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TRIP RECAP: Porto, Alto Douro & Guimarães ;)

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Hamburg, Germany
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TRIP RECAP: Porto, Alto Douro & Guimarães ;)

Hello dear Forum!

I thought I might share a few passages about my trip to Porto

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First off: BEAUTIFUL city, very nice people and so much to do/see!!

For convenience I think I'll just break it down into daily passages

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DAY 1: Arriving in Porto Airport. Which is really nice. Quite new building I guess. Metro is across the main building, you can get there subterraneously. It's all well sign posted. We bought an ANDANTE card, which is €0,50 each! Make sure EACH person buys her/his own card. Don't load two rides on one card and validate it twice. You will get in trouble! One ride to Porto centre was €1,80 (please correct me if I'm wrong! I just have such a bad memory..) and you push the button for Z4.

Arrived in Porto at our hostel (Yey Porto Hostel: very nice, clean, fun and central place!!) which is right next to the Torre dos Clerigos and went to see the area. Torre dos Clerigos, the famous Lello library, Avenida Aaliados, etc. Went to eat Francesinha at Cafe Santiago (they have 2 shops close to each other. Each one is PACKED at lunch time!!! But just wait a couple of minutes. People move on right after eating and waiting seems to be quite common). Went on to have coffee in the beautiful Cafe Majestic (definitely worth it's name and the coffee was SOOO good!!! Didn't eat anything though! ;) Went up and down the Rua Santa Catarina to do some shopping.

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DAY 2: Headed to the Mercado do Bolhão market. Which is under major construction right now but still going. Very cute little stalls and even nicer merchants. Bought a bunch of fruit there to munch in the afternoon.

Then we walked up the Torre dos Clerigos. Beautiful view over whole of Porto!!! Staircase is super narrow. Always have to stop in the corners to let people pass the opposite direction. But still fun =)

Went to see the São Bento train station from inside. Beautiful! And very "atmospheric" for "just a station". Make sure you go there!! 5 minutes well spend!

Went on to the Sé cathedral. Not as amazing as the other Igrejas, but huuuge! Went over the Dom Luis I. bridge (upper level), passing by the metro (watch out!!). Arriving at the other side (Vila Gaia) we took the cable car (Teleferico de Gaia) down. Walked along the Douro bank and visited a winery (Calem wine cellars, €4,50 for a guided tour in Portuguese and tasting of 2 port wines). Tour takes about 30 minutes. Crossed the Dom Luis I. bridge once more (gound level) passing the cars (watch out, too!! ;) and walked along the famous Ribeira.

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DAY 3: Early morning, headed to the airport to get our rental car from Hertz (my usual company and always reliable!!) and went straight ahead to the Alto Douro region. A** and N*** streets were our main roads. I would compare the N***s as highways and A**s as "autobahns". The A**s are toll charging roads, so make sure your rental has a device or you pay properly on each station!! For convenience Hertz has a toll device in each car. So driving was really comfortable and easy. The roads were VERY steep though!!!

Arrived at Vila Real first to see the beautiful Casa de Mateus. Make sure you park across the street, because they charge you for parking on the Casa ground (finding a parking spot across the street is easy).

Went on to Pinhaão to see the cute little station.

Crossed the bridge at Pinhão to the N222 and drove along the Douro the way up to Peso da Régua. Be aware, a lot of crazy people racing on those high ways!!! (irresponsible!!!!!!)

Moved on to Guimarães to see the Castelo (no entrance fee and smaller than I imagined) and the old town. Guimarães on sundays is really crowded! A lot of Portuguese seem to go there for a little vacation, too!! And it's easy to see why! The town is beautiful. Narrow alleys, the Largo da Oliveira, etc.

Last stop on our way: watching the sunset at Foz do Douro, back in Porto. BEAUTIFUL ending to a very lovely short vacation in northern Portugal!!

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The people were all so so very nice and welcoming! The food was simple and super yummy! Weather was good (except heavy rain and wind on day 1) and very sunny!

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Make sure to visit Porto!!! It's a wonderful city!! (...and to be honest: better than Lisbon, hehe.)

Edited: 05 February 2013, 11:38
Spain
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for Travel Gadgets and Gear, New Brunswick
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1. Re: TRIP RECAP: Porto, Alto Douro & Guimarães ;)

Thanks for sharing. I like Porto and Guimaraes as well and will be revisiting them this summer.

Lisbon, Portugal
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for Azores, Lisbon, Portugal
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2. Re: TRIP RECAP: Porto, Alto Douro & Guimarães ;)

Thanks for sharing.

Mississauga, ON
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3. Re: TRIP RECAP: Porto, Alto Douro & Guimarães ;)

Thanks Hannah B - You visited towns we will be visiting on our upcoming visit. Makes me even more excited.

Hamburg, Germany
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104 posts
23 reviews
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4. Re: TRIP RECAP: Porto, Alto Douro & Guimarães ;)

Hello TravelBug!!

Hope you enjoy your journey as much as I did!!

I love Portugal and the Douro region is just amazing!!

Save travels!!

Porto
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5. Re: TRIP RECAP: Porto, Alto Douro & Guimarães ;)

Hi Hannah! Glad you enjoyed the city :) and hope to see you back in the nearest future! Regards from Porto!

Wales, United...
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for Fuerteventura, Istria
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6. Re: TRIP RECAP: Porto, Alto Douro & Guimarães ;)

Excellent report, thanks for sharing.

7. Re: TRIP RECAP: Porto, Alto Douro & Guimarães ;)

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