Three things I love about Porto

Porto, seen from the water

Porto, seen from the water

A great sight, whichever way you look!

A great sight, whichever way you look!

Challenged recently to come up with three things I love about my favourite city, I barely hesitated before my thoughts turned to Porto, in Northern Portugal.

Accor Hotels are inviting bloggers to create a post (or a video) illustrating their three favourite things about any city they love.  In return, you can win a three-night stay for two, in London, Paris or Amsterdam.  Something nice to look forward to at this dreary time of year?  But you’d better get your skates on- last date for entries is Monday, 26th January at 12.01pm.  Sorry I couldn’t give you more notice.

The quayside at Peso da Regua

The quayside at Peso da Regua

So, why Porto, you might be asking yourself.  If you were around when I came back from my trip two years ago, you might remember that I was totally besotted.

1.  The city lies at the mouth of the River Douro.  Step into a boat (or catch a train if you’re a landlubber) and you have before you one of the most beguiling landscapes you could ever imagine.  As you depart the city, the hills ripple away on either shore, swathed in vines that change hue with the seasons.  Utterly tranquil, yet with the frisson of a huge lock or two to navigate, and ruggedly wild beauty as you penetrate further along the river.

2.  Porto has a beach!  Crucial for someone who could never envisage life away from the sea. Nothing could be more delightful than hopping on the tram and rattling out to Foz do Douro.  Or perhaps you would stroll it, but save some energy for when you get there.  There’s a long promenade after the last tram stop.  An old fort sits on the headland and there’s Seaworld if you prefer your fishes in a tank.  Bars and restaurants abound for a lazy toasted end to the day.

A restaurant with a view, at Foz do Douro

A restaurant with a view, at Foz do Douro

3.  It’s all in the name!  The home of port wine, there is no better setting for sampling a glass or two.  Three if you’re going to try Ruby, Tawny and White port.  No need to rush it!  There are numerous wine lodges, beside the river or up on the hill with magnificent views, if you can handle the climb.  You will amble home with a smile on your face. That’s for sure!

Barcos rabelas at ease in their moorings

Barcos rabelas at ease in their moorings

If you’d like to spend a little more time in Porto with me, try Simply beautiful blue and white.  It’s a feast of azulejos! But then you should decide which is your favourite city, and visit A tale of three cities for details of how to enter the competition.


  1. I have Foz on my action list … together with Matosinhos – I was thinking about taking the bus … I didn’t know there was a train. Thanks for the guiding.

      1. Do you mean the tram … ??? I looked it up and there is a tram that goes from Palácio da Bolsa along the cost .. so I will take that back from Foz.

      2. This was the post I meant, Vivi. I had to hunt for it 🙂 :)

  2. Now I know why friends of ours love it there so much…you’ve given me the perfect tour and now I want to go too. Loved your photos Jo, and all the best with the competition 🙂

  3. il tup grande amore per il Portogallo è ben chiaro in queste splendide foto e nella sua appassionata descrizione, tutto è molto coinvolgente in questo magico paese che anche io amo moltissimo!

  4. Your post brought back lovely memories, Jo! I can surely find 3 things I love about Porto and then tiptoe to the forth and the fifth and… Oh, yes, I forgot to mention I have been there just once – for a week in January, still…doesn’t make me less of admirer! 🙂

    1. I imagine it was pretty cold in January, Ese, so maybe not the beach, except for a brisk stroll? But it’s a lively place and I would certainly give it a whirl early in the year 🙂

      1. There was quite a bit of rain there but also some sunny moments in between, too – not exactly for sunbathing but good enough for strolls along the ocean 🙂

  5. You got a very very nice city there, Jo. Really awesome! Love the buildings by the water. Always pleasant view to see. Thanks so much for the tour esp. I never really know about Porto since this post. 🙂 Good luck. Don’t you worry. I won’t be participating so you get better chances. Ahihihi 😅 i kid i kid.

    1. Huge relief that you’re not entering, Rommel! I might now have the tiniest chance 🙂 Can you believe that I’ve never been to Amsterdam? I would be so grateful 🙂
      The Douro is a beautiful area and I’m pretty sure you’d love Porto. Some day, huh?

  6. Perfectly timed Jo! Have just booked two nights in Lisbon in May followed by a train journey and two nights in Porto. Need to check back over your posts for these two cities. Good luck with the competition – I happen to know that Accor have a hotel in Porto…. 🙂

    1. Don’t think I have much Lisbon stuff. We’re due a revisit but following the stolen purse incident last time we’ve been a bit slow about returning. Still much to see though. I have 5/6 Porto posts and I loved it. How’s San Fran, you jet-setter, you 🙂 🙂 ?

  7. You serve Porto superbly. The photos are clear and sharp and persuasive, and as always your text is equally clear and sharp and persuasive – and beautifully woven in amongst the images.

    I’ll keep this as an inspiration for my last post from Warsaw although I’m still working on my first post. Not usually looking at the end from the beginning, but six weeks is a very short time.

    1. Not doing too well in London, Meg! Fell over a stool in hotel reception! Ooops 🙂 But had a lovely walk on South Bank first so things could be worse. Sun shining brightly! Strawberries in my hotel room. Six weeks is ages! Enjoy 🙂

  8. A lovely coincidence — I just listened to a radio broadcast about the wonderful city of Porto! How wonderful to have your photos to go with the radio conversation.

