Porto – Portugal: 3-Day Travel Guide – From Harry Potter to Port Wine – Our Complete Itinerary

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Welcome to Porto, Portugal – a city of rich history, vibrante cultura, and captivating beauty! In this comprehensive guide, titled “Porto – Portugal 3-Day Travel Guide: From Harry Potter to Port Wine – Our Complete Itinerary,” we invite you to embark on a memorable journey through Porto’s enchanting streets and iconic landmarks.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, our itinerary is designed to help you make the most of your time in this charming city.

During our own visit to Porto, we spent 2 full days and a half exploring its wonders. Every place we feature in this guide is carefully selected based on our personal experiences. Our goal is to ensure that you get the most authentic and fulfilling Porto experience possible.

Additionally, we’ve included all the places we didn’t manage to visit due to the weather or lack of time. We share with you our itinerary plan, mixed from local tips and recommendations.

Rest assured that you’re in for an amazing experience in Porto. Whether you follow our exact itinerary or choose to customize your own.

The city’s rich tapestry of history, delightful cuisine, and warm hospitality awaits you. Let’s dive in and discover the magic of Porto together.

Immerse yourself in the spirit of Porto – Portugal as you continue reading, Let the magic begin!

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Table of Contents

The 17 Top Attractions You Can’t Miss Porto – Portugal

Best must-see attractions in Porto - Portugal
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Let’s start kicking off our blog with a comprehensive guide to the must-see attractions in Porto, Portugal.

The following attractions feature all the places we visited in 2019. We decided to break it down in 3-Day Travel Guide.

Additionally, we’ve included top recommendations from locals. However, due to weather conditions and Lia’s health, our exploration was limited. So, stick to the end to take notes of all you can do while in Porto – Portugal!

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    Day 1: Exploring Porto’s Highlights

    1. Livraria Lello – Porto | Portugal

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    Livraria Lello has been a curator of Portuguese literature since 1881. During your visit, you’ll experience over a century’s worth of architecture, literature, and culture. Your ticket includes two volumes of the book ‘The Most Beautiful Bookstore in the World’. Plus an unlimited access to all of the venue’s public rooms.

    We have some great tips, based in our experience, that you should read. Find them all below:

    • Arrive early and avoid the lines. We recommend visiting the Lello library first thing in the morning. This means, plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before opening hours. This way you will avoid line ups that can drag for more than two hours. The store is small, and they control the number of people inside;
    • If you haven’t bought your ticket online, you can purchase them using a separate queue. It’s located in the ‘Place’ at the corner of the same street, marked with a sign ‘CHECK IN LELLO’;
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    • It’s not allowed to enter with a backpack. Serge had one with his camera equipment but he needed to leave it in the lockers. The lockers are at the ‘CHECK IN LELLO.’ We remember it costing €1.00 back in 2019. However, the price may have increased since then, but it was not expensive;
    • It’s not allowed to take pictures with flash or film inside;
    • The entrance fee in October 2019 was €12.50 or $18.06 CAD, but it may have increased since then. They provided us with a €5.00 voucher (now possibly €8.00 as of January 2024) for book purchases, offering cash back. However, this deduction applies only to books, not other souvenirs. Despite the fee, visiting Livraria Lello is worthwhile.

    We also recommend that you check their official website for further information about opening hours, price, possible events, etc.

    2. Igreja do Carmo & Igreja das Carmelitas – Porto | Portugal

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    Two churches ‘Igreja do Carmo‘ and ‘Igreja das Carmelitas‘ are located a two-minute walk from Lello Bookstore. They are on Carmo Street, 4050-164. If you’ve decided to start your tour of Porto by visiting Lello, we recommend visiting these churches afterwards. They are located one next to each other.

    Even if you’re not religious, we highly recommend visiting these two churches. Not only are they beautiful on the outside with walls adorned with Portuguese tiles. Inside is also stunning with sacred art plus fascinating history.

    Here’s a small summary based on local information:

    Upon arrival, you’ll see a large façade resembling a single church. They are actually two churches separated by a narrow house in the middle.

    The Igreja das Carmelitas, built in the 17th century, was solely for the Carmelite order, blending Classical and Baroque styles.

    Residents’ complaints led to the construction of the second church, Igreja do Carmo, sanctioned by the King later.

    To prevent rivalry, a narrow house was built between them, now known as the ‘Hidden House,’ often considered Porto’s narrowest.

    The ‘Hidden House’ grants access to the bell tower, adjacent to the church of the barefoot Carmelites, a three-floor ascent.

    Today, visitors can explore the ‘Hidden House‘ for a small fee. We recall paying €2.00 euros back in 2019. Alternatively, you can book a guided tour, which we suggest Get your guide.

    3. Campo dos Mártires da Pátria street in Porto | Portugal

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    Our next destination was the Clérigos Church. However, on our walk from the Carmo Church to Clérigos, we made several stops at some charming squares. Along the way, we stumbled upon a couple of cute stores located at Campo dos Mártires da Pátria. This is right next to Clérigos.

    One of these stores is called Casa Oriental. It’s a traditional grocery store in Porto where you can purchase the famous ‘Sardinhas’ in fancy, touristy cans. However, it’s worth noting that you’ll pay extra for the cute and fancy packaging. For the best sardinhas, we recommend shopping around or visiting the Bolhão Market.

    4. Clérigo Church in Porto | Portugal

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    We finally arrived at the Clérigos Church, one of the famous tourist attractions in Porto. This Baroque-style church from the 18th century is situated on a prominent street corner. It’s recognizable from afar by its tall bell tower. In fact, it can be seen from various points around the city and is one of its most iconic landmarks, as noted by Wikipedia.

