Olá! Jonathan and I visited Porto, Portugal last weekend and had a wonderful four days exploring this welcoming European city. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and rests along the Douro River, at the entrance to the Atlantic Ocean. We spent our days strolling through the city, breathing in the salty ocean breezes and eating plates and plates of freshly caught seafood. Every so often during the day, when our feet needed a break, we would rest at a cafe and sip on a cortado and share a pastry.
One of the things I love most about traveling is exploring the different foods – at restaurants and at markets. We started our trip in Porto visiting Mercado Bolhao. Though the local market looked very unassuming in its dirty grey building, inside the peeling walls, crisp, vibrant vegetables filled unending baskets. Fat and juicy fruits, ripened under the Portuguese sun, sat at every stall.
But what really caught our attention (and appetite) were the coolers full of fresh seafood. Shiny sardines looked like they would jump and flop up at any second. Octopus tentacles twisted and curled, as if they might wrap you in if you got too close. And in the market, also a small stall that simply grilled and fried the seafood, right there, letting you enjoy today’s catch.
Porto is also known for all its Port wine production. Port wine caves line the entire south bank of the Douro River. I don’t usually drink much, but we had a tasting. The ruby variety I picked was shockingly sweet and stickly. Jonathan’s tawny variety had a bit more bite. But just a bit of alcohol made our faces turn red for the rest of the afternoon.
We spent a large part of each evening walking around looking for a place to eat dinner. We normally eat dinner really early, but restaurants in Porto didn’t open until 7:30, and even then, they weren’t full with diners until about 10 PM. Our favorite restaurant was Tascö. Amazing staff, mouthwatering food, and a menu that makes you want to order everything! We ended up getting five tapas and two additional side dishes. It was way too much, but we couldn’t stop ourselves from finishing everything! We didn’t get a picture of this place, but here is a snap of another place we tried, Restaurante Book. Porto is oddly filled with many bookshops, including one of the world’s most beautiful bookshop, Livraria Lello Bookshop, which is said to have inspired J.K. Rowling when writing the first Harry Potter. It seemed only fitting to have dinner in a restaurant lined with books!
Last of all, though we had some rainy moments during the trip, we made it to the beach on our last day – and it was as blue as blue could be!
Of course, we had to try the popsicles :)