Voted 2017’s Best European Destination, Porto the second largest city in Portugal is historic yet trendy, cultured yet bohemian. We find out ten insider secrets of this undeniable charming city. By Prachi Joshi

 

OLD TOWN
Get lost in Ribeira’s maze of medieval alleys lined with ageing, pastel houses, and tiny tascas (taverns). Explore the shops on Rua das Flores, and then get a cup of coffee and people-watch on the Douro riverfront promenade as the Dom Luís I Bridge lights up at dusk.

 

Porto
The Dom Luís I Bridge.

 

 

MUSEU SERRALVES

The contemporary art museum showcases both Portuguese and international artists.The Modernist museum building designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Álvaro Siza Vieira blends seamlessly with the surrounding garden and parkland; don’t miss a visit to the Art Deco ‘Pink Villa’.

 

Porto
Museu Serralves

 

 

 

LIVRARIA LELLO

Often listed as one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world, Livraria Lello’s most striking feature is its curving crimson staircase with a gilded design on the underside. The bookshop clocked more than one million visitors last year, and now has an entry fee of €5 (adjusted against purchase).

 

Porto
Livraria Lello Bookshop.

 

 

BOLHAO MARKET

The Bolhão Market, dating back to 1850, is an unmissable experience. Come here for food stalls that serve fresh seafood, cheese, and local wines.

 

 

Porto
Bolhao Market.

 

 

MAJESTIC CAFE

Majestic Café dates back to the 1920s and is beautifully done up in the Belle Époque style. Don’t miss the French toast drizzled with custard and dry fruits.

 

Porto
Majestic Cafe .

 

A VIDA PORTUGUESA

A Vida Portuguesa on the first floor of a 19th-century fabric store is a great place to pick up Portuguese souvenirs—locally made Brito soaps in vintage packaging, colourful Bordallo Pinheiro tableware, woven bags from the north of Portugal, and more.

 

Porto
A Vida Portuguesa.

 

 

CHEZ LAPIN

Located in a 16th-century building on the Ribeira riverfront, Chez Lapin has been around for more than 70 years. This rustic restaurant offers traditional Portuguese dishes such as chorizo asado (sausage flambéed at the table), bacalhau (salted cod cooked in a variety of ways), and grilled sardines.

 

Porto
Inside Chez Lapin.

 

 

BAR GALERIA DE PARIS

One of the pioneering bars on the Porto nightclub scene, Galeria de Paris has a charming, albeit over-the-top, ambience with hundreds of vintage arte facts on display.But the drinks are potent and the atmosphere swinging, especially on the weekends.

 

Porto
Nightlife at Galerias de Paris.

 

 

TAYLOR’S PORT CELLARS

In the historic Vila Nova de Gaia, Taylor’s newly refurbished 300-year-old cellar has an innovative museum space that takes you on an audio-visual tour of the history of port wine and its production.

 

Porto
At the Taylor’s Cellars.

 

EAT:
“Try the Francesinha, Porto’s most famous sandwich, sort of like the Croque Monsieur. It’s a layered sandwich with ham, sausage, and steak or roast meat, covered with melted cheese and a thick tomato-based sauce, served with fried egg and French fries. Café Santiago is more famous for the francesinha, but I recommend Restaurante A Regaleira. We do a version at our restaurants as well .” – Toni Saldago, Executive Chef, Pestana Palacio Do Freixo

Porto
Francesinha sandwich.