    Up until this point, everything is quite centralized and close to one another. The church is just a few minutes’ walk from Lello Bookstore and Igreja das Carmelitas. Hence, it’s easily accessible if you’re in the area. Located on São Filipe de Nery street, 4050-546.

    We didn’t venture inside, but it seems that admission isn’t expensive. At that point, you can also visit the Clérigos Tower for impressive views up top.

    For further information, we suggest to visit their official website and plan your visit < CLICKING HERE >!

    5. São Bento Station – Porto | Portugal

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    Located a 5-minute walking distance from the Clérigos Church & Tower is the São Bento railway station.

    It’s a 20th-century railway station situated in the civil parish of Cedofeita, Santo Ildefonso. Moreover, in the municipality of Porto, in the district of Porto.

    If you’re planning to arrive in Porto by train, you might see this gorgeous 20th-century railway station first hand. It’s beautifully adorned with artistic Portuguese tiles.

    Additionally, if you’re not arriving in Porto by train, we highly recommend taking a few minutes to visit. The interior decoration is striking. The beauty truly lies in the main hall.

    You won’t regret it, especially since the station is conveniently located at Praça de Almeida Garrett. Which is where you’ll also find many other tourist attractions.

    If you have more time than we did, you can take a train from Porto to small cities around. According to our research, this ride should offer beautiful views. For further information about tickets and prices, visit their official website.

    Pro Tips for Snapping the Perfect Shot at São Bento:

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    • Timing Is Key: Visit São Bento Station during off-peak hours to avoid crowds and capture uninterrupted shots.
    • Find the Right Angle: Explore different vantage points within the station to discover unique perspectives for your photographs.
    • Play with Light and Shadow: Experiment with natural light filtering through the station’s ornate windows to add depth and drama to your images.
    • Focus on Details: Don’t overlook the intricate tilework and architectural features that make São Bento Station so captivating. Zoom in on the intricate patterns and designs.
    • Patience Pays Off: Take your time to observe the hustle and bustle of the station. Wait for the perfect moment to capture the essence of daily life in Porto.

    6. Liberdade Square – Porto | Portugal

    Liberdade Square - Porto | Portugal
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    After visiting the São Bento station, we headed directly to Liberdade Square, which was just five minutes away.

    The square serves as a central point in Porto. Also if you’re considering taking the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour, you’ll likely need to go there, just like we did.

    In fact, that was our primary reason for going there in the first place. On our first full day of discoveries in Porto, Lia was feeling under the weather. After a morning of walking up and down the steep streets of Porto, we decided to take advantage of the Hop-On Hop-Off option.

    Liberdade Square, dating back to the 18th century, is surrounded by historic buildings, stores, and restaurants. Its centerpiece is a monument dedicated to King Peter IV (Dom Pedro IV), depicted riding a horse.

    In addition to the monument, the square boasts an array of stores, restaurants, and other commercial establishments.

    Liberdade Square is not only a hub for transportation but also a vibrant area where visitors can experience the rich history and culture of Porto. Its historic significance, combined with its bustling atmosphere, makes it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the city.

    First day in Porto: Exploring with the Hop-On Hop-Off Tour in the Afternoon

    7. Forte de São Francisco Xavier – Porto | Portugal (Castelo do Queijo – EN: Cheese Castle)

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    For an extra 2 Euros, we opted for a two-day Hop-On Hop-Off pass. Our initial boarding was at Liberdade Square. Our next stop was Fort São Francisco Xavier, known as the ‘Castelo do Queijo’ in Portuguese (Cheese Castle in English). It was just a 30-minute ride.

    We chose this destination for its stunning coastal views and proximity to Porto’s beaches.

    Located near ‘Matosinhos’ beach, the Fort offers breathtaking vistas of the coastline. There’s a small entrance fee. We recall paying around 2 euros at the time. It was well worth the price for the panoramic scenery.

    Inside, amenities include restrooms, a grocery store, and a souvenir shop. The fort also houses a small military museum with intriguing artifacts, all included in the admission price.

    Although dating back to the 15th century, the main attraction is undoubtedly the spectacular views from the watchtower corners. For those interested in learning more about its history, check out the Wikipedia page before your visit.

    8. Praça da Batalha (Batalha Square) – Porto | Portugal

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    After visiting Forte de São Francisco Xavier, we took the hop-on-hop-off bus back to the city center. When we returned, we stopped at Praça da Batalha (Batalha Square).

    According to local signage, “the square owes its name to a battle between Christians and Moors. Originally, one of the gates of the City Wall opened onto the south side and was demolished in the XVIIIth century when this part of the city underwent many changes.”

    Although it’s a small square, we recommend taking a stroll around.

    This square is another excellent starting point for exploring Porto. That’s because it’s centrally located and near many other tourist destinations.

    9. Igreja de Santo Ildefonso – Porto | Portugal (Church of Saint Ildefonso)

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    Less than two minutes walking from Praça da Batalha, is the Igreja de Santo Ildefonso. It’s a must-visit in Porto. It’s a beautiful church to explore, even if you only admire its stunning Portuguese tilework facade from the outside.

    According to local signs, the church was built in the first half of the 18th century on the site of a medieval heritage. The tiles on the exterior walls were painted in 1932 by Jorge Colaço. He was a Portuguese painter known for his tile painting works.

    If you have some time to spare, I highly recommend visiting the interior, where you’ll find beautiful sacred art. The Entrance was FREE in 2019, and we believe remains FREE entrance.

    We recommend to take just 5 minutes to climb upstairs and enjoy the breathtaking street views.

    10. Rua de Santa Catarina – Porto | Portugal – centre street for Shopping

    Rua de Santa Catarina – Porto | Portugal  - center street for Shopping
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    Finally, we headed back to Santa Catarina street, which was our route back to our apartment anyway.

    Santa Catarina is a pedestrian street located in the upper part of Porto city centre. Along this street you’ll find many famous stores, restaurants, street artists, and bustling crowds.

