An old castle by the Rio Douro.

Porto, Portugal

“Porto is one of my favorite big cities,” Andrea told me.

It also happens to be the closest truly international airport to where we live in Galicia. Conveniently, we can hop on a bus in Pontevedra and arrive at OPO in less than three hours. We did this to fly to Hawaii.

But since we were going to be in Porto anyhow, we made a day trip out of it. After all, I had never been there.

There were a few things I learned during this short trip:

  • English is widely spoken in Porto.
  • You can talk in Spanish slowly, and people will understand you.
  • They also seem to understand Gallego (which Andrea can speak) perfectly.
  • Acceptance of credit cards is not a given except in large establishments. We went to a bustling restaurant in a super touristy area, and even that was cash only.
  • Porto is very walkable but hilly.

Our best and worst experiences occurred during lunch.

We ate at a restaurant called Bufete S. Domingos and had to wait more than an hour for food to arrive. On top of that, the workers were inanimated and rude. 

“Next time,” Andrea said while reading all the one- or two-star reviews for the eatery, “we should look at the ratings before picking a restaurant.” That was another thing we learned.

However, there were two musicians dubbed Acustico Freedom that saved the hour. The vocalist was doing covers of Adele but had a much sweeter-sounding voice.

During the same afternoon, we also managed to go to many other places, as shown in the photos below. Considering its proximity to Galicia, we will surely be back in Porto several more times in the upcoming years.

Felix inside the Majestic Café in Porto, a historic café from the Art Nouveau period.
Felix inside the Majestic Café in Porto, a historic café from the Art Nouveau period.
Andrea in front of the Câmara Municipal do Porto.
Andrea in front of the Câmara Municipal do Porto.
The Lello Bookstore, one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal and frequently rated among the top bookstores in the world.
The Lello Bookstore, one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal and frequently rated among the top bookstores in the world.
The Lello Bookstore had two floors.
The Lello Bookstore had two floors.
The red, curving staircase of the Lello Bookstore.
The red, curving staircase of the Lello Bookstore.
The stained glass roof of the Lello Bookstore.
The stained glass roof of the Lello Bookstore.
A bicycle in the historic center of Porto.
A bicycle in the historic center of Porto.
I had this plate of salad, potatoes, and grilled squid at Bufete S. Domingos. It wasn't bad, but the service and wait time (1 hour) was.
I had this plate of salad, potatoes, and grilled squid at Bufete S. Domingos. It wasn't bad, but the service and wait time (1 hour) was.
Felix inside a Porta train station with elaborate artwork on the walls and ceiling.
Felix inside a Porta train station with elaborate artwork on the walls and ceiling.
An Ale-Hop cow.
An Ale-Hop cow.
An old castle by the Rio Douro.
An old castle by the Rio Douro.
Ships on the Rio Douro.
Ships on the Rio Douro.
The Porto Cathedral.
The Porto Cathedral.
Grass in front of a castle in the Gerra Junqueiro district of Porto.
Grass in front of a castle in the Gerra Junqueiro district of Porto.
Felix and Andrea in front of the Dom Luís I Bridge in Porto.
Felix and Andrea in front of the Dom Luís I Bridge in Porto.
Glasses of Porto wine.
Glasses of Porto wine.