After finishing my Camino I was left with a week where I did not have anything planned as I did not expect to finish my pilgrimage in 27 days. My initial idea was to just explore Santiago de Compostela, however I quickly realised that Santiago is not a place where you spend an entire week.
I’ll be honest, for some reason I’ve never really had a strong desire to go to Portugal, but when I saw that it was a four hour bus ride to Porto I decided to just do it. Since I never planned on going to Portugal, I never read up or prepared anything for my trip so I had no idea what to expect.
Driving with the bus into Portugal from Spain there is a distinct change in architecture and scenery. I sort of expected something very similar to Spain, but I was so wrong. As I walked out of the dark subway and laid eyes on Porto for the first time, I was amazed at what I found. My initial reaction was: ‘Why have I never researched Portugal before.’ I was so suprised to find this beautiful city with its vibrant colours and culture.
As with most of my travels, the first thing I do is to try and find something local to eat. As I browsed the different menu options infront of the small restaurants I again thought to myself: ‘Why have I never researched Portugal before?’ Affordable seafood is the first thing that comes to mind when I think Portuguese cousine. Ended up having the best calamari at a small local fish restaurant in the port. A little tip; when you walk towards the water at the port turn right and walk until you find the local restaurants away from the over-priced tourist spots. Here you’ll have the same view and great food at a fraction of the price.
I spent four days in Porto and had the best time. Take the #500 bus to visit the promenade and beaches on the other side of the city. Here you’ll find many great restaurants and beaches to soak up the sun. At the end of my four days in Porto, as I headed back to Spain, I was already dreaming of my next trip to Portugal and other cities like Lisbon. Definitely one place I am not done with.