    We loved the location of our apartment because it was just a 5-minute walk from Santa Catarina street. There were a plethora of dining restaurants on this strip. We had dinner there our first night and the next day for breakfast before heading to Lello.

    Along Santa Catarina street, you’ll also find some of the city’s main tourist attractions. For instance the Chapel of Souls and Café Majestic, which we’ll discuss further below.

    Additional Information about Santa Catarina Street. Santa Catarina Street is one of the main shopping streets in Porto, Portugal, renowned for its lively atmosphere and wide array of shops, cafes, and restaurants. It stretches from the iconic Marquis of Pombal Square to the bustling Batalha Square, passing through the heart of Porto’s historic city center. The street is particularly famous for its historic Café Majestic. This cafe is a beautifully preserved Art Nouveau café that has been serving customers since 1921.

    11. Mercado do Bolhão – Porto | Portugal (Bolhão Food market)

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    We received some local tips to visit the ‘Mercado do Bolhão‘. It was recommended as a great local place to purchase food, port wine and Sardinhas at affordable prices. However, upon arriving, we found the market closed. After asking around, we discovered that it had been temporarily relocated due to renovation work. (We visited in October 2019).

    The ‘Mercado Temporário Bolhão’ (Temporary Bolhão location) was situated at Rua de Fernandes Tomás 506-508, 4000-211 Porto, Portugal. A two-minute walk from the Chapel of Souls on Santa Catarina Street.

    Although we didn’t spend much time there, we managed to purchase some local fruits and Port wine at really good prices and of great quality!

    If you’re planning a trip to Porto, we would recommend checking it out. Simply review Google Maps if they are still operating in the temporary location.”

    Additional Historical Information: Mercado do Bolhão, also known as Bolhão Market, is one of Porto’s most iconic landmarks. It has a long history dating back to the late 19th century when it first opened its doors. The market has been a bustling hub for local produce, artisans, and traditional goods for over a century. This has in turn attracted both locals and tourists alike. Despite undergoing renovations, its vibrant atmosphere and cultural significance remain integral to Porto’s identity.

    Please, confirm opening hours and location in their Official Website < CLICKING HERE > .

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    12. Capela das Almas – Porto | Portugal (Chapel of Souls)

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    The Capela das Almas or Chapel of Souls is another beautiful church, renowned for its tiled façade. It is conveniently located on Santa Catarina street at 428, 4000 – 124, Porto, Portugal.

    Also the Chapel of Souls is famous for its remarkable tile-work depicting scenes from the life of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Catherine. The intricate azulejos (Portuguese ceramic tiles) covering the façade are a prominent feature of Porto’s architectural heritage. The chapel dates back to the 18th century and is a popular attraction for tourists exploring Porto’s historic center.

    We didn’t go inside because there was a ceremony taking place when we arrived. We passed by a couple of times since our apartment was situated on the same street. The exterior of the church is truly stunning.

    If you have Instagram, you’ve probably seen this church in Porto’s city pictures. It’s famous among visitors, especially for those looking to take photos in front of it.

    Also watch our VLog Porto – Portugal | A Complete Travel Guide!

    🌟 Welcome to “48 Hours in Porto, Portugal | A Complete Travel Guide with Dining and Accommodation Tips” Vlog! 🌟

    Embark on an unforgettable journey with us as we explore the captivating city of Porto, Portugal in just 48 hours! In this comprehensive travel guide vlog, we’ll show you the best attractions, dining spots, and accommodation options in Porto, ensuring you make the most of your time in this enchanting destination.

    Day 2: Exploring Porto’s Highlights in a raining day

    Let’s discuss our second day visiting Porto, Portugal.


    • It rained all day.
    • We decided to use the Hop-On Hop-Off bus to visit a recommended place for Port Wine. It was recommended by the touristic office where we purchased the bus pass. However, we weren’t informed that the place is closed on Sundays!
    • The bus driver then suggested an alternative location, but when we disembarked, we found that it was closed for a specific event.
    • Due to the heavy rain and the long wait for the next bus (over 30 minutes), we opted to take a taxi. We stopped at our next destination, the Monastery of Serra do Pilar, only to find it closed as well. Nonetheless, it offered an amazing view even from outside.

    Moving forward, we’ll continue with the 13th place we visited in Porto, Portugal.”

    This revised version ensures clarity and grammatical accuracy.

    13. Monastery of Serra do Pilar – Vila Nova de Gaia | Portugal

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    Upon arriving at the Monastery of Serra do Pilar, it was raining, and the building itself was closed for visits. On the plus side, the monastery is situated atop the hill of Vila Nova de Gaia. This offered us breathtaking views of the Douro River and the city of Porto.

    Unfortunately, we don’t have any further information about it. We wanted to share this place with you in case you have more time or happen to visit on a nice sunny day in Vila Nova de Gaia. You’ll be able to capture some amazing pictures!

    For more information, you can check it out on Wikipedia.

    14. The Guindais Funicular – Porto | Portugal

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    After having lunch in Vila Nova de Gaia, it started raining even harder. This is when we decided to return to Porto by crossing the Dom Luis Bridge.

    Once we crossed the bridge, we took the Funicular dos Guindais uphill from Ribeira to Batalha. Our goal was to visit the Sé Porto Cathedral.

    The funicular provided a unique and enjoyable way to return to Porto uphill. The funicular offered modern amenities and stunning views of the Douro River and the ‘Muralha das Freiras’ (Nuns’ Wall).

    There is a small fee to purchase tickets; we paid €2.5 per person in October 2019. For updates on opening hours and ticket prices, you can check their website by clicking here.

    For further historical information, you can refer to Wikipedia by clicking here.”

    This version corrects grammar and adds clarity, and includes information about the temporary closure of the funicular as well as additional tips for readers.

