It’s so wonderful to go to a city and see it prepared for one of the greatest parties of the year. Unknowingly, we arrived there on the week of the party of São João do Porto, you can check the details about that beautiful party below.
Party of São João
We were really lucky this time for arriving before June 23rd, the day when the birth of São João Batista is celebrated by the catholic church. One curiosity is that it was a pagan party anciently, to celebrate the beginning of the Summer solstice, the good crops and fertility, and later the church assigned São João Batista as patron.
Some traditions always followed that becomes an enormous fun is using a plastic hammer to hit (lightly) on people’s heads, to wish good luck or fertility. Leeks would be used before, but as they smelled, the hammer was adopted.
Something that makes the sky brighter at night is the hot air balloon, although I think it’s a little dangerous, but people are allowed to release them during the party, and you can buy one too for only 3 Euros and have fun with your friends.
The typical food is the baked sardine with pepper, but you’ll find many ones that we tasted, as ‘Bifanas’, sandwiches of meat and bread, named ‘Pão de Deus’, a loaf topped with sweet toasted flour. There’re also ‘Tripas’, a jelly dough with sweet fillings, and ‘Sangria’, a beverage made of wine, orange and lemon juice.
And the most part of the tents are concentrated on Aliados avenue, as well as the shows that take place until the banks of Douro river next to Dom Luís bridge, where the traditional fireworks start at midnight, with effects of lights and sounds.
Stage of the Party of São João
Aliados Square, where the party takes place
Balloons at the Sky
Place of Baked Sardines
Decorated Streets for the Party
Hammer on the Hand
Fireworks at Midnight
Tripa Filled with Chocolate
Cellars of Gaia
Going through the river until beside Cais of Gaia, there are a lot of wine and cellars manufacturers. A lot of them are centenarian, and it’s possible to take a tour to learn more about their history, taste some wines, chocolates and cheeses. The prices range a lot, so choose the kind of tour that is the most suitable one for you. We’ll give you some links of our favorite ones: burmester.pt, sandeman.com, myportocruz.com.
For whomever visits the city on the day of São João, there is a regatta of the rabelo boats, old sail boats loaded with wine barrels of wine of Mouth Douro, and the arrival is in front of the cellars next to Dom Luís bridge.
Visual of Cais de Gaia
View of São Luiz Bridge
Porto Cruz Cellar
Municipal Market of Gaia
Matosinhos Beach and Mouth Douro
Whomever visits Porto can’t help going to a beach with peaceful waters named Matosinhos, great for whomever likes to walk. We passed through the Castle of Cheese and walked until Mouth Douro, through Brasil avenue, where there are a lot of restaurants and pubs and where we also saw the castle of the mouth and Jardim do Passeio Alegre. Th sunset is said to be wonderful here, that’s why the river was named Douro, but we couldn’t follow it because the sun sets at 9pm in the summertime.
Fort of the Cheese
Visual of the Canal of Mouth Douro
City of Braga
As we were very close to the famous city of Braga, we decided to make a train at the station of São Bento, at the center of Porto. We paid 7 Euros (32 Reais) each one, round trip, but you should check the availability of the 24-hour ticket. It’s more interesting, once you can visit more cities such as Guimarães, which is also next to it. Link https://www.cp.pt//passageiros/pt
Braga is a very old city, founded in 16 B.C by the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus, but it’s very small and you can visit it all in a single morning and have lunch in the city of Dom Diego de Souza, very close to the Arch of New Gate, where countless restaurants and pubs are located. That was where we tasted the typical dishes referred as “Francesinha”, which are slices of bread filled with ham and meat, rolled in the cheese and topped with wine sauce, and the other dish is the cod, which has countless ranges depending on the restaurant.
The main touristic attractions are: Cathedral of Braga, Garden of Santa Bárbara, Praça da República, the Tower of the Castle and Congregados Basilica, and a lot of streets and stores.
Central Train Station at Braga
Garden of Central Avenue
Arch of New Gate
Cathedral - Sé of Braga
Francesinha - Typical Food
Where to stay
We chose to stay with Airbnb, and we found an excellent place, a complete apartment, just 4 km from the center, very close to the engineering and science colleges, we still had full attention by our host. Let’s leave here our Airbnb link, so you can get a discount too, Good!
Means of Transport
We arrived via Flixbus bus from Madrid, worth 20 Euros (90 reais) each ticket. Once inside the city we went by bus to our Airbnb, as the bus stop is in front of the bus station. The means of transport are great and very comfortable, it is very easy to use, there are totems where tickets can be purchased 1.50 Euros.
Metro of Porto
Means of Transport Tickets
Safely of City
For the period we stayed we found it very safe, and we saw a lot of policing in the streets and in the tourist spots. We walked a lot throughout the city during the day and it was very quiet, people are super friendly and helpful. We also avoid walking alone after 9 pm. We love walking around here.
For you to travel in peace, it’s important to have a travel insurance which keeps you safe and has a comprehensive coverage. We always ensure with April Brasil Seguro Viagem, which covers all around the world, it has an app that is easy to access, for you not to keep all that paperwork when you need to use it, the best part, you can access it from everywhere in the world with service in our language.
So, don’t waste time and hire something safe, and we have a discount coupon, we’ll leave the link below too! Run and use it.
DISCOUNT COUPON: COUTRIPS10%
App April Brasil
Internet For Your Trip
To keep your connection during all the trip, you need a great SIM card, with a worldwide coverage, internet 3G and 4G. For that, we used Easysim4u, the best internet SIM card in the world for your trip. And see that we have been through some countries and we always had the coverage of the plans of Easysim4u. Don’t waste time, run and hire your SIM card for your next trip.
Here’s the link for you to access and ensure your connection to the internet in the world.
Kind of Currency
Currency Type The local currency of Porto is the Euro, and the exchange rate in dollar June / 2019 is at $ 1.00 to 0.90 Euro. We recommend changing the currency in a safe place such as an airport or an Exchange, bank in the city. It is good to always have the local currency.
Expenses In Porto
Our expenses in currency (REAIS) in Porto during 9 days for the couple were the following:
Feeding: R$238,00 (marcket, snacks)
Transportation: R$124,00 (bus + Trains)
Lodging: R$713,00 (Airbnb)
We loved the city of Porto. We stayed there for 9 days and we always had different places and touristic attractions to visit. The party of São João made us be part of the local population. We loved the two-day party!
Tasting the regional wines was very good, as there are countless wineries and different kinds, not to mention that they are much cheaper than the ones bought in Brazil.