Back in the 1990s, Lenny Kravitz rocked the world with his hit song, “Fly Away”. It was used in car commercials, theatrical trailers, TV shows, everything. We wouldn’t be surprised if it cropped up in an elementary school play or two. Something about the song and its message of getting away from your troubles really resonated with folks. In other words, “Fly Away” essentially became the anthem for much needed weekend getaways. We can’t understate how popular this song was. We’re talking about a worldwide hit here!
You can bet your bell-bottom jeans that Porto, Portugal used to rock out to this tune. People from all around the world used to “fly away” to this gorgeous coastal city. In fact, they still do. Porto is an immensely charming and enchanting city — it’s the kind of place that folks from landlocked countries dream about. It’s full of mystery, magic, and music.
Weekend getaways are all about making the most out of a little time. That’s why we’re going to show you how to maximize your weekend trip to Porto. Landmarks, restaurants, famous buildings — we’ll show you a little bit of a lot today. Make your weekend hassle-free and light by stowing large bags and shopping goodies at a Porto luggage storage locker. And when you make it to Porto, blast “Fly Away” on a music player. It’s not the 1990’s anymore, but this song is still a classic.
There are a lot of palaces in Spain. We’re talking grand estates that have been around for centuries. Bolsa Palace fits that bill… somewhat. You see, this building isn’t the home of a noble Portuguese family or anything like that. It’s actually Porto’s stock exchange building.
The Commercial Association of Porto had this palace built during the mid-1800s. Its ambitious architecture is a prime example of Neoclassical craftsmanship. Last but not least, guests can sign up for tours of Bolsa Palace’s interior. A trip to this venue is the perfect way to start your weekend trip to Porto.
Casa da Música
Music is the spice of life. It’s also a major part of Spanish culture; Flamenco, Tonas, and Tango music are all genres that have originated from Spain. Casa da Música is a concert hall of epic proportions. This venue was designed by architect Rem Koolhaas in the late 1990s (there’s that decade again).
Casa da Música wasn’t just designed on a whim, by the way. Back in 2001, Porto was deemed as Europe’s Capital of Culture. Koolhaas was commissioned to design a building that would commemorate this special occasion. Years later, Casa da Música is every bit as gorgeous and elegant as its inauguration day.
Essência Restaurante Vegetariano
Porto didn’t earn its reputation as a “capital of culture” just because of music alone. The city is also the home of many genuinely amazing restaurants. Essência Restaurante Vegetariano is one such establishment.
Spanish food is their specialty, albeit with a delightful vegetarian twist. There’s plenty of pasta on Essência’s menu and there are enough salads to fill a garden to the brim. Add mouthwatering desserts into the mix and it’s easy to see why Essência is so popular. Even folks who aren’t strictly vegan or vegetarian will stop by for a bite.
Francesinhas al Forno da Baixa
Okay, so a Francesinha is this kind of sandwich that’s filled with various types of meat and covered with cheese, tomato sauce, and beer sauce. Sounds delicious, right? Well, guess which city invented Francesinhas. That’s right, Porto.
Guess which restaurant serves the best Francesinhas in the city. That’s right, Francesinhas al Forno da Baixa. The atmosphere is warm, the customer service is friendly, and the meals are genuinely unforgettable. Feel free to sit down for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or take your food to go.
Igreja do Carmo
Remember when we said that Port has a lot of palaces? Well, we also forgot to add churches to the list. “Igreja” is the Spanish word for church. Go ahead and type “Igreja Porto” into a search bar. There’s a bunch of churches in the city, right? But no two churches are alike, and none of them are quite like the Igreja do Carmo.
Several architects constructed this church sometime around 1389. They infused the building with an incredibly prevalent Rococo Baroque style. The Carmo Convent, as it’s called in English, also houses a museum. This is probably the church’s biggest tourist attraction, bringing in thousands of visitors each year.
Some of the oldest active businesses in the world can be found in Spain. Madrid houses Casa Botin, the oldest restaurant on Earth. Porto, however, houses Livraria Lello — one of the oldest book stores that are still in business.
Philosophy books, maps, how-to guides — you name it, chances are Livraria Lello has it on one of their shelves. Last but not least, Livraria Lello also served as one of JK Rowling’s major influences when she was designing the Wizarding World.
Parque das Virtudes
Parque das Virtudes grants visitors breathtaking views of Porto’s river. This streetside park also has plenty of greenery around every corner. It’s honestly one of the best places to go when you just want to relax for a bit. Parque das Virtudes is also very pet-friendly and isn’t too bad of a place for a picnic either.
Sometimes, you just need to go out and smell the roses. We can’t think of a better place to do that than the Serralves Gardens. “Porto’s Rose Garden” is one of the most popular greenspaces in the city. This venue takes its name from the Serralves Foundation.
It features rose art as well as a healthy number of fountains and pools. Many people visit this venue each year. It’s a popular dating destination, an amazing art exhibit, and a great place to go for a long walk.