PORTO (???) combine with Galicia??

Old Nov 22nd, 2016, 12:56 PM
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I'll be following this thread with great interest since we plan to do something similar next year.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2016, 05:47 PM
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Ekscrunchy,
We spent six weeks in Portugal and N. Spain. We dropped off our rental car in Porto while visiting that city which we really enjoyed. Before turning the car in, we toured the Minho region and stayed in Guimares at the lovely Pousada. The rest of the trip was inspired by a desire to see Santiago de Compostela and the Basque region.
Our hotel in Porto, Infante de Sagres, arranged for a driver to take us over the border to get our Spanish rental car in Vigo, Galicia saving us a huge drop off charge.. I am traveling now for Thanksgiving so don't have my exact itinerary from that trip with me however can give you the highlights.
From Vigo we drove to Baiona-oceanfront Parador, beautiful, then O Grove in the rias biaxes, , Santiago de Compostela-Parador- we loved watching the pilgrims arriving in the plaza. Book far in advance to get a reservation at this parador, a former hospital for pilgrims built by Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand.
Leon-again in a beautiful parador. The cathedral with it's stained glass windows is highly recommended.
Then Ribadisella, Santiana del Mar, Bilbao, San Sebastian, Hondarribia and then into the French Basque villages in the Pyrenees, St-Jean de Luz. This trip also included the Pyrenees, Costa Brava and Barcelona. Lisbon to Barcelona, six weeks. Santiago de Compostela ranks as one of favorite travel memories. Time in the Minho region of Portugal plus Galicia,Asturias, Cantabria would be an interesting itinerary. It would be easy to extend to the Basque region too.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2016, 11:57 PM
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If you go to Porto, you might enjoy Rui Paula DOP Restaurant. We dined there two nights in a row on our Porto trip, and recognised others diners who had done the same.
https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/Restau..._Portugal.html

Vinum Restaurant at Graham's Port Lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia is a great place for lunch, with excellent views. We also enjoy our private tour of the winery, which was followed by a tasting of tawnies for me, and vintage ports for my husband. While Porto is known for its ports, it red wines can also be excellent. Graham's Chryseia was worth trying.
http://www.vinumatgrahams.com

Don't fail to do a Douro River Boat Cruise. We took the boat upriver and returned by train to São Bento Station to see its glorious azulejos.
https://lusitaniaexperience.pt/2016/...ized-azulejos/
If we were to return, we'd probably try to spend a night or two at one of the quintas overlooking the Douro.

You might enjoy the tiny gem of Livraria Lello, the bookstore that supposedly inspired J.K. Rowling to write her Harry Potter series. It's close to São Bento Station.
http://www.localporto.com/bookstore-...o-lello-irmao/

We also enjoyed the riverside ride on the #1 tram from Porto to Foz do Douro.
http://www.stcp.pt/en/tourism/porto-tram-city-tour/
http://www.travelandlifestylediaries...to-foz-do.html

Porto is known for its "francesinha." My husband had one, but it looked quite rich and I don't eat pork so I passed on this one.
https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2...porto-portugal

We visited several riverside port lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia. Ramos Pinto was our favorite.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2016, 05:21 AM
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HappyT: I just might replicate your trip, but cut it down to three weeks maximum. Maybe fly home from San Sebastian. Good idea about having the driver take you over the border. What month did you travel? (I worry about the weather) I will wait to ask more questions when you return from the holidays.

PalenQ: I was surprised at how much I liked Burgos. The architecture, the river with the ducks, bordered by all those trees, the parks, the walkability, the friendliness of the people. Many people advised me to stay a maximum of two nights. But I now think three, or even four, would be ideal, and we did not even take the intended day trips to Lerma and Covarrubias that I had originally planned. So maybe four nights with a day for day trips would be best.

Robert: You KNOW that El Caprichio is on my list! this last trip was the first time I had sampled a txuleta, or beef in any quantity from Spain. I was bowled over!
(Of course, my first taste was at Etxebarri..not a bad place to begin!) What'
s more incredible is that when I planned our trip, I went over the restaurant plan with my partner, with the "warning" that the beef we would encounter would be served rare. The response was: "That's ok; I can eat something else. You know I did not llike that rare beef in Tuscany."

