A little trip to Porto... part one

There's been a lot of travelling here lately... I am just back from Madrid where I was taking part in a fair (more about this very soon) but just before that I had a lovely little break in Porto for Easter weekend. As you can tell from the pictures, it was pretty grey and wet all weekend but still, what a beautiful city!

azulejos church porto

azulejo porto portugal building green

azulejo building porto portugal blue

azulejos yellow blue porto portugal guide

old building derelict porto portugal guide

old derelict building porto portugal city guide

azulejos ceramic tile buildings porto portugal city guide

I think the main attraction for me were all the beautiful buildings, each with its own distinctive set of colourful azulejos (painted ceramic tiles). The great thing about them is that they are all different  so there's lots of variety but they fit really well with each other. A huge number of them are derelict, or very run down but in a way it added to the feel of the city, giving it an air of past grandeur. We were a bit puzzled by why so many buildings were left in that state, especially in the city centre where their location would be considered prime real estate so we decided to ask our lovely hosts at the B&B. Some of them are still inhabited by old ladies who have been there so many years that their rent is really low and the landlords can't afford to repair the facade. And for the others, there is simply not enough demand for anyone to do them up. People prefer to get cheaper, more spacious apartments on the outskirts of the city or near the sea, which is understandable. Still, we couldn't help but think about how nice it would be to refurbish one! Especially on one of those tiny windy little cobbled alleys around the cathedral. With all the clothes hanging on their lines and flowers on terrasses and balconies, it seemed like such a lovely, relaxed but tight-knit community living at a completely different pace of life. The only problem is we'd probably end up adopting all the poor stray cats in the area!

Another cool thing about the city is all the fun modes of transport it has to offer, most of them probably only around for tourists but who cares, I loved them all! From the old tram dragging its way along the windy roads in the old district to the little tiny funicular that goes down a hill so steep it looks like you're on a roller coaster.

funicular porto portugal

tramway porto portugal

Another highlight and definitely not to be missed is the garden around the Serralves Foundation. These are grounds and gardens that are very thoughtfully designed with great attention to detail and with some surprising pieces of contemporary art scattered around for good measure. It was raining heavily when we got there but it added to the experience, like the wet stone steps around this pound that were arranged in such a way that it looked like they were floating on the water. 

stone steps serralves foundation garden porto portugal

When the rain got heavier, we took refuge in the tea house for a hot cup of delicious red tea and a tasty lemon meringue pie. I'd recommend having a look in there even if the weather is nice though!

serralves foundation tea house porto portugal

Stay tuned for part two tomorrow with some recommendations for places to eat and accommodation tips!


  1. Now i Have another city to put on my neverending list of places to visit.

  2. Even though it was wet and grey, your pictures look amazing! I've never been to Porto before, but it looks so authentic and romantic to stroll around in... This city is definitely on my list too. :-)
    Love, Inge x