We had a tendency to arrive late at every destination in Portugal. Before we would pack and leave the previous place and then maybe stop on the way, it would be always long after sunset. The really cool thing is, that when you are on your honeymoon and you mention it in your reservation, there will be always a bottle of sparkles waiting for you, sometimes even with strawberries. That is exactly what happened at Vincci Porto hotel. Which was perfect because their bar closed at 11.00 pm. It was a pretty cool hotel with an industrial design. In history, it was a Fish Market, which spirit they included in touches like big, wooden doors that look like you are just about to enter a storage room filled with fish. Instead, there is a comfy bed waiting for you with an unexpectedly big bathroom. After a restful night and a very lazy long morning, we went on a walk to explore a little bit. We didn’t make it far from the hotel and it was definitely time for some lunch. We had a delicious fish at Vime, which is a small, not touristy at all restaurant, where the food is great and the staff is the nicest in the whole city. Because to be honest, meeting nice people in service is not easy in Porto. There come so many tourists, that they really don’t care if they are nice or not. Fed and happy we went to book our first Tuk Tuk sightseeing tour. While waiting for it, we went for a little stroll at the river Douro, which is supposed to be one of the highlights of your visit in Porto. But it wasn’t. It was unbelievably loud, different smells from all the restaurants would mix in the air into something difficult to breathe with and people would push us and the pram with our boy. After 5 minutes, we were both sure we need to find a little escape. We went to a hotel with a nice bar and luckily for us no one wanted to sit inside. So we had a glass of rosé and we chilled on the couch with Theo. It was a real blessing this empty place there. What was great fun and a really cool experience was the Tuk Tuk sightseeing drive. The guy was very friendly and enthusiastic about the city, so within an hour we saw the most interesting places in the city and heard good stories. We asked him to drop us off at the Porto Cathedral.
The Porto Cathedral is a place where the blue and white tiles meet history and faith. Even if you don’t plan to stay for a Mass, it is good to plan at least an hour there. Just to wander underneath these arcades, listen to the bells, sit and stare at its beauty. Also if you plan to take photos, you have to calculate the extra time for waiting until there will be no other people in your picture (see our case). To be honest, because Portugal has been the winner of the holiday destination of the year for the last three years, it is quite a lot of fun to go on Instagram and see how similar we all are and although from different places in the World we choose the same frames and poses. Travelling and photography connect us.
From the Cathedral we went for a scoop of ice-cream at Cremosi. And then we decided to go for what we like to call affordable luxury. So if you can’t or don’t want to spend a lot of money on your stay or evening dining, you can always choose to go to the best hotel in the city to the bar. And that’s what we did. That Saturday night we went to InterContinental bar, had an amazing pasta with pesto, listened to live jazz music and had fun trying different Portuguese wines. Next morning we went to church and after we head to Livraria Lello– The Bookshop, which was the inspiration for Flourish & Blotts from Harry Potter. As big fans we couldn’t miss this one. It was absolutely stunning and almost impossible to take a single photo. This place is always crowded, everyone tries to take photos and because it is small and has stairs we had to carry Theo around. But despite ale the inconveniences it is truly magical and worth seeing. It was designed and built by a man with a vision. We can read on their website:
The origins of Livraria Lello take us back to 1881, when the brothers José and António Lello opened in Porto an establishment dedicated to the commerce and edition of books. José Lello, a man of culture, reading enthusiast, book and music lover, dreamed of becoming a bookseller, which came true in 1881. Several years later, his brother, António Lello, also came into this bookseller business.
After what was definitely the cultural highlight of our day, we accidentally discovered the best pizzeria in Porto, just a few meters away from the famous bookshop. Il Pizzaiolo is definitely a place for all the Italian food lovers. We met there nice Belgian girls, who used to live for half a year in Porto during their student exchange, and they came for a big party happening that weekend – São João (Saint John). They told us that during that time it was their favourite pizza place in the city. We didn’t have a chance to try any other pizzas in Porto, but it was really tasty. In the evening we went for some shopping at the famous Rua de Santa Catarina and at a quite reasonable time back to the hotel. You can still feel that Porto is developing in many areas, for example with the number of cranes that you see on every panoramic picture of the city. It has its own, unique vibes and if you like exploring, you will enjoy it. But maybe go outside the main season.