Back to Europe again for this week’s $10 series! 😀
Today, we’re gonna talk about the city in Portugal where J.K. Rowling used to live. This is the city where the idea of mighty Harry Potter was born from her genius mind. And for those who don’t know what city it is, it is Porto.
You might be familiar with Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan, she’s one of the women travelers that I featured a few months ago and she’s back. Now, she’s back to share with us how far $10 USD could get you in Porto! 😉
What to Do with Your $10 in Porto
$10 USD, which is equivalent to about 9 euros, will go further in Porto than in most other Western European cities. Portugal is the most affordable country in the region, and prices in Porto are even a bit lower than in the capital, Lisbon.
In fact, there are lots of things to do in Porto that are completely free. While there are plenty of museums that you can visit, most of them are not really must-sees. The whole city is like an open-air museum, and the best way to experience it is just by strolling along the backstreets and exploring.
Get the Best View of Porto
Be sure to walk across the Dom Luís I bridge to Vila Nova de Gaia on the other side of the Douro river. The best views of Porto are from this bridge. The Ribeira district, with its narrow cobblestone streets, is a great place to wander aimlessly. Getting lost is half the fun!
And there is plenty of great street art to admire in Porto too. The previous mayor was very much against this form of art and used to send out a special anti-graffiti brigade to destroy any new murals as soon as they appeared. However, the new administration is much more accepting of urban art.
Local artists like Mr. Dheo, Hazul and Mesk have taken full advantage of this to fill the city with colorful murals in recent years. For advice on where to find the best murals, chat with the folks at Circus Network and at Dedicated Store Porto. Both these spaces hold temporary exhibits of urban art and graphic design, and they are very tuned in to the ever-changing street art scene.
Museums in Porto and Beyond
There are a few Porto museums with free entry as well, such as the Portuguese Center of Photography (Centro Português de Fotografia), which is housed in an old prison and hosts rotating exhibits by world-renowned photographers. The Banco de Materias is another cool place that not many tourists know about. It’s a depository of azulejos (Portuguese ceramic tiles) that have been collected from abandoned and demolished buildings.
And if you like sculpture, check out the home of Portuguese sculptor Teixeira Lopes, which has been turned into a free museum. In addition to this and other museums with free entry, there are quite a few museums that charge just 2.20 euros to enter during the week. And on Saturdays and Sundays, those are free as well!
One of the best of the bunch is the Casa do Infante, which was originally built as a customs house. It’s also where Prince Henry the Navigator was born, hence the current name, which means “house of the prince”.
Lunch at Casa da Horta
Once you’ve worked up an appetite with all that sightseeing, head to Casa da Horta for lunch. It’s technically a cultural association but functions as a restaurant run by volunteers. Here you can get a soup, main dish and drink for just 5.50 euros.
And if you have a sweet tooth, you should have just enough money left for Portugal’s most famous dessert, pastel de nata. These egg custard tarts are sold at pastry shops all over the city. But if you want one without the eggs and cream, you can find it at DaTerra, a popular vegan restaurant in the city center. Folks who have tried both the traditional pastel de nata and the DaTerra version say that DaTerra’s is as good as, if not better than, the original!
Contributor: Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan
Wendy Werneth is an intrepid world traveler, vegan foodie and animal lover. She is the author of the book Veggie Planet and the creator of the award-winning vegan travel blog The Nomadic Vegan, where she uncovers vegan treasures across the globe so that you can be vegan anywhere and spread compassion everywhere.