Poor Portugal, always living in Spain’s shadow. After my trip to Porto, I would like to be a temporary advocate for Portugal, who in my opinion, is not given the credit it deserves. It seems that if people are given the chance to travel in Europe, along the way they make themselves choose between Spain and Portugal, and it’s never the latter. Spain is great but this is horrible! Portugal deserves a spot in your itinerary and I will tell you why.
Although I can’t speak for Lisbon, Porto was quite charming and quaint. There was something about it that made it feel very welcoming. After coming across an outdoor market complete with chairs for sunbathing and 70s and 80s music playing on a speaker, I knew I was going to like Portugal. Along the river, there were shops, restaurants and port wine galore.
Our first day in Portugal we went on a port wine tour that included a visit to three wine lodges and a traditional Portuguese wine cellar. After learning about port wine production and the fine art of aging, we ended our tour on a rooftop with great views of Porto. Similar to champagne from France, it can only be called Port wine if it was produced in the Douro Valley of Portugal!
In addition to being known for Port wine, Porto is known for its beautiful blue and white glazed tiles called “azulejos”. The one pictured is from São Bento railway station, but they can be found in various places all over the city.
One last thing that drew me to Portugal was the abundance of places specializing in brunch food. Both mornings in Porto we had amazing multiple course brunches. I was reminded of home when waiting in line to get into the restaurant (if you live in Madison you have most likely waited in line for Short Stack), but good things take time and the wait was worth it!