Updated: Aug 12
Porto it is a charming, vibrant, and gorgeously authentic city that's perfect for photographers, weekend tourists, travelers, and adventurers alike. The historic Douro River, which runs through the center of the formerly port city, provides the ideal setting for leisurely river cruises, strolls at dusk, and lengthy lunches.
The Ribeira's winding cobblestone lanes are charming; the antique buildings' famous azulejos (tiles) give them vitality; and the jumble of terracotta roofs flowing down toward the busy Douro river create a picture-perfect scene.
The architecture and design are so captivating that they even served as an inspiration for J.K. Rowling's Hogwarts (see our tour to Livraria Lello bookstore here). Beautiful beaches are just a short (although rickety) tram ride away. Porto is stunning from every perspective and in every light.
Although many people associate Porto (or Oporto) with a mouthwatering glass of port, this city offers many more breathtaking attractions to see. After Lisbon, Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal. The city, which features a medieval city core that has been added to the Unesco World Heritage List, is situated on the Douro River.
During a visit to Porto, you will see historical structures, cathedrals, stunning bridges, and street art. The top Porto sightseeing, tourist attractions, highlights, and activities are helpful to examine before visiting this lovely city in Portugal so that you won't miss anything.
Visit Ribeira District - Perfect Porto Sightseeing
Do you remember those well-known pictures of Porto with the vibrantly colored homes beside the water? That area is known as Ribeira. This neighborhood, which translates to "on the river," is one that you should definitely check out if you're in Porto. You have a fantastic view of the renowned Luis I bridge and the Douro from the Praça da Ribeira, the central square. You can relax here on the numerous terraces or eat at the restaurants where you can sample regional specialties or a drink of port, but beware: pricing here are exorbitant even though these aren't Porto's best eateries.
Cruise on the Douro River - Perfect Porto Sightseeing
We all know that city sightseeing cruises have the tendency to be overly touristic. But in Porto, where so much of the city's life survives and thrives along the River Douro's bank, failing to see the city from the river would be a waste of time.
Join this six-bridge Porto city sightseeing boat tour by traditional rabello boat and learn about the river's importance to the city as you sail by many of the city's iconic bridges and sites.
You'll take the historic route once taken by wine merchants moving Port from the valley to the cellars, pass beneath the renowned Gustav Eiffel-designed Dom Luis I Bridge, observe lovely Riviera mansions from the river, and soak up some sun. If you have time (2-3 days) book yourself on a a cruise along the Douro Valley and be stunned by the beautiful landscape.
Dom Luis I Bridge
Porto features a total of six bridges, the most renowned of which is the Dom Luis I bridge. This 400-meter-long bridge was designed by a companion of Gustav Eiffel (the architect of the Eiffel Tower). The lower half of the bridge is utilized by automobiles, while the higher part is used by the metro. You can also walk across the bridge. One of these boat cruises will also take you to the six bridges. The Dom Luis I bridge connects Vila Nova de Gaia to all of the famous port cellars. A little further down the Douro is the Ponte Maria Pia, a little smaller metal railway bridge created by Gustav Eifel himself.
Searching for the Best Hotel in Porto? We have them here on our website.
Explore the Mercade Do Bolhao
The old and lovely Mercado do Bolhao is one of the top things to do in Porto.
This historic marketplace, still demarcated by the original 19th-century wrought iron gates, was bustling with vendors selling fresh fruit and vegetables, smoked meats and fresh seafood, and excellent bread, cheeses, and local specialties. Buskers sang traditional music at the entryway, while street food vendors enticed locals with wafts of cod, Porto's favorite cuisine.
Vila Nova de Gaia port cellars
The coolest thing to do in Porto! The city is recognized for its port, and visiting a port house during your time in Porto is nearly must. In Vila Nova de Gaia, the famed port cellars may be found all along the river. It is best to reserve a time slot in advance at several port cellars, especially during peak season.
There are 17 port houses to choose from, with the following excursions in port cellars receiving the highest ratings:
Cálem: schedule a guided tour with tasting; additionally, the tour can be combined with a Fado entertainment, which must be reserved in advance. Recommended: This enjoyable trip is also available with the Porto City Card.
Cockburn: The largest port cellar in Vila Nova de Gaia, with a variety of tours available, including vintage tours for true port fans and even demonstrations on how port barrels are formed; bookings are essential (schedule your tour with tasting).
