Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city and is located in the north of the country, on the Douro River. The city has a population of just over 250,000 people and is one of the oldest cities in Portugal, with a history that dates back to the Roman era. Porto was an important trading port during the Middle Ages and was also home to many of Portugal’s royal families. Today, Porto is known for its beautiful architecture, great food and wine, and its waterfront scene. Porto Portugal is a city that offers something for everyone. I had the great pleasure of spending an entire month in this amazing city. It ended up being my favorite city in Portugal and one of my favorite cities in all of Europe. In this blog post, we will discuss the top things to do in Porto Portugal. There is so much to see and do!
Table of Contents
20 Best Things to do in Porto Portugal
1. Stroll the Ribiera
If you’re looking for what to do in Porto Portugal, look no further than Porto Ribiera. This waterfront neighborhood is a must-see when visiting Porto. You’ll be able to enjoy stunning views of the river, as well as plenty of restaurants and cafes. This is the most iconic image of the city of Porto, with brightly colored buildings and narrow streets lining the Douro River. There is always so much fun activity going on here, with live music and festivals happening often. There are countless restaurants, some better than others. Be sure to wander the streets of the Ribiera to truly get the vibe of this neighborhood. Porto is super unique that the entire city is centered around the waterfront, and you get to see that the best along the Ribiera. This is one of the best things to do in Porto Portugal.
2. Ponte de Luis Bridge
The Ponte de Luis Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in Portugal. It is an iconic symbol of the city of Porto and its people. The bridge has been featured in many films and TV shows, including James Bond’s Casino Royale. It spans the Rio Douro and connects the city of Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia. The bridge was designed by Téophile Seyrig and completed in 1886. It is named after King Luís I of Portugal, who commissioned the bridge. The bridge famously bears a resemblance to the style of the Eiffel Tower, as the designer apprenticed under Gustave Eiffel.
The Ponte de Luis Bridge is a steel arch bridge. It is 384 metres long and has two decks. The upper deck is typically for pedestrians and the lower deck is for cars. During my visit, the lower deck was under construction so it was only available to pedestrians. The best way to experience the Ponte de Luis Bridge is on the upper deck. From the upper deck, you get incredible views of the Douro River and the city of Porto. The bridge has a beautiful Art Nouveo design and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Porto. During my month stay, I must’ve walked across this bridge every single day. Definitely one of the best things to do in Porto Portugal.
3. Visit Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia is a municipality in the Porto District in Portugal. It lies south of the city of Porto on the other side of the Douro River. Vila Nova de Gaia forms part of the Greater Metropolitan Area of Porto. The city has a strong commercial tradition, being responsible for approximately 20% of Portugal’s export business. This is due to its port wine cellars that produce “Port Wine”, a fortified wine which is world-renowned and delicious.
In short, Gaia is the town on the opposite side of the Douro River from Porto. You can get to Gaia by crossing the Ponte de Luis Bridge. In Gaia, you get incredible views of Porto as well many things to do. One of the most popular things to do in Gaia is to taste Port wine, as there are many tasting experiences on this side of the river. Also, be sure to wander the narrow streets of Gaia to truly experience this side of the city. This is one of the best things to do in Porto Portugal on the opposite side of the city.
4. Take a Day Trip to the Douro Valley
The Douro Valley is one of the most beautiful places in Portugal. It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking for amazing scenery and the best wines in the country. The Douro Valley is located about an hour drive from Porto, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area. There are many different wineries in the Douro Valley, and they all offer tours and tastings. Due to its proximity, one of the most popular things to do in Porto Portugal is taking a day trip to the Douro Valley. There are many different tour groups at all different levels of price and comfort. I wrote an entire blog post about taking a day trip to the Douro Valley which you can find here.
