Porto was my favourite city we visited in Portugal. It’s still retained its small town charm, and isn’t as Americanized as Lisbon. The view of all the terracotta rooftops from the Dom Luis I bridge was spectacular. If you keep walking along that bridge, you’ll end up in Vila Nova de Gaia, the neighbouring city which is home to all of the port cellars. You can take a day cruise up the river to visit the actual vineyards where all of the port is made, but we opted to stay close by and visit some of the cellars where the port is kept to age.
If you want to drink port in Portugal, they place to be is Porto. The second largest city in the country situated in the north is the home of this type of wine. Nothing can be called Port unless it comes out of the duoro valley region of Portugal. While I have never tried port before, I knew I wanted to have some tastings while I was exploring the region.
There are plenty of port cellars to visit in Vila Nova de Gaia. Some are more developed than others, and offer tours and tastings. You can locate the port cellars easily, because most of them have their name in huge white letters on the building. We went to Calem’s, which is one of the first cellars you’ll come across when you cross the bridge. They have a large tasting room upstairs, where the serve port and some food to pair with it. Surprisingly, they didn’t have any port flights. My boyfriend and I ordered four different glasses of port and split them between the two of us (my favourite was the rosé port). The glasses were a little bit expensive, the ones we tried ranged between 4 to 8 euros.
A few days later, we tried going to Sandeman’s port cellar. This one is extremely popular, and we were unable to join the guided tour because it was fully booked. I would recommend booking in advance if you are interested in going on a tour.
Instead of going on the tour, we walked down the boardwalk and came across a restaurant that offered port flights; five different kinds of port for five euros. We got a table facing across the river and and sampled different types of port, ranging from ruby to tawny port and everything in between.
I must add that port hangovers are the worst. Port is meant to be enjoyed in small amounts at the end of the meal, and not chugged by the glass. The sweetness of the wine does not leave you feeling great the next day if drunk in excess.
Let me know in the comments if you want to hear more about my trip to Portugal.