Spend a Weekend in Portugal on a Budget
Portugal is a wonderful country with many places to visit, eat, and stay for a weekend on a budget, especially in Porto and Matosinhos. Portuguese is a beautiful language, and luckily, for Americans traveling in Portugal, many also speak English.
Matosinhos has a great beach, and it is worth staying nearby. If you are booking in the winter season, rooms are a bit more inexpensive. If you’re visiting during the summer, plan early for the best rates.
Things to Do in Matosinhos
Castelo Do Queijo, “Castle of the Cheese,” is worth checking out. This beautiful castle is a popular destination for taking pictures near the sea or taking a bike tour around the beach.
Mercado Municipal de Matosinhos is a farmer’s market to explore for fresh fruits and vegetables. Go early in the morning to see the action.
Food in Matosinhos
The espresso is delicious, and it’s also inexpensive. An excellent place to have a coffee, espresso, or small appetizers is Vagas Bar. There are also many great bakeries and pastries around the Matosinhos area. Visit Trigueirinha for a small pastry.
For seafood, Marisqueria Majara is delicious. Rodizio Gauchos Restaurant is also a fun place to eat. Come with a big appetite! You can choose from 17 different types of meat while live music plays from their grand piano in the restaurant.
If you need a late dessert, check out some unique ice cream dishes or gelato at K Rico Lombo.
Porto, Portugal has many wonderful shops for souvenirs to take back home, restaurants with excellent food, and sidewalk cafes for an espresso. In all the excitement, do not forget to enjoy all the architecture of the buildings throughout the city.
There are many hotel options in Porto. Like in Matosinhos, hotel rooms are more affordable during the winter than in the summer.
Transportation in Porto
The Sao Bento Railway Station was built at the beginning of the 20th century on the site of the Sao Bento de Ave-Maria Convent. When you arrive at the station, you will be in awe of the 20,000 tiles of artwork on the walls.
At the end of the 19th century, trams were the main link for traveling between Porto and its suburbs. Today, many tourists travel on the tram throughout the city for a small fee.
For traveling around Portugal, utilize the Portuguese Railway. You can also travel outside of Portugal to main cities such as Madrid, Spain or Paris, France.
Things to Do in Porto
Rabelo Boats are the traditional Portuguese boats that were used for transporting barrels of wine from the inland vineyards down the River Douro to the storehouses of Porto. Take a tour on a Rabelo boat through the Douro River to see where the wine was made; it’s about a one-hour ride.
Get your comfortable shoes on to visit Clerigos Tower, the main Porto icon. The tower was built between 1754 and 1763. Visiting the Clerigos Tower and museum is about 6 Euros. The tour takes about 2 hours and involves a lot of walking.
If you are a book lover, you need to check out Livraria Lello. This fantastic bookstore has been open since 1906, and you can purchase an entry ticket online for around 5 Euros.
Food in Porto
Visit Nata Lisboa for a tart, small pastry, or even a sandwich. Food in Porto commonly has fresh olives, yummy Atlantic fish, and delicious fresh cheese from nearby farms. French Fries are standard fare with every meal. A Bolina restaurant offers an amazing view of the bridge. I recommend ordering the codfish salad for only 5 Euros.
Portugal is the oldest country in Europe, and it is full of quaint cities, nature, passionate people, and delicacies. You will fall in love with this country and want to come back each year.