Open the windows and the Atlantic Ocean just rushes in – not literally of course but with a hypnotizing, swishing sound and an uplifting stream of fresh salty air. Not to mention exquisite crushed persimmon sunsets.
And with a sandy beach a mere twenty yards away, outcrops of rocks that make waves swirl in circles of splashing white foam, a long pier featuring a candy-striped lighthouse, boats of all kinds on the far horizon, people leisurely walking their dogs and a fisherman on a bicycle, rod in hand, poised to catch his dinner – the perfect seaside picture is complete.
As for comfort and convenience, a simple, white street-side door leads one into a corridor with steps leading up to five separate apartments owned by a group of entrepreneurial veterinarians who have also established such accommodation options in Lisbon and the historical town of Tomar.
Inside, creative design by Architect José Carlos Cruz with paintings by artist Pedro Matos comprise a modern interior that also features varnished bare-wood floor, ample cupboard space, three windows looking directly on to the sea, a large round dining-table with two chairs, two comfortable armchairs, a settee, oven, refrigerator, television and coffee/tea making facilities. Fresh flowers enhance the living room and the stylish marble-like bathroom features a wonderful walk-in shower.
Architecturally interestingly, the bedroom is neatly located within a self-contained, box-like structure tucked behind two doors on a level a step above the rest of the apartment.
Breakfast is provided upon request, in a charming wicker basket left outside your room, including cereal, milk, fresh orange juice, pastries, cheese and ham. A coffee machine provides the Portuguese version of a Nespresso coffee, but much more flavorsome.
As for entertainment, the apartment complex is on a regular bus route both into the Porto’s main train station near which are museums and art galleries, and along the meandering coast which is dotted with charming, beach-side seafood restaurants and cafes. In addition, immediately outside on Rua Senhora da Luz, one of the neighborhood’s main commercial streets, are restaurants, cafes, bars, small stores and supermarkets, many of them facing the sea, some selling trendy clothing and accessories, others basic foodstuffs and drinks, including wide selections of Portuguese wines and ports.
Fancy a down-home pub where locals hang out sipping beer and brandy? Try Bar Condicionata or Napoleon Bonaparte, both less than a five-minute walk away. More interested in something a bit trendier? Try the snug Bar Tolo, which also has a small street terrace. As for history, a medieval castle is nearby and well worth exploring.
If it’s the fresh air of a seaside retreat you yearn for that is also within walking distance of lively neighborhood cafes and restaurants not to mention a short 15-minute drive to downtown museums and art galleries, ‘Flattered to be in Porto’ is the right choice.