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First visit to Porto

Posted: 10:21 Fri 28 Jun 2019
by dmr00001
I am shortly about to travel for the first time to Porto for a few days with my wife and son (21), staying centrally. I do love port but those in the £££ bracket are a bit difficult to justify!
I would welcome any suggestions of where to go or what to see, whilst in the city. I want to visit at least one Port House but would like to try one not too touristy, if there is such a place. Any recommendations?
Much appreciated.

Re: First visit to Porto

Posted: 13:39 Mon 01 Jul 2019
by AHB

I like Graham (at the top of the hill, but great views and a great tour, plus the opportunity to buy a glass of the Vintage Port of the Day), Sandeman, Ferreira and Ramos Pinto tours. None are particularly touristy, but all are guided so you do get escorted round to a schedule.

Graham, possibly the others, ask you to book in advance so they can guarantee you a spot on the tour of your choice so do take a look at the website of the Lodge you choose to visit.

I've not been to Taylor, Cockburn or Burmester recently but have heard good things from other people.


Re: First visit to Porto

Posted: 19:29 Tue 02 Jul 2019
by Will W.
The Taylor lodge offers the customary tour, which is pleasant and well organised, and a bar at which one can have a glass (or two) of port prior to or after the tour. Should your budget permit as much, said bar occasionally has some better ports open which are not on the menu card. The restaurant at Taylor's is (or was, five years ago) reasonably-priced relative to the quality and offers fantastic views over the river and Porto. I do not know the Burmester lodge, though Cockburn's did theirs up two or three years ago, offering the novice all manner of interpretative panels. All told you cannot go wrong, tour wise, with those Alex mentions, Taylor's or Cockburn's.

Re: First visit to Porto

Posted: 22:25 Wed 03 Jul 2019
by dmr00001
Thank you both for the advice, especially with regard to booking in advance and will bear that in mind. I will do some research before we travel.

Re: First visit to Porto

Posted: 02:10 Thu 04 Jul 2019
by Glenn E.
My favorite is Ramos Pinto because it includes a tour of their old office building which is now a museum. Others have added museums to their tours, but none are as large as the big yellow building on the waterfront. It's best to stop by Ramos Pinto earlier in the day to sign up so that you can reserve your language of preference. That's as far in advance as you need to reserve, or at least has been in my experience.

Sandeman is probably the most accessible standard tour. It is touristy (your guide is dressed as the Sandeman don), but not horribly so. For me it is the standard recommendation (along with Ramos Pinto) because it is so easy to get to and yet is still a good tour. Sandeman is one of the "others" mentioned above that now has its own small museum.

Graham and Taylor are less touristy than Sandeman, but still full of polish and professionalism. One could also say "slick" and not be wrong. Both are worthy and as I recall both ask for reservations. Graham has the best default tasting after the tour in my opinion, plus better selections available if one is willing to pay more. I'm sure the others do also; I'm simply familiar with Graham's premium selections.

If you've had enough of tours and would just like to try some Port, the Sogevinus tasting room offers all of their wines. You can also taste at Kopke, Calem, and Burmester, each of which is part of Sogevinus, but the parent company tasting room offers them all. Quinta do Noval's tasting room is also right on the waterfront in Vila Nova de Gaia and is worth a stop for refreshment.

Have a Francesinha, Porto's best sandwich, while you're there. Taberninha do Manel is right next to the Kopke tasting room in Vila Nova de Gaia and has one of the better examples. The best comes from Bufete Fase, but that's difficult to find. I personally think that the Majestic Cafe's version is over-hyped, but if you're on Rua Santa Catarina (the walking street) it's right in the middle.

Climb the Clerigos tower (in Porto) if it is open and it's a nice day. Superb views from the top.

Re: First visit to Porto

Posted: 16:25 Sun 07 Jul 2019
by dmr00001
Brilliant advice, thank you very much!

Re: First visit to Porto

Posted: 19:08 Wed 21 Aug 2019
by dmr00001
Just thought I would report back on our first trip. Let it be said that Porto left a lasting impression on us and it is one of the few places we will definitely re-visit. We had a tour around the Grahams port lodge which was informative although a little rushed in my opinion. We were given plenty of time to sample the vintage ports at the end of the tour though which was most enjoyable.
One thing we didn't do but would next time is to take day long river cruise to where the vines are grown.
Our Airbnb in Ribeira enjoyed fantastic views and the whole district was a warren of great sights and places to eat and drink.
Porto is wonderful!!

Re: First visit to Porto

Posted: 20:17 Wed 21 Aug 2019
by AHB
Wonderful to hear that you enjoyed your visit and have fallen in love with the city in the way that most of the rest of us have!