PORTUGAL: Porto in 48 Hours
This February, we embarked on our first ever trip to Portugal! January was a slow month, except for a few days in Switzerland and a weekend in Marche, so we were in Milan for most of the time. When the opportunity presented to visit Lisbon with Four Seasons Lisbon, we decided to spend two days in Porto as well. Porto is a quiet city located in the North of Portugal, it’s pretty small so everything is within walking distance and there’s no need to ever hop on the metro or take a taxi. The weather was sunny but chilly, they told us it’s usually warmer but very rainy at this time of the year, so we consider ourselves lucky that all we got was sunshine.
No more than 48 hours are needed to visit the city, but what will make you want to stay is everyone’s hospitality and kindness. People are super warm, yet not in an invasive way, they make you feel right at home even if you’re just a tourist visiting for a few days. Another thing that really surprised us is how good everyone’s English is! To be realistic, most people in Italy, France or Spain won’t be able to speak good English, but here everyone is super fluent!
What you can’t miss while visiting Porto is the following:
This is the library that inspired JK Rowling for the creation of Hogwarts. She lived in Porto when she started mapping out and planning the novels… and we could totally see how she’d get inspiration from this place, it’s one of the most beautiful bookstores we’ve ever seen!
When I posted this picture, everyone asked me how I managed to capture this place completely empty and this is how we did it:
We planned to go to the bookstore in the morning, when we thought it’d be quiet-er, it actually was SO packed that we left before even entering. Luckily, the lady at the door was Italian and super nice, so she suggested we come back after lunch as 2-3pm is the best time because it means less people. She was right, it wasn’t that bad but still not empty enough and the light was horrible! There was a streak of light coming in from the door which made us look like ghosts. As I was there I got a DM on instagram by someone who suggested we go around closing time, so I asked the guy at the front door if it was possible to go after the store closed. He said no, but he said we should go back around 7:15 / 7:20 and that he’d let us in without making us pay for another ticket (it’s 4€ each to get in), and so we did! And that’s how we got our pictures.
The Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto)
— the beautiful tile game speaks for itself!
Igreja do Carmo
— the stunning facades of this church are a must see and photograph!
Luis I Bridge
Enjoy a sunset on the bridge which offers beautiful views of the city from above, and then walk down by foot so you can get a picture of all the beautiful houses of Porto from the other side of the river.
Palácio da Bolsa
The only way to get inside is with a guided tour which costs €5,50. Unfortunately at our time slot, the only tour available was in Portuguese. Still, it was fine, because we ended up not listening to a single word (not that we’d understand anyway) and just waiting for everyone to leave every room to get pictures!