Travelers often describe Porto as one of the most charismatic cities in Europe. And they are not wrong, with its impressive architectural heritage and beautiful geographic location on the river Douro, one is quick to fall in love with this port city.
Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal and in 1996, the historic centre of Porto was declared the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also home to one of the best football teams in Europe – FC Porto. The city is famous for its ‘Port wine’, which tastes great when served after meals. Portugal exports the wine throughout the world. Having the Douro river on one side and the Atlantic ocean on the other, Porto is home to some delicious seafood cuisine. From the yummy custard tarts to the alluring wine from the Portuguese vineyards the sun-soaked city of Porto is full of mouthwatering surprises.
1. For the pure love of pastéis de nata
Breakfast is rightly called the most important meal of the day as it kick-starts your metabolism and your day. And what better way than to start with a Pastéis de Nata? Available at every bakery and restaurant, this famous Portuguese egg custard tart is the perfect way to break your overnight fast.
With the egg tart in your hand and walking through the streets, you can enjoy the view of the Clerigos church built in the eighteenth century. Topped by the Clergios tower, it is one of the most symbolic monuments of Porto. Standing 249 feet tall this bell tower gives you a view of the entire city, but you can only reach the top by climbing 200 steps.
The custard tart pastries are also perfect as evening snacks. Fresh from the oven and nestled in a crunchy pastry topped with icing sugar and cinnamon, you can enjoy these sitting by the Douro river while watching the sunset.
2. Francesinha: The Best Dish to Have in Porto
You cannot do justice to your trip without eating the most celebrated food in Porto: Francesinha. It is a regular on the menu of every cafe and restaurant. Originating in the city, the Portuguese make this typical sandwich using different ingredients. These include bread, ham, sausages and other meat. Sauce, eggs and melted cheese poured on top make for the covering. The dish is as tasty as it sounds and cannot be missed.
You can enjoy this complex dish having a multitude of flavours and ingredients while sitting at a restaurant in Porto’s most popular neighbourhood: Ribeira. It is the most liveliest and picturesque area of the city located on the riverbank of Douro.
3. The Local Festival Food: Sardinhas Assadas
Being a coastal city with deep connections to water bodies and fishing, your visit to Portugal is incomplete without trying the elaborate seafood cuisine the country has to offer. Sardinhas Assadas is one such famous dish to try while in Porto. For this traditional Portugal dish, the sardines are cleaned and grilled whole. They are commonly served on top of bread and tend to pass on distinctive flavours to it. This simple dish is lightly sprinkled with olive oil and other seasonings. It also tastes amazing when paired with roasted potatoes, salads and sauteed veggies.
This staple dish is a festival favourite here. You can enjoy it at one of the riverside restaurants while waiting for your cruise. A traveller is sure to get the best experience of river cruising in Porto. Cruising through the peaceful river of Douro you can see the scenic beauty of the city and Porto’s bridges.
4. Port: The Sweet Dessert Wine
The enchanting city of Porto is the birthplace of the famous Port wine. This signature dessert wine is must have before you bid adieu to Porto. Commonly taken alongside dessert post-dinner, this iconic drink also tastes good when taken on its own. You can find it all over the city. And also can experience this world-famous drink at different wine cellars by taking a tour of the vineyards. These tours include wine tasting, educational briefing about the region, strolls in the vineyards and if you are lucky you also get to experience the winemaking process. Best known as sweet wine, Port comes in different berry flavours. With an amazing taste, it will leave you craving for more and you just can’t return home without a bottle.
For a traveller foodie going to Porto, the trip is as much a gastronomical experience as it is a historical and delightful escapade into the scenic urban paradise.