    I’m packing my bags. 🙂

  9. I am regretting my short one day in Portugal as a teenager, with my Spanish Club. We were joined by the next town’s club and we spent only one day here and 13 days in Spain. It was a whirlwind tour, which I am not complaining, blessed to have been there….
    Jo, your photos are gorgeous and entice me to go back there and see more!

  10. Brings back lots of good memories Jo – it was almost two years exactly since I was there. Too chilly for the beach and I never made it up the Duoro to the wine regions so I’ll just have to make another trip soon!

      1. It is indeed! I’m off to the Cotswolds for a weekend (seems a bit mad as it’s only 19 miles away but have never been to this part) so couldn’t make the Mercure London event – are you going? Looks like we’ll miss each other again!

  11. Beautiful Porto via your photos and words, Jo. So want to visit Portugal, maybe next year. 🙂 Is summer a good time to visit? Good luck! I have a feeling you will win. 🙂

  12. beautiful pictures of Porto, Jo! thank you for sharing more of this charming city.
    had a quick stop in Porto on our way to Coimbra and wished we had more time to explore. we had wine tasting at Graham’s Winery, along Douro, which is internationally famous for Port. really lovely 🙂

    1. It’s quite a short season in Porto, Peter. Like a lot of places, it’s subject to change 🙂 We were there September/October and it was wonderful. A really lovely experience!

  13. Completely charming. And, dear Jo, you are such a sea lover. I am sure that even if I put you in the middle of a desert your sharp eyes would locate sea and a light house. The sea and light houses are such features in your life, along with owls. 🙂

  14. I want you to win !!! Smashing post Jo .. you open up our eyes to more than what’s in the photographs .
    Lunch at Foz do Douro would be fantastic followed by a stroll to the lighthouse … or maybe t’other way round ..
    Love that last shot of the barcos rabelas at ease … wouldn’t want those barrels rolling around …

  15. Good luck with the competition Jo, its a nice prize and your photos and article deserve it. You’ve made the area look very appealing and the azulejos, well my camera and I would love to see them 🙂

  16. The real challenge here must have been to limit yourself to only three choices. I love this place, Jo, and can only dream about visiting someday. Good luck, I’m pulling for you!!!

  17. I hope you win! and what a succinct review you give us of this beautiful city – I like trying different Port wines – and I bet they are unbeatable there – whew

    1. I wrote 5/6 posts about it when I first came back, Yvette, so didn’t want to waffle on too much. i thought a few enticing shots would do 🙂 It was so nice to revisit it in memory though. Thanks, hon!

  18. Thank you for the Portugal fix. I’m glad you included Port. That would have been my pick. I can get rivers and beaches at home. 🙂
    Sounds like a fab competition but I’m not sure a 24 hour $2000 flight is worth it for a three day holiday.

  19. Best of luck, Jo – a great entry and one of my favourite cities too. One of my best memories of Porto was watching local scallies climb the railings of the big bridge and jump off to impress the girls!

  20. I think that I would like Porto a lot more than Lisabon, but first thing first. This is beautifully presented, Jo and I am even more convinced now that one trip to Portugal won’t be enough. What date are you leaving?

      1. I don’t think we will overlap if you are to stay there for two weeks. I’ll be in Venice provided that there is no flu or aqua alta for three days only, between the 19th and 22nd. And the week after that you will be hosting at my place 😀

      1. I have a rough idea of what I’m using but I’m not yet sure how to approach this post, Paula, which is probably why I’m dithering. I’ve gotten very used to writing just for me.

      2. Jo, don’t think you are writing for anyone else. The fact that it is my space should not influence you in any way (please). I love the way you are. It will be your post wherever it appears first. As for time to send me stuff… we’ll have plenty of time as off 22 February. Don’t worry. Just pack in peace.

      3. I’m eager to see Tish’s Special tomorrow. I love her stuff. And Cardinal is impressive. Easy to get an inferiority complex in such company. Pure, unadulterated me? Scary thought! Smiling 🙂 🙂

  21. I must get back there Jo. I’ve only been to Porto once and whilst I liked it, I didn’t fall in love with it.
    Off to think about my own favourite city. Barcelona? Madrid? Lisbon? Marseille? New York? ………

    1. I have no idea how you’ll decide, Debbie! I did think Barcelona but to be honest I don’t mind if I don’t go back, whereas I do want to go back to Porto. The surrounds are an important part of it for me, and I still have lots to see. 🙂

  22. Wow Jo, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t win the trip – this is an awesome review of the city you love. Sounds like a beautiful spot to bask in it’s beauty and history – a great post.

  23. You are really drawn to water aren’t you? This is a lovely report, beautifully written and accompanied by photos that pull you into the scenes. Good luck Jo!

  24. Jo, I wasn’t around two years ago, but someone else posted a lovely display if the Portugese tile work ( like the one you show) and I was smitten. I don’t even need the other enticements; I want to go see the lovely tiles.

  25. I am so glad we are re-linked, Jo. I don’t know what happened, but I thought you’d taken a break until yesterday, when I realized our links were broken. Anyway, once again you have outdone yourself with your fabulous adventures and photography. 🙂

    1. Hitched or unhitched, doesn’t matter too much, hon. I don’t get to my Reader often and usually just hop over to yours when I see you commenting somewhere. I know I’m overdue a catchup. I’ll be over soon. Many thanks for spending time with me, Marcy 🙂

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