    15. Dom Luis Bridge – Porto | Portugal

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    One thing we absolutely recommend when visiting Porto is to take a walk across the Dom Luis Bridge.

    It’s free to walk across, and you’ll enjoy amazing views from both sides of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.

    The bridge was completed in 1886 by a student of Gustave Eiffel. The French architect famous for the Eiffel Tower, features an impressive design and a top deck where visitors can stroll and take in the breathtaking views.

    Crossing the bridge is free; you don’t need to pay to access both sides, though guided tours are available if preferred.

    For further information about its construction and history, you can refer to Wikipedia by clicking here.

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    16. Porto Cathedral | Portugal

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    We arrived at Porto Cathedral amidst heavy rain, eager to explore its interior. However, upon arrival, we discovered a line of people waiting outside who had already purchased tickets. We realized we needed to buy tickets from another location on-site. Discouraged by the heavy rain and long wait we decided to skip this site.

    We’re mentioning this because you might be interested in visiting the interior. However, if you’re not keen on visiting churches, we still recommend exploring the area around it, as you’ll find stunning views of Porto city from there!

    A brief summary of the cathedral’s history. Porto Cathedral, also known as Sé Cathedral, is one of the city’s oldest and most iconic landmarks. Construction began in the 12th century and continued over several centuries. This resulted in a blend of architectural styles, including Romanesque and Gothic. The cathedral’s imposing facade and ornate interior make it a must-visit attraction in Porto.”

    For further information about opening hours, entrance fees, and more, you can check their official website by clicking here.

    17. Teleférico – Vila Nova de Gaia | Portugal

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    Experience breathtaking views and unforgettable moments in Vila Nova de Gaia with a ride on the teleferico de Gaia. Though we missed this opportunity due to rainy weather, we highly recommend it for those visiting on a sunny day. This scenic cable car offers panoramic views of Porto and the Douro River, providing a unique perspective of the cityscape and its surrounding beauty. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience during your visit to Vila Nova de Gaia.

    Just make sure to check their official website < CLICKING HERE > beforehand, as they are not open year-round. Additionally, you can review ticket prices and opening hours before your visit.

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    Harry Potter’s Porto: A Wizarding Journey Through Portugal’s Charm

    Now, for the Harry Potter fan like us at Discovering Destinations. You’ll be glad to know that Porto, Portugal played a significant role in inspiring author J.K. Rowling. She resided in the city in 1991, drawing inspiration for the beloved series.

    From the hotel where we stayed to other places, many locations in Porto also draw inspiration from Harry Potter’s story. So, we’ve compiled some tips for you, fellow fans. Now, jot down these tips and check them out when visiting the city of Porto.

    Lello Bookstore & Harry Potter

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    The Lello bookstore is considered several times as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. It has inspired many writers and artists, including the author of Harry Potter – J. K. Rowling.

    According to local information, the author used to frequent the bookstore, drawing inspiration from its famous wooden staircases. It appears they were later mirrored in the staircases of Hogwarts, also known as the moving staircases.

    In the Lello bookstore, you will find a dedicated section for Harry Potter book collections. There are also other items available for purchase as souvenirs.

    University of Porto & Harry Potter

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    Local information suggests that the author of Harry Potter – J. K. Rowling, drew inspiration from the Portuguese academic costume, as seen at Porto and Coimbra Universities. This would appear where the idea of the “Long Black Cloaks” worn by Hogwarts students, came from.

    Exploring the region for yourselves, you will notice striking similarities between the academic attire. Making it a fascinating connection to the Harry Potter series.

    Palácio de Cristal & Harry Potter

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    According to local sources, one of the places J.K. Rowling frequented during her time in Porto was the Crystal Palace. She drew inspiration from its landscaped gardens designed in the 19th century, which feature fountains. It is believed that she used these gardens as inspiration for certain scenes in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Some suggested they influenced the creation of the Forbidden Forest.

    While there are legends surrounding this connection, a guided tour or the Hop on Hop off could offer further insights into this intriguing link.

    Escovaria de Belomonte & Harry Potter

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    Local information suggests that J.K. Rowling found inspiration for Harry Potter at Escovaria Belomonte, a shop founded in 1927. Legend has it that she drew inspiration from their products to create the flying broomsticks Moontrimmer and Nimbus 2000. The ones which Harry Potter used in Quidditch matches.

    You can visit Escovaria Belomonte and explore their range of traditional products, possibly uncovering more about this fascinating legend.

    Café Majestic & Harry Potter

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    Legend has it that it was at one of the marble tables of the mythical and traditional Café Majestic in Porto where J.K. Rowling finished the first draft of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

    While the historical accuracy of this claim is uncertain, Café Majestic is an iconic and inspiring establishment that has hosted many famous figures. For more information, you can visit their official website.

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    Porto Gastronomy Guide: Must-Try Dishes and Dining Experiences

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    When visiting Porto in Portugal, we highly recommend trying the traditional Portuguese local food, which is simply delicious!

    Lia conducted research and spoke with locals on Instagram prior to visiting. Even once in Porto Lia conversed with locals to discover some of the best local food options. We had the opportunity to try some of the finest traditional dishes. Here are three of our favourite dishes to share with you!

    In addition to recommending these culinary delights, we’ll also detail what we ate at each location in case you want to try them for yourself!

    We hope you enjoy these options and make a note of them for when you visit Porto! It’s worth mentioning that all the places we dined at in 2019 are still in business. This is because they are renowned staples and traditional restaurants in Porto – Portugal.

    Café Santiago – Porto | Portugal

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    When in Porto, we were eager to try the famous sandwich called the “Francesinha”.

    A local we met at the Bolhão food market, recommended Café Santiago, which was just a few minutes away. They referred it to us as a traditional restaurant for serving this type of sandwich.

