I’m not quite sure how exactly Porto trumped other destinations to become one of my big holidays this year, but it was definitely swayed by the fact that it was home to Primavera Sound (Porto), the offshoot of its more famous sister festival in Barcelona.
The trip started off very well, as it only can do when you’re sipping the complimentary bottle of Port in a freestanding tub on your first day of your holiday while you’re Spotifying the hell out of the playlist for the acts on that evening. Let’s just say I learnt one big lesson in Porto – don’t drink a whole bottle of Port to yourself unless you want to feel like someone is trying to compress your skull into the shape of a ruler the following day. So when C was quaffing Champagne at breakfast the next day, I was quietly sipping water.
Despite life lessons learnt, festivalling in Porto proved to be a brilliant alternative to the UK festival scene. With the main headliners playing after 10pm, it meant after we’d recovered from dancing till sunrise, we could spend the days exploring Porto, a beautiful city with terracotta rooftops and bridges you just want to off into the Douro river.
We’d spend the afternoon on the beach at Foz, using the rocks as wind shields, wander and lunch at the quayside, swoon over the grand designs of Livararia Lello – one of the oldest bookshops in Porto – or being educated on all things Port (perhaps this should have been at the start of my trip) by the wonderful and informative PR of Taylor’s, one of the oldest Port lodges.
As I was commissioned to write a piece for a spa magazine, the final part of the holiday was spent at The Yeatman, a beautiful wine and spa hotel located high on the slopes, nestled between the port lodges. What with the Yeatman’s fine dining (it has a Michelin-starred restaurant that’s worth the visit alone), infinity pool, all-round sweeping views of the city, it made the trip to Porto even more memorable. Just remember Port’s best served as an apéritif.