Porto or Lisbon – My Experiences
I have to say, I was super excited to visit Porto last month. Partly, because so many people told me it’s even more beautiful than Lisbon, a notion that I couldn’t even grasp, given Lisbon’s beauty. Partly, my excitement also stemmed from not enjoying being abroad so extensively lately, since university really keeps students busy here (totally serious, group works and midterms, it’s basically highschool, just harder). But because so many people told me Porto was more beautiful than Lisbon, after being there myself, I really wanted to write down my personal experience and opinion about which city I prefer, Lisbon or Porto. Call me silly, but I cant let statements like that remain uncontested.
It was girl’s trip. I’m saying that because our intentions basically were to stroll around, shop, devour good food and go for a little wine tasting, nothing too fancy. So as we arrived in Porto the first night, we wanted to settle in and go out for some food and some drinks later. As our Airbnb was perfectly (!) located in the restaurant/bar’s area of the city, we basically just stepped out of the door and went on the hunt for a place to eat. Unfortunately though, we weren’t very lucky, one restaurant after another seemed to be packed with people and had a waiting list of at least 30 minutes. The restaurant we ended up in was overpriced and I was snapped at by the manager because I had requested a change of French into Italian dressing for my salad. Understandably, we felt not very welcomed by Porto that night.
Also the next few days, something about Porto seemed off, they really don’t like tourists that much, I figure. As you can see on the pictures, the city is mesmerizing. Compared to Lisbon, it’s calmer, due to being a lot smaller and not so touristy and global, yet. The buildings and attractions are older, or seem to be, than the ones in Lisbon. Clearly, the river is really stunning, and the whole city has that magical touch to it, maybe it’s the Harry Potter library that gave me that notion. But what I really want to end up saying is, that Porto is really beautiful, the wine tasting, the charming little restaurants here and there. But is it really way more beautiful than Lisbon? No, in my opinion, it’s not. I understand what people sense in Porto, but for me, Lisbon is so much warmer, both literally in temperature but also in terms of atmosphere and people.
As always, I wrote down a list of culinary tips on where to go when in Porto here:
Miss’opo (fusion, hip, medium-priced, good for fancy dinner, personal top tip!)
Fabrica (hip, modern, cheap, good for lunch or relaxed dinner)
A Sandeira do Porto (basically sandwhiches, tiny place, cheap, good for lunch)
Traveller’s café (acai bowls and breakfast combos, medium-priced)
Moustache café (hip, sweets & treats, average prices)
Majestic café (traditional, old, coffee and sweets, medium-priced)
Bar Ponte Pensil (touristic but superb view, see picture of a terrace on river below)