    Café Santiago also received the 2019 Expert’s Choice Award for the Francesinha. According to their website, it’s considered one of the 50 best sandwiches in the world. Not only that but also one of the 10 best flavours in Europe!

    We can attest that it’s definitely worth trying! We recommend enjoying the Francesinha during lunchtime or early dinner, as it’s quite filling but delicious!

    Another great aspect is that it’s a really affordable meal! Both of our sandwiches plus beer cost less than 30 euros.

    There are two locations, the one we visited is at R. de Passos Manuel 226, 4000-382 Porto, Portugal.

    For more information, you can check out their < OFFICIAL WEBSITE >.

    Mercado “O Bolhão” – Porto Food Market

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    We wanted to highlight this Food Market again because it’s a fantastic option. Not only for purchasing local food to eat on the spot but also for bringing back home. Especially for the Porto wine and Sardinhas!

    Locals suggested to visit the “Mercado do Bolhão” for affordable local food, Port wine and Sardinhas. However, we found the original market was closed. Upon inquiry, we discovered that it had moved to a temporarily new location during the renovations.

    The “Mercado Temporário Bolhão” (Temporarily Bolhão location) was situated at Rua de Fernandes Tomás 506-508, 4000-211 Porto. Just a two-minute walk from the Chapel of Souls on Santa Catarina Street.

    Although we didn’t spend much time there, we were able to purchase local fruits and Port wine. We felt at a great price and of excellent quality!

    If you’re planning a trip to Porto, we highly recommend checking it out. Make sure to confirm whether they have completed the renovations or are still in the temporary location.

    For further information, check their Official Website. Look up current location, how to get there and opening hours < OFFICIAL WEBSITE >.

    Taberninha do Manel – Vila Nova de Gaia | Portugal

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    Located at Av. de Diogo Leite 308, 4400-111 Vila Nova de Gaia. We had a delicious meal and a great time at this cozy restaurant located in Vila Nova de Gaia. A fellow Instagramer recommended it to us.

    It was the perfect spot to escape from the rain. We could just imagine the front patio views on a beautiful sunny day.

    We had to wait for about 45 minutes to get inside because the restaurant is small. However, it was worth the wait.

    The service was very friendly and the traditional Portuguese food was delicious. We spent around $100 Canadian dollars for a three-course meal, Port wine tasting, and a traditional Portuguese dessert! It was really affordable, especially considering that we usually pay much more back in Montreal for an equivalent restaurant. Excluding dessert and wine!

    For further information, you can visit their < OFFICIAL WEBSITE >.

    Majestic Café – Porto – Portugal

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    And, of course, we couldn’t leave Porto without trying the famous “Rabanadas” from the beautiful and traditional Majestic Café!

    Rabanadas are the Portuguese version of “French Toast,”. It’s a tradition in Brazil to eat them for dessert during Christmas Eve.

    Located at R. de Santa Catarina 112, 4000-442 Porto, Portugal. The Majestic Café was a 7-minute walk from our accommodation at the Oporto Guest Harry Potter House. We quickly arrived there around 11 am for breakfast before heading to Marvão.

    It was incredible how fast the line had already formed outside this early in the morning!?

    We hoped it wouldn’t take too long to get inside. However, 15 minutes later, we were already seated. From that moment on, we understood the craze.

    The service was perfect, the decor spot on, and the food delicious. They were quick and really friendly.

    The gorgeous decorations inside took us back in time, and we understood why J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter, was inspired to write her books. According to sources, it appears the author may have completed her first book, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” at this very restaurant!

    This traditional restaurant, dating back to 1921, is not only beautiful but also serves one of the best Rabanadas I’ve ever had in my life! (Lia). It was the first time Serge tried them, and he loved them.

    It’s a bit expensive. We ended up spending $53.00 Canadian (in 2019), tip included, but it’s a unique experience and totally worth it!

    Visit their < OFFICIAL WEBSITE > for further information.

    Santa Catarina street – Restaurants Porto | Portugal

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    We were staying near Santa Catarina street, so we took advantage of their restaurants a few times. We also grabbed quick breakfasts before our days of exploration.

    It was incredibly convenient because the street offered a plethora of dining options catering to all budgets. A simple breakfast, is also known as “Pequeno Almoço” in Portuguese. It would typically cost us around 3 to 5 euros each. This usually included a breakfast sandwich served with a coffee, either with milk or black, according to our preference.

    Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a leisurely meal, Santa Catarina street offers a plethora of dining options. There’s enough choice to suit every taste and budget.

    From traditional Portuguese fare to international cuisine, there’s something for everyone to enjoy along this bustling thoroughfare in Porto.

    So, don’t miss the chance to indulge in delicious food while exploring the charming streets of Santa Catarina.

    Check the best for food tours in Porto:

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    Insider Tips and Must-Try Restaurants Beyond the Norm in Porto, Portugal

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    Explore the lesser-known culinary gems of Porto, Portugal with our curated selection of insider tips and must-try restaurants.

    Although we didn’t have the chance to personally sample these establishments, these recommendations were sourced directly from locals we follow on Instagram. As of 2024, these eateries are still open, presenting an enticing opportunity for adventurous food enthusiasts to discover new flavors and experiences.

    Take a culinary journey beyond the norm and immerse yourself in Porto’s vibrant gastronomic scene by exploring these hidden culinary treasures.

    Café Guarany – Porto | Portugal

    This restaurant was recommended by a local on Instagram. While Cafe Majestic is indeed famous and remains a must-try destination, Café Guarany is also an excellent choice. Especially if you’re keen on tasting the famous Portuguese rabanadas.

    According to them, the rabanada is beautifully golden and comes with sweet egg cream, cinnamon, and sliced almonds. Just writing about it makes my mouth water, mmm delicious! Furthermore, the experience of visiting one of the city’s most iconic cafes makes the dish even more flavorful.