Graham's: guided tour with tasting reservation, nice: tasting with cheese, chocolate, and Pastel de Nata, this port cellar is only a short distance away.
Taylors: only audio-guided tours
Burmester: schedule a guided tour with tasting right at the foot of the bridge.
Porto Cruz: more of a drink enthusiast? Then, with a great view, go to the rooftop bar of winery Porto Cruz. They have created various innovative drinks with port as an ingredient in response to the trend of making port more fashionable.
Taylors: only audio-guided tours
Casa Ramos Pinto is yet another authentic Portuguese winery.
Visit the Palacio da Bolsa and be amazed by the interiors
The Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace) was built between 1842 and 1910 to honor the city's wealthy merchants of yesteryear and now. The Portuguese stock market was previously housed in this neoclassical edifice, which was built on the ruins of the cloisters of the St Francis Church of Porto next door.
The meticulously constructed glass-domed Pátio das Naçes (Hall of Nations), the magnificent Escadaria Nobre (noble staircase), and the Salo rabe (Arab chamber) are just a few of the building's interior highlights. If you want to see all of the Palace's intricately built rooms, take one of the 45-minute guided tours, which depart from the main entrance every 30 minutes.
We have reviewed, tested and summarized the best Porto Hotels
for your stay on our website. You will find them here.
Visit Porto Cathedral
The cathedral of Porto, é do Porto, is positioned on the city's highest point. A lovely monastery is located next to this church, and both are worth a visit. The square Terriero da Se, located in front of the cathedral, offers a stunning perspective of the entire city. You may visit the monastery and the cathedral for a few euros per person (tip: you can buy your tickets online, but the ticket is also included in the Porto City Card). Inside the cathedral, you will be greeted by a stunning Gothic style. António Vital painted the blue and white azulejos panels in the monastery.
Harry Potter Fan? Visit the Livraria Lello
The Livraria Lello is one of the world's most beautiful bookstores. This library inspired JK Rowling's famous Harry Potter book series. Inside the bookstore, there is a wide wooden staircase where numerous photographs are taken for good cause. The interior is decorated with exquisite paintings in an art nouveau, art deco, and neo-gothic style. The first floor is entirely built of wood. The second storey is constructed of painted plaster. However, if it weren't for the fact that there are typically long lines in front of the door, you'd definitely walk right past the shop. Take note of the massive wooden doors and the two women painted on the facade.
Visit the Torre dos Clérigos
The church with the Torre dos Clérigos soars high above the city and dominates the Porto skyline. In the 18th century, Nicolau Nasoni erected this baroque-style church. Nicolau Nasoni not only designed this cathedral, but he also designed many other buildings in Portugal in the same original baroque style. There is a lot of marble, granite, and carvings inside the church. The tower, which is entirely formed of granite, is located at the western extremity of this church. The church is free to view, but climbing the 225 stairs to the summit, one of Porto's most popular attractions, costs a ticket. The view of the city from the summit is spectacular. During peak season, it's a good idea to reserve your ticket and time slot to climb the tower ahead of time. What a wonderful Porto Sightseeing!
Visit Carmo & Carmelitas
Two churches, the 17th-century Carmelitas on the left and the Igreja do Carmo on the right, are located side by side on the Praca Gomes Teixeira square. The tiniest house in Porto, which is barely over a meter wide, is located between the two churches. Because it was once believed that churches shouldn't be next to one another, this little, narrow house was constructed. Be sure to check out the spectacular side of the Igreja do Carmo church on the right, which is entirely covered with a huge azulejo tile mural. This painting was created by Silvestro Silvestri. Do you want to go to the cottage? then pay 4.50 euros for admission at the church on the right.
Avenida dos Aliados
The heart of Porto is home to Liberty Square, also known as Avenida dos Aliados. The banks and a number of restaurants around the perimeter of this broad area. Nearly all street corners offer bus stops, and there are various places to board a metro train. The Porto City Hall and the Dom Pedro IV Monument may both be found in the square, which is also a popular gathering place.
Igreja de Sao Francisco
The Igreja da So Francisco is a stunning church with carved gold accents. To adorn the church, more than 200 kg of gold were utilized. The church was not yet ornamented when it was constructed in the 14th and 15th century. The church wasn't renovated and embellished until much later. There is one outstanding element in the church, the Jesse Tree, in addition to all the eye-catching decorations. The family tree of Jesus is shown on this tree, which is entirely made of wood. For eight euros, you can explore the church and its companion museum.