Three days of exploring the wonders of Lisbon, Porto, Santiago de Compostela, and Bilbao on foot.
- + 23
Portugal, Spain3 days / July 2019
Highs & Lows
Watching the sunset on a hill overlooking Porto.
I wish I had a little bit more time!
Walked the streets of Bairro Alto filled with steak from Café de São Bento and gelato from Gelateria Nannarella, took a tram into the hills of the Alfama District, and zipped from Praça do Comércio up Avenida da Liberdade on electric scooters in Lisbon.
Took a train to Porto to start a short solo trip. Explored Livraria Lello, the São Bento train station, and the Porto Cathedral as well as admired Liberdade Square and the various churches populating the city with ornate architecture. Just as the daylight was starting to fade, I walked through the Ribeira riverfront before crossing the Luis I Bridge and sitting down in the Jardim do Morro to admire the sunset over the river and city with a crowd of picnickers listening to live Fado music. To complete my Porto experience, I had a francesinha (typical sandwich dish from the area) with a glass of Port wine at one of the best restaurants in town.
Caught a train north to Santiago de Compostela, where I wandered around and inside of the Cathedral. Explored the Cathedral Museum and then headed to Mercado de Abastos de Santiago to get a small version of a Tarta de Santiago and some Polbo á feira (traditional foods).
Got on an overnight bus east to Bilbao, where we arrived early in the morning. Walked across La Salve bridge to take the Artxanda funicular up to a viewpoint of the city as the sun rose. From there, I walked across the Zubizuri, grabbed a coffee at a local shop, and strolled the neat avenues and well-manicured streets of the city. I made sure to get to Azkuna Zentroa (a cultural center), Casilda Iturrizar park, the Guggenheim Bilbao, Plaza Nueva, and Mercado de la Ribera. Ate my way through Casco Viejo with pintxos (small local snacks) and “basqued” (pun intended) in the architecture and put-together vibe of the city.
Q & A
What would you have changed?
Another day in Porto and another day in Bilbao would have been nice to explore the surrounding areas more.
Anything go wrong during the trip?
How was the food?
Eater, Culture Trip, and the Crazy Tourist all have great recommendations. Definitely get a francesinha and port wine in Porto, octopus and traditional sweets in Santiago de Compostela, and pintxos in Bilbao.
What tips would you give a friend?
Walk around and explore as much as you can. Bring your wallet, phone, and a small bag with a water bottle and sweatshirt with you so you can be comfortable for multiple hours.
Rome2Rio has good resources for scouting out a route from place to place, and then use the national bus/train lines.