A quick pitstop by Barcelona (again) and then I was on my way Portugal. Probably the most consistent place I visited this trip. And by consistent I mean: food, transport, sights, sites, hostels, people – all brilliant.
I didn’t really know what to expect of Porto when I arrived, only that I really wanted a Portuguese tart ASAP. (On that note you should check out Confeitaria do Bolhao – it’s like 30c a pop so don’t blame me if you end up eating 20.) But what I did eat was Francesinha, Portugal’s national dish. Or as I like to call it: ‘a heart attack in a bite’. What it is, essentially, (I’m going to quote from Wikipedia): “a sandwich made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat and covered with melted cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce served with french fries.” Told you.
If you love Harry Potter (which you should otherwise why do you exist?), you need to visit Livraria Lello & Irmão, often noted as one of the world’s best bookstores and an inspiration for JK Rowling. It’s so beautiful that you’re not allowed to take photos inside the store because it’s that special. True story.
The city itself is pretty quiet – there aren’t crowds of tourists that you would otherwise find in Rome or Paris. We stayed at The Garden Hostel, which is right by Bolhao train station and close to a lot of the main attractions, including Cais da Ribeira and Dom Luís Bridge. It reminds me of Downton Abbey because of its winding staircase (I actually hum the theme song every time I climb them, much to the embarrassment of my friends). It’s really clean, gets a lot of light and serves breakfast.