenery. As such, the rooms are a gorgeous blend of contemporary and timeless.

Our tips on what to see

Are you planning a trip to Porto, Portugal but not sure where to start? Look no further! Porto is a vibrant city with a rich history, stunning architecture, and delicious cuisine. In this guide, we’ll cover the top attractions and activities that you must see and do during your visit to Porto.

1. Visit the Ribeira District

To start, the Ribeira District is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the oldest neighborhoods in Porto. Begin your trip by taking a stroll along the colorful streets lined with charming cafes, shops, and restaurants. Also, be sure to visit the iconic Dom Luis I Bridge for stunning views of the Douro River.

2. Tour the Livraria Lello

Book lovers will not want to miss a visit to Livraria Lello, one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. This historic bookstore is known for its stunning Neo-Gothic architecture and intricate wooden bookcases. It is said to have inspired J.K. Rowling while she was writing the Harry Potter series. Make sure you book your spot as there is a line to enter even in the winter months!

3. Explore the Palacio da Bolsa

Continuing, visit the Palacio da Bolsa, or Stock Exchange Palace, is a magnificent 19th-century building that showcases the wealth and grandeur of Porto’s past. Or, perhaps you’d love our guided tour to admire the stunning Arab Room, the Hall of Nations, and the grand staircase.

4. Sample Port Wine in Vila Nova de Gaia

No visit to Porto is complete without tasting the city’s famous port wine. Head across the Douro River to Vila Nova de Gaia, where you can visit the historic wine cellars and enjoy a tasting of the sweet fortified wine. And we know the perfect cellars for you to visit!

5. Relax at the Jardins do Palacio de Cristal

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at the Jardins do Palacio de Cristal. These beautiful gardens offer stunning views of the Douro River and are the perfect spot

Dining and Drinking in Porto

One of our favorites is the chic DOP. This restaurant, housed in a historic building, offers modern eating areas spread across two levels where patrons may savor excellent traditional cuisine. Excellent collection of Portuguese and foreign wines. Or, perhaps a more traditional spin with an urban bistro and reasonably priced menu at Cantinho do Avillez.

For those clients who travel for the food, our Porto food tour is a cannot miss experience. The largest theater in the city, Coliseu, is where our tour begins, right in the middle of the city. From there, you explore a customary outdoor marketplace, indulge in an array of freshly prepared delicacies, sample regional alcoholic beverages, and witness breathtaking, emblematic Portuguese architectural design. Savor delectable, genuine Portuguese cuisine as you discover the intriguing history of the region, take in Porto’s vibrant culture, and get a feel for daily living in this quaint seaside city.

And finally, we cannot talk about a trip to Porto without mentioning a day trip – or a night or two if your trip has time – in the incredible Douro Valley. Those coming for the day will have our expert advice on wine tastings and lunches. Those looking to stay the night cannot miss the impeccable (and personal favorite) Six Senses Douro Valley.

Porto, tailor made

Porto has some truly unforgettable experiences. These are just a few of our top tips in this special city. Let us design your tailor made vacation for you. Contact us to start planning – we have so many more amazing tips to share with you in Porto!

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