I recently went to Porto with some friends during the Carnaval holiday. Some places were closed but we still managed to see quite a lot.

Highlights included Livraria Lello, an incredibly beautiful bookshop which is said to have influenced the Harry Potter series (JK Rowling lived in Porto for a few years, pre-fame). The staircase is an intricate triumph and there is even a café on the first floor (cafés in bookshops = the dream).

I loved the gardens at the Palácio de Cristal with their stunning views of the River Douro.

We visited Taylor’s Port House, narrowly missing out on a tour of the cellars as the last one of the day was already in progress. Still, we had some delicious port, which is surely the main point anyway.

We also went to the nearby Yeatman for a drink. A five-star hotel, it was well out of our price range in terms of accommodation, but drinks in the bar were affordable. There are some expensive items on the menu but there are also some more reasonable ones – €20 for a bottle of sparkling wine, complete with beautiful surroundings and gorgeous view from the terrace. At one point I snuck into a study on the way to the (also impressive) bathroom and it felt like I was in a Tintin book set in an extravagant mansion.

Palácio da Bolsa is also worth a visit, though you can only enter as part of a tour. It’s cheaper if you have a student card.

I highly recommend Serralves art gallery, which has beautiful grounds as well as a great collection and even a good selection of vinyl for sale in the library/shop.

Porto is a beautiful city and I’d definitely like to go back sometime. Maybe when it’s a bit warmer! I’m sure it’s lovely to sit by the river in summertime.

Here are some photos from the trip:

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