Porto: Panoramic City

From Paris, we took a quick Vueling Air flight to Porto. A tip – we had a driver take us from our Paris Montmartre hotel to Orly Airport. For four people, this was an affordable and hassle-free choice and made the journey so much more pleasant. Arriving in Porto, it was a one train ride on their easy metro system and we were within a block of our hotel.

The Porto Music Guest House was a delight. With 7 rooms, the building was completely restored in 2017. It is well ran by Susanna and Antonio, and the heart of the house is Paula – always there for your every need, she is indeed a treasure! Our duplo deluxe room on the third floor was spacious, with high ceilings, spotlessly clean and well-equipped.

Paula – just the best!
The guesthouse is directly across the street from the Casa da Mùsica.

Porto, like most European cities, has great squares and green spaces. We enjoyed quite a few of them!

The Jardim da Rotunda da Boavista was next to our guesthouse. It is dominated by the obelisk in the centre, the Monument to the Heroes of the Peninsular War, which served as our beacon for returning to the guesthouse.

The well-manicured Jardim da Cordoraira contains the amusing ‘Thirteen Laughing Men’ statues.

Four of the thirteen laughing men

The Jardim do Palácio de Cristal is an 8 hectare garden created in the late 19th century and set on a hilltop overlooking the Douro River.

We visited the Jardim Botânico and discovered that an illuminated show had been created in the garden – the Alice Magical Garden. Although it was day and therefore not lit, it was still fun to tour the amazing display in this lovely garden.

The beautiful tiled sidewalks make every corner a wonder to view!

Praça de Carlos Alberto

Our blog followers will know that I (Bev) am a big fan of European churches. The exteriors and interiors continue to amaze me. We found Portugal churches to be different from the Parisian churches that we visited. Whereas the French churches tended to be more spacious and airy with coloured textiles or paintings and amazing stained glass, the Portuguese churches are commonly more somber and serious, with intricate carvings and wonderful displays of gold and Portuguese tiles.

The two churches of Igreja dos Carmelitas Descalços and Igreja do Carmo sit side by side, separated by an easy to miss three foot wide house. The Carmelita church on the left was built in the 17th century for Carmelite nuns, and the Carmo Church on the right was built in the 18th century for Carmelite monks.

Legend says that the 3-storey house Casa Escondida (“Hidden House”) was built so that the two churches would not share a common wall and to prevent any relations between the nuns of Igreja dos Carmelitas and the monks of Igreja do Carmo. Or perhaps it was just constructed for purely aesthetic reasons to prevent an unsightly gap between the two churches.

The tiled wall of the Igreja do Carmo
The interior of the Igreja dos Carmelitas Descalços

The Clérigos Church and Tower were built in 1731 on a hilltop, making the tower the centre of the city’s panoramas.

Clérigos Tower
Interior of the Igreja dos Clérigos

The Igreja da Trindade was built in the 19th century and is one of the most imposing churches in Porto.

You can’t miss the beautifully tiled church of Santo Ildefonso.

We were in Porto on All Saint’s Day and our guest house was just around the corner from one of Porto’s largest cemeteries, Cemitério de Agramonte. Very interesting to view at any time, with its elaborate family mausoleums and numerous sculptures, the display of flowers on All Saint’s Day was awe-inspiring.

Tiles are everywhere in Porto. The São Bento Train Station with large panels of azulejo tile was completed in 1916 and it is fun to look at the many stories depicted in the tiles.

Porto is noted not only for the tiled buildings, but also for the beautiful ironwork on the balconies.

We rode one of Porto’s vintage trolleys to Foz do Douro. Foz sits where the Douro river meets the Atlantic Ocean.

The panoramas of Porto are postcard pictures – or as our travelling companion Debbie said – these are the scenes we had on the jigsaw puzzles of our youth!

We spent 6 nights in Porto and would highly recommend a visit to this city – it will show you what Portugal is all about!

Stay tuned for blogs on a day trip we did to the historical city of Braga and a dip into the food – and port – of Porto!


Bev & Harvey

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