    Guarany was inaugurated in 1933, a time when establishments of its style were very successful.

    You can check their Official Website to get further information about menu, reservation, opening hours and location < OFFICIAL WEBSITE >.

    Restaurante “A Chalandra” no Porto

    Supposedly, this restaurant is no longer considered part of the city of Porto but rather of Matosinhos. Now in a city adjacent to Porto. Matosinhos is famous for its seafood restaurants. It appears that all the people living in Porto go to this area to savour the catches.

    Therefore, this restaurant is one of the best places to eat seafood. The decor couldn’t be better with stone walls, anchors, buoys, fishing nets, among other marine objects. It is located at Avenida Serpa Pinto, No. 322.”

    Additionally, the information was obtained from a local back in 2019. Great news is that it’s still open with great reviews about their seafood.

    You can check their Official Facebook Page to get further information about menu, reservation, opening hours and location < OFFICIAL WEBSITE >.

    Terra Nova restaurante – Porto – Portugal

    This restaurant was also indicated by a local on Instagram. It was among our top choices for dining while in Porto. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the chance to visit due to time constraints and other complications, as mentioned before. However, the views look amazing, and the food appears to be delicious.

    If you check their Google reviews and pictures, you will see that it’s an intimate spot serving traditional seafood plates in a bi-level setup featuring Douro River views. For sure, it’s still on our list for our next opportunity to visit Porto, Portugal.

    You can check their Official Website to get further information about menu, reservation, opening hours and location < OFFICIAL WEBSITE >.

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    Sleeping in Style: Top Picks for Where to Stay in Porto, Portugal

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    As we’ve mentioned before, we’re huge fans of Harry Potter. So we were happy when we found an appartment decorated with the theme of our favourite wizard. We didn’t hesitate to Google for more information. We stayed in one of these apartments and didn’t regret it for a minute, for the reasons we describe below.

    Additionally, we’re also recommending two hotels that we know are very popular and famous in Porto. Who knows, maybe one of them could be your accommodation and bring you the same excellent experience we had.

    Oporto Guest Harry Potter House: A Magical Stay in Porto, Portugal

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    Located at Rua de Santa Catarina, 711 , União de Freguesias do Centro, 4000-454 Porto. Oporto Guest Harry Potter House was perfect for us for several reasons.

    • First, because parking is included, which was convenient as we arrived in Porto by rental car;
    • Second, it is just a few minutes walking distance from Santa Catarina Street. One of Porto’s main shopping streets. Santa Catarina also offers a plethora of stores, excellent restaurant options, and easy access to public transportation.
    • Third, the decor is inspired by Harry Potter, making it a magical retreat for fans of the series.
    • As a final reason, it was a perfect apartment that fit our budget.

    We were also looking for an apartment instead of a hotel. The idea was to buy some Portuguese food at night from local markets and then relax for the next day.

    It ended up being perfect for Lia to recuperate. We could go back earlier at night and enjoy the apartment instead of spending the night looking for a restaurant.

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    The Yeatman Hotel, Porto – Portugal

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    If you’re seeking a spa and luxury experience in Porto, Portugal, we’ve heard that The Yeatman Hotel has it all. Situated amidst stunning Porto views, the hotel is conveniently connected to a shopping center and is located near Taylor’s Port Cellars. Thereby making it an ideal choice for those looking to indulge in both relaxation and exploration.

    Unfortunately, it was not within our budget this time. However, since we’ve heard it’s an amazing hotel, who knows, maybe for our next trip to Porto. We can see ourselves enjoying an amazing view of the city while sipping a cocktail by the pool.

    Hotel da Música, Porto – Portugal

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    If you’re seeking an alternative to traditional accommodations that is comfortable yet affordable, Hotel da Música. Translated to English means Music Hotel, and a highly recommended option.

    This modern hotel offers uniquely decorated rooms inspired by music, providing guests with a memorable and enjoyable stay. With amenities such as an on-site restaurant and bar/lounge, guests can indulge in delicious Portuguese cuisine and unwind with a drink in a cozy setting.

    Additionally, Hotel da Música’s convenient location near Casa da Música allows for easy access to Porto’s attractions and public transportation. For a distinctive and budget-friendly hotel experience in Porto, Hotel da Música is an excellent choice.

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    First-Timer’s Guide: Essential Tips for Exploring Porto, Portugal

    Here are few tips for when you are visiting Porto for the first time.

    1. How to Get to Porto, Portugal?

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    For those visiting Lisbon, there are several options to get to the city of Porto, Portugal. One of the options we considered was arriving by train. However our itinerary (Porto, Fátima, Coimbra, Talasnal and the Algarve) didn’t allow us the flexibility we needed.

    Therefore, the best option for us was to rent a car. We do not regret this decision, as we loved our trip, especially to all these cities. We discovered a beautiful side of Portugal, with lots of nature all around.

    But here are some of the options we have separated for you to get to Porto, through our initial research.

    By Train:

    Traveling by train is always a great option according to our experience. By train, you can experience scenic views, with comfortable seating and just relaxing. The trip from Lisbon to Porto by train is roughly 3 hours according to Google Maps. You can check prices, schedules, and departure locations from Lisbon by accessing the Alfa Pendular website here.

    Note: We didn’t take the train from Lisbon to Porto, the link above is based on our internet research. Please feel free to conduct your own research if you require additional information.

    By Car Rental:

    Car rental was our option to travel from Lisbon to Porto city. We had some other cities on our destination list such as Fátima, Coimbra, and Talasnal.

    We really don’t regret taking the car because we got amazing views on the way. The roads were well maintained, and we enjoyed the freedom and flexibility of exploring at our own pace. The rental also offered the freedom to stop at charming towns and attractions along the way.

