My obsession with detours: off the map and unplanned Porto

My obsession with detours: off the map and unplanned Porto

Porto is a great city to explore on foot and get lost in. On my first trip, I went off the map and visited the city without a plan.

It was love at first sight.

Street performer in Avenida dos Aliados | Off the map and off the plan in Porto.
Street performer in Avenida dos Aliados

Arriving in Porto

The only thing that went according to schedule about my arrival in Porto was the time the train stopped at the station.

After checking that the weather was great, I decided to walk up the city. I believe that this walk was much responsible for my love affair with Porto.

The more I walked, the deeper I felt the city, the more beauty I found, and the more I wanted to see. After a few turns, I ended up first by the river and later near the Cathedral, where I kept stumbling upon baroque architecture.

Honestly, I couldn’t get enough of the city from the very first second.

S. Joao National Theatre | Off the map and off the plan in Porto.
S. Joao National Theatre

Palácio de Cristal

Palácio de Cristal (Porto) | Off the map and off the plan in Porto.
Palácio de Cristal (Porto)

I won’t say this is a hidden gem of the city, but I think not many people take the time to go all the way there. I had to find out what that dome was.

How could I bear to go back without knowing what the dome was? Well, okay, so the world wouldn’t implode if I didn’t reveal what the dome was. But my curiosity took the best of me.

The place’s beauty is the 19th Century romantic gardens around the pavilion (the dome mentioned above) and the fantastic view over the city and the Douro river.

Gardens of Palácio de Cristal (Porto) | Off the map and off the plan in Porto.
Gardens of Palácio de Cristal (Porto)

Escadas do Codeçal

My last day in Porto was a warm Saturday morning, and I walked down from my hotel to the Ribeira district by the river.

That day I crossed the Dom Luis Bridge again for a second attempt at a Port wine tour, but, once again, I got distracted by the view and just sat by the river.

On my way back from Gaia, I figured it would be easier to climb the stairs than go back up a hilly street. As a hilly city, Porto is quite famous for its stairs. I cherished the surroundings of the Escadas do Codeçal, but that didn’t reduce the pain of my aching legs from all that climbing.

You need to be in shape more than I was seriously (or do the smart thing and walk down the stairs instead of up…).

Escadas do Codeçal | Off the map and off the plan in Porto.
Escadas do Codeçal

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