Growing up in Germany, I was lucky enough to get to see a lot of Europe. Partially because of soccer and going to tournaments, and partially due to my Italian heritage – whom just always had a knack for traveling. In the 20 years that I’d lived in Europe, Portugal was one of the countries I had never set foot in. Luckily, that changed recently with today’s sponsor, TAP Air Portugal. Through their 2x1stoppover I was able to not only discover the capital of the country, but also a much smaller, but possibly even more beautiful city: Porto. And that’s where we started the trip.
After an insanely comfortable overnight flight in TAP Air Portugal’s fantastic business class, my close friend and travel companion Bryant and I rested up at the Porto Palacio hotel for a little extra energy, before we set out to explore the city. We quickly got an overview of it, as we got lucky with our first cab driver, who offered to drive us around just a bit more to show us the pretty corners – which were endless. Porto’s beauty is very much centralized around the old city center, with a handful easily reached within 15 minutes. The energy of the city was magical, quiet yet lively. Whenever I travel, I’m rarely the “lay-by-the-pool-and-not-do-anything” type of guy, but much rather the explorer looking for the beauty .. for the ‘gram’, obviously. I genuinely feel like it’s one of the most involving ways of getting to know a city: focusing on your work makes you feel like you live there, like it’s your home, and oh what a home Porto was. Take a look at the shots down below before we move on to Lisbon, and if you want to know a few more things regarding the places below, we actually shot a little photo-tour-guide for the city, which is on YouTube.
Three days went by more than quickly, and we were off to our final destination — Porto was just a quick stopover. TAP Air Portugal actually makes it really easy to connect within Europe, not only Portugal. Our final destination might as well have been Berlin, and we still could’ve enjoyed a few days in Porto. Lisbon felt very different, a lot bigger, faster-paced, busier. Porto had been somewhat of a culture shock coming from NYC, while Lisbon reintroduced us to the big city life. It reminded me of many world capitols all in one: Paris, Milan, San Francisco, all for different reasons. The beautiful architecture in the city center is omnipresent, with beautiful monuments speckled all-throughout. We encountered more tourists, but at the same time a lot of younger people, which made the whole experience a lot more fun — one of my best friends from Germany even flew down to see us for a night, also on TAP Air Portugal, which was completely coincidental. The extra day we had there, four in total, allowed us to cover significantly more ground and explore more than just the historic center close to the castle. Closer to the large bridge reminiscent of the Golden Gate Bridge we found the LX Factory, which seemed like a little Williamsburg-ish bubble of hip, young people shopping, getting tattooed, dining or grabbing a drink. When we finally checked out of the gorgeous Tivoli Avenida Liberdade hotel, we felt like we got to know the city, both knowing we’d be returning in the future.
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Photography by Bryant Littrean and Manuel Sandner