Even though I am possibly one of the biggest Iberian Peninsula enthusiasts there is, I had never been to Porto (Portugal) before. So when I had some time off in January this year, I decided to go there (all by myself).
The flight was going to arrive after 11pm, which for me was the only downpart as I do not think arriving in the middle of the night in an unknown city is a lot of fun, but oh well, there’s the rub! Anyways, finding travel information about how to get around in Porto was so easy, that I had everything perfectly planned beforehand. The cheapest way to get from the airport of Porto to the City Center is via Metro. The ride to the city centre takes about 30 minutes and costs around 2,50€. I got off at Trinidade and walked directly to the Hostal which I had booked prior to departure. I paid only about 13€ per night, breakfast included. The Hostal was great and exactly what I expected from reading the reviews. Actually, all Hostals in Porto sounded really great so I based my decision on the best loation, near the Metro station and the city center. I went straight to bed as I had 2 and a half days of exploration ahead of me.
The city center of Porto is not too big so you can easily walk around and see most sights. The ones a bit further outside can be easily reached by public transport. I myself walked around the city center to get a first impression of Porto. I first passed Avenida dos Aliados whith the city hall, then had a look inside of the Railway Station São Bento and went straight to the cathedral. My favourite place however is Ponte Dom Luís I, a metal arch bridge over the river Duoro. Walking across on the upper part of the bridge one has an amazing view over the Ribeira quarter and the river. I joined a free walking tour on the second day which is a great way to meet other travellers and get to know some hidden corners of the city.
Walking around the city you can’t miss the old tram (eléctrico) going up and down the hilly city. I decided to take Line 1 to the Atlantic Ocean. Yeah, that’s right, going to the beach by tram. Unfortunately I had picked a really rainy week in January – not exactly beach weather.
There are a lot more things to do and see in Porto, I missed out on the Port Wine tasting actually which I now regret as some fellow travellers told me that it was really interesting (& tasty). All in all Porto is a lovely and safe place. Exactly what I needed for my first solo trip. I’d definitely go back in the summertime to see the city in sunny weather. The Mediterranean climate promises mild yet rainy winters and warm and dry summers. I’d still bring a raincoat and an umbrella just to be safe.