48 Hours In Porto

How To Spend A Perfect 48 Hours In Porto

Spending 48 hours in Porto? With its shambly medieval centre, flamboyant nightlife and luscious food and wine, the historic hillside city of Porto is an easy place to fall for over a couple of days… 

Think: days spent strolling around handsome plazas, old-world shops and winding cobbled streets followed by evenings tackling long seafood dinners and sipping top-notch plonk in laid-back bars.

How To Spend 48 Hours In Porto

Day One:

Step Back in Time in Ribeira

Once you’ve checked-in to your digs at the centrally-located Eurostars Porto Douro, strike out and take full advantage of having Ribeira, Porto’s ramshackle old-town, right on your doorstep. Throw a wave to the easy-going locals nattering to eachother outside tiny, archaic shops and let the eery, time-warped vibe wash over you.

Be sure to look up as you stroll along the pretty waterfront: the narrow old houses with their yellow and blue mosaic façades are Insta heaven.

Visit Europe’s Most Magical Bookshop

Standing rather brazenly on Rua das Carmelitas is the always busy Livraria Lello, a 100+ year-old bookstore that, thanks to its intricately carved bookshelves and winding art nouveau staircase, looks like something straight out of Hogwarts. This should come as no surprise really as J. K. Rowling wrote the opening chapters of Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone here when she lived in the city way back when.

You’ll need to pay €5.50 to get in, although this is redeemable against any purchase. 

Check Out Porto’s Al Fresco Nightlife

If you’re looking for a lively evening out then Rua José Falcão, Rua do Almada, Rua da Picaria and Rua de Ceuta, and the surrounding streets, are a good bet. Al fresco partying is the name of the game here so make like the locals and grab a Super Bock beer from the bar and drink it out on the jam-packed street with everyone else.

If throwing shapes to live tunes is a priority then make your way to Rua de Passos and get your groove on at artsy Maus Hábitos when the time comes.

Day Two:

Eat Breakfast at the Majestic Café

Tucking into breakfast at the impressively grand Majestic Café is the best way to start any day in Porto. Set on buzzing Rua de Santa Catarina, this chic, ‘grand café’-style eatery decorated in art nouveau style will have you salivating over its opulent interiors and belle époque vibe long before your French toast wrapped in egg custard arrives. Their coffee is the stuff of dreams.

Be Bowled Over by the Magnificence of Palácio da Bolsa

Stroll through the winding streets towards the river and you’ll eventually arrive at the magnificent Palácio da Bolsa. In fact, the architecture of this gilded 19th-century former stock exchange is so fab it’s both a national monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be prepared to say “wow” aloud several times when you spy the the plush arabesques, artisan woodwork and sublime stained glass of the revered Arabian Hall.

48 Hours In Porto

Head Out to Gondarém Beach For the Evening

With its sweeping Atlantic vistas and increasingly diverse culinary scene, it’s clear to see why so many locals head to Gondarém Beach for their evening eats. Join them by taking a 15-minute taxi ride from the city centre and tucking into super-fresh fish and delectable steaks in a stylish eatery like Cafeína on Rua do Padrão. Round off your day with a port wine or two at Bonaparte, a charmingly intimate little tavern just a stone’s throw away.

48 Hours In Porto

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Bo Heamyan
Bo Heamyan

Bo Heamyan is a British travel writer, reporter and author. When not plotting adventurous overseas japes or motoring away on off-grid road trips, Bo enjoys re-reading Walden, worshipping Nietzsche and highlighting the dangers of conformity to his six-year-old daughter.

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