Porto is one of the cities you will easily fall in love with. The architectural charm and amazing food are just some of the simple pleasures of being in this small but delightful town. Apart from my problems with my AirBnb *coughs*, the heavy rain sessions and the transport system that’s quite unpractical when you want to go outside or to the city center, the sardine- can town itself is full of small details that will make you smile when you remember your Porto days.
All in all, I didn’t spend more than 200 Euros for this impromptu trip including the air tickets and accommodation. I find traveling outside western Europe can be very affordable and very accessible these present days. It would’ve been much better in summer, I think, nevertheless I had a wonderful time and I got lots of new insights of this country.
First day highlight would be Palácio da Bolsa that was the stock exchange building in Portugal and listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site. The guided tour was 8,5 Euros (I paid 5,5 because STUDENT PRIVILEGE yes), but it’s worth the money when you’re inside to witness the amazing handwork of the building. Apparently many of the “wooden” furniture in this majestic building were made from plaster because it was way more faster and cheaper (duh). Hand claps to Portuguese people’s craftsmanship.
Fundação Serralves is an art deco mansion that holds various art exhibitions, serves also as a park for leisure. I visited Miro’s exposition also with reduced price ticket of 5 Euros. The park and the pink house are beautiful and serene, but the museum itself is just okay and I didn’t find something special about the exposition. It was not located in the center, you’ll need to take the bus from Casa da Música metro station (Life tip to make it easier for you: take bus 203 directly to Museu Serralves, I walked 800m because I got off a different bus and waited 30 minutes just to get back to Casa da Musica).
After I finished getting lost and admiring that pink building, I went exploring in the city center starting with gazing at the beautiful blue tiles (azulejos) in Estação de São Bento. This train station serves the intercity and suburban trains from Porto and also connected with the metro and historical “22” tram. The tiles told different stories of vital characters that shaped history in Portugal, including King João I and Queen Philippa of Lancaster.
Continuing from the station, I wandered around Rua das Flores and Rua de Sá da Bandeira by foot:
That concludes my first day and first impression of being in this city. See you all hopefully in my next second day post!