My Favourite Walks: Porto
The sun sets on Porto (November, 2015)
When I look back on my three months away there are a few things that stick out to me. One, I had some amazing food. Two, I fell in love with certain places simply by casually walking around with no goal or agenda. Porto just happens to be one of those cities that has great paths, view points and graffiti; and these all combine to make it a great place to explore on foot. Here is one of my favourite walks. I will try to find as many pictures from that walk as I can to recount my steps.
Start at: Clérigos Tower (right outside of Yes! Porto Hostel)
Every walk I did in Porto started right outside of my hostel as I hooked a left and headed west on Rua da Assunção, looking back towards Clérigos Tower as I thought to myself “where the hell do I wanna go today?”.
Looking back at the Clérigos tower
As I head west on Rua Campo dos Mártires da Pátria I am tempted to head towards the Douro River, and as tempting as it is to go there I remind myself that there is more to the north. You don’t need a river and cool bridges to get a good fix in Porto, after all. And even though I avoid temptation to descend towards the river I look south on Rua de São Bento da Vitória and spot my first bit of street art of the day. And it reminds me I’m on the right path…
This must be the best city for random street art…
Eventually Jardim da Cordoaria pops up on the right and I cut through it, avoiding the main sidewalk for views below.
Note: If you happen to follow the same path look out for the three laughing men
This is where you can get creative as once I got closer to the northwest side of the park I headed west as I began my odd descent/ascent towards Jardins do Palácio de Cristal. During the next ten minutes I saw few people and it almost felt as if I wasn’t in the city if it weren’t for the off storefront I passed. Seeing the odd thing as I wound myself around.
Once I finally made it to the Crystal Palace Gardens I was treated with some nice views to go with some shitty camera work
Looking west you can see the Douro open to the ocean! I hear the gardens are 10x nicer in the summer months
Looking southeast across the river at Vila Nova de Gaia
After relaxing in the gardens I begin to zig zag my way east toward Rua de Cedofeita before heading back to the hostel for the next afternoon excursion. Throughout the surrounding neighbourhoods I am greeted with some strange and…even stranger graffiti.
Those are just a few examples of the many spots you will find them. I saw so many that at some point it became annoying to pull out my camera and stand out more than I wanted to. But that space east of the gardens and west of the university area proved to be filled with graffiti, both good and bad, waiting to be admired. And its for that reason it became one of my favourite walks in Europe.
It didn’t have the prettiest views. It didn’t have any touristy stops. But for those few hours I had the streets to myself and tons of graffiti work to admire. If you have more than a few days in porto (or a week like in my case), I suggest spending a day away from the hustle and bustle of the river and beaches and walk around the neighbourhoods west/northwest of the Clérigos Tower. You won’t be disappointed 🙂
Next up- Favourite Walks: Manarola