    If you also want this freedom and to add other destinations to discover on the way to Porto, you can check the prices out here. The link will redirect you to Auro Europe Rental Cars, which is how we rented our car from Lisbon to Porto.

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    By Bus:

    Traveling by bus can offer a cost-effective journey. Usually, it is not our first option, but it seems there are bus services offering various schedules and amenities for travelers heading to Porto from Lisbon. According to some online investigation, Rede Expressos is one of the companies that provide tickets from both cities, where you can check the price, schedule, and further information here.

    Note: Just a note, since we didn’t take the train from Lisbon to Porto, the link above is just based on our internet research to help you out, but we cannot provide further details about their services.

    Or you can also check GetYourGuide to book bus from Lisbon to Porto by cliking here.

    By Flight:

    Save time with a quick flight from Lisbon to Porto, with multiple airlines offering regular flights between the two cities.

    By Private Transfer:

    Another option should be to get a private tour, which indulges in convenience and comfort, offering door-to-door transportation from your location in Lisbon to your destination in Porto, or even stopping in some cities along the way such as the famous Nazaré or Óbidos.

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    For this service, we recommend GetYourGuide, which you can check here.

    We have done some excursions booked through GetYourGuide in Morocco in October of 2024, and it was really easy to book, and we got really nice tours.

    2. How to get around Porto – Portugal?

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    By Foot: We always prefer, whenever possible, to explore cities on foot, especially in the beautiful historic center of Porto, to discover its charming streets and hidden gems.

    By Hop on Hop off: However, since this time Lia was sick and we also had one non-stop rainy day visiting Porto, we purchased a two-day pass for the Hop on Hop off tour, which we do not regret. It allowed us to explore other places outside the city as well, such as Forte de São Francisco Xavier (Castelo do Queijo), visit Porto’s beaches, and go to Vila Nova de Gaia for other tourist attractions, tasting Porto Wine, and enjoying delicious lunches.

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    Also, it’s important to note that Porto is built on several hills with many steep streets and alleyways, so the hop on hop off option is ideal for exploring and discovering the city.

    You can also check the options of tickets available in advance by using Get your Guide < Clicking Here >, that offers Hop-on Hop-Off bus, tram and funicular tickets, which suppose to be really fun.

    By Private Tour: Another option for those willing to spend a bit more money to ensure a historic guided experience is a private tour, which offers a captivating journey through Porto’s historic treasures with our exclusive guided tour.

    You can check the options of Private tours on Get your Guide < Clicking Here >.

    By Public Transportation: Another way is to get Public transportation. There are websites as Porto.Card where you can buy and you can use most of Porto’s public transport free of charge and unlimited. The only exceptions are the historic trams.

    For more information visit their official website < Clicking Here >.

    3. What’s the weather in Porto – Portugal?

    What's the weather in Porto - Portugal
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    Well, although we cannot control the weather and Mother Nature, we can always check the forecast in advance and prepare accordingly for sunny or rainy days.

    During our trip to Portugal in October 2019, we enjoyed amazing sunny and warm days in Lisbon, Fátima, Coimbra, and Talasnal. However, as soon as we arrived in Porto city, the weather started to change. We experienced a full cloudy day and a full day of rain.

    To stay prepared for varying weather conditions, there are several options available to check the forecast. You can utilize weather websites like The Weather Network, which provide detailed forecasts for specific locations.

    Additionally, smartphone apps like Weather.com offer real-time updates and alerts, allowing you to stay informed about any changes in the weather.

    Moreover, it’s helpful to pack layers and waterproof clothing when visiting Porto, especially during the cooler and rainier months. Bringing an umbrella or even better a raincoat, can come in handy for unexpected showers.

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    Additionally, consider wearing comfortable shoes suitable for walking on wet cobblestone streets. Lastly, keep an eye on local news channels or radio stations for weather updates, as they often provide timely information for residents and visitors alike.

    Reminder: Whether sun or rain, preparation is key to enjoying the moment!

    4. What is the best time of year to visit Porto?

    Best time to travel to Porto - Portugal
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    Before visiting Porto in 2019, we researched the best time to visit. The recommendations were favourable during the spring months (April to June) and fall (September to October). During these months, the weather is mild and the crowds are fewer.

    We opted to visit in October, and our itinerary included Porto. We experienced mostly good weather for 8 days, with the exception of a full day of rain in Porto and Sintra.

    While we cannot control the weather, it’s worth noting that October still offers pleasant temperatures, colours and smaller crowds. Thereby making it ideal for exploring the city’s attractions and outdoor activities.

    It’s worth considering that summer months (July to August) can be hot, crowded and also be more expensive. Contrarily winter months (November to February) can be cooler and wetter, but they also offer fewer tourists and lower prices.

    Reminder: The best time to travel is when it feels right for you!

    5. Money Exchange and Credit Card Usage – Porto | Portugal

    Porto - Portugal - Travel Guide - Money Exchange rate and Credit Card Usage
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    Here are some tips for handling cash, currency, and credit cards in Porto, Portugal:

    Currency: The currency used Portugal cities is the Euro (€). When visiting Porto, you’ll use Euros for all transactions, including shopping, dining, transportation, and accommodation. It’s advisable to have cash on hand for smaller purchases or in case you encounter establishments that only accept cash. Additionally, credit and debit cards are widely accepted in Porto, especially in larger establishments. However, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash as well for convenience.

    Credit Card Acceptance: Credit cards are widely accepted in Porto, especially in hotels, restaurants, and larger stores. Visa and Mastercard are the most commonly accepted, followed by American Express and Diners Club.

    Extra tips:

    Before traveling to Porto, we recommend that you inform your bank about your travel plans. This could prevent your credit card transactions from being flagged as suspicious activity. This will ensure uninterrupted access to your funds while abroad. Bear in mind that certain banks do not require a heads up.

