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We had some very nice days at Joãos appartment. He welcomed us with fresh bread and gave us orientation for our stay in Port and Gaia. The appartment is a really unique place to stay and not far to the Cais de Gaia with it's port wine cellars and just a short walk to the Gaia train station. In three stops with the tram you're at Porto center. I can recommed everyone to stay at Joãos place!
João and Susana are hospitable and open-hearted. The first thing they
did after introducing us to the house was giving us an enormous (and
tasty) village bread they baked minutes ago.
The house is full of XX century art albums - from Basquiat to
Hundertwasser; you can spend hours intending to go to the wine cellars
but turning pages over for hours instead. Japanese-style compositions
of carefully balanced wood pieces hang on thin wire from the ceiling.
Going down the street you surprisingly see gigantic wall drawings probably made by João and Susana on the abandoned houses (you guess who's the author because sketches for those drawings are pinned over your bed).
Formally out the city boundaries of old Porto, the house sits in the very centre of Wine Cellar Area. Taylor's, Offley and other big 300-year-old brands keep their century-old barrels ageing within 5 to 10 minutes walk form the house door. Metro (in fact, the fast tram diving underground from time to time) is also within 10 minutes walk.
View from the window is superb. The only minus is that for the people
at least 170cm tall the area near the window, as well as bathroom and
toiled may feel a little cramped.
Hemos estado encantados en la casa. Los anfitriones son muy agradables y la casa muy acogedora. La zona es muy céntrica y cómoda para pasear por la ribera de las bodegas y visitar Porto. La única pega es la cama que suena mucho. Volveremos!!!
Apartment at the 3rd floor (with a no working lift), 10 minutes away from the nearest metro station by foot. So it takes about 20-25 minutes to go to the citycentre walking+metro, or 40-45 minutes by foot. You will be in Villa Nova de Gaia, close to the Porto caves.
The neighboorhood is quiet but a bit sad, with many houses brickep up that will probably be destroyed soon.
If you're looking for a standard and aseptic flat, don't go there. This apartment is a studio with charm, many plants and knickknacks everywhere. You will find there all the necessary to cook.
The bathroom is composed of a sink+mirror in the toilets, plus a shower in a closet.
Susanna answered our questions quickly and offered us ham, cheese and bread to feel good when we arrived.
João and Susana are very warm and helpful hosts, I felt very comfortable asking for any help or extra sheets or anything like that and the response time was almost immediate. The flat was perfect for a quiet stay, cosy and quirkily decorated, quite close to the river but, as with anywhere in or near the river around there, characterized by somewhat steep and uneven cobble-stoned paths. It's a family building so there's that added warmth to the environment as well. Importantly for me as a lone female traveler, I felt very safe here.
It's also the perfect location to try out the wine caves and check out Fado music, if that's among your big plans for your stay.
The views from the windows are lovely but note that there are no curtains, and bright sunlight does take over the apartment on a sunny afternoon. If you have difficulty with elevated spaces, as well, it's important to remember that the apartment is up three flights of stairs (not especially steep, though) and the shower involves a bit of a step up and down. There is no washer/dryer in the apartment, but I would just drop off my laundry outside João and Susana's door and a few days later it would be outside my door all clean and fresh.
If you're looking for a young, hip spot, with lots of bars and restaurants a stone's throw away, this isn't it - but it is a good place for a relatively quiet stay with lots of little freebies thrown in like basic staples and tea and coffee and cooking materials and such. As a (very) rough approximation of location, the most efficient route - albeit in inappropriately uncomfortable shoes - would take about 15 minutes to walk over to the riverside cafes and bars on the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the river. It was impeccably clean when I first walked in, which was also very pleasant, not to mention the welcoming smell of freshly baking bread and the lovely touch of a little soap hand-made by Susana in the bathroom.
Be sure to flip through the big book of photos of Porto by Susana's mum (in Portuguese and English) lying on the shelf, chock full of beautiful images of sites to see across the river!
Nice cozy room with a nice view over Vila do Nova Gaia. We got lucky and got a freshly baked bread as a welcoming gift. The location is easy to find and quick access to the city centre of Porto.
Only the bed was a bit noisy during the night, but this is just personal a preference.
Very nice and friendly hosts. Would stay there again for sure.
Este quarto foi tão simpatico que esperamos de ficar em Porto um outro dia! Bom espaço, boms hospedes, boa visita!
This room is so great that we were hoping to have spent an extra day in Porto just because it was so interesting. Great space, great hosts, great visit!
Obrigada, Douglas. Cá te esperaremos! ;)