Monday, 11 September 2017

5 Reasons That Porto Is Underrated

I don't tend to head out on a Summer holiday - I go away over Summer, but typically not to a beauty type place where I have to battle the sun and try to protect my very, very pale skin. Having said that - this Summer we did adventure out to Portugal, but we managed to avoid the resorts and hotels and instead head to the beautiful city of Porto. Due to cheap flights, Porto is definitely on the up as a holiday destination, but I'm here to tell you the five reasons that I think that Porto is under-rated (and the five reasons I definitely think that you should book the flights to go out there right now).

1) It's a beach holiday and a city break all in one
Can't decide whether you want to laze on the beach or head out to adventure round the town? With Porto, you can easily do both. Head down to the beaches to laze on the sun, stand on boulders and do Moana impressions (just us?), play with dogs loving the hot sand, and head up to the adorable churches that tower over the seaside, and when you're bored? Simply head back to the centre of town and lose yourself down deceptively modern streets, marvel at the buskers and head to escape rooms and the very book shop that JK Rowling reportedly based Hogwarts on. It's the perfect cultural mix, and there's something for everyone that you're with.

2) Their public transport is second to none
Top your card up for around €6 in any of the metro stations, and then head all around the city, as often as you need to, within the next twenty four hours - just tap your card on the way in, and the way out. Don't be thinking that their metro is like ours here, enjoy regular trains that are nearly always on time, late night trains (all night through the weekend) to get you home after a good party, and more importantly; you get wifi, signal and air con in most of them, to keep your comfortable whilst you travel. Forget what you think you know about public transport, get rid of your uber app, and as long as you're close enough to walk to a metro station; definitely make good use of it.

3) They have so many fantastic spiritual places
From an incorruptible body of a saint that the citizens offer candles in the shapes of limbs to, to a church on the beach that people rumour also has links to witchcraft - Porto is beautiful, and full of regligion and spirituality. Wherever you walk, you can find catacombs, beautiful churches and cathedrals covered in blue and white tiles, a church that's almost completely gold on the inside - even for the most non-spiritual person, there are some things in Porto that will take your breath away. You could use a seven day trip just visiting religious sites and you would likely not see all that the area has to offer; but definitely take the time out to see some one-off amazing spiritual places.

4) It's cheap
Not incredibly cheap, but definitely cheap enough to make it worth it. Shell out €1.50 in nearly any bar in the city centre and they'll give you a plastic cup full of Super Bock or Somersby Cider for you to take out and wander the streets with. Whether you opt to shop, sightsee or travel; you won't be paying too much to do it, and certainly much less than you typically would in other parts of the country. Your flights and accommodation are going to be on the cheap site, so is your shopping and you can definitely save some serious money on eating out; so if you're after a cheap one? Look no further.

5) It's so authentically Portuguese
From the markets full of tiles and cork and bread shaped like penises (peni? And we don't know why the bread is shaped like that, either, really), to the fact we only met one other English traveller - Porto just felt so authentically part of Portugal, untouched by holiday resorts and huge chain hotels (neither of which are a bad thing, it's just strange not to see them). From tiny, heavily decorated little shops, to brand new glass buildings and old fashioned trams; everything about Porto is fantastic, authentic and beautiful - definitely get those flights booked.

Sammy xo.

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