    We recommend to carry a backup form of payment, such as a second credit card or traveler’s checks. Emergencies can occur and a backup can help if your primary payment method is lost, blocked or stolen.

    Keep in mind that some credit cards charge foreign transaction fees for purchases made in a currency other than your own. Check with your credit card provider beforehand. This way you’ll understand these fees and consider using a card that offers low or no foreign transaction fees.

    Exchange: It’s advisable to exchange a small amount of currency to Euros before arriving in Porto to cover immediate expenses like transportation from the airport or tips. You can exchange money at banks, exchange offices (known as “câmbios”), or ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) found throughout the city.

    ATM Usage: ATMs are widely available in Porto, and they usually offer the best exchange rates. Look for ATMs affiliated with major banks to avoid extra fees. However, be cautious of standalone ATMs in tourist areas, as they may charge higher fees.

    Safety Precautions: Exercise caution when withdrawing cash from ATMs, especially at night or in secluded areas. Avoid displaying large amounts of cash in public and use ATMs located in well-lit and secure areas.

    By following these tips, you can navigate currency and credit card transactions with ease during your visit to Porto, Portugal.

    6. Are there any day trips or excursions I can take from Porto?

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    We didn’t have time to take day trips outside of Porto, since we were there for two and a half days only. There are several day trips and excursions you can take from Porto to explore nearby attractions and cities.

    Some popular day trips from Porto include visiting the Douro Valley for wine tasting tours. It’s also possible to explore the historic city of Guimarães. Additionally, you can discover the beautiful landscapes of the Peneda-Gerês National Park, or take in a boat tour along the Douro River.

    Whether you’re interested in cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, or gastronomic delights, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on a day trip from Porto.

    One great option is to research through the GetYourGuide website, which offers a variety of guided tours and experiences.

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    7. What are some traditional dishes I should try while in Porto?

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    We have already mentioned some dishes we ate while visiting Porto, Portugal. However, we also have some recommendations for dishes you should try. We gathered this information from Lia’s Portuguese neighbours back in Brazil. Lia also ran some research we did before our trip. Feel free to take notes and give them a try!

    Traditional dishes

    • Francesinha – It is a Portuguese sandwich originating from the city of Porto. Directly translated from Portuguese, it refers to something small. However, the dish itself is generous and consists of bread filled with several layers of beef steak, cured meat, and sausage, covered with plenty of cheese, a fried egg and a spicy tomato and beer sauce.
    • Bacalhau à Brás – A classic Portuguese dish made with salted cod, onions, potatoes, and scrambled eggs, seasoned with garlic and parsley. However, don’t forget to try many other Bacalhau delicious recipes in Porto, and Portugal in general.
    • Caldo Verde – is a traditional Portuguese soup made with thinly sliced kale, potatoes, onions, garlic, and chorizo or smoked sausage. It’s then simmered in a flavourful broth. We didn’t have a chance to try it in Portugal, but Lia’s mother prepares a really good version.
    • Bolos de Bacalhau – Lia’s favorite, Bolos de Bacalhau, or Codfish Cake in English. More precisely, they are delicious Portuguese salted cod fritters. The basic ingredients include shredded cod, mashed potatoes, eggs, and herbs. Then it’s deep-fried and served with a crispy texture. Bolos de Bacalhau are often served hot, either as a standalone snack or alongside other traditional Portuguese dishes. They are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike for their savoury taste and satisfying crunch.

    Traditional snacks or desserts

    • Broa de Avintes – Broa de Avintes is a traditional Portuguese cornbread originating from the Avintes region near Porto. This rustic bread is known for its dense texture, slightly sweet flavor, and characteristic crunchy crust. The primary ingredients are cornmeal and wheat flour. Broa de Avintes has a distinctive taste and aroma that pairs perfectly with a variety of dishes. It goes well with hearty stews to cured meats and cheeses.
    • Bola de Berlim – Indulge in the sweet delight of Bola de Berlim while in Porto, Portugal! This traditional dessert, akin to a doughnut filled with creamy custard, is a must-try for any visitor. Head to local bakeries or beachfront stalls for an authentic taste of Portuguese pastry perfection.
    • Natas do céu – This is Lia’s favourite dessert. Natas do Céu, which which translates to Cream from Heaven. We tried it in Lisbon and again in the city of Porto. In Porto, we tried it at “Taberninha do Manel,” and truly the name is perfect for this delicious dessert!
    • Rabanadas – Delicious Portuguese-style French toast. The Portuguese version calls for traditional recipe of sliced bread soaked in a mixture of milk and eggs then fried until golden brown. The cinnamon and sugar sprinkles is what makes it unique. In Brazil and Portugal, the Rabanadas are traditional Christmas desserts, and many recipes often use Tinto or Port wine.
    • Pastéis de Nata – These delicious custard tarts are a must-try Portuguese pastry. There’s a creamy custard, sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar which sits on top of a flaky crust. If you are in Lisbon, Porto or any other Portuguese city, you must try it!

    Don’t forget to check out our recommendations for restaurants we visited while in Porto, Portugal, listed above. There, you’ll discover where we enjoyed delicious Francesinha, Rabanada, and much more!

    Check the best for food tours in Porto:

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    8. Get Ready to Explore Porto: Download Your Free Travel Planner Today!

    As we wrap up our Porto, Portugal adventure, we hope our insights and experiences have inspired you to embark on your own journey to this beautiful city.

    Don’t forget to download our free Porto Portugal Travel Planner, your key to seamless trip planning.

    With this handy guide in hand, you’ll be well-equipped to explore Porto’s wonders and create unforgettable memories. Happy travels!

    Porto – Portugal: Your Personalized Travel Planner Toolkit – Free Digital Planner

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