Porto: A hidden gem in Europe

Abel Hegyes

Porto has been under the radar for quite some time but its beauty and sense of cool is unparallel. This seemingly sleepy seaside city boasts world class and imaginative restaurants and impressive cultural attraction. A low-key old-world charm spreads throughout the city, a charm that many over touristy cities like Paris and Lisbon have lost. You can easily explore the whole city on foot and take in the lazy charm of the cobblestone streets. If you are visiting Portugal split up your time between Lisbon and Porto to get the best of both worlds. If you are looking for something that is off the beaten path and more lowkey you must visit Porto.  I have gathered some of my favorite places to eat, relax, and visit.




Serralves Museum

Located about 20 minutes outside of the old town area, the museum acts as a contemporary art hub of Porto and showcases the pinnacle work of the museum’s architect Alvaro Siza Viera. Gardens surround the museum with several installations and sculptures, this leads to the Casa de Serraveles. This space serves as additional exhibition space and serves as prime example of Art Deco architecture.


Source: rutkography.com

São Bento Railway Station

Located in the Old Town area, the train station is beautifully adorned by 20,00 azulejo tiles, narrating the history of Portugal. It is one of the most beautiful train stations in the world and the details and intricacy is mesmerizing.


Cais de Riberia

Strolling the cobblestone streets of the central area of Porto will ultimately lead down to the riverfront, Cais de Riberia. Incredible views of the historical architecture of the city and the buzzy center of the city.  Come here for the views and vibe I wouldn’t recommend eating here since the restaurants and cafes are very average so save your appetite for the restaurant recommendations.

Leca da Palmeira

For a day trip outside of Porto, the beaches of Leca de Palmeria are a must. A large stretch of white sand and the Piscina das Mares make up this beach area. The Piscina das Mares is an architecturally significant tidal swimming pool built into the rocks and designed by architect Alvaro Siza Vieira, a beautifully minimalist and natural design.

Euskalduna studio

An incredibly and luxurious culinary experience, this is something to splurge on while in Porto. Head chef Vasco Coelho Santos prepares a 10-course tasting menu for only 16 guests every night. An unassuming blue door with a doorbell leads to a grand but intimate dining space centered around a large Japanese marble bar, each night the chef creates dishes inspired by modern Portuguese cuisine. Everything about the experience is perfect without being pretentious, it feels more as if you are going over to a friend’s for dinner than a Michelin starred restaurant.

Combi Coffee

A very instagramable and trendy café that still maintains the charm of old-world Porto, it is the perfect place to get your morning coffee. Also look out for their vintage Mercedes Van serving up their coffee around town.

Proto is truly a hidden low-key city of Europe, it is perfect if you are looking for something different. Let us know what your favorite places in Proto are!


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