But when that txuleta appeared on the table, I had to fight to get my share! I'm not a steak connoisseur by any means but that meat sent me over the moon!! I so much wanted to sample more steak at Bar Nestor in San Sebastian, but we were just too stuffed all the time. Next time, for sure!!)
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Old Nov 23rd, 2016, 09:56 AM
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I went to Porto, parts of northern Portugal and Galicia all in one trip. I wanted to include Asturias, but I ran out of time. Although I loved Porto and would love to go back, I thought the food there was the worst of my trip (but the Port was great!). Most dispiriting of all was the tourist areas on both sides of the river (I forget wat the name of the sister town across the river is - Vila + Gaia? Nova? Sorry, too lazy to look it up). That is where all the port distilleries are, and like I said, the port is delicious. But the riverbank restaurants on both sides are the worst kind of tourist restaurants. The rest of Porto is really very poor, and people don't eat much in restaurants. Things might have gotten better -- I did try some recommended upscale restaurants and was unimpressed. But don't skip Porto, because it's just a fabulous "attic" stuffed with architectural treasures of a very unique sort.

Right outside of Porto there is wonderful food and wine in lots of small towns in and the Minho, but of course most of it is rustic and traditional, local recipes. There are probably fancy country restaurants, though, maybe even some with Michelin stars.

I found it is really easy to drive around Galicia and northern Portugal, and I went without a fixed plan. The traditional food in Galicia is out of this world, and the region is filled with beautiful small towns and beautiful sea views. One of my favorte towns was Pontevedra, but I also liked Lugo very much. I can't remember the names of all the towns I went to on the coast. There are still beach shacks that serve feasts of fresh fish at outdoor tables. Although I said it is easy to drive, it takes a loooooooooong time to drive on many of the roads. They are narrow and twisty and go over hill and dale. That's why I ran out of time.

I've looked high and low for a good guidebook to Galicia and to northern Portugal. Never found one, not even for Porto.

By the way, you probably already know, it rains a lot there. I had a lot of sunny weather, but was told I was lukcy.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2016, 12:45 PM
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Another idea on going from Porto to Galicia would be the train. Renfe trains leave Porto twice daily and take just over 2 hours to get to Vigo. Some of the trip is along the coast and quite scenic. We have done this twice, and found it easy and enjoyable. We have then picked up our rental car in Vigo for our tour of Galicia.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2016, 05:26 PM
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Our travels in Portugal started in Porto, included Santiago and ended in Lisbon. Click on my name to find the trip report.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2016, 10:44 PM
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"I was bowled over!" Now you know! El Caprichio serves oxen (buey), the best in the world! Enjoy!!!
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Old Nov 26th, 2016, 07:22 AM
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Good food in Porto (as I think you're a foodie). You cannot find them advised elsewhere. Just trust me (or not)as i'm a local (and that's where we go):

the cheapest vision: restaurante tia aninhas: https://www.facebook.com/RestauranteTiaAninhas/

the not-so-cheap...: http://www.opaparico.com/

Enjoy (or not... you can choose those "frenchie" restaurants with a lot of michelin stars...")

Another one, for "carabineros" (these are hudge and not so flavour... please try "camarão da costa"... very small but really good!!!) - Lusíadas (that's the name of the restaurant). Not in Oporto, but in Matosinhos.

Hope you have a pleasant stay.

Helena
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Old Nov 26th, 2016, 08:28 AM
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Some folks have a distinctive judgment on what they see and then makeup.
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Old Nov 26th, 2016, 11:26 AM
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We traveled in June and early July.
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Old Nov 29th, 2016, 07:23 AM
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Robert:

I just took out a new book on food in Spain; guess who has a chapter devoted to his restaurant outside León??? None other than José Gordón!




https://www.amazon.com/Grape-Olive-P...rape+olive+pig
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Old Dec 2nd, 2016, 04:23 AM
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For a little taste of that book, read this. http://roadsandkingdoms.com/2016/bar...f-the-seaside/

The best travel writing I've read in years, so many layers woven through the main story line on percebes.
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Old Dec 26th, 2016, 08:08 AM
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"yestravel".......regarding Porto being described as "gritty" which I will find out in May as we travel to Guimaraes, Porto, and Ericeria, just an FYI: Although not the "expert" in European travel, well know travel author RICK STEVES in his most recent publication on Portugal opens the chapter on Porto with the following description "Porto has a gritty character, warts and all". Just saying.....
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Old Dec 26th, 2016, 09:56 AM
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Eks

Have been to northern Portugal a few times but have spent considerably time in Galicia and as late as this October. If you want details please ask.

