Road Trip Portugal - Igreja dos Carmelitos

Things to do in Porto: A Handpicked City Guide

The view from the the Dom Luis I bridge sums up the allure of Porto; port wineries on one side, a colourful hodge-podge of buildings and bell towers cascading down the other, and the peaceful Douro river filing down the centre, lined with buzzing restaurants and people ambling by. The azulejo tiles, baroque and beaux … Read more

Road Trip Portugal - Porto-Santa Cruz-Lisbon

Road Trip Portugal: Three Epic Portugal Road Trips

The wild Atlantic coast, sounds of fado and elegant tiled architecture are just a few of the ways that Portugal enchants and beckons travellers. It’s a place you can appreciate by just being there, soaking in its rich and varied history, from the Celts to the Visigoths, the Christians and the explorers, which means if … Read more

People lounging at Porto port festival

A weekend of festivals and markets in Porto

Market life in Porto

“She doesn’t know”, “I don’t know”, “She really doesn’t know?”. My friends were shocked, on arrival in Porto, to find that I, their reliably prepared friend, had no idea what to do that weekend. I am that person – the one who finds the flights, fusses over hotels, and researches what to do. I’m the organiser – but this time, in Porto, between preparing for TBU and being at TBU, I just hadn’t done it. I’d got as far as finding a hostel, but beyond that all I knew was that there was port to drink and the stunning Lello bookstore to be visited.

Most surprising of all, I didn’t care that I didn’t know. Perhaps, after six months on the move, I’ve chilled out a bit. I’m getting better at letting things happen, rather than trying to control what happens. There are so, so many things that Steve and I could have done on this journey that we didn’t. We could have gone to the end of the world at Ushuaia, arrived in Rio earlier for the carnival or biked along Bolivia’s death road. Whether it be because of bad timing, lack of money or a weighing up of priorities, it’s impossible to do everything. This is true in life but, when travelling, I think there’s even more of a pressure to ‘make the most’ of everything – meaning do as much as you can. My idea of ‘making the most’ has changed. I don’t want to do and see everything. I want to enjoy and appreciate the things I do do and let go of the things I can’t.

No plans, best plans

That weekend in Porto, I had one single priority: to spend time with Lou and Em, two of my best friends from London who had come out to visit me between TBU and TBEX. I hadn’t seen them for six months, and wouldn’t see them for another six. This was going to be our time to chat, chat and chat. And that’s exactly what we did – but something else happened too. Despite no planning whatsoever, it turned out we were in Porto for one of the city’s most exciting weekends of the year, featuring both the Musica Viva festival and the Port Wine festival. We couldn’t have planned it better.

Porto market and festivals in photos

Here’s our visit in photos including the awesome Porto market…

Porto city

Read moreA weekend of festivals and markets in Porto