16 Aug Port Wine Tasting in Porto, Portugal
I’ve visited Portugal many a time, but sadly never made it to Porto. I unfortunately got stuck in the Lagos partying trap and only ever made it to Lisbon on my FIFTH visit to Portugal. If you’ve ever been to Lagos you’ll understand what I’m talking about…it really is a black hole.
Located in the North of Portugal on the Duoro River estuary, Porto is famous for its production of port wine. I absolutely love port, which is what motivated me to book a flight from Barcelona to Porto. Usually drunk as an aperitif, I can consume port as if it was table wine.
Since Porto is Portugal’s second largest city after Lisbon, I was surprised that none of the people in my hostel in Barcelona had even heard of it! No joke, someone actually asked me if Porto was a nightclub.
If you do visit Portugal, I would definitely advise you to visit Porto, as it’s an incredibly beautiful city. The people here are exceptionally friendly and helpful compared to Spain; when I looked a bit lost as to which metro to take from the Airport, a man declared “Welcome to my city!” and proceeded to show me the correct metro line. Similarly when I arrived at my hostel, the man on reception carried all my bags up to my room since there was no elevator.
Stepping out of the metro station at Sao Bento I instantly knew I was in Portugal…the sound of seagulls, the smell of seafood, the shiny cobbled streets and that fresh Atlantic breeze are so distinctive of the country.
Like Lisbon, Porto is built on hills so be prepared to get thighs of steel from walking uphill all the time. The city is one of the oldest European centres and was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Expect lots of crumbling, dilapidated buildings and plenty of character.
Across the Douro River is the Gaia, where you find all the port wine cellars. Visiting the cellars is a ‘must’ when you visit Porto and the best thing about it is- most of them are free! From this side of the River you also have spectacular views of the terracotta rooftops, the bridge, the river and the city perched on the hillside. When you reach Gaia there are plenty of signs for all the wineries which are tucked away in the hillside.
Firstly we visited Taylor’s, where we had a free port wine tasting and then purchased a tasting pack with a 2007 Vintage and a port aged 20 years for around 8 euros. A word of warning- port tasting gets you a lot tipsier than ordinary wine tasting! Feeling a bit fuzzy from all that port, we then went on a tour of the cellar to learn all about how the port is made.
From Taylor’s we stumbled to Offley and Croft for some more free tastings, before taking a long siesta to sleep off all that alcohol!
For an inexpensive day out I highly recommend spending a day at the wine cellars and trying Porto’s most famous export.