I would highly recommend doing a wine tour while you’re in the Douro Valley, as it’s a great way to learn about the different types of wines produced in this region. Not to mention, you get to taste delicious wines and olives. If you’re not interested in wine, there are also plenty of other things to do in the Douro Valley, such as hiking, biking, and kayaking. Douro Valley is a great place to visit if you’re looking for what to do in Porto Portugal away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
5. Jardins do Palacio de Cristal
The Jardins do Palacio de Cristal are one of my favorite things to do in Porto Portugal. The gardens are located in the center of the city and they offer a great view of the Douro River. The gardens are very well maintained and they have a lot of different plants and flowers, as well as some sculptures. There are also many fountains in the middle of the gardens which are very beautiful.
If you are looking for a place to relax and take in the beauty of Porto, then you should definitely visit the Jardins do Palacio de Cristal. You will not be disappointed! These gardens are some of the best public gardens I’ve seen in the entire country. I recommend allowing at least an hour or two to see the entire thing. There are many different levels to these gardens, so be sure to wander to find the best spots.
6. Visit a rooftop bar
Porto is a city full of charm, and its rooftop bars are no exception. With their stunning views of the cityscape, these bars offer visitors a truly unique experience. If you’re looking for a place to relax and take in the sights, Porto’s rooftop bars are the perfect spot. In addition to the incredible views, these bars also offer a great selection of drinks and snacks. So whether you’re looking for a place to enjoy a romantic sunset or simply want to enjoy a drink with friends, Porto’s rooftop bars are sure to please. Definitely one of my favorite things to do in Porto Portugal is visiting a rooftop bar for sunset. These are my personal recommendations for the best rooftop bars in Porto!
- Rooftop Flores– Without a doubt my favorite rooftop bar in Porto is Rooftop Flores. The wine and snacks are fantastic, the service is great, the atmosphere is relaxed, and the views of the city are incredible. It is very easy to miss this place, as you would never find it without being told about it. If you can only visit one rooftop bar in Porto, make sure it is this one!
- Porto Cruz in Gaia– Located in Gaia, this rooftop bar has one of the best views of downtown Porto. The drinks are nothing great and the music is awful but the views are worth it. It has more of a party vibe compared to a relaxed environment. But still worth a visit for at least one drink.
7. Jardim do Morro
Jardim do Morro is one of the best places to enjoy sunset in Porto Portugal. This is due to its location on a hill which provides stunning views of the city skyline as the sun goes down. Jardim do Morro is also a popular spot for festivals, so there’s often live music and entertainment to enjoy as well. Whether you’re watching the sunset or dancing the night away, Jardim do Morro is definitely worth a visit! During certain times of the year, there can be hundreds of people here at sunset. Be sure to come claim your spot early if you want a beautiful sunset view. The garden itself is nothing special but its raised elevation gives some of the best views of Porto in the entire city.
8. Rua das Flores
Rua Das Flores is one of the best things to do in Porto Portugal. The Rua Das Flores is a pedestrian street lined with cafes, shops, and restaurants. It is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in Porto Portugal. Rua Das Flores is also home to the Portuguese National Theatre, the Museum of Porto, and near the Cathedral of Porto. Rua Das Flores is a great place to walk around and take in the sights and sounds of Porto Portugal.
There are also many great photo opportunities around Rua Das Flores. It is known for its colorful houses, cobbled streets, and picturesque views. The street is a great place to walk around, take photos, and soak up the city’s atmosphere. Visitors can also buy souvenirs, sample local cuisine, or simply enjoy people watching from one of the many outdoor cafes. Whether you’re looking for history, culture, or just a beautiful place to stroll around, Rua Das Flores is definitely worth a visit.
9. Igreja dos Clerigos
Igreja dos Clerigos is one of the best things to do in Porto Portugal. Situated in the historic city centre, Igreja dos Clerigos is a beautiful 18th-century baroque church. Designed by Nicolau Nasoni, the church is notable for its 75-meter tall bell tower, which offers stunning views of the city. Igreja dos Clerigos is also one of the most popular tourist attractions in Porto, receiving over 1 million visitors each year. If you’re visiting Porto, be sure to add Igreja dos Clerigos to your list of must-see sights! Along with the Ponte de Luis Bridge, the Igreja dos Clerigos is one of Porto’s most iconic structures. Even if you do not go inside the church, it is still beautiful to see from the outside.
