December 28, 2018

By Angel Farmer

How to live like a Local in Porto

The warmth of Portuguese people prompted Lonely Planet Local Emily McAuliffe to plant roots in Porto in 2016. In search of culture and adventure, she found a city that wore its heart on its sleeve and casually showcased centuries’ worth of history and tradition along compact streets.

When I have friends in town… I give them a workout by climbing the narrow streets that lace around the Sé cathedral in Porto’s oldest neighbourhood. I think the washing flapping from balconies in this area, paired with the smell of barbecued sardines in summer, provides the ultimate insight into traditional Porto. Then, provided they’re OK with heights, I’ll take them over the top level of the Ponte de Dom Luís Ifor an amazing view. The carpet of wild morning glories that drapes across the crumbling buildings to the right of the bridge is one of my favourite sights in Porto. Come dinnertime we’ll go to Museu d’Avó for petiscos, as these small share plates are the perfect way to try a variety of typical Portuguese foods.

When I want to chill… I head to Jardim das Oliveiras and lie on the grass with a book. The park hovers over the trendy Passeio dos Clérigosshopping arcade and is next to my favourite building in the city – the Torre dos Clérigos (OK, and it also happens to be next to one of my favourite bars, Base). I like to time my visits with the tower’s 6pm bells because something about their melodic chime always makes me smile.My favourite street… is Rua das Flores. There are so many cute cafés and shops and I love the constant energy. I have to actively stop myself from taking the same photo again and again of the floral-studded façade of Jóia da Coroa, which appropriately honours the ‘Street of Flowers’ title.

When I need to work… I head for The Coffee Room and fuel my soy-latte caffeine addiction. The café is inside the groovy shoe and clothing store The Feeting Room, and there’s always a cool buzz at the big share table on the upper floor. In summer I like to sit on the footpath terrace and intersperse my work with bouts of people-watching.

When I meet up with friends… we pick up a bottle of vinho verde and some choriço then head to Jardim do Morro for a picnic. The sunset views across the river and city are unreal.

When we feel like exploring… my friends and I will take a car or jump on the train to visit the surrounding areas. Some of my favourite places around Porto are Braga (a university town strewn with pretty cafés), Guimarães (the place considered Portugal’s birthplace), the Douro Valley (the world’s port wine hub, which also has some fab table wines) and the Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês (one of Portugal’s best hiking spots).



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