- Published on
18 Top Things To Do In Porto Portugal
- Jonathan Chum
You've seen the pictures of Porto. You know it's one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but you're not sure where to start. You want to explore everything in this Portuguese port city, but you don't have a month to spend there---or even a week. So what's your plan? It's time to get started with these top Porto attractions!
If you're visiting Porto, a visit to the cathedral is a must. It's stunningly beautiful, with its architectural style of gothic revival and neoclassical architecture.
The cathedral is also a symbol of religious tolerance and unity in Porto. Although it was built by Catholics in 1837, it also has an Orthodox chapel on the second floor where priests from different Christian denominations can celebrate their services there.
Douro River Cruise
A river cruise is a great way to see the city from the water. The Douro River runs through Porto and is the main waterway for this part of Portugal. The city's port sits on its banks, so you will get up-close views as well as faraway ones that show off both nature and architecture. Be sure to go on one early in your trip so that you can share what you saw with other travelers when they ask about your favorite places!
You can book an organized tour or rent a boat yourself, but either way, it's worth taking time out of your busy schedule (and those long lines) while in Porto just so that you can enjoy this beautiful part of Portugal from afar or up close!
The Livraria Lello is a beautiful bookstore located in the heart of Porto. It was designed by architect Antonio Gaudi and built in 1906, with some interior design work done by Jose Veiga Ribeiro. The building has been declared a national monument and opened its doors to the public in 1982.
It's hard to imagine this stunning store as a dusty old warehouse when you see its majestic staircases, stained glass windows, and intricate carvings on every corner. There are so many nooks and crannies to explore! Be sure not to miss the statue of Jesus Christ that sits above one of the staircases---you may need help finding him at first (he's quite small).
Torre dos Clérigos
The Torre dos Clérigos is a tower in the city of Porto, Portugal. It was built between the years 1514 and 1520. Located on a hilltop in the historical center of Porto overlooking the Douro River, it is one of the most important buildings in this city.
The tower has been used as part of an astronomical observatory since its construction, with instruments installed to make accurate measurements of star positions and other celestial events. The Torre dos Clérigos was also used as an observation post during World War I by French soldiers who were billeted there while they were stationed in the city.
D. Luis I Bridge
The D. Luis I Bridge is a pedestrian bridge in Porto that was built in 1861, making it the city's oldest bridge. It crosses the Douro River and connects the Ribeira district to Vila Nova de Gaia. The bridge spans 456 meters over the river, and you can walk across it or ride its tram cars if you're so inclined (it's free). There are great views of both sides of Porto from here as well as restaurants, shops, and other attractions along its length.
Soares dos Reis National Museum
The Soares dos Reis National Museum showcases the art of Portugal, with exhibitions ranging from 15th-century to modern. It's open daily from 10 am to 6 pm and free of charge. The museum is located on Rua das Aulas, in Porto's University of Porto's Faculty of Arts and Letters (FCUP).
While the museum is small, it has a large collection that includes paintings---including works by well-known artists such as Amadeo de Souza Cardoso and Almada Negreiros---and sculptures by António Soares dos Reis himself as well as other notable figures like Joaquim de Oliveira or Filipe Pais da Fontoura.
Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar
The monastery is classified as a National Monument.
It was founded by King Dinis in 1252, but it was only completed in the 14th century.
The church and cloister are still standing today.
Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace)
This beautiful building is a perfect example of Porto's rich history. If you are interested in architecture, it's the perfect place to visit. Built-in the early 20th century by the architect José Marques da Silva, this place is full of culture and beauty. It has been carefully restored so that people can enjoy its splendor.
The National Theatre of São Carlos
The National Theatre of São Carlos is one of the most beautiful theaters in Europe. It was built in the 18th century and has been both a court theater and a public theater since then. The exterior of this historic building is grand, with marble columns and statues adorning it. The interior is equally as impressive with its painted ceilings, gold leaf trim, and chandeliers made from Murano glass.
The National Theatre of São Carlos has been open to the public since 1793 but underwent renovations in 2001 so that it could be used for concerts, exhibitions, and plays once again. Today it hosts many different types of performances including operas, symphonies, ballets, musicals, and comedies---everything from works by local artists to international productions like "Les Misérables" or "Cats" that tour around Europe before coming here!
The Jerónimos Monastery
The Jerónimos Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest religious landmarks in Portugal. It was built between 1496 and 1520 by King Manuel I to commemorate his conquest of Ceuta in Morocco, but it proved too expensive to maintain, so he handed it over to the Order of Santiago around 1530. It's now open to the public and offers an interesting look at Portuguese architecture as well as beautiful views across the Tagus River into Lisbon's city center.
The Lisbon Oceanarium
The Lisbon Oceanarium is a must-see attraction in Lisbon. This aquarium is located in the Parque das Nações, and it's the biggest aquarium in Europe. It has more than 3,000 animals representing 500 species; some of these animals have been raised by hand at this facility. They include sharks, stingrays, penguins, and sea lions---you'll see them all here!
The Lisbon Oceanarium offers an educational experience as well as entertainment for children and adults alike. The Aquarium's Experience Zone includes interactive games that allow children to learn about specific marine life from around the world while adult visitors can explore the rest of this unique gallery on their own time or with family members (the latter option may be best if your child doesn't like getting up close and personal with animals).
The Belem Tower is a monument located in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém, in the municipality of Lisbon, Portugal. It was constructed on the site of an old monastery founded by King Manuel I in 1499 to commemorate Vasco da Gama's discovery of a sea route to India. The tower has become one of Portugal's leading tourist sites, with six million visitors annually. Built between 1515 and 1521 under the direction of Italian architect João de Castilho, it was part of a project which included several defensive towers along the city's coastline; this structure would later become known as "Torre de Belem" (English: TowerofBethlehem). In 1631 King John IV ordered its restoration and remodeling into an armory with cannons placed on top. These cannons were used during World War II but have been removed since then due to safety reasons due to their age (some are over 300 years old).
The Bairro Alto
The Bairro Alto is a neighborhood in the city center of Lisbon, Portugal. It's known for its nightlife, which attracts many tourists to this area. The Bairro Alto has narrow streets and colorful houses that make it a great place to people watch.
Bridge Vasco da Gama
The Bridge Vasco da Gama is a suspension bridge that crosses the River Douro in Porto, Portugal. It was built in 1998 and is named after the famous Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama. The bridge has three lanes for motor vehicles and two lanes for public transportation, as well as pedestrian walkways on each side of it. It measures 1,310 meters (4,300 feet) long and 30 meters (98 feet) wide; it's been called "the most beautiful bridge" in Europe by many people who've visited it because of its design and architecture.
The best way to see this amazing structure is from above: take a helicopter ride over the city or climb up one of its towers! You'll be able to see how impressive it looks when seen from above.
Eat Pastel de nata
One of the most famous desserts in Portugal, and one that you'll find on every dessert menu in Porto, is pastel de nata. These are small puff pastry shells filled with an eggy custard (kind of like a cross between a crème brûlée and flan). They're delicious, but they're also incredibly rich: don't try to eat more than one or two at once!
You can find pastéis de nata in bakeries all over town---just look for the ones with long lines out front. Just make sure you get there early; they tend not to last very long!
Belem Palace (Palácio Nacional de Belém)
Palácio Nacional de Belém (known as the Royal Palace of Belém in English) is a Portuguese palace located in Lisbon, Portugal. The palace was built in the 16th century by King John III. It has several buildings and gardens with many statues and sculptures from different periods of history, including some Roman ruins. The buildings are decorated with beautiful tiles and paintings on their walls.
The most famous structure at Palácio Nacional de Belém is its tower called Torre do Rolo (Tower of the Roll). This tower was built in 1496 to protect ships that sailed up the Tagus River into Lisbon harbor which was nearby at that time before it moved further inland away from water during urban development after centuries later due to the population growth rate increase since the mid-19th century until present day situation today where millions live here now instead then only few hundred thousand back then!
Explore the Alfama neighborhood and Fado Museum!
Although it's one of the oldest and most traditional neighborhoods in Lisbon, Alfama is also one of the most beautiful. It's also home to many Fado bars, so a visit here will be perfect for those who want to learn about this music style. The Fado Museum is located right in the heart of the Alfama neighborhood and teaches you all about fado's history and covers some interesting facts about its origins as well as other important information regarding this art form.
Take the tram 28 to see the city from above
One of the best things to do in Porto is to take tram 28, a historic tram that runs up and down the hills of Porto. It starts at the top of the city, at Miradouro de Santa Catarina (the viewpoint from which you can see Porto's historic center), and continues on its way down until it reaches Praça da Ribeira.
You'll get some amazing views as your tram passes over houses with blue doors and white-washed walls, with colorful tiles decorating their rooftops. On one side you'll see green hills with trees covered in bright yellow blossoms; on another side, you'll have ocean views.
It's a great way to explore Porto while enjoying excellent views of its beautiful landscape!
If you only have a couple of days in Porto, make sure to check out these things!