If you are looking forward to a place to chill, welcome to Portugal!
When you think about Portugal, you immediately think about Lisbon, right? We are about to change that: Northern Portugal is the new go-to when it comes to peaceful places. Porto and Douro Valley are being talked everywhere, we can actually say they are trending places. This is on our Bucket List, is it in yours? If not, it’s just a matter of reading the article, and then you’ll change your mind!
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In recent years Lisbon has become one of Europe’s most popular destinations, known not only for its charming people, world-class cuisine, and photogenic façades but also as a city with a lot to offer at a quite reasonable price. However, Porto has been winning for the past years. Did you know that Porto was the European Best Destination in 2017? Well, they’re improving every day!
Porto is a city with an impeccable heritage in design, from exemplary historical landmarks to more modern structures. And in the wine-producing region just inland, hot springs mingle with vineyards hugging the famous river that in Spain becomes the Ribera del Duero. As a region, the up-and-coming north is not to be ignored.
Where To Sleep, Visit and Eat
Welcome to a mid-century modern era! This hundred-plus-year-old Douro Valley idyll (commissioned by King Carlos I as a luxury spa resort) is nestled between natural mineral springs—acclaimed for their therapeutic properties—and a lush park, but it stands out in its bold pink skin.
Inside you can find dramatic staircases, bold wallpaper, and vivid yet glamorous room decor (there are 70 rooms total) stun. The various sophisticated dining experiences are big draws, as is the spa, where massages rank among the world’s best.
Porto A.S. 1829 Hotel
Located between Avenida dos Aliados and Ribeira, this hotel is the perfect starting point for your visit to Porto.
The place has brought new life to the historical Papelaria Araújo e Sobrinho, a stationery shop that opened its doors in 1829 and it takes the 1st place on our bucket list. Entering the Porto A.S. 1829 Hotel is like taking a trip back in time to the 19th century and to Europe’s oldest stationery shop.
That heritage inspired the evocative interior design, which features vintage wooden furniture, display cabinets, and tiles dating to 1906, as well as the sixth-generation Araújo & Sobrinho stationery shop.
Six Senses Douro Valley
If you want the real Portugal style experience, this is the place! Here, unique and personal encounters are crafted by a wealth of experts from diverse backgrounds, from visiting spa practitioners and celebrity chefs to stargazers, marine biologists and even our own international panel of wellness professionals. This team is completely dedicated to the hosts and help to establish the quintessence of Six Senses.
Its exterior and interior design are at once zen and elevated and have everything one needs, including a pool, pop-up vegetarian eatery, riverside picnic spot, in-room bathtubs, outdoor yoga in the summertime, an alchemy bar, daily wine tastings, and a three-meals-a-day restaurant serving impeccable roast chicken in a rustic-chic farmhouse-like setting.
The most popular museum in Porto is this angular white, contemporary art-filled jewel box designed in the ’90s by Álvaro Siza, claiming 44 acres of gardens and sculptures. Its historical landmarks make this place even more amazing!
Next door, the pale pink Casa de Serralves mansion is worth a look, too, for a glimpse at Streamline Moderne architecture that uses color beautifully. Built in the 1930s, it’s where temporary exhibits are held.
Architectural Tour of Porto
What to know one of the highlights of a design-minded tour of the city? Here you have, the most beautiful McDonald’s in the world, with art-deco era stained glass behind the menu board and period chandeliers above diners’ heads.
Nearby, the Majestic Cafe is a Belle Epoque prize, the São Bento train station features historical images on dramatic azulejo tiles, and the Livraria Lello bookshop (which was one of the inspirations for aspects of Harry Potter) is a must-see for lovers of Art Nouveau and Gothic architecture as well as literature.
Pedro Lemos has established itself as one of the most popular restaurants in Porto with a menu that is firmly and proudly grounded in the traditions of Portuguese cooking. The food: amazing and the interior design looks like a truly Portugal style place.
Each dish reflects the country’s rich culinary heritage and explodes with simplicity and taste, thanks to the finest quality ingredients, sourced from the best producers. To try as much as you can while you’re here order the elaborate eight-course tasting menu.
Rui Paula’s Restaurants
In Northern Portugal, it’s advisable to become a groupie of chef Rui Paula and simply bop from restaurant to restaurant, since his trio encompasses the best spots in the region. The original is DOC, right off the Douro River in wine country, which has become known for its out-of-this-world dining experiences.
In 2010 Paula opened DOP in Porto, where he puts his own spin on classic Portuguese dishes such as lobster and fish rice. Lastly, Casa de Chá da Boa Nova opened in 2014 in a classified National Monument designed by Siza Vieira—influenced by the likes of Le Corbusier—on the seafront north of Porto that’s as much a visual feast as a meal there is a literal one.
Find out all about this Spring’s lighting inspirations and the best lighting stores with DelightFULL‘s latest Interior Design Trends: Spring 2017 e-book! Visit us also on Pinterest and do not forget to come by every day, we will have the best lighting suggestions for you and your home!