Today our friend Susy takes us to Porto, a wonderful city in Portugal not far from the Atlantic Ocean and crossed by the Douro river. The city, also known as the “capital of the north”, is not huge, and if it weren’t for the steep streets, one could easily explore it on foot. Porto can be visited as a weekend break, but it is also a good base to explore northern Portugal.
Let’s listen to Susy’s tips: despite living in Ticino for many years, she still knows the city very well.
What’s your connection with Porto?
“My name is Susana, I am 39 years old and I?m from Portugal. I have been married for 18 anni years and I have 2 daughters: Ilaria is 15 years old and Martina 13.”
What do we need to see if we want to travel to Porto with kids?
“In my opinion Porto is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal. Portogallo. There are so many attractions that you really must visit if you go to Porto with kids: the crystal palace (Palacio de Cristal, which is not a building but a green area), the City Park (Parque da Cidade), the mini-golf at the mouth of the river, the water pavillion, and you can’t really miss visiting the Sea Life Aquarium, where you can also spend the night.
What’s the best season to visit the city?
“The best monthsto see this amazing city sare March, April, May, September and October, because the weather is not too hot and there’s not many people around.”
And how do we get around?
“You can either use buses or the metro, but taxis are fine, too, as they are faily inexpensive.”
A restaurant (or more) that you would recommend…
“You don’t need to go to fancy restaurants to eat well. I recommend smaller characteristic establishments, for example:
- Cafe Santiago in Rua Passos Manuel 226.
- Ristorante Capa Negra in Rua Barros Lima 487
- Convívio Restaurante Marisqueira Francesinhas in Arquitecto Marques da Silva 303.
Generally speaking in Portugal you eat well and spend little: a familt of four can spend 60-70 euro: this would include a starter, first course, dessert and drinks.”
What should we eat?
“A local speciality that you can find virtually everywhere is the “francesinha”, which is suitable to all ages: basically it’s a rich sandwhich covered in melted cheese and baked in a clay pot with plenty of tomato sauce. You should also taste the “tripas à moda do porto” (tripe, meat, sausage and white beans) and the “bifanas” (tipycal sandwhiches filled with bifana sauce and a lot of cheese). And much more…
Can you recommend three hotels (in three different price ranges)?
- 2 stars: Hotel Vice-Rei. Rua de Júlio Dinis 779. About 45 euros
- 3 stars: Hotel Star Inn, Sra. Porto 930. About 60 euros
- 4 stars: Hotel-vila Gale, Avenida Fernão de Magalhães 7 . About 90 euros
Something special that one can’t find in guidebooks…
“I recommend going for a swim in the salt water pools near the city. It’s really great, especially in the hottest months”.
Next time in Porto, which activity are you planning on doing, for the first time?
“Next time I’d like to take a boat trip on the Douro river and visit the famous cellars where the Vinho do Porto is produced.”
A little souvenir to take home…
“A good idea for a typical souvenir from Porto could be a miniature rabelo boat, made of wood. It’s the reproduction of the typical boats that used to transport Port wine on the river, in the past.”
Some special place off the beaten path, in or around Porto…
“The wine cellars where the “vinho do porto” is produced. The kids will like the visit, too. Porto is an amzing city but the surrounding area is full of interesting places: Aveiro, Braga Viena do Castelo and many more.
I wish you a great stay in my beloved Portugal!