Weekend in Portugal

Tripoto
18th Jul 2019

Porto

Photo of Weekend in Portugal by Doreen Charles

Amidst the chaos of university life a friend and I decided to take a few days off from work and take a weekend break in Portugal. An impulsive idea soon turned into a night long plannning session where we booked flights, hostels and made a rough itinerary. Since we were flying from Manchester where we were studying we spent rupees 2800 one way on flights. Skyscanner saved us some money by helping us pick a place and choose fly in/ fly out days to get the cheapest price. Since flights were cheap to Faro we decided to fly into Faro and fly out of Porto.

Before we knew it we were flying out of Manchester with RyanAir with our tiny hand luggage to Faro. Faro is a beach town in the South of Portugal, we were lucky to find a quaint hostel 'Hostellicious' in the middle of town for 10 euros a day. We started our first day by visiting a nearby bakery and tried Queijinhos de amêndoa. Faro or Algarve is popular for it's almond and fig desserts and my sweet tooth gave in a picked up a few desserts for our drive to Seville, Spain which was a few hours away by bus.

Photo of Leeds, UK by Doreen Charles
Photo of Leeds, UK by Doreen Charles
Photo of Leeds, UK by Doreen Charles
Day 1

Seville was an 8 euro bus from Faro. After 3 hours on the bus we were soon in Seville. The beauty of european cities is that you can walk anywhere. We decided to utilise this and with a bottle of water started walking. From the local markets to Catedral de Sevilla that had gold statues and intricately designed domes to the Plaza de España. For lunch we had the traditional paella full of mussels and prawns followed by a fruit platter of lucious fruits. The markets had an array of fruits and vegetables with tomatoes the size of pumpkins and fruits that we had never heard of. The heat wasnt our friend though. The Spanish summer heat was tough on us but the determination to see the city led us to explore the gardens of Royal Alcázar of Seville and the majestic bell tower La Giralda. We ended the day in a small restaurant sipping on some sangria before we caught our bus back to Faro.

Photo of Sevilla, Spain by Doreen Charles
Photo of Sevilla, Spain by Doreen Charles
Day 2

The following day was set to explore Algarve. We tried to take a trip to the benagil caves but the trip was booked out so alternatively we took a trip that took us to three smaller islands near Faro on boat. The boat took us to the Culatra Island, Barreta Island and Ilha de Faro. Each island had golden beaches but the searing sun forced us to sit in the shade while sipping on a beer. After a long lunch on the last island we returned to Faro. The rest of the time was spent exploring Faro which led us to the Faro Cathedral and Igreja do Carmo and the Faro Marina. The south of Portugal although less popular had a quiet charm for tourists who want to just relax and eat some good food. By the end of the day it was time to leave Faro and catch our flight to Porto which cost us a mere 1500 rupees (16 GBP).

Day 3

Porto was the next and last destination of our trip. The minute we got there we knew that we were in for a few memorable days. Our hostel called 'Porto Republica Hostel & Suites' was very clean with each person getting a bunk bed to stay in and free breakfast. The narrow hilly city of Porto on either side of the Douro river had a charm that was unlike any other city either of us had visited before. Portugese food had won my heart over the last few days and my top priority was to find all the must try desserts on my list, much to my friends' dismay. While walking from spots like Livraria Lello a majestic Harry Potter themed library to Bolsa Palace. I made short pitstops at some iconic bakeries Confeitaria do Bolhao, Padaria Cristal, Padaria Ribeiro to pick up desserts like the egg tart (pastel de nata), Tarte de Amêndoa(almond tart) and Clarinhas. The recommendations made by the reciptionist at the hostel made planning the day that much easier. We walked downhill to the river side and enjoyed the breeze, views, warmth of the lovely locals and the street artists. We soon stumbled upon a small cafe where the lady could only speak Portugese. By simply using hand gestures we managed to get some delicious home made food including portugese sausages, more seafood and ofcourse some traditional wine. The day went by admiring the wall art at São Bento Station or on the streets, going to various churches like Monument Church Of St Francis that had a statue of gold and Igreja de Santa Clara. The city of Porto kept treating our eyes to different sights every minute. We ended the day by going to Luís I Bridge to see the sunset and head back.

Photo of Porto, Portugal by Doreen Charles
Photo of Porto, Portugal by Doreen Charles
Photo of Porto, Portugal by Doreen Charles
Photo of Porto, Portugal by Doreen Charles
Day 4

On the second day in Porto and last day of the trip we decided to visit the other side of the Douro river that had wineries that made the most exquisite wine that was sent to different parts of the world. We picked one of the more hidden wineries 'Porto Augusto's' to take a tour and tasting. From learning about the making proccess to actually seeing some wine filled barrels the tour ended with the both us being treated to a wine tasting. With the wine in our veins we decided to enjoy the last day by sitting in a restaurant by the river and enjoy the vibe of the city. Finally, around sunset we headed to the Garden of Morro where a crowd had gathered to sing, dance and watch the sunset. We joined the crowd and enjoyed some portugese music until it got dark. The entire trip we had walked everywhere with minimal dependence on public transport which did save us a lot. On the limited budget we managed to try local dishes while saving enough to visit the sights we wanted to see. Some local dishes that are a must try for adventurous food enthusiasts like me include Alheira, sardine dishes, Bolinhos de Bacalhau (deep fried pastry with fish), Tripas à Moda do Porto, Porto Bifana (pork sandwich dunked in juicy gravy) and the calorie ladden Francesinha Sandwich. The four days had us mesmerised every second and we didnt regret walking because that allowed to explore some corners of each city which we would have otherwise missed. With the hope of coming back again we returned to Manchester.

Related to this article
Things to Do in Portugal,Places to Stay in Portugal,Places to Visit in Portugal,Portugal Travel Guide,Things to Do in Spain,Places to Stay in Spain,Places to Visit in Spain,Spain Travel Guide,Things to Do in Porto,Porto Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Porto,Places to Stay in Porto,Places to Visit in Porto,Weekend Getaways from Seville,Places to Visit in Seville,Places to Stay in Seville,Things to Do in Seville,Seville Travel Guide,Places to Stay in Faro,Things to Do in Faro,Faro Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Faro,Places to Visit in Faro,Weekend Getaways from Leeds,Places to Visit in Leeds,Places to Stay in Leeds,Things to Do in Leeds,Leeds Travel Guide,Places to Visit in England,Things to Do in England,England Travel Guide,Things to Do in United kingdom,Places to Stay in United kingdom,Places to Visit in United kingdom,United kingdom Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Seville,Places to Visit in Seville,Places to Stay in Seville,Things to Do in Seville,Seville Travel Guide,Places to Visit in Andalusia,Things to Do in Andalusia,Andalusia Travel Guide,Things to Do in Spain,Places to Stay in Spain,Places to Visit in Spain,Spain Travel Guide,Places to Stay in Faro,Things to Do in Faro,Faro Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Faro,Places to Visit in Faro,Things to Do in Portugal,Places to Stay in Portugal,Places to Visit in Portugal,Portugal Travel Guide,Things to Do in Porto,Porto Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Porto,Places to Stay in Porto,Places to Visit in Porto,