Last summer I visited Porto. I would have liked to discover the city using the booklet “Time to Momo Porto”, but it turned out that it wasn’t available. When I mentioned this in my holiday blog (read here) I received a response from the publisher that it would be published soon. How stonking was it that I recently received a review copy from “Time to Momo Porto”? After all this time I can relive my summer trip! Together with my photos (which you can find with its location on your smartphone) I relived the city and the wonderful time we had there. I can say that Momo described the city just like I experienced it. The funny thing is that I’ve seen places in Porto that Momo has not discovered yet and, of course, the other way around as well. Now, I want to go back!
For example, when we returned to the city with the old wooden tram from the west coast, we all saw a lot of nice places from the red and green routes; and, of course, we haven’t visited all of them. However, the Blue Route 3 was in our area; so we absolutely have to add some hotspots there.
In Barcelona biking is great, but here it is something you wouldn’t want to do. The roads are busy and steep, and public transport is good and affordable. Besides, when you’re walking you see the most. If you want to have a longer range, rent a scooter. This allows you to move not only through the city, but also along the coastline. This is something that saves time during rush hour, besides the fact that riding a scooter is a lot of fun. Rent a scooter at rentascooter.com, the shop is on the other side of the street across from Letraria, a beer bar.
I would happily share my personal favorites with you;
1. EUSKALDUNA STUDIO
My number one was already recommended by our hosts of the amazing airBNB; ‘Just go’. Looking at their menu, we knew that they were more expensive than that of the average Portuguese restaurant, but a visit to the website Euskalduna Studio promised that it would be special. That started upon arrival; the doorbell is incorporated in the logo next to the door, only a 300 meter walk from our apartment. There is room for 8 people at the Chef’s table where you actually get to sit at the kitchen table. Moreover, to our left top chef Michel van der Kroft (2 ** restaurant ‘t Nonnetje in Harderwijk) was having dinner and with whom we later had a conversation. What he said touched exactly the essence;
‘Portugal is Europe’s best kept secret’
(Michel van der Kroft, 2 ** chief executive of ‘t Nonnetje Harderwijk)
We absolutely enjoyed this evening, as you might understand. 10 dishes: small snacks and little tastings, watermelon soup with sardines and curry ice cream with shrimp and mango as a side dish. The curry ice looked like cake crumbs.
Everything was served on beautiful, custom-made tableware by Sedimento Ceramics Studio dishes – I fell in love!!
Chef Vasco Coelho Santos cooks with native ingredients and uses traditional dishes as an inspiration to transform with his team the ingredients into small pieces of art with surprising taste combinations. As we have taken the advice to heart, I can only say:
‘JUST GO.’ – but book in advance!
According to The Guardian, “piscina das mares” is 1 of the 10 most beautiful swimming pools in the world. It’s a saltwater pool on the coast of Leca da Palmeiras near Matosinhos. The tide is strong and the water is cold. It’s a wonderful place to stay.
The Museum of Modern Art is located alongside the Serralves House (art deco architecture) in the Serralves Park. The museum contains 14 showrooms and is definitely worth a visit. If you’re in this part of Porto, combine it with lunch at Matosinhos.
At the harbor, where the fresh fish is taken in the morning, you can eat the well-known grilled sardines on the street. Restaurant after restaurant has a small terrace on the sidewalks and streets, just look for a free spot. The sardines are prepared on the streets. This is how I imagined eating fish in Portugal.
Not all the shops we encountered are mentioned in Time to Momo, but they’re all in the same area.
Skateshop KATE Streetware | Worthwhile visiting for their unique book collection (private collection, 1-piece edition), skateboards and clothing, LP’s.
Mao Esquerda – Vintage | recently moved a few galleries away with a very extensive collection of kimono’s, vintage bags and clothes. When I’m back in Porto, I’m absolutely stopping by again!
Prudencio Studio | Young Portuguese designers (shoes, purses and fashion) have started a shop in which traditional craftsmanship and modern design are the focus. Moreover, they are well known for their appearance at the London and Paris Fashion Week.
Vitrea Pele – handmade | Fine necklaces with a ceramic pendant in addition to more traditional styled dishes.
And there’s more, more, and more! We walked through workshops of leather workers, shops where you could quickly and easily repair your smartphone, vintage shops, an ice cream parlor that has a nice little courtyard and … too much to remember.
6. STREETART AND AZULEGOS TYPES
While wandering the street, you’ll probably encounter the most beautiful graffiti and facades with Azulegos (ornamental tiles). If you like photography, you can fully enjoy yourself here.
7. TEST | Port & Beer
The white port we tasted at the Douro came home with us. The “Vasconcellos Porto Velho 10 anos White” is served cold. At Vivno, this honey-like port has 4.2 out of 5 stars. Fortunately, the port is also shipped abroad; too delicious!
Would you rather have a beer? Then Craft beer garden LETRARIA is a great bar to try one of the 27 (!) beers. When you go downstairs, you will be surprised by the spacious garden with small seats. If you want to eat something with your beer, they serve firm hamburgers.
8. PARK JARDIM DE SAO LAZARO | a romantic park garden of 1834.
We were able to experience the start of the Porto Food Festival lasting August. While everyone enjoyed eating and drinking goodies, and playing cards, there was an old male with a tablet and microphone singing along with a band. There was a vibe of togetherness that made everybody happy. People play card games all year round, they have told me. The first evening we ate at Dona Gertrudes. It was the hospitable and sympathetic owner of this restaurant who drew our attention to Serralves and referred us to the scooter rental.
9. DOURO BOATTRIP | but vice versa.
Most tourists will float down the Douro by boat and then take the train back. We did the exact opposite. This is a day trip I would only recommend to those who have plenty of time. If you plan to do this, I strongly advise to do it in this order. The boats we encountered were loaded full of tourists while we had plenty of space on the deck. You’ll be sailing along vineyards, villages and pass two dams. Nice to do, but take a good book with you because the boat trip takes about 6 hours.
10. OUR AIR BNB | check their Instagram account.
You can get a good impression of the atmosphere of the house, but especially the hospitality of the owners. And who welcomes you with flowers, self-baked cake and a beautiful postage? There are also small umbrellas (like in children’s jugs) on the beach towels that you can take along to the beach. Have you ever seen a house so beautifully renovated that every wall and every corner is an artwork?
WHY I WANT TO GO BACK:
There is still enough that I have not seen but read about.
- Route 2 | the districts of Vitoria & Cedofeita (either; Porto with time to Momo Porto)
- The ‘Harry Potter’ Bookstore
- The breakfast with sweets
- MAJESTIC at a quiet moments
- EUSKALDUNA STUDIO