I have a serious love affair going on with Porto.  First off, I love Port so this city is a playground for anyone who likes port and port tastings.  Even if you don’t think Port is for you, give it a try and visit some tasting rooms.  Port is actually produced North of Porto in the Duoro Valley but it is shipped down and stored in Porto in the cold and damp Port houses.  The food in the region is great, the city is beautiful and I hope you can appreciate how special this city truly is. 

The Activities



My favorite tasting and tour.  The staff was knowledgeable and was great about answering all of our questions.  We upgraded our port tasting to one of the more expensive ones which was totally worth it since you don't usually get to try the very expensive ones at home.  I spent about two hours here which was longer than I stayed at most, I really loved it!



I spent a good amount of time in the tasting room at Churchill.  The staff were friendly and informative.  I also ended up buying several bottles of their 2011 Vintage which apparently, 2011 is the year to get! Anyway, I loved it!







Other Port Houses visited for tastings that were a ton of fun:


I recommend only doing one tour and doing it at Graham's. Make sure to still visit others for tastings.



This is a small restaurant/wine tasting/port tasting venue, in the older section of the city (right near Pestana, see below).  The staff is extremely helpful and lets you try ton's of delicious ports and wine. It's also interesting to hear the point of view of someone who is not affiliated with a specific port house across the river.  You will learn a lot about smaller makers and they have some excellent cheese and chocolate pairings.  So fun!



The Food


I went here for lunch before doing a tour of the port cellar.  It was absolutely amazing.  The staff gave me a table with an amazing view and all I could do was stare! This is the type of place that is in such an amazing location that they could get away with serving bad, overpriced food-but they don't! The food quality is absolutely fantastic.  Yes, it is a bit expensive, but I was fine with the price because the food justified it.  The staff and service were also great.  There is a small house right next door where a local family lives with a lovely farm, chickens etc.  It was very cool to see that right next door to this amazing property.  You must go here!



This is another restaurant in the old part of the city.  It is a small place where you should make a reservation.  The staff is great and it's fun to do a bunch of small plates here.  The food is delicious.  I would definitely recommend!



This restaurant was recommened to me while I was traveling and it hit the spot! Portugal is famous for this pork sandwiches with mustard.  This place is nothing special in terms of ambiance, but it's cheap and delicious. 


The Lodging


Ahh, I fell in love with the Yeatman. It is hands down my favorite of the three hotels I stayed at in Porto.  The Yeatman is on the side of the river with all of the Port Producers.  This is a large, luxury spa hotel.  It overlooks the river, bridge and other side of Porto.  The views are beautiful.  Make sure you book your room with breakfast included, you will NOT want to miss the breakfast.  The spread is enormous and delicious, you won’t be disappointed. I booked a wine bath with a light massage and I will say I was a little disappointed.  I would skip this service in particular but the spa facilities are really nice, so if you have time to lounge there, it’s great.


This hotel is located on the same side of the river as the Intercontinental but it’s not directly in the center, it’s on the water overlooking all of the Port Houses.  There are many good restaurants on this side as well.  You can also easily walk across the bride to the other side of the river so it’s accessible in that sense.  If you want to stay in this area, I think I would recommend checking out a different hotel.  While some of the staff was extremely helpful, some were not and it gave me a slightly bad taste in my mouth. 


The reason I stayed at the Intercontinental was because I was visiting the city for New Years Eve and this hotel is directly across from the square where the celebrations all go down.  This is a very nice, a bit expensive, hotel in a great central location on the other side of the river.  It is also very close to all the bars and restaurants that get crowded later in the night.  If being in the city center is for you, so is this hotel.


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© Pamela Loria Pennisi