Rarely does a city sweep you away on a magical ride, with wonders at every turn, but that is exactly how I felt in Porto. I’m also especially glad I chose to stay out of the centre, in a residential area, to see what life was really like for the citizens of Portugal’s second largest city.
I’m partly afraid to write this, as I want Porto to stay as it is – not too many tourists, friendly locals and a rhythm that ebbs and flows with the waves of fog and sunshine.
Getting Lost in Porto
I highly recommend it. I had no plans when I arrived and I was ready to just let Porto reveal itself to me. Gone are the days where I would do frantic research and map out an agenda of places to visit.
I’ve learned that off the beaten track, is where you find those scenes, locations, buildings and gardens that make you stop in your tracks. And usually these are the things you may miss if you just follow your guide book.
These are my favourite discoveries while traversing Porto, mostly on foot, on the first day:
Capela Das Almas
When I came up from the Bolhão Metro Station, this beautiful church was the first thing I saw, shining in the sun.
Autumn had arrived and the changing leaves were striking.
There was an abundance of wonderful street art in Porto.
I’m not sure if the city is intentionally or unintentionally so arty.
Jardim de S. Lázaro
This garden was a lovely retreat for locals in the middle of the city.
This alleyway off Rue das Fontainhas looked like the opening scene of a magical film.
Reaching the River Douro made me speechless.
With a stunning view over the Ponte de Infante.
And more wonderful street art behind me.
But then watching the heavy, rolling fog creep down the river was the most magical thing I have seen. The fog comes into Porto quite fast, and then leaves just as quickly.
That was my first day exploring Porto, and I was looking forward to my second day already.
Also published on Medium.