Porto, Portugal is a place built for the bon vivant—rich in vinous history, this is a destination for wine lovers and Europhiles alike with its winding cobblestone streets, deep roots in international trade, and a spectrum of winemaking styles reaching far beyond what we know Port to be. While Porto’s city center is relatively small, it’s easy to pack an entire weekend full of dining, drinking, museums, culture and more without ever having to leave, though you’ll also get a taste of picturesque Vila Nova de Gaia just across the Douro, where acclaimed hotel The Yeatman and newly-opened gastronomic mecca World of Wine, also known as WOW, await with unbeatable views of the Porto skyline. Here’s our perfect weekend in the fortified wine capital of the world.
Where to Stay:
The Yeatman is an absolute must for any Porto visitor. This hotel is one of the most exclusive addresses in the area, and while it’s technically located in nearby Vila Nova de Gaia, you’ll have access to some of the best views of the Douro River and the Porto city center just across it. Here, you’re also a stone’s throw from World of Wine, a stunning, brand-new collection of spaces spanning over 420,000 square feet inside centuries-old wine cellars around and beneath Vila Nova de Gaia, which you won’t want to miss. The Yeatman is just up the hill from WOW’s main building and is just steps from Taylor Fladgate, one of the oldest founding producers in the Port wine industry.
The sprawling six-story hotel, which is richly outfitted in classic Portuguese décor, is incredibly spacious and inviting. Here, you can spend the night in the lap of luxury when you’re not dining or drinking at one of the property’s multiple restaurants and bars, out and about on either side of the Douro, or partaking in one of The Yeatman’s countless curated wine experiences.
Where to Eat:
In and around Porto, the main question is rather what you’ll drink, though food is of (almost) equal importance. Within The Yeatman, you’ll want to check out The Orangerie on the eighth floor for lunch or dinner (sit on the terrace if you can), and be sure to get at least a drink at the bar just off of the lobby, which offers a great list of Port wines and other reds, whites, rosés and sparkling wines produced in Portugal. At breakfast, the classic pastéis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) are some of the best in the area.
While in Vila Nova de Gaia, other worthwhile restaurants include Barão Fladgate and T&C at WOW. You’ll also want to spend time wandering around the Porto city center, of course, where restaurants, wine bars, and cafés line the streets—the team at The Yeatman recommends DOP, Cantinho do Avillez and Clérigos Tasting Room, to name a few (you can also arrange transportation to and from Porto with the front desk). Lastly, wherever you end up, try a Francesinha when the opportunity arises—this rich, sauce-smothered sandwich is a Porto classic and is not to be missed.
What to Do:
Once you’ve settled into your room at The Yeatman, take a stroll down to WOW to scope things out. Between the seven museum experiences, twelve restaurants, exhibition space, shops, wine school, and events roster, there are countless experiences to be had here based on your tastes and interests, but some of the highlights include The Bridge Collection—a collection of nine thousand years of drinking vessels belonging to Adrian Bridge, CEO of The Fladgate Partnership and WOW—along with The Wine Experience, Porto Fashion and Fabric Museum and The Pink Palace, an immersive museum experience centered around rosé.
For those interested in all things Port, take a tour of the Taylor Fladgate cellars (located across the street from The Yeatman), which does not require advanced booking and includes a tasting of the house’s popular dry white port and its iconic Late Bottled Vintage (LBV). Again, you can also experience a tasting at Clérigos Tasting Room in Porto if you’re in the city center (just be sure to confirm whether or not it’s open based on COVID-19 fluctuations).
There are few better places to wander aimlessly than Porto, so take at least a few hours to explore with no particular agenda. You’lll stumble upon gems like the Armazém antiques market, the Torre dos Clerigos, the colorful Ribeira neighborhood, a handful of fun museums, and more.
If you’ve got time, take a day trip to the Douro Valley (approximately a two-hour drive from Porto)—the scenery along the way is worth the drive alone, and this region is perhaps one of the most picturesque wine destinations in all of Europe. Here, you’ll find plenty of excellent wineries producing all kinds of Portuguese still and sweet wines, so ask the team at The Yeatman to provide intel on the highlights.