Earlier this month, I decided to take a short two day trip with one of my classmates to Porto, located about 200 mi north of Lisbon. Since we don’t have class fridays, we figured we’d just make the trip for friday and saturday. To get there, we took a comboio, Portuguese for train, friday morning.
The train ride to Porto is about 3 hours so we made it right on time for lunch. We took a short metro ride from the train station into the city, which in my opinion is way more modern and easier than the metro in Lisbon but unfortunately closes at 11 pm compared to the metro in Lisbon which closes at 1 am. We walked across a park and came across the Bom Sucesso Market. This is an “urban market” with a ton of little modern food posts, a bookstore, clothing stores, flower, fruit and veggie markets too.
After lunch at the market, we decided to take a 30 min walk to Casa de Serralves, which is host to a modern art collection, the Serralves Foundation and different garden squares. Out of all the different museums I’ve been to in Lisbon, the entrance to the Serralves museum was a little more expensive but at €5 which also included the gardens entrance and student discount, it wasn’t too bad and its definitely worth checking out when in Porto.
We ended the day by going out to the Ribeira, a walkway on the river and had dinner. Afterwards, we crossed the Douro River through the Dom Luis I bridge and happened to stumble upon cars racing their way through the street. I figured out later that those cars were actually part of the Rally Spirit race in Porto, which was in its 3rd annual run.
The next day, we went to Livraria Lello, which actually served as inspiration to JK Rowling in the Harry Potter series. I’m definitely not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to Harry Potter, I have to admit that I haven’t seen all of the movies or read the books but its easy to see why JK Rowling was inspired by this bookstore, its got really intricate details everywhere you look, and the staircase is pretty charming.
Since the metro closes early, the night before we took an Uber back to the Airbnb and the driver mentioned that we absolutely had to go eat lunch at Cafe Santiago, where they serve the best francezinha sandwiches. This francezinha sandwich is made with ham, two types of sausage, and steak put between two slices of bread, topped with a fried egg, melted cheese and a tomato sauce, and a whopping side of fries. Its super ambitious to try to eat one alone but its so good that you won’t want to share.
After spending lunch with a friend of my classmate’s, we walked to the tram and rode it down to the Riberira, where we spent the rest of the day. Contrary to what many people had told me about Porto, the weekend was full of sunshine, clear of clouds and a quietness that can’t be found in the always busy Lisbon streets. But, my favorite thing about Porto was all the little surprises we found in between, from our super friendly Airbnb hosts and the people who stayed there, the street market on the way to the Livraria Lello, seeing all the Rally Spirit cars, running into a friend I met in Lisbon, free wine tasting with the tram ticket, and all the street art. I’d definitely love to spend another weekend in Porto again.