Take advantage of this elegant Old World venue at better prices than much of Western Europe. This was my personal choice for a solo travel vacation. I had first heard of Porto from friends who had highly recommended it as one of the top tourist destinations in the country. It was just a quick train ride of about two hours from Lisbon.
The Palacio Do Freixo is a “Pousada”, one of the historic buildings in Portugal now converted to an elegant hotel. The Palace is located outside the town itself, only about a five to ten minute cab ride. The hotel can also provide some free transportation. Another option is to take the thirty to forty minute scenic walk along the river. The riverside walk is lined with cafes and shops to browse.
While it was a little quiet after being in a capital city, Porto does have a nightlife district. In the daytime, there is also much to explore.
Porto is filled with UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is set on a very high hilltop location overlooking the Douro River. The historic part of the old town is perched at the top of the hill. Fortunately, its is also accessible by a tram.
Top sights include:
the Sao Bento train station
the Neo-Gothic Sé do Porto Cathedral completed in 1737
the Eiffel Bridge
the Torre dos Clerigos
More World Heritage Sites:
the Art Deco House and Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar
Visit one of the many lookouts, such as Miradouro da Rua das Aldas, for a view.
Harry Potter fans will not be able to resist seeing the Livraria Lello Bookstore.
Go on wine tastings and vineyard tours. Sample the local port.
Take a 6 Rivers Cruise. (Personal tip: Vie to be at the front of the line for boarding to get a seat in the front. The view will be much better.)
If you are looking for an adventure, try the bridge climb.
For special savings, be sure to ask about student ID cards and seniors discounts.
For a more complete list, see also Trip Advisor, “Top 15 Things to Do in Porto, Portugal“
A 5 Star Palace Hotel: Pousada Do Porto-Palacio Do Freixo:
After my stay there, I can highly recommend it. Unlike many chateau hotels that are part fortress and dark, you will find the Palacio Do Freixo is bright and sunny. It was restored to its 18th-century elegant grandeur as an authentic Portuguese palace. Located along the river bank, the brick and stone facade is painted a crisp white. That gives it an almost Mediterranean feel. The Palace interior is decorated in the high style of Old Europe with period-style furnishings. Foodies will be pleased to see that the small dining room offers top cuisine to satisfy any gourmet pallet. More good news: I found there was no problem getting a “table for one” even on a Saturday night!
The Palace was a great place to explore. I found many hidden spots underneath the towers to curl up and read a book sitting outside on warm days. The Palace, after its renovation, still has an ornate Baroque exterior following the original plans at the time that it was built. The interior stately public rooms and furnishings echo that same period.
Guest rooms are in the newer addition at the back of the hotel. They balance out the historic feel of the Palace with 21st century modern conveniences, including a flat-screen TV. The rooms are all air-conditioned and also have a separate sitting area. The bathrooms include top amenities and a hairdryer.
Outdoors in warm weather you can relax in a lounge chair at the hotel’s infinity pool right beside the river. In addition, the on-site spa has a Turkish bath, heated indoor pool and a sauna. Massage treatments are available.
In addition to the dining room’s dishes and full breakfast buffets, guests can order light snacks at the pool or evening cocktails at the hotel’s bar.
While the Palace provides a real luxury solo vacation, it is worth it to splurge from time to time.
For more luxury solo travel options, if you have a generous budget, try the Yoatman. It starts at mid-$300’s for singles. If it works for you, you will find that there is much to enjoy:
In addition, there are many 4-star lodgings in Porto at a moderate price of about $150 per night. Go to our Booking.com search tool with its Best Price Guarantee to find the top deals for singles.
For cheap solo travel vacations in Porto, you should try the Casa Rosa. It is currently listed in May at a starting price from $99 per night for a studio. Besides a great price, it is in the heart of Porto, walking distance from all the major sights.
For other options in European castle hotels at a wide range of prices, see our posts on “Solo Travel Deals: Castle Hotels“.