10 Things To Do In Porto
Porto is a stunning city in Portugal located on the banks of the Douro River. Known for its beauty, charming atmosphere, and exquisite cuisine, it has been a popular destination for tourists from around the world for many years. With its historical center, old churches, and vibrant culture, there is no shortage of things to do in Porto. In this post, we’ll take a look at 10 of the best activities to do in Porto, from taking a stroll along the river to exploring the city’s museums and galleries. With this guide, you can make sure you make the most of your visit!
An Introduction to Porto
Porto is Portugal’s second largest city, located in the northwest of the country. It is a vibrant, multicultural city that has become known for its creative energy, warm hospitality, and stunning architecture. Dating back to Roman times, Porto is steeped in history and culture. In the 12th century, it was a major trading port, and it is now known for its port wine industry.
The city is home to more than 400,000 people, making it Portugal’s second largest metropolitan area. It has a wide selection of restaurants, bars, and cafes, as well as plenty of cultural attractions. From its cobbled streets to its medieval fortifications and churches, there is so much to explore here. Here are 10 of the best things to do in Porto.
1. Take a Stroll Along the River
One of the best things to do in Porto is to take a stroll along the Douro River. This picturesque riverfront offers incredible views of the city, and it’s an excellent way to get familiar with the area. You can also take a boat ride to explore the river at a more leisurely pace. As you make your way along the path, you can admire the city’s stunning architecture and take in the views of the bridges that span the river.
2. Visit the São Bento Train Station
The São Bento Train Station is one of Porto’s most iconic landmarks. This beautiful building was built in 1916 and is a major transportation hub for the city. Inside you’ll find stunning azulejos, which are traditional blue and white tiles that depict various scenes from Portuguese history. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in learning more about the city’s rich history and culture.
3. Explore the City’s Museums and Galleries
Porto is home to some of Portugal’s most renowned museums and galleries. The Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the most popular attractions in the city and houses an impressive collection of contemporary art from around the world. The museum also has a beautiful park where you can take a leisurely stroll and admire the stunning architecture of this 19th-century villa. The Museum of Port Wine is another must-see for anyone interested in learning more about this famous beverage.
4. Stroll Through Porto’s Old Town
The old town of Porto is home to some of the city’s oldest buildings and monuments. Here you can explore narrow cobbled streets that are lined with churches and other historic landmarks. You can also visit some of Porto’s oldest shops and restaurants, where you can sample some of its famous dishes such as Francesinha sandwiches. It’s also worth taking some time to admire the architecture of some of the old buildings, such as the São Francisco Church and Clérigos Tower.
5. Take a Tour of the Port Wine Cellars
The port wine industry has been an integral part of Porto’s history for centuries, so it’s only fitting that you take a tour of the city’s famous cellars. Many of these cellars offer tours that include tastings so that you can sample some of the region’s best port wines. You can also learn about the history of port wine production and discover how this legendary beverage is made.
6. Visit Palácio da Bolsa
The Palácio da Bolsa is one of Porto’s most iconic landmarks and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This magnificent building was constructed in the 19th century and was once the headquarters of the Portuguese trading company known as Companhia Geral do Comércio do Porto (General Trading Company of Porto). Today it is open to visitors who want to explore its ornate halls and chambers filled with artwork, sculptures, and artifacts from past centuries.
7. Admire the Views From Dom Luís I Bridge
Dom Luís I Bridge is an iconic bridge that connects Porto to its neighboring city Vila Nova de Gaia. This impressive structure was designed by renowned architect Théophile Seyrig and spans over 500 meters across the Douro River. The bridge offers stunning views over both cities and is definitely worth visiting if you want to get a great photo opportunity.
8. Visit Livraria Lello Bookshop
Livraria Lello Bookshop is one of Porto’s most beloved attractions and has been voted one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. This stunning building was constructed in 1906 and features an incredible interior with stained glass windows, carved wooden staircases, and ornate moldings. It also houses a large selection of books so you can browse through its collection while admiring its intricate architecture.
9. Taste Some Traditional Portuguese Dishes
Portugal is renowned for its delicious cuisine, so it would be remiss not to sample some of its traditional dishes while you’re in Porto. Some of the most popular dishes include Francesinha sandwiches, which are filled with various types of meat, cheese, and egg; bacalhau (codfish); pastel de nata (custard tart); and caldo verde (kale soup). Make sure you ask for recommendations for some of the city’s best restaurants!
10. Explore Serra do Pilar Monastery
Serra do Pilar Monastery is one of Porto’s most beloved attractions and is located on top of a hill overlooking the Douro River. This 18th-century monastery has stunning views over both sides of the river and is home to some impressive artwork and sculptures that are definitely worth exploring. You can also enjoy a leisurely stroll through its gardens or visit its impressive library which houses more than 40,000 books!
Two Popular Tours To Consider
If you want to discover more about Porto’s culture and history then why not book one of these two popular tours?
Port Wine Tasting Tour
The Port Wine Tasting Tour is an excellent way to learn more about port wine production and sample some of the region’s best wines. You will explore some of Porto’s most famous cellars such as Graham’s and Ferreira where you can try some incredible vintage wines. You will also learn about how port wine is made from experts who will share their knowledge with you throughout your tour. At the end of your tour you will be able to purchase some bottles as souvenirs or gifts for friends or family back home. Book a port wine tasting tour here.
Douro Valley Tour
The Douro Valley Tour is an excellent way to explore Portugal’s stunning countryside while sampling some delicious local delicacies such as cured meats and cheeses as well as wines from local wineries. You will have the opportunity to explore some of Portugal’s most beautiful cities such as Régua, Pinhão and Vila Real before heading back to Porto where you began your journey. You will also have plenty of time to explore local attractions such as churches, museums, castles, vineyards and more throughout your tour. Book a Douro Valley tour here.
Final Thoughts on Things To Do In Porto
Porto is an incredible city that has something for everyone! From its stunning architecture to its fantastic cuisine, there are so many things to do in this vibrant city that it can be difficult to decide where to begin! We hope this guide has given you some ideas on how to make the most out of your visit to Porto and that you have an amazing time exploring all that this beautiful city has to offer!