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Gracie’s Guide to Porto (on a Budget)

by Gracie Limauro

Hello everyone! Gracie here. As a first time Porto, Portugal visitor (on a student’s budget), I scavenged Pinterest blogs and asked seasoned Porto natives for the best cheap, fun recommendations in Porto. I was not disappointed! My friends and I spent three days in the beautiful Porto and did a mix of adventurous and relaxing activities. Keep reading for inside tips and advice on how to have as amazing a trip as we did.

Travel Tips:

We booked the flight around two weeks ahead of time and paid ~€105 on EasyJet. It was a quick 2.5 hour direct flight from Lux –> Porto. Easy peasy! But beware when booking, Porto is one hour behind Luxembourg time.

Take Bus 500. We were pleasantly surprised when we got on and saw it was a double decker bus! We climbed to the top and got front row seats of the beautiful Porto coastline as we rode to surfing lessons. I couldn’t believe this was the public transportation, it felt like a guided tour. The fare for a bus ticket is €2.

View from Bus 500.

Activity Tips:

Here’s the bottom line: if you can surf in Porto, do it! Surfing on the gigantic waves of the Atlantic was a bucket list moment that I will NEVER forget. And it doesn’t break the bank either. We found Pedro’s surfing experience on Airbnb for only €20 per person. Don’t worry, I had never surfed before and the hilarious instructors provided wetsuits and taught us the basics before we headed in the water. I felt like a rockstar when I stood up and rode waves all the way to the shore. My friends and I could not stop smiling the entire two hour lesson. We went in mid September and the water was chilly but refreshing with the wetsuits on. Bring bottled water with you, we were parched after the lesson.

Me smiling from ear to ear after the lesson.

This tip is for book lovers (aka me). Go visit the famous bookstore where J.K. Rowling worked called Livraria Lello. There is a €5 entrance voucher that you should buy online ahead of time here so you don’t have to wait as long outside. We almost didn’t get in because it was closing time (hours are 10 am – 8 pm) but because we had bought the voucher ahead of time they allowed us to go in. If you buy something inside the €5 will be counted towards your purchase.

The gorgeous interior of Livraria Lello.

If you have a day to spare like we did, book a wine tour in the Douro valley! The breathtaking landscape views of the wineries blew me away. We did the Douro Valley Tour: Wine Tasting, River Cruise and Lunch for €80. That price may seem a little steep, but keep in mind this was a 9 hour wine tour of two wineries, a huge Portuguese lunch, river cruise, and transportation included. It was ~1.5 hours from Porto to the Douro Valley and they picked us up at our airbnb. My eyes could not believe the beauty of the Douro valley wine country. We had a blast sampling port wines and taking in the stunning scenery.

This picture does not do the scenery justice (if you can believe that!)

Food tips:

Porto shocked me with the delicious cuisine. Everywhere we went was incredible.

Here are my top three restaurant picks:

Looking for a breakfast spot? Try Lazy Breakfast Club. This place was only a 10 minute walk from our airbnb and is surrounded by cool vintage shops. The charming interior design plus delicious iced coffee and waffle made me want to come back. My huge meal was only €10.

The Lazy Waffle. It was as delicious as it looks!

If you want to maximize on traditional Portuguese meals, try Casa Guerde. I had a mouthwatering pork, arugula, and cheese sandwich called the Chef Guerde and shared a pitcher of sangria for €13. We sat on the beautiful roof enjoying the crisp breeze and chill atmosphere.

No words for this beauty.

Last but not least is a restaurant called Panda. The aesthetic of this restaurant was the most beautiful I had ever seen in my entire life. I got the soba noodle bowl with piri piri paste and let me tell you: I could eat this dish every day for the rest of my life. It was made with scallions, ginger, cashews, and other amazing ingredients which when in combination was mouthwatering to my palate. My meal was €9,5.

The inside (heart eyes).
The soba noodle dish that I still dream about.

There it is, folks. My guide to Porto on a Budget. I could have spent another three days here … there was so much to do! This was truly one of the best weekends of my life and I encourage you to visit if you can. Follow @city_savvy_lux to hear more from me about traveling adventures and tips.

Gracie

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