“Even so, Porto still remains a city of secrets – a place where high granite walls sometimes guard hidden gardens or artistic treasures.”
A stroll through Porto
Find out some of Richard Zimler’s suggestions and favourite spots in Portugal.
The new Symphony Hall (Casa da Música) has done a lot to open up the city to the rest of the world. I’ve seen many top soloists there over the past couple of years, including Grigory Sokolov, Alfred Brendel and Andreas Scholl.
Three of our favourite restaurants are Real Indiana (great Indian food – there are two: at the Cais de Gaia and at the Edíficio Transparente, on the Parque da Cidade); Casa d’Oro, in Massarelos (a glorious view over the Douro River) and Nhac Nhac, in Lordelo do Ouro (excellent pizzas).
Two of my favourite “secret” highlights of Porto are the paintings of Henrique Pousão at the Soares dos Reis Museum and the tiles depicting Ovid’s Metamorphosis at the Cathedral.
For a great walk (back in time!), take the little-known path that skirts the west side of the Bishop’s Palace and winds its way down to the river along the steep slopes behind the Ribeira neighborhood. My favorite view over the historic center of the city – as it tumbles over itself – is at the south end of the Rua de Saint Bento de Vitória.
Since Porto’s City Hall has plans to turn the city’s traditional Bolhão Market into yet another shopping mall, eat lunch amidst the fruit and vegetable stalls while you still can. Try the restaurant on the north side, next to the flower sellers.
For more modern surroundings, head to the Museum of Contemporary Art (Serralves Foundation). After a look at the current exhibition, go for coffee and cake at the teahouse in the surrounding park.