1872 River House
The 1872 River House, in Porto’s photogenic Ribeira district, is right on the Rio Douro’s waterfront, with views of the city, river and the Port wineries. It has the personal attention to detail of an upscale guest house with the luxury and style of a boutique hotel. This period property has been completely renovated with vintage charm, yet has truly contemporary amenities such as fab bathrooms, comfy king beds, and luxurious touches such as high-thread count linens and fresh flowers in the rooms.
Relax in the ground floor salon, or on the river terrace, with a local draft Super Bock beer, or a coffee and complimentary cookies. In the morning, enjoy a fresh and tempting breakfast at impeccably presented tables with pressed linen table cloths, napkins and polished silverware.
If you’re looking for a larger hotel, the 74 room Hotel Teatro might just be the ticket. With striking, almost overwhelming, interior design by Nini Andrade Silva, the Hotel endeavours to capture the drama and allure of being backstage.
Built on the site of one of the city’s historic theatres, the cinematic box office reception sets the scene, whilst taking the lift to your room is as if passing ‘behind the curtain’, into another world. Unashamedly theatrical, the hotel’s aesthetic of bronze, gold, and browns makes for a seductive evening ambiance, but this translates less well into daytime, especially at breakfast when I missed Porto’s bright, Atlantic light.
The hotel Bar Plateia is a good spot for pre-dinner cocktails or late night drinks.
SEE & DO:
With a history of over 300 years, Taylor’s is one of oldest Port Houses. Free tours of the historic cellars are offered throughout the day, together with tastings of Extra Dry white port, Late Bottled Vintage and Tawny ports for a modest fee.
Blue & white ‘Azulejos’
Search out the city’s exceptional blue tiled panels. A visit to the São Bento railway station, with its more than 20,000 tiles, is a ‘must’, as well as many of the churches, including the Capela das Almas, which is almost completely covered in early 20th century blue and white tiles.
Of the many bridges that span the river, Porto has two ‘stand-out’, iconic wrought iron bridges, the ‘Maria Pia’ bridge, by Gustavo Eiffel, and the twin-decked ‘D. Luís I’ bridge, by Teófilo Seyrig. The upper deck of the ‘D. Luís I’ offers brave pedestrians exceptional, although vertiginous views across the city.
Porto’s nightlife is evolving rapidly as the city becomes ever more fashionable, yet this urban club remains a mainstay for top DJs.
An on-trend, multi-functional social & arts space with relaxed restaurant and terrace serving a small, but fresh, tasty menu. Exhibitions, live music, DJ and dancing ‘till late. Also a good place to find out ‘what’s on’ in Porto during your stay.
The Yeatman Restaurant
Porto’s Michelin-starred restaurant, this is the gastronomic destination for foodies and wine lovers. Flawless presentation and a friendly, unpretentious staff are the perfect complement to Chef Ricardo Costa’s mouth-wateringly good menu of Portuguese cuisine.
Exceptional local and international wine list too. Lunch and dinner, with views of the city – it probably doesn’t get better than this.
Book Restaurant & Terrace
Found in a former bookshop, the literary-themed ‘Book’ restaurant is a relaxed place to find imaginative, bistro-style food. Lose yourself for a few hours in this captivating eatery, where the menu is presented in a book, divided into chapters, and the wine list is themed along the lines of literary genres; even the hot serving dishes are served on books!
Livraria Lello & Irmão
One of the world’s oldest, and most remarkable bookshops, this tiny store has a beautiful art nouveau & neo gothic facade and an interior of stained glass, carved wood and a magical spiral staircase that looks straight out the bookseller in ‘Diagon Alley’ (JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter whilst living in Porto).
Touriga Vinhos de Portugal
Try before you buy, in this friendly, centrally-located wine store, specialising, of course, in Port.
Bring home a flavour or Portugal from this store offering handmade products from ceramics jewellery to fashion.
Now one of Porto’s most well-known brands, Castelbel manufacturers artisanal soaps and fragrances. Visit the flagship store within the beautiful Hotel Infante Sagres.