Hi! My name is Mariana from the @glimpseofstars. I’m from Porto and I’ve always lived here! I’m finishing my degree in Laboratory Scientific Biomedics and I’m also the founder of Glimpse of Stars. In my blog (Glimpse of Stars Blog) I write about fashion and in my Instagram (@glimpseofstars) I post content about lifestyle, travel and fashion. I’m very lucky to be from Porto, because it’s an incredible city blessed by the sea and the Douro river. It’s a city with a lot of history and plenty of things to do so we never get bored.
The people from Porto are very friendly and warm and are always ready to give a helping hand. They are also well known for talking in a specific way, “V’s” become “B’s”. For example, “Bem-vindo ao Porto” turns into “Bem-bindo ao Porto”. Only Portuguese people will understand the enormous fun that this pronunciation is, but it’s an interesting fact that everybody that visits Porto should know.
Sooo what can I say… “Bem-vindo ao Porto” meaning “Welcome to Porto”.
What is a typical breakfast and where would you go?
In my city there is no typical breakfast. Most of the time I have my breakfast at home, otherwise I would go to Tavi, one of the oldest patisseries in Porto. It’s located in Foz and it has an incredible view of the sea, not to mention the tasty and delicious food! For a breakfast with history you can go to Majestic located in the downtown area. It’s a “Belle Époque” café ranked as one of the “Top 10” most beautiful cafés in the world. If you’re in the Boavista area you can always have your breakfast at Ponto 2 or at Negra Café near Casa da Música.
Where is your favourite place to grab lunch?
I recommend Il Pizzaiolo in downtown Porto, Meidin near Casa da Música and Portarossa at Foz for an Italian experience. For the healthy food lovers, my choices are Eleven Lab Concept, Nicolau Porto, Camélia-Brunch Garden, Zenith – Brunch & Cocktails Bar, and Noshi Coffee. For a flavourful burger I like to go to Honorato and DeGema both downtown. If you want to get the best view of Porto while having lunch you must go to the other side of the river to World Of Wine (WOW) located in Vila Nova de Gaia. It’s a brand new place with plenty of restaurant choices. If you want to try the famous “Francesinha” you can go to Verso em Pedra, Capa Negra and Cervejaria Brasão. It’s a typical Porto dish that consists of bread, beef, sausage, ham, cheese, fried egg and hot sauce.
What is the ideal afternoon activity in a city like Porto?
For afternoon activities you can go to the beach in Foz, have a boat trip in the Douro River, walk in Ribeira, visit the Port Wine Cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, jog at Parque da Cidade and discover all the lookouts and gardens of the city.
If you are into a more cultural experience you must visit the Contemporary Art Museum of Serralves, the Miguel Bombarda Art District and the World Of Wine (WOW)‘s new museums (Wine, Chocolate, Cork, etc.). Also, there are still some other museums in the city, like the Soares dos Reis Museum that is worth the visit.
Where are the best places for dinner?
For an Italian dinner I like to go to Casa d’Oro where the night view is breathtaking. For Portuguese and Mediterranean food and wine experience I recommend Bartolomeu Bistro & Wine. If I am in the mood for Asian food, I like to go to Boa Bao, Mistu and Flow to taste the best dishes from China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, Korea and Japan. My latest discoveries were the Root & Vine and The Golden Catch at World of Wine (WOW).
The food at all of these restaurants is to-die-for!
In the evening, what is the City like and where do you find yourself?
Downtown by night is full of people and there are a lot of bars and discos for you to go. One of the most popular night areas is Galerias de Paris. For a drink I like to go to MUDA, to The Gin House or to The Royal Cocktail Club.
Vogue Café is the perfect place for a more glamorous and fashionable night alongside an incredible long drink.
In a busy city like Porto is there anywhere to chill?
In the afternoon I recommend the beach promenade at Foz. The gardens at Palácio de Cristal, Jardim das Virtudes and Jardim do Morro and the lookouts where you can take great photos and enjoy a magnificent view of Porto.
There are great hotels in Porto where you can enjoy the swimming pools and have nice Spa treatments. For example The Yeatman, Sheraton Porto Hotel, Porto Palácio and InterContinental Porto. During the city Summer nights you can relax and enjoy a drink in a hotel rooftop, like Porto Palácio or at Base an urban garden near Clérigos Tower.
What is there to do for something fun and different?
You can sail the Douro River, have a surf class at Foz, have a ride in the chairlift at Guindais, climb the Arrábida bridge and go to the top of the Clérigos Tower. In Passeio Alegre you can take the “elétrico” and go to Foz. If you’re a vintage lover you can always go find some goodies in some cool vintage shops such as Yeahllow and Tricirculo. Art lovers can’t miss the Miguel Bombarda Art District where there are a lot of art galleries and alternative shops with the coolest items to take home.
Old grocery shops in Porto are a “must see”, I’m talking about Pérola do Bolhão and Casa Oriental. Talking about old shops your visit to Porto wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Livraria Lello and A Vida Portuguesa.
Where is the best area to stay/sleep for young travellers?
Porto has a wide variety of public transportation that can take you anywhere in the city so all the locations are good to stay. Plus the city has plenty of hotels, hostels and Airbnb’s for all types of travellers. Although expensive, the most beautiful hotels in Porto are the Infante Sagres Hotel, Maison Albor – Le Monumental Palace Hotel, InterContinental Porto – Palácio das Cardosas, Vila Foz Hotel & Spa, PortoBay Flores, Torel 1884 Suites & Apartments and Torel Avantgarde.
Personally I would recommend young travellers to stay at Miguel Bombarda Art District or the downtown area, because they’ll be near everything
What season would you recommend visiting?
It depends on what you want to do. There’s a lot of cultural activities all year. You can’t miss NOS Primavera Sound and Meo Marés Vivas (music festivals), S. João Festivity (popular party), Serralves em Festa (party at the garden museum) and Fantasporto (cinema festival).
Is Porto best for a family holiday/ friends holiday or couple holiday?
It’s an eclectic city so you can come with your family, friends or soul mate that the fun is guaranteed. There’s plenty of things to do and see, it depends on your budget and taste but you definitely have to visit Porto, because it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Every time I travel, I’m thinking about the day I’m coming back home!