One of the best guides on Northern Spain is Cadogan. They are simply boring to read but accurate with a great deal of information.
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Old Dec 26th, 2016, 10:48 AM
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"Porto has a gritty character, warts and all">

this is one reason I loved Porto - not all gussied up but like European towns looked decades ago - I would not say seedy but yes gritty - old buildings not modernized - just loved it- the Naples of Portugal to me!
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Old Dec 26th, 2016, 12:46 PM
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Porto has beautiful, beautiful, unique architecture, much of it Art Nouveau and decorated with exceptional tile work. One of its joys is that it has not been renovated, so while you occasionally find a builiding crying out for a savior, you also will find street after street of surprising fascination if you just go even a little bit off the beaten track.

"Gritty" in travel books is often a euphemism for "poor." There is true poverty in Porto. Many natives who could afford it have left the old, steep neighborhoods and relocated to the other river bank, which has more modern apartments and amenities. There is also more work over there, and small businesses. So the people left behind in the oldest parts of Porto very often have very little, and they don't get much from the tourist trade, which bunches up in certain small parts of town but not others. There are parts of Porto that are very reminiscent of how Venice looked before zillion-bazillions of tourists invaded every blessed corner. Venice was an impoverished place, losing population, with lots of very shabby corners with barely any plumbing and the places to eat could not have been more utllitarian and cheap and unrefined. So much was threadbare.

There are now richer and renovated parts of Porto, all of it fascinating, but so are the parts that haven't been commercialized to attract tourists.
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Old Jun 10th, 2017, 10:22 AM
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I'm back again with a question:

Is O"Grove a town that should be visited? There seem to be some good eating places there and it looks pretty. But I've not read of many here staying there...

I'm trying to formulate a vague itinerary of Galicia, with Leon and Porto, and am having trouble deciding upon which towns in Galicia to include. As I mentioned above, Santiago is not a must since I've been there twice. Trying to plan a route that does not require huge amounts of driving but could still include Leon and probably Porto..
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Old Jun 10th, 2017, 11:41 AM
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The coastal scenery around O Grove is simply wonderful and no doubt if you find the right places to eat, the food would be spectacular. I have no recollection of visiting O Grove itself, but I many not have passed through it. The towns in that beautiful part of Galicia are in my recollection very small. I'm not sure what would be the draw of the towns. For me the draw is the lovely scenery all around the wonderfully named Ria de Arousa and the downhome low key restaurants you stumble across around there. Maybe there is one in O Grove.

For me, the memorable towns in Galicia for architectural treasure were Tuy (Tui), Pontevedra and Lugo. There is also a stunning small crypt outside of Lugo that is well worth a stop of you have an interest (and are driving).

http://european-heritage.org/spain/l...%B3veda/galego

Generally speaking, I loved all the dramatic coastal scenery that I saw in Galicia but didn't like the town of Finesterre and saw nothing of the Bay of Biscay. Were I going back, I would want to spend more time around the coastal area which contains O Grove, and I would probably enjoy spending many nights in Pontevedra, because it has great evening scene, with seemingly everybody in the streets.
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Old Jun 10th, 2017, 12:47 PM
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Massimop: That is extremely helpful and I thank you. I'm mainly interested in having a few bases from which to explore the scenery and places to eat nearby.
since my partner does all of the driving, I do not want to have him drive more than a couple of hours per day, thus the desire to have perhaps 2 or 3 Galician bases, in addition to Leon and probably Porto. It looks at first glance that we will concentrate on the southern part of Galicia, from Tuy to Pontevedra/O Grove.
I love the idea of the evening scene in Pontevedra.

So perhaps base in O Grove, Pontevedra city, and one more place (??)
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