In all honesty, Porto wasn't originally in my plans when I wanted to visit Portugal. Since I only had 4 days (subjected to the cheapest range for flight tickets) I thought i'd spend my all them in Lisbon. However, a friend of mine told me that she took a trip to Porto during her winter tour around Spain and Portugal, found it to be beautiful and wished she could have spent more time there. She said she enjoyed Porto much more than Lisbon. So given her verdict, I decided to squeeze in some time in my schedule to spend 24 hours in Porto - of course that meant waking up at 7 or 8 am everyday during the trip to cover as much of Lisbon as I could, but I'm not complaining! I love waking up early when I'm traveling!
The train ride from Lisbon to Porto took about 3 hours, and the view that you get along the ride is INCREDIBLE. JUST INCREDIBLE. Unfortunately, the windows were dirty and very... spotty? (if that is a word) so, I couldn't take any nice pictures, but I spent half my time attempting to!
When I got off the train, I was instantly amazed by the surrounding and the vibe of the city. It is different from Lisbon, and a lot less crowded. The most fascinating thing was, the trees in Porto were WHITE. From afar, they looked like they had white leaves, but of course going closer to it, it was just a tree covers in white (some pink) flowers and no leaves! If anyone knows what these trees are called, please let me know. For now, they register in my mind as "flower trees".
After dropping my bags at the hostel, I wasted no time and headed out to explore. But I took a couple of outfit shots in the backyard of the hostel before heading out. Yes - the hostel I stayed at had a BACKYARD, an area to chill on and have your meal outside and on top of it, a nice area with sofas and pillows to relax on the inside! Even the 2nd floor had its own area with flowers and chairs where you could just sit and talk!
WHAT I WORE
Dress - similar here / Blazer - similar here / Leggings - Primark / Watch - Nakedglory.com
But of course, I wasn't interested in resting in the hostel, so I went off and made my way through the city centre. Upon reaching the city centre, I realised why my friend thought Porto was more beautiful than Lisbon. The architecture in the area reminded me so much of Paris!
In my opinion, Lisbon embodied what I expected the typical architecture in Portugal would be like. Rustic, colourful, a little worn down, and charming nonetheless. However Porto's city centre had a more similar vibe than what you would expect a stereotypical european city like France or Germany to have, but influenced with a little bit of asian/chinese inspired architecture details.
(As you can see, my vocabulary when it comes to architecture description is close to none, so I hope the pictures aid you in understanding what I'm trying to say!)
Basically, the difference between the vibes was that Porto was a little bit more elegant and well polished, it really took me back to the times I spent roaming around Paris and even reminded me of Germany a little bit. Of course, when you take a turn down the streets, you instantly remember you're in Portugal. The cobbled streets that undulate up and down was just like Lisbon, and has now, to me, become a characteristic trait of Portugal (base on my narrow conclusion after visiting 2 cities haha!)
The shop was like a novelty store museum. It sold things from door hangers, to clocks, collectibles such as cars, home decor, mini plants, CLOTHES, postcards, food, and JAM. The first floor was for collectibles and the second floor they had more home items like pots cute pots and pans, cookbooks and homemade marmalade jam.
Not to mention, the interior decor of the shop was so on point. It was like #futurehouseinspiration everywhere I turned.
After the rained stop, I continued to make my way towards the main attraction in Porto, which was the Porto Ribeira and Ribeira Square. It boasts a great view of the river and the city, and I was most definitely not disappointed! The houses near the ribeira were so colourful and just gave me a nice-all-around-portugese-vibe. Its what I'd imagine myself seeing when I think Portugal.
I attempted to cross the metal Luís bridge along the Ribeira but I gave up after walking midway because a) I was hungry and b) The winds were so strong and cars were zooming beside me I thought I was going to fall off.
The best thing about the Riverside of Porto, was that there was NO ONE. I mean, you would expect a place with a view like this, plus loads of cafes and restaurants in nearby to be surrounded with people, and bustling with life, but no, it was QUIET. There was perhaps one or 2 workers in the area but apart from that, I had the river to myself.
If I wasn't that afraid of seagulls and pigeons, I would have just sat right a long the river and just stared at the view opposite. But there were massive seagulls that stared at me as if I ate their lunch, so I took a short stroll along the river instead of sitting at one place.
After my stroll, I decided to satisfy my hunger at a recommended dinner place round the corner from the Ribeira, called Jimao, and treated myself to the BEST dinner I had in a long while (plus the restaurant staff were SO NICE.)
I planned to eat slowly and enjoy my time with my food till the sun went down so I could see what the Ribeira would look like at night - in my head it was colourful, and I also expected it to be more crowded.
Low and behold, it was NOT CROWDED AT ALL. But, the view lived up to my expectation. It was serene, and yet so colourful. I loved how the lights of the building reflected and made dancing colours on the waters of the river. Honestly, I live for moments like this when I travel.
Porto definitely did not disappoint. Although I did not manage to find that supposedly gorgeous library/bookstore, I had my fair share of beautiful sights. I loved it even more for the fact that I did not have to squeeze past people, or have awkward heads in my photographs. If you're planning to visit Portugal for a longer period of time, give yourself a day or 2 in the wonderful Porto, you'd be pleased!