10. Sao Bento Train Station
Sao Bento Train Station is a must-see when in Porto. Visiting the Sao Bento Train Station is one of the best things to do in Porto Portugal. The inside of the Sao Bento Train Station is decorated with beautiful blue and white tiles that tell the history of Portugal. The train station is also a great place to buy souvenirs from your trip to Portugal.
Sao Bento Train Station is definitely one of the most beautiful train stations I’ve ever seen. Sao Bento Train Station was built in 1916 and it is one of the busiest train stations in Portugal. I usually wouldn’t recommend making a trip just to see a train station, but this one was definitely worth it. There is even a high end hostel inside the train station that you can stay in. Be sure to check it out!
11. Rua de Santa Catarina
Rua de Santa Catarina is a pedestrian street full of shops, restaurants, and cafes, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring. The street is also home to a number of historical landmarks, including the Majestic Cafe and the Chapel of Souls. Rua de Santa Catarina is a must-visit for any traveler to Porto Portugal. Rua de Santa Catarina also has a lot of history. Built in 1834, Rua de Santa Catarina was the first street in Porto Portugal to be pedestrian only. Rua de Santa Catarina is also the longest pedestrian street in Porto Portugal. There is even a huge mall on this street, along with many cafes and restaurants. It is one of the best pedestrian only streets in the city. Unfortunately, none of the pictures I took came out so you will just have to see it for yourself.
12. Take a walking tour of Porto
Walking tours are a great way to see a new city, and Porto is no exception. A walking tour of Porto will take you through the city’s winding streets and allow you to see some of its most iconic landmarks, including the famous bridges and the Clerigos Tower. On some tours, you’ll also get to sample some of the city’s famous port wine and see how it’s made. Best of all, a walking tour is a great way to meet new people and learn about the city’s rich history.
There are many different companies that offer walking tours, and they vary in length and price. Some tours focus on specific parts of the city, while others cover a wide range of topics. No matter what type of tour you choose, you’re sure to learn a lot about Porto and its rich history. So if you’re looking for an authentic way to experience Porto, be sure to sign up for a walking tour. There are even free tours available if you are on a real budget. While sometimes walking tours can feel a little touristy, every time I do one I walk away with some real knowledge. It helps to actually know the history of what you are looking at.
13. Base Porto
At the base of the Igreja dos Clerigos is a really cool public park area that is on a rooftop. There are many shops, restaurants, and cafes underneath this rooftop park. But my favorite of them all is to visit Base Porto. This bar has some incredible views of the Igreja dos Clerigos as well as really nice green space. On the weekends, Base Porto fills up very quickly and there is a really fun vibe. Be sure to add this to your itinerary for what to do in Porto Portugal!
14. Take a Wine Tour in Gaia
Wine lovers rejoice – a wine tour in Porto is one of the best things to do in this beautiful city. Port wine is world-renowned, and there’s no better place to taste it than in its namesake city. But what exactly is Port wine? Port is a fortified wine, meaning that it has been blended with brandy or other spirits. This results in a sweeter, more aromatic wine that is perfect for sipping on a cold winter’s night. During a wine tour in Porto, you’ll have the opportunity to visit some of the city’s best vineyards and taste a variety of Ports. You’ll also learn about the history of this delicious drink and how it came to be produced in Portugal. So whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or a curious newcomer, a wine tour in Porto is sure to please. Cheers!
15. Porto Cathedral
Porto Cathedral is one of the best things to do in Porto Portugal. The cathedral is a beautiful sight, with its intricate details and stunning architecture. Porto Cathedral has a long and rich history, dating back to the 12th century. The Porto Cathedral was built in 1110, and it has been through a lot of history. The Porto Cathedral was originally built in Romanesque style, but later underwent Gothic transformations.
The exterior of the cathedral is characterized by its two towers, which are adorned with stunning rose windows. The interior of the cathedral is just as stunning, with a wealth of Baroque and Rococo features. The Porto Cathedral has been through many changes, and it has been restored many times. The Porto Cathedral is a beautiful sight, and it is one of the best things to do in Porto Portugal. The courtyard in front is also gorgeous, with great views of the surrounding city. This Port Cathedral is one of the main icons of this city.
16. Visit the World of Wine(WOW) Porto
The World of Wine is a relatively new attraction in Porto, Portugal. It is a museum all about wine, with many exhibits that teach visitors about the history and production of this popular beverage. The Porto World of Wine is a great place to learn about the different types of wine produced in Portugal, as well as the role that Porto has played in the wine industry. Visitors can also sample some of the local wines, making it a perfect stop for any wine lover visiting Porto. In addition to the museum, there are several restaurants, cafes and coffee shops in this area. The main patio offers incredible views of Porto as well.
17. Douro River Boat Cruise
A Douro Riverboat Cruise is a fun and unique way to see the city of Porto. You can take a boat directly from downtown, and the cruise takes you along the Douro River with stunning views of the city. The Douro River is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Porto, and a river boat cruise is a great way to see it. You can learn about the history of the city and see some of its most famous landmarks, including the bridge that connects Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia. A Douro Riverboat Cruise is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening in Porto, and it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. There are quick and affordable options as well as more involved options.
18. Harry Potter Porto Tour
Harry Potter and Portugal may not seem like an obvious pairing, but in the city of Porto, Harry Potter is a big deal. Porto is said to be the inspiration for many things in the Harry Potter series such as the Livraria Lello bookstore, which served as inspiration for the Hogwarts library. J.K. Rowling lived in Porto when she was writing the first novel in the Harry Potter series, and it is said that there is inspiration all over the city.
Harry Potter fan or not, these sites are definitely worth a visit. Livraria Lello is one of the oldest and most beautiful bookstores in Europe and is very popular. You have to pay to get in, which I did not do. But if you are a diehard Harry Potter fan, you may enjoy it. There are even Harry Potter tours available, taking you around the city to the supposed inspirations to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
19. Igreja de Santo Ildefonso
Igreja de Santo Ildefonso is a church located in Porto, Portugal. Built in the 18th century, this church is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The church is known for its baroque architecture and for its interior, which is decorated with gold leaf. The church has a capacity of 1,200 people and is open to the public. Igreja de Santo Ildefonso is a popular tourist destination, and visitors can tour the church or attend mass. The church is also home to a museum, which houses a collection of art and historical artifacts. Igreja de Santo Ildefonso is one of the most beautiful and significant churches in Portugal, and it is well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.
20. Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar
And finally, the last of things to do in Porto Portugal is to visit Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar. Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar is a 17th century monastery. The monastery was built on a hilltop overlooking the city, and its name comes from the pillar of rock that can be seen inside the monastery. Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar is known for its unique architecture, which blends Baroque and traditional Portuguese elements. The monastery also has a stunning view of the city below, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Porto. Visitors can explore the monastery’s beautiful interior, including its cloisters, chapels, and museum. The Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar is an important piece of Portugal’s history and culture, and is well worth a visit for anyone interested in learning more about the country’s art and architecture.
What to do in Porto Conclusion
As you can see, there certainly are many things to do in Porto Portugal. After spending an entire month in this amazing city, I have officially fallen in love. Porto was not only my favorite city in Portugal, but one of my favorite cities in all of Europe. The unique, waterfront culture and ease of getting around made this city a true joy. Honestly, I prefer Porto over Lisbon. If you only have time to visit one of the two cities, I recommend Porto over Lisbon. Be sure to check out the rest of my Portugal content here.
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