A day in Porto for port tasting and wandering through the Ribeira district

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
2
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
7
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
7
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
2
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
5
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
6
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
55 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
Europe
country
Portugal
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 75
Time of year visited
August
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
246th/334 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 80% SUMMARY RATING: Worth doing

Summary

Porto is nice enough, and definitely worth a day trip.  Its UNESCO-listed Ribeira district and waterfront are nice to wander around, if very touristy, and a visit to one of the port wine houses in particular is good fun to sample the wines, learn about the production and enjoy the views.  But I thought it was a slightly less attractive version of the Alfama district in Lisbon and is more of a conduit to the real highlight of the area (and Portugal) which is the Duoro Valley (see Wine tasting around Pinhao in the Duoro Valley for more details)

All sounds a bit negative! – definitely worth a visit on the way to the Duoro, but no more than a day needed

highlights

#1 Visiting one of the Port Wine houses to learn about the history of how they make the unique fortified wine. I'd recommend Taylor's

#2 Enjoying the views of the river and Ribeira area at lunch in one of the Port wine houses, which tend to have superb views over the river

#3 Walking through the pretty Ribeira area and getting lost in amongst the terracotta roofs and narrow alleyways

#4 Seeing some of the wonderful Portuguese azulejos (hand painted tiles) that adorn the walls of many places in the town centra, especially in the Porto Sao Bento train station

#5 Walking along the river to see the 5 iconic bridges that cross the Duoro River

#6 Taking one of the electric tuk tuks for a whizz around the central highlights

#7 Trying some of the upmarket restaurants for high end Michelin star dinners

Travel Tips

    • The Port Houses – the highlight of a trip to Porto is a visit to one of the various Port houses on the south side of the river.  It’s fascinating to learn about how they make the port wine, and great fun sampling them from the various beautiful viewing spots that the houses have.  I’d recommend Taylor’s for the museum / wine cellars explaining the history , the elegant rose garden where you sample the wines, and make sure you book in for lunch on the terrace – superb views of Porto.  All in all a real highlight (tour and tasting €15)
    • The Yateman Hotel – similarly has a wonderful setting and views from the terrace, with a  splurge option for its Michelin 2 star restaurant (tasting menu – €180, plus €90 for seasonal wine selection)
    • All within walking distance – other than a few pieces on the outskirts, the central sights are all very close together and you can easily have a 2 hour slow stroll from the Torre dos Clerigos or Sao Bento train station, down towards the river through the Ribeira district and cross over the famous Ponte de Dom Luis bridge to the south side of the river
    • If can’t be arsed with the walk or just fancy something different – there’s also the option of taking one of the electric tuk tuks through the narrow streets and across a few of the bridges.  We also did this for a couple of hours and was good fun (around €30 per person)
    • Accommodation – there are of course heaps of accommodation options. We stayed at the Porto Bay Flores, which I’d recommend for location and a good combo of traditional features but good comfort
    • For a restaurant recommendation, I’d suggest DOP in the centre which was fab
    • For further tips on Portugal’s other top experiences, and for a 2 week itinerary, see the travel entry for 2 weeks for the best of Portugal

Experiences nearby

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Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone