Porto | 

After reading a glowing piece about Portugal’s second city, Daragh Keany knew it had to be fast-tracked to the top of his new book-it list

Dom Luis I bridge

Fábrica da Nata bakery

Vila Foz Restaurant

A nearby beach

Bolhão market

Daragh Keany

Like a lot of Irish people, I have been to the Algarve a handful of times and could confidently recommend family-friendly restaurants or coffee shops with free Wifi in any number of seaside towns along the sun-kissed Atlantic coast.

I spent a memorable day in Lisbon and vowed to return some day to complete it, but now my priorities have changed having read the glowing report from a far more travelled and experienced travel writer than myself.

“For 15 years Krakow was my favourite short-break destination, but after just four days the other week in Porto it’s all change at the top”, he eulogised.

I devoured every single word he penned last December and I immediately began researching the city. Fast forward two weeks and four of us are now booked (spoiler alert: the kids aren’t invited) for June and I am armed with a concise knowledge on some of the city’s top new (and old) attractions.

Dom Luís I Bridge

Probably the most iconic symbol of the city, this industrial spectacle over the river Duoro rises 45m into the sky and can be crossed on two separate levels. It gives great views of the city including the riverside promenade called Cais da Ribeira which is populated the city’s most popular restaurants and bars.

Vila Foz Restaurant

Vila Foz restaurant

Just two weeks ago the restaurant at the five-star Vila Foz Hotel became the latest eaterie in the city to be awarded a Michelin star. A meal here may be on a bucket list as opposed to our ‘to do’ list in June.

Bolhão market

Bolhão Market

In the next month or so the famous market will reopen and I can’t wait to get there. It is as traditional as it comes and is divided up into areas that sell fresh produce, meat, fish and flowers. What excites me though will be seeing the women selling their products with their own unique outcry (locally known as a ‘pregão’).

Alice in Wonderland

If you are not as lucky as me and you have to bring the kids with then check out the Wild Lights-style exhibit which is coming to the city in June.

New view

The Gardens of Palacio de Cristal are not new ­— but the local authorities have just introduced a brand new viewpoint to soak up.

Casa da Música

A modern addition to Porto’s cityscape, the Casa da Música is a concert hall that is one of the rare music venues that is also worth seeing when nobody’s playing.

A nearby beach


Not everyone knows that the city has 10 blue flag beaches with a few minutes of the city centre. All I am saying is: pack the togs just in case.

Torre dos Clérigos

The 76m-high Torre dos Clérigos is unmistakably Portuguese and stretches 76m above the city’s rooftops. Visitors can climb the 225 steps but I believe it is not suitable for anyone who is claustrophobic.

Fábrica da Nata bakery

Fabrica de Nata bakery

Ok, so I’m basing this entirely on user reviews online, but I guarantee I’ll be making a beeline for this custard tart heaven on Rua de Santa Catarina as soon as we land in the city in four months’ time.

Win an amazing Travel Department City Break for two people to Porto in Portugal

PORTO, with its delicious food and wines, rich architecture and gorgeous weather is the ideal city break destination. With a flight time of two and a half hours, Porto is close by but also a world away. Travel Department, Ireland’s leading group holiday specialist, is giving a Sunday World reader and guest the chance to win a three-night trip to Porto on May 12. One of Portugal’s most famous cities and a UNESCO World Heritage Area, Porto has plenty for visitors to do and see over the three days. Immerse yourself in Porto’s friendly atmosphere and take a step back in time by visiting its historic centre, the Bolsa Palace and the Douro Riverfront. Travel Department is renowned for its expert guides and you will enjoy guided tours of the best that Porto has to offer with carefully chosen local experts. You will get to taste the city’s delicious Port at a wine tasting in a local Port cellar and also enjoy some free time to explore this historic and beautiful city at your own pace. Flights and transfers, as well as your hotel accommodation with breakfast included, are all part of this fantastic holiday package.

Check out traveldepartment.com to see more of Travel Department’s 2022 tours and holidays.


To enter this exclusive competition for Sunday World readers, simply log onto traveldepartment.com/competition or click here and follow the instructions. Competition closes on February 21, 2022. Good luck!

Today's Headlines

More Travel

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos