Adventure 17 // Porto Pt. 2
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Length of stay: 14 nights
Accommodations: Two airbnb’s
Travel Time: Train from Milan to Nice drove from Nice to Perpignan Train to Barcelona drove from Barcelona to Portugal, dropped off luggage, drove car 1.5 hours to Vigo Spain to drop the car took 1.5 hour train back to Porto: 70 hours
Goal: Find a building to renovate
Family Friendly: ★★★
I truly love Porto. It’s such a fun and easy place to be. The more we explore Europe, the more I appreciate how affordable and non-fussy it is. It’s truly beautiful and packed with so much to discover. We got to explore some great new-to-us spots, see an old friend, and circle back to some favorite places. If you are heading to Porto for about a weekend, like vegan food, and want to get a good idea of what Porto is like from a not-too-touristy perspective, this itinerary might be just for you.
Vegan Family Friendly Weekend in Porto Itinerary
Start with brunch at Nicolau. It fills up quick, but is worth the wait. Tons of vegan options, super cute decor, and nice staff. We went twice this past trip - both for brunch and lunch, and had a great experience both times. They also make a good latte, which always make me come back to a place over and over. I got the breakfast tacos for brunch and when we went back I got the vegan curry. Both were great, well priced, and accompanied by said latte.
Jardins do Palacia de Cristal
To walk off your brunch, head on over to Jardins do Palacia do Cristal. I am so bummed it took us so long to go here. It is pure magic and whimsey. Peacocks are running around, there is a shaded playground, castle’s to climb, interesting walking paths and absolutely stunning nature - all wrapped by the Douro River. For such a well kept park with all it’s nooks and crannies, it’s incredible that it’s free. It’s great for a stroll, or you can spend the whole day.
Shopping then Lunch at Kind Kitchen
Walk over to to shop at Coração Alecrim first, then Mercado 48, then Pop Up Workshops on your way to the best lunch ever at Kind Kitchen. This place is so cute and so delicious. We ate here five times, I kid you not. We ate everything on the menu and it was all very, very good. The last time we went we sat next to a mom and daughter duo from Boston, who happened to know some friends of mine from long, long ago. It’s been very cool to come face to face with pieces of “home” all over the world. It keeps happening, and I love it.
Once you are glowing from your delicious lunch at Kind Kitchen, continue walking east to Via Catarina Shopping area. It’s got some cool shops, a shopping mall, and good people watching. You may want to rest after this, as you will have walked straight across porto by this point. If you can summon the power to walk about 13 minutes, perch at Fábrica Coffee Roasters for a few to recharge.
Casual dinner at O Burrito
Just a few steps away from Fábrica Coffee Roasters is O Burrito. These folks are so nice! We have eaten here many, many times over all our tips to Porto. I was sick once and they sent Joey home with soup in their own personal glass jar (and kindly asked we return it) to make sure I got the soup! The food is good and fresh. I love their cashew cheese. The whole menu is vegan, very well priced, and it’s a fun little nook to eat at. The whole menu is delicious.
Dessert at Duh! Donuts
Just a few steps away, grab a vegan donut and walk the night away. Porto is so fun to wander at night. It’s a really safe place to be and simply beautiful under the moon. You really can’t get too lost, there are always people around and things going on.
Start your day at Cereal World
So, yea, this is a little touristy, but also fun and has vegan options! They have soy and oat milk on the ready with a handful of vegan friendly cereal. You get three toppings and three scoops (can be mixed however you wish) for a small bowl. The shop is light and bright, the staff is sweet and knowledgeable.
Parque infantil Cordoaria
Parque infantil Cordoaria is only a 13 minute walk from Cereal World. It’s our favorite park, as it’s small with just the right equipment. We have gone a dozen times each trip. Parque infantil Cordoaria happened to be having an event one of the days we were there, which made it extra special. They had food trucks, free activities for kids, and live music. Such a fun afternoon that was unexpected. The park usually has a ton of kids on the playground, and many many birds looking for their next meal.
Light Lunch at Noshi
Noshi is the perfect cafe and just a few minutes from the park. They have a ton of vegan options and all have been fantastic. They even have great coffee. They are often busy, but if you can get in for lunch/brunch you won’t be sorry. They have lots of really light options as well and their menu is kid friendly.
Walk on over to Livraria Lello
After having fun at the Park, head over to the most beautiful book store in the world, no really! We covered this place is our Porto video #1, but it’s worth mentioning again. Livraria Lello is just four minutes from the park and if you don’t see a line, grab the opportunity. You have to buy a $10 ticket, but that get's applied to whatever you buy. The whole area is worth a look as well after you are done at the book shop. Across the street is a raised open air park for lounging and below are cafe’s and shops in this very cool designed area.
Dinner at Vegan by Tenugal
From Livraria Lello, you can find yourself eating dinner at Vegan by Tenugal in about 12 minutes. The home-cooked feeling menu is pure comfort. There is even a small, but mighty vegan shop attached to the restaurant. You can order from the super healthy to the outright indulgent - and all is delicious. The owner is super sweet. If you have a US credit card, bring cash and take home some vegan Pastéis de Nata for breakfast, they are amazing!
Belly and heart full, head over to Fontaínhas Lavoir to watch the sun set and roam around to experience a beautiful view of Porto and Gaia.
The Building Update
We took this trip to Porto exclusively for work and to secure a building. We finally figured out exactly what we needed and how to go about it. With our team in tact, we successfully found two buildings that fit the bill, made offers and they were both accepted!
Sounds like a dream! Well, it immediately turned into the “thing” everyone warned us about. “The Portuguese Way”. How it was explained is that Portuguese have their own timeline, and you have to ask 10 times per question to get anything answered.
We could handle that, but we couldn’t handle:
The inability to open a NIF account (which allows you to open a bank account)
Strikes happening and leading to government offices being closed which directly relate to Visa’s
Weeks and weeks to wait for an answer about land rights from our lawyer
Not being able to make an appoint without a Visa number
Not being able to make an appointment to get a Visa number
Being told 2019 appointments for Visa’s are closed and 2020 isn’t taking appointments (then finding out just some areas)
You get the point. Porto is exactly where we want to grow our business, but we can’t do it like this. Call us crazy to not want to buy a building and then not know if we can stay in the country to renovate, operate, and manage it.
I feel lately we have been doing this dance with France too. We love so much and then one major thing stops us in our tracks flat and we have to start all over. But there is the very true and solid update on the building. Maybe if we find a magic loophole we will have new news - but for now, the search is on!
PPS Want to check out all our travel videos and posts? Here is a shortcut.
Family Trips to Date: 44
Countries: w/o Atlas: 9 with Atlas: 4
States with Atlas: 16
Carousels Ridden: 10
Roller Coasters Ridden: 2
Rope Course: 1