Our Obsession with Detours: Porto Off the Map

Off the map and off the plan in Porto.
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It’s not like we go off the map on purpose (or maybe we do…) or because we have a file of crazy stories that we aren’t sure if we should share. It’s because in every single trip there is always something that attracts us and that makes us stop and change course, if even for brief moments. Sometimes is a place, sometimes is a person and sometimes is a story that needs to be told. Occasionally, it also is all three at the same time.

Porto was no exception. And despite the time constraint, we still found the time to go off the map and our initial “plan.”

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 planned according to schedule about our arrival was the time the train stopped at the station. After we confirmed that the weather was that great, we decided to walk up the city. I believe that this walk was much responsible for our love affair with Porto. The more we walked, the deeper we felt the city, the more beauty we found and the more we wanted to see. After a few turns, with an occasional look at the watch to make sure we kept our appointment hours at the guesthouse, we ended up first by the river and later near the Cathedral where we kept stumbling upon baroque architecture. Honestly, we couldn’t get enough of the city from the very first second — which is why we will always go back.

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 (it is not), but I think not many people take the time to go all the way there. We most certainly weren’t planning on going, but Dhanish asked “what’s that dome?” and I guess we had to find out what that dome was. How could we bear to go back without being able to answer what the dome was? Well, okay, so the world wouldn’t implode if we didn’t reveal what the dome was. But our curiosity took the best of us. The beauty of the place is the 19th Century romantic gardens around the pavilion (aka the dome) 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

It was a warm Saturday morning, our final day in Porto, and we strolled down from our “home” to the Ribeira zone by the river. That day we even crossed the Dom Luis Bridge again for a second attempt at a Port wine tour but, once again, we were lost in awe of the view and just lazed around near the river. On our way back from Gaia, across the same bridge, Dhanish thought it would be easier to climb the stairs than to go back up a hilly street. As a hilly city, Porto is quite famous for its stairs. As far as I admired the surroundings of the Escadas do Codeçal, 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

Have you gone off the map in Porto?

Hotel recommendation in Porto: 6Only Guest House.

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