While many visit Porto for its historical sites and pastel-colored buildings, the main draw to the Portuguese city is its proximity to the Douro Valley, one of the world’s oldest wine regions. Despite its name, Port never stepped foot in Porto; instead, it was stored in port wine cellars across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia. Nowadays, these cellars are not really in use anymore, but they are the location of World of Wine (called WOW). WOW is a cultural district in Porto filled with seven exhibits, 12 restaurants and bars, a wine school, and much more. Read on for our favorite spots in the wine-themed tourist destination near Porto.
Where to Stay
Built by the same owners of WOW, The Yeatman is the perfect wine-themed accommodation to go alongside a visit to WOW. The independently owned Relais & Chateaux property is built into the hill, overlooking the city of Porto and offering guests riverside views from almost all of its 109 rooms. Onsite, guests can access daily wine tastings, the decanter-shaped pool, and the incredible wine spa with Roman baths, different types of saunas, and a halo therapy wall. Its location is right above WOW on the hill, so it’s easy to get to the exhibits, restaurants, and experiences within a 5-minute walk.
Where to Eat
Created by Michelin-starred chef Ricardo Costa, Mira Mira is a hidden gem inside WOW. The recently opened spot boasts gorgeous panoramic views of nearby Porto, where visitors enjoy small dishes of Costa’s take on Portuguese cuisine. During a dinner at the restaurant, you should take advantage of the tasting menu with wine pairings, which changes from season to season based on local ingredients and utilizes a lovely wine selection that includes smaller Portuguese producers.
With a central location near the sea, it’s no surprise that Portugal’s fish is incredible, and The Golden Catch is the place to have it. The menu serves up a bevy of fish native to the region, such as Cod. Delicious vegetarian dishes, such as beet risotto and different salads, are also available. Plus, it also has a lovely outdoor terrace that’s perfect for warm spring and summer days.
Where to Drink
While not technically a bar or restaurant, the tastings at The Wine School are definitely a highlight. The school offers classes, teaching about different wines and allowing individuals to become certified sommeliers and tastings that true experts lead in the field. Every tasting is customized to your preferences, and you’ll leave learning interesting information about Portugal and its wine production.
These Port houses are some of the oldest in Porto, and their Port facilities are utilized in a smaller capacity today. While not exactly a bar, both offer onesie tastings to try different Ports from each brand: Taylors Port (called Taylor Fladgate in the U.S. and Fonseca). They also both have exhibits detailing the history of the brands and allowing you access to the active Port storage facilities.
Where to Visit
Those looking to understand how Porto became the city it is today will appreciate the Porto Region Across The Ages exhibition. Within the exhibit, you’ll learn the town’s history, the challenges the city faced, and how it turned into what it is today. It’s a tremendous first exhibit since it will give you essential background information.
WOW is home to its chocolate brand dubbed Vinte Vinte, and The Chocolate Story is the exhibit that’s housed within the factory. It showcases the history of chocolate, including where it originated from, when it became what it is today, and how it’s made. During your visit, you shouldn’t skip out on a chocolate tasting. It’s educational and offers you the opportunity to try housemade chocolate, which is incredible.
As one of the newest exhibitions in WOW, The Pink Palace Experience is an interactive exhibit meant to immerse you in the world of Rosé. Throughout the experience, you’ll have the opportunity to try different Rosés while snapping photos at the various Instagrammable spots. In total, the space has eleven rooms that showcase how Rosé is made in different climates worldwide.