For a city break filled with rich culture, historic charm and a fantastic culinary scene, Porto, one of Europe’s oldest cities, makes a perfect weekend getaway …
Porto, Portugal’s second largest city, possesses a rich culture, historic charm, and fantastic culinary scene. It offers something for everyone – bibliophiles will enjoy perusing the shelves of the storied Lello Bookstore (pictured below), art lovers should make a beeline for the exhibitions at the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, while a must-do is tasting some of the renowned port wines.
Be sure to find time for a specialty coffee from the iconic and centuries old “A Brasileira” café. If time is of the essence then head to WOW – a new cultural district, Vila Nova de Gaia, which opened on the Douro riverfront in 2020. This houses seven interactive museum experiences, twelve restaurants, bars and cafés, a wine school, variety of shops and much more. As for where to stay, here are three easily accessible options:
The Pestana Douro Riverside
Pestana Douro Riverside has a great setting, on the right bank of the Douro River, ten minutes away from Porto city centre. As a nod to the hotel’s past – a former soap and candle factory (the large brick chimney in front of the reception is a visible reminder of its history) – colour and fragrance are notable design features. Each floor is dedicated to the scent and colour of the flowers that identifies it: lavender, jasmine, orange blossom, rose, cherry blossom, chamomile, geranium and lily. In addition to a fragrant stay, facilities include a rooftop bar, impressive infinity pool, indoor pool and restaurant. Prices start from €170 for a double room, on a bed and breakfast basis. www.preferredhotels.com
This stylish hotel, with panoramic views over the river and old town, revolves around wine, from its two Michelin-starred restaurant to its Caudalie Vinotherapie treatments in the spa. Its links with Port wine are revealed in the decor of each of the guest rooms. All are spacious but for an even more luxurious experience, why not book one of its suites. The Bacchus is named after the Roman god of wine and extends onto a conservatory with fireplace and private terrace, while The Presidential suite even features a Port wine barrel-shaped bed! For visitors who want to complete a gastronomic tour of the region, the hotel is close to four great historic vineyard areas – the Minho, Douro, Dao and Bairrada. An executive room with breakfast is from €300. www.the-yeatman-hotel.com
Part of the Trademark Collection by Wyndham this downtown retreat on Santa Catarina Street, is steps away from a shopping district and walking distance from landmarks such as Clérigos Tower and the historic Ribeira neighbourhood. Guests (and their dogs) can enjoy a host of amenities including the beautiful gardens and the hotel’s Mediterranean restaurants. Rates start from €135 per room per night for two people sharing. www.wyndhamhotels.com