Our first stop of our Portugal trip was Porto. With direct flights from New York City, it was an easy place to start our itinerary and work our way south through the country to the beaches and islands. Although smaller than the city of Lisbon, Porto boasts lots of history and character and has more of small-city charm than the capital. The cobblestone streets, although hilly, are flatter than the stairways you’ll find in Lisbon, making it slightly more walkable and accommodating for a stroller.
With a 12 hour flight delay, our time in Porto got cut short, but we were able to take in a lot in a short time. Although public transit is available, we opted for a private transfer from the airport for both ease and so that we could book a car with a carseat.
Our Hotel in Porto
We chose to stay at a newer boutique hotel – Vignette Collection Casa Da Companhia, part of the IHG portfolio. Even though it’s newly opened, the building is quite old, from the 18th century, and the renovation preserved the historic elements. The property has already generated positive reviews, including from the writers at Travel + Leisure. I was hesitant about how luxurious it would be being an IHG hotel, but I was not disappointed in the least – this hotel was fabulous. But then again I’m a Marriott loyalist and don’t have a ton of experience with the brand. This place changed by perspective.
The location was off a centrally located pedestrian street, and although taxis couldn’t quite drive up to the door, it was a short walk from the main road (a little challenging with suitcases). But otherwise the location was convenient, and charming, near a number of shops and boutiques. The building itself is historic and charming, with a gorgeous atrium entrance that immediately shows its historic charm.
Despite arriving late at night, they greeted us with a drink (and treats for our toddler) and recognized my IHG status with an upgrade. The staff could not have been more welcoming, and held our stroller so we didn’t need to store it in our room. (The only negative was the reception is on the second floor, making it one extra step when coming and going, but this wasn’t an issue.)
Our room had beautiful views of the city and pool, and was decorated in the best mix of classic decor paying homage to the origins of the building, with upscale modern touches.
Breakfast was included, and was my favorite kind of hotel meal that exemplifies a luxury boutique hotel – a small upscale buffet of the finest pastries, fruits, local delicacies, along with made-to-order eggs and coffee. It was delicious.
Our backup hotel choice was the popular Torel 1884 Suites & Apartments which also have rave reviews for families. However the price point of Vignette Collection Casa Da Companhia could not be beat for the level of luxury it offers, and I would certainly stay here again on my next trip to Porto – with or without kiddos.
What to Do in Porto with Kids
We found the streets of Porto mostly walkable with a stroller. Despite only having a short time in the city, we embarked on our own little walking tour of the city. We hit some main sites:
- Livraria Lello – the famous bookstore named one of world’s most beautiful, and served as inspiration for Hogwarts Library for JK Rowling. It’s crowded and lines are long, so it may be worth just peeking inside from the doorway, like we did.
- Igreja do Carmo – A church beautifully covered in azulejos – the famous blue and white tiles across Porto.
- Miradouro da Vitória – a viewpoint above the city that is spacious and has street performers for entertainment.
- Porto Cathedral and Rua das Aldas Viewpoint – for views and photos of the city.
- Walk along the waterfront, a great wide path with views of the river, and excellent restaurants along the water.
Where to Eat in Porto with Kids
Majestic Café – This famous cafe is known for being where JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter.
McDonald’s Imperial – Labeled “the world’s most beautiful McDonald’s” this fast food staple is inside a historic cafe. Great for a lunch or snack stop that the kids will approve of!
Mercado do Bolhão – an amazing market with tons of food stalls for trying local delicacies! Also a great spot for edible souvenirs.
Porto is an incredibly easy-to-navigate and kid-friendly city. You can walk to see many of the main sites by foot, and most streets are accommodating for a stroller. Restaurants are mostly kid-friendly, but when in doubt you can visit the world’s prettiest McDonald’s and still feel cultured!