Porto: The Perfect Weekend Playground
When people think of Portugal, they usually think about cities in the south such as Lisbon or the amazing beaches in the Algarve. But there is so much more to discover, especially in the north and specifically Porto, Portugal’s second biggest city that sits on the banks of the Douro river.
An Easy Going City
From the airport, it doesn’t take very long at all to get to the city centre. After that, you’re free to relax on the beach or dance til dawn – clubs and pubs usually stay open til 4 am or 6 am. Porto locals are known for being warm and helpful – you’re sure to experience friendly welcomes wherever you go.
Matosinhos Beach is one of the nicest beaches in the city – take long walks on the promenade or relax in the sunshine. If you cast your eyes to the other side, you’ll get an amazing view of the buildings, trees and streets that seems to want to take everyone to the warm sand.
For an insight in the local marine life, visit Sea Life, just on the other side of the street of Matosinhos Beach. Here you’ll find information about all the underwater creatures in the local area.
Later, chill out with a “Caipirinha” or other cocktail from the nearby beach bars, to the sound of Brazilian music.
Of course, you’ve got to try the traditional “Francesinha” dish, it’s a huge sandwich stuffed with pork meat, sausage, ham, pickles and covered with melted cheese and a special sauce that will melt in your mouth. Every restaurant features this dish on their menu – just go and try it out!
Porto is filled with history, and is something of a living museum, but there are plenty of museums for rainy days if you’re interested in learning more about the city’s heritage. There is no better place to spend a sunny afternoon than in the gardens of Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace).
Porto is famous for its lively nightlife, you’ll find clubs and bars in every corner of the city playing house, techno, latin and pop music. But the magic happens on the streets. Go to “Piolho” everyone gathers here at night to have drinks and chat in the middle of the street. Or there are some great venues down by the Douro River where you can watch the boats passing by.
There is so much to do and so much to see, it’s worth adding a few more days onto your travel plans. You’ll love it.
Adriano is Junior Cabin Crew at Ryanair’s Dublin base