Arriving in sunny Porto, I didn’t realise that the city would be so ideal for a solo traveller. After missing my morning walking tour hosted by the hostel, I opted to ditch the map and go it alone, what did I have to lose?
Porto is a surprisingly small city. Although rather difficult to navigate with a number of winding streets, once you get your bearings towards to Douro River, you are ready to go.
The city is full of beauty. Not just architecture and art, but the lively people. The smell of delicious seafood and music streaming through the streets. There is a number of reasons why Porto is ideal for solo travellers.
1. It is small enough to get lost and still be central.
2. It is cheap, so if you get nervous you can catch a taxi for less than 10 euro anywhere you want.
3. The shopkeepers and waiters are some of the friendliest people in the world- just ask them for advice!
My walk led me into central Porto, where the shopping districts and main café strip lies. I find all of this, however, rather boring (as I am not a big shopper!), so I quickly made my way down to the Ribeira.
The best spot to chill out and watch the boats go by on a sunny day is down by the Cais da Ribeira Street. Grab an ice cream or coffee and watch the boats pass by. The Ribeira is a great place to find your way through the most popular arcades in town, working my way back north towards the Saint Anthony’s Church district, I came across the most spectacular street.
The stroll up through to the Rue Das Flores is culturally perfect. Portugese flags, cuisine and music everywhere. Passing churches and museums, you will finally come to the girliest street in Porto. True to it’s name, the Rue Das Flores is covered in flowers, tiling and art. Tão bonito!
Port wine tastings are also a must. Porto is famous for Port (of course!) so head to any of the distilleries along the banks of the Douro, they all offer free tours and tastings without a booking, and tip- ask to try the pink port if they have it! Being solo doesn’t mean you have to feel lonely, pre-occupy yourself exploring the city and get involved in group tours, walking tours or tastings to feel like you are not alone.
Pub crawls are a great idea in a city like Porto. Meeting lots of great people and seeing the small bar scene rather than heading into a huge club alone will make you feel much more comfortable, and who knows, you could make some life long friends!