One of the things to do in Portugal is definitely visiting Porto. The city of Porto has a remarