Porto is the city of bridges, azulejos, and the finest port wine

Anyone who wants to experience an unforgettable encounter with Northern Portugal must visit the heart of this region at least once. We’re talking about the amazing Porto – a city that smells of freshly baked goods and roasted chestnuts. Here, travelers have a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in local traditions, feel like honored guests, and allow themselves to slow down a bit. Beautiful Porto will treat you to intoxicating port wine, enchant you with its atmospheric neighborhoods, reveal the most romantic panoramic landscapes, and unveil hidden architectural treasures. Get ready to wander for hours along its winding streets, admire the azulejos on old buildings, peek into authentic souvenir shops, and witness the most beautiful sunsets by the river. And we’ll tell you what else to do in Porto to make this journey unforgettable.

Cais da Ribeira

Arriving in the northern capital, many first head for a stroll through the old quarter of Ribeira, which stretches along the banks of the Douro River. This colorful corner is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you’ll be able to fully experience the atmosphere of an authentic Portuguese city. Cais da Ribeira is filled with cozy cafes where you can try traditional francesinha and drink port wine, as well as artisan shops and souvenir stalls. Exploring the winding streets of the quarter, you’ll want to enjoy the stunning views that open up literally at every turn. Another popular location is the square of the same name, where you’ll find ancient buildings and churches. Additionally, tourists here have the opportunity to take a boat cruise or ride the river tram.

Igreja do Carmo

What to see in Porto if you’re in search of unique architectural landmarks? Don’t miss the Carmo Church – one of the most beautiful and famous urban temples, built in the 18th century. It’s an example of Baroque architecture and is classified as a national monument. One of the main attractions of the church is its side facade adorned with traditional blue azulejos depicting religious scenes. Inside, there is a museum-archive where you can learn more about the history of the building. Visiting the church, tourists have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of its interiors and decorative elements, as well as take a stroll through the picturesque inner courtyard.

Getting to know atmospheric Porto is incomplete without a visit to one of Portugal’s oldest bookstores. It is housed in an original Manueline-style building that attracts many visitors with its exterior. But the real magic begins when you step inside. The interior of this place makes you feel like a fairy tale hero. One of the features of the store is its wooden staircase in the center leading to the upper floor. Also captivating are the antique wooden shelves, carved elements, and stained-glass windows. Many believe that this place inspired writer J.K. Rowling when she created part of the famous Harry Potter story.

Ponte de Dom Luís I

The two-tiered bridge Ponte de Dom Luís I is one of the most iconic landmarks of Porto. Its image can be seen on most postcards and souvenirs. It was built in 1886 according to the project of Gustave Eiffel’s disciple and was named after the Portuguese King Luís I. Among tourists, the bridge is famous for its beauty and centuries-old history. It’s also one of the best viewpoints, offering stunning views of the city, the Douro River, and the surrounding area. Many love to stroll here, enjoying the breathtaking panoramas and taking memorable photos. Nearby is another popular attraction – the city funicular (Funicular dos Guindais), which connects the Ribeira quarter with the upper part of Porto.

São Bento Station

The São Bento Station, located in the historic center of Porto, is one of the city’s most important cultural heritage sites. The station was built in the early 20th century on the site of a destroyed Benedictine monastery. Today, it attracts travelers with its architecture, especially the compositions of azulejos that adorn the walls of the building. The paintings reflect historical events and cultural traditions of the region. If you’re unsure where to go in Porto to get a closer look at the masterpieces of the famous Portuguese tiles, be sure to add this place to your must-see list.

Capela das Almas

The Chapel of Souls is another architectural treasure and a splendid example of incorporating the famous azulejo art into the urban environment. The façade of the small chapel is entirely covered with blue tiles featuring interesting artistic motifs. Thanks to this, the Capela das Almas is one of the most photographed objects in Porto. In total, over 15,000 tile pieces were used to create the composition, covering about 360 m² of the walls. The Baroque-style structure was erected in honor of Saint Catherine and Saint Francis of Assisi, scenes from whose lives can also be seen on the panels. Rising to the left is a bell tower with two floors. This location never goes unnoticed. Passing by, you’ll surely stop to examine every detail.

Majestic

When deciding where to go in Porto, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the famous Majestic café, which has been operating here since 1921. Primarily, the establishment attracts with the luxury and sophistication of its interior, done in the Belle Époque style. Notably, it has remained virtually unchanged since its opening. Upon entering the café, guests step into a small hall with marble floors, wooden doors, and high ceilings adorned with crystal chandeliers. The halls are decorated with massive mirrors in vintage frames and antique furniture. In the 20th century, poets, writers, and public figures often gathered here. Today, anyone can enjoy the atmosphere of this authentic establishment, taste delicious desserts, have a cup of coffee, and immerse themselves in history.

Jardins do Palácio de Cristal

Looking for things to do in Porto to take a break from tourist crowds? Visit the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal. It’s a picturesque green area in the city center, perfect for a leisurely stroll and spending time outdoors. The garden was designed in the 1860s by German landscape designer Émile David to adorn the existing Crystal Palace. Today, the location is popular among both tourists and locals, thanks to its natural beauty and diverse vegetation, including exotic species. Come here to relax away from the hustle and bustle, wander along neat alleys, enjoy panoramic views of the city and the river, and feed the swans in the lake.

Sé Catedral do Porto

The majestic Porto Cathedral is located in the highest part of Porto and is one of its main religious landmarks. It was built in the 12th century in the Romanesque style, then reconstructed in later periods with elements of Gothic and Baroque. The cathedral’s two-towered façade is adorned with massive arches, columns, and statues. Inside, you can see stained glass windows, carved walls, painted ceilings, and numerous works of art. Tourists have the opportunity to enjoy panoramic views of the city by climbing the cathedral tower.

Torre dos Clérigos

The Torre dos Clérigos is a famous tower standing at 75 meters tall, built in the 18th century. It’s one of Porto’s iconic landmarks. Not only is it a remarkable viewing platform offering impressive panoramic views of the city, but it’s also an interesting historical attraction. Inside the tower is a museum dedicated to the history of Porto and the tower itself. Over its existence, the building has served as a telegraph, the city’s main clock, a landmark for boats navigating the Douro River, and a strategic point during military conflicts. Another feature of the tower is, of course, its architecture. It’s a classic example of the Baroque style, adorned with columns, cartouches, sculptures, two bell towers, and other characteristic decorative elements.

Jardim do Morro

Where to go in Porto to relax amidst nature? One of the most picturesque and cozy green oases in the city is the Jardim do Morro park. It stretches along the slope of a hill, attracting many admirers of beautiful landscapes. Time flows smoothly and unnoticed here. This place is perfect for atmospheric picnics and peaceful walks. The park features well-kept alleys, palm groves, comfortable resting areas, a water reservoir, and a variety of plants. Additionally, there’s a cable car operating in the park. During the warm seasons, Jardim do Morro often hosts cultural events and festivals.

Fundação de Serralves

The Fundação de Serralves is a popular art object worth visiting in Porto. It’s a comprehensive complex comprising the Museum of Contemporary Art, a mansion, and a picturesque park. Designed by architect Siza Vieira in 1991, the building combines elements of Art Deco and modernism. Particularly remarkable are its smooth lines and meticulously crafted details, harmoniously blending with the surrounding environment. In simpler terms, it’s the perfect blend of nature and art. The museum showcases a collection of artworks created after 1968, with regular temporary exhibitions featuring famous contemporary artists.

Igreja Monumento de São Francisco

The Church of Saint Francis is an outstanding example of Gothic architecture in Porto. Construction began in 1245 and lasted for about 200 years. Inside the building, you can see many Baroque-style decorative elements, as well as precious art objects. The church impresses with the beauty of its frescoes and sculptures, as well as magnificent compositions created using wood carving techniques. Additionally, beneath the Igreja de São Francisco are catacombs where Franciscan monks and members of wealthy families are buried. Today, the Church of Saint Francis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Miradouro da Vitória

When creating your personal list of activities in Porto, don’t forget about its famous viewpoints. An excellent option is Miradouro da Vitória. Located on a hill in the historic district of the city, on São Bento da Vitória street, it offers magnificent views of the local streets and the Douro River, as well as clear views of iconic tourist attractions. This spot is marked with a sign indicating that it’s private property. However, entering the viewpoint area is not prohibited. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to take excellent photos for memory, watch the sunset, and immerse yourself in the authentic atmosphere of Porto. Nearby, there’s a café where you can enjoy a glass of wine after a pleasant stroll.