Tops from Porto, Portugal

Igreja Capela Das Almas

During my family’s trip to Portugal, we took a 3-hour train ride to Porto, the region which actually gave the name to “Portugal”. The people of Porto are referred to as “Tripeiros”, which translates to “tripe-eaters”. It may sound insulting, but it’s actually a name taken to with pride. Back in the 15th-century when the Portuguese set out to conquer other lands, food was reserved for the army and explorers. All that was left behind was tripe and other leftovers, as the Portuguese proudly sacrificed the good food for those fighting for their country.

We started off with a free walking tour to learn about the city’s history and to get a lay of the land to learn which monuments we should see during our stay. Porto is famous for its port wine and caves that line the waterfront.

Of course we had to try many different versions of the port wine. My brother and dad enjoyed it, but I didn’t as much. All my friends know me to be an extremely picky drinker, and I found that porto reminded me of really sweet… cough syrup. However, we did enjoy our favorite meal in Portugal in Porto. Tapabento was recommended by friends Annie and Ola, who often travel to Porto for work. My family split ten dishes between the four of us, including an amazing foie gras (pictured above) and their famous seafood curry.

Porto, like Lisbon, is very walkable. You can take a nice stroll across the Dom Luis I bridge to a beautiful view of the red roofed city and along the waterfront to peek into bars, restaurants, and wine caves. We celebrated my brother’s birthday wandering around the city!

Another must-visit attraction is Livraria Lello, the Neo-Gothic style bookshop opened by two Portuguese brothers in 1906. Today it is best known for having been J.K. Rowling’s writing and thinking spot for her Harry Potter series. Did you know the author lived in Portugal during the 90’s? It may be no coincidence that Salazar Slytherin shares the same first name as Portugal’s former dictator.

If you’re looking for a nice coffee spot to take a break from all the city walking, stop in to Cafe Majestic. It’s known for it’s delicious french toast and beautiful decor. I love finding pretty cafes to read in, and Cafe Majestic definitely fits my list.

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