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Our next pop-up is around the Corner: August 12-17, Port of Skiathos - details follow

Our city guide to Porto

Posted by Lea Wieser on

Photography: Hugo Sousa

This summer, my mum and I ventured off to Portugal on a mission to find a small factory which would help us create our wovens-range.

There we fell in love: not only with Monica and her lovely mum who, together*, run the little sewing studio which now makes our wovens-pieces, but also with the city in which they are based in: Porto.

To fight the Easter holiday blues, we thought it’d be time to share our favourite spots in Porto to get you planning for your next dream escape.

* Yes, they're also a mother-daughter duo … can this really be a coincidence?

Where to stay

If you’re looking for a laid-back, yet chic place to stay, check in at Porto’s The White Box House.  Offering a mix of six double bed rooms and shared bathroom-apartments, the guesthouse convinces with its modern, minimalist design, featuring wooden floors, granite wales and retro decor.

Credit: courtesy of The White Box House

The property is located right in the heart of the city on the pedestrian street Rua da Santa Catarina with lots of cool restaurants and bars just around the corner. The communal kitchen and dining area allow you to self-cater in case you’re travelling on a bit of a tight budget. Plus, breakfast is included - and tastes amazing.

Alternatively, stay at My Home in Porto, a super stylish guesthouse located in a reclaimed building built in the 1930s. The B&B features the most beautiful green tiled facades and a gorgeous garden in the backyard. Its 3 meter high ceilings, the authentic woodwork, and its home library make this place one of Porto’s hidden and super cosy gems. 

Credit: courtesy of My Home in Porto
What to eat

The Portuguese love their food - and we love Portuguese food. While my mum particularly looves (told you she had a sweet tooth …) the notorious pastel de natas, which you can find pretty much at every corner, I’m super into their queijos (Portuguese for cheese) - my favourite is Amarelo, a firm cheese made from goat’s and sheep’s milk.

What we both love? Porto tonico! Served over ice, it’s a refreshing drink made of white port wine mixed with tonic water and a slice of orange. Saúde.

Where to eat 

When in Porto, it’s a must to eat out in one of the many tavernas to try the rich traditional Portuguese cuisine. Just stroll around the city and choose your favourite one, it’s hard to go wrong. However, our local friend Monica particularly recommends Taberna do Cais das Pedras for a more romantic setting and Casa Guedes for the real authentic Portuguese bistro feeling.

For great seafood head to the laid-back Restaurante Salta o Muro and if veggie is more your thing, make sure to check out Terrarea, offering a delicious plant-based menu in an urban garden.

Credit: courtesy of Flow 

One of our favourite places in Porto is Puro 4050 - the mozzarella bar offers a great choice of tapas in a relaxed, cool setting. Mundo is a good choice for Asian food, while Flow convinces with its mix of Mediterranean and Portuguese flavours paired with sushi - sounds weird? Trust us, it’s great.

Go to Cantina 32 for delicious food in an industrial-chic setting: make sure to have desert there and be surprised by what looks like “dirt” served in a plant pot - under its “soil”, which is actually made of Oreo crumbles, hides the most amazing cheesecake.

Credit: courtesy of Cantina 32
To do

Although Porto isn’t very populous with its 300,000 inhabitants, the city thrives from its diversity and there is a lot to see and do.

For a day in the city, start your day at Mercado do Bolhão, Porto’s colourful market and indulge on fresh fruits and just-baked pastries.

Then head to Ribeira, the most touristy area in the city, but definitely worth a stroll along the promenade to soak in the beautiful view over the river Douro.

Ribeira is also the place to shop and buy souvenirs: stop at Claus Porto’s store in Rua das Flores to get some beautifully packaged soap or head to Take Away Porto for Portuguese canned food, great wine and olive oil.

Credit: courtesy of Claus Porto

Shopping is your thing? Then, walk along Rua de Santa Catarina, Porto’s main shopping street and indulge. 

If you're more on the lookout for boutique shopping, head to A Vida Portuguesaa cool store where you can find the original products of Portuguese manufacture, from canned foods and beautiful ceramics, to the traditional embroidered garments from Viana do Castelo (from which our anna blouse is inspired by!).

Offering sustainable and ethical garments and souvenirs, Coração Alecrimne is another fave of ours. Also, make sure to check out The Feeting Room, probably Porto’s coolest concept store. 

Credit: courtesy of The Feeting Room

If you’re into the arts, the Serralves Museum with its impressive collection of worldwide contemporary art and its beautiful architecture with surrounding landscaped gardens is a must. For more arts and culture, Casa da Música and Rua Miguel Bombarda are worth a visit.

You’re more of a beach bum? Then head to Foz and stroll along its beautiful promenade. If you’re into surfing, head to Matosinhos, one of Porto’s most surfed beaches due to its easy accessibility from the city center.

Leça da Palmeira is also a great spot to surf - make sure to enjoy a post-surf sundowner at one of the many beach-side bars. Maceda and Espinha are also worth checking out for a good surf.

Credit: courtesy of Visit Porto

In case you still have some energy left after a day spent in the city or surfing Porto’s amazing breaks, head to Aduela for a nibble and a glass of wine or to Baixaria for more casual vibes. Check out Industria or Plano B for a pumping night-out.

xx Michi & Lea

Need some more recommendations? Drop us a line on lea@arkitaip.com!

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