Porto | Portugal

Porto, Portugal is one of those places that I've always wanted to visit but still haven't actually made it there yet.  So you can probably still hear my squeal and excitement when I saw Canada based photographer, Allie Jennings breathtaking images and incredible reviews of this romantic and historical coastal city.

Allie shares her favourite places with us today.

Freixo Palace Hotel

This hotel (or should I say palace) was absolutely stunning, and definitely my favourite place

I stayed during the trip. It opened in 2009 as a hotel but has been classified as a national monument since 1910. The architecture is astounding from outside to in. I felt like a princess the entire stay. My room overlooked the beautiful Douro River which was a nice touch. They’ve updated parts of the hotel to include a beautiful pool area right overtop the river.

Breakfast Cruise with “Bsport”

One morning we woke up early and took a yacht up and down the river while we had coffee and breakfast, something so simple but I think that was my favourite part of the entire trip. It would be so romantic for honeymooners to take that boat ride. Sunrise or sunset would be just stunning; the views are to die for. 

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Visit to Palacio da Bolsa

This was simply just a tour of what use to be a trading building, but the architecture of this building was worth seeing. Located in the Centre of Porto Palacio da Bolsa is a serious work of art. From the intricate tile work to the carvings on the ceilings, your eyes don’t know where to look.

Lunch at Restaurant DOP

I had my first taste of octopus here and it was amazing. The food and drink was unreal. I could picture honeymooners sitting at a table near one of the tall open windows enjoying wine and a meal while the busy city bustled outside around them. The fact that this restaurant was right downtown gave it that true Europe feel.

Contemporary Art Museum of Serralves

It seems like Porto is very big in supporting their artists, which is nice to see. I enjoyed the museum but I have to say that my favourite part was walking the rose gardens here. I so badly wished I had a couple with me so I could photograph them there. I think I killed 2 rolls of film just on the flowers there. And for a museum, it felt like a ghost town. There was almost no one around which made the feel even more romantic. The pink dirt walkway around the grounds gave it such a unique touch. 

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Sunset Cocktails at The Yeatman

Ok - so another favourite. The Yeatman is a MUST. We went here for cocktails before dinner and the view of Porto from their terrace is just stunning. The river go so glassy and sipping beautifully decorated cocktails while the sun slowly set on the city was one of the prettiest sights I think I’ve ever seen. Their pool was also just voted one of the best in Europe - fun fact.

Guided tour at Taylor’s Port Wine Cellars & Dinner

This was such a fun tour. It explained how all the port is made - which I wish we’d done first since it helps you understand the rest of the city so much better. The cellar is really neat to see and tasting the wines after is fun because you have newfound knowledge to attach to each wine. We also had a delicious dinner here after the tour and the food was amazing. A very romantic setting overlooking Porto.

Coffee Break at Casa Da Calcada Relais & Chateaux

I love coffee, but coffee overlooking the little town of Amarante was something else. It was so quiet and peaceful and the view was great. I really wish we would have gotten chance to explore the town because it was so quaint and walking around there riverside would have been a couple’s dream day. Also this hotel was stunning. We had a quick tour and the rooms were really dreamy.

SPA Experience at Hotel Monverde

Another favourite, but obviously when a spa treatment is involved it’s going to be notable. I was lucky enough to enjoy a massage that included wine. The oils they use actually have wine in them. After the massage I got to relax beside their beautiful pool. This whole hotel is on the newer side, so not much history, but very modern. The pool area is something out of one of my dreams and worth the stay there alone. The entire property is surrounded by vineyard so you still feel like you're in Porto (wine heaven). The lunch here was my favourite food of the whole trip (I took tons of frames of it, the one beef dish that’s purple - I died a little). And the wine was killer. I brought 3 different bottles home with me. Also, the setting of the lunch was overlooking endless vines and mountains; it doesn't get more romantic than that. Apparently, Beckham and Victoria have stayed here, so you know it’s the real deal. 

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Quinta Da Pacheca Wine House Hotel

All I could think of while touring the grounds here, is how perfect it would be to host a wedding here. They have indoor spaces with lots of natural light and outdoor that back onto amazing views, both options great for a wedding. The views are romantic, typical Porto, surrounded by mountains and vineyards - a photographer’s dream.

Douro River Cruise

Yes, another must. I feel like you can’t go all the way to Porto without doing this cruise. It’s on an older wooden type boat, which could arguably make it more romantic than the yacht sunset cruise. The views of the hill top vineyards is surreal, especially after learning all about how the wines are made and knowing the work that goes into them by the locals. I watched multiple couples cuddling up on this cruise, I couldn’t blame them, it was really magnificent.

Lunch at DOC

Once you’re all the way out to Pinhao it seems like there isn’t much around as far as restaurants go. DOC is a modern gem hidden in the mountains along the river. I was sad the weather wasn’t nicer because they have a deck area that is literally overtop the river where you can dine. The inside of the restaurant is just as beautiful however. Floor to ceiling windows so that you still have that Douro River view while you enjoy some of the best food I’ve ever tasted. 

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My background is as a wedding & lifestyle photographer, shooting both digital and film to create authentic, soft and natural fine art photographs. Working primarily with natural light to give my work a beautiful, light and airy touch infused with soft tones. 

I have always appreciated and valued the simple things in life and finding the interesting in the ordinary.  Coco Lane was founded as I wanted to create something that is about an experience, the slower pace of life, cosiness and candlelight, cuddling up on the sofa with loved ones, being with the people you love, sharing food with close friends, a feeling of home, nurturing a chosen career, wanderlust travels, savouring the small moments in everyday life and just being you and enjoying a cup of tea.

I'm excited to bring you stories that promote all those moments in life that give us value and meaning; inspiring  us to live beautifully.

"I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life.  If you are interested in something, no matter what it is. Go at it full speed.  Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all become passionate about it.  Lukewarm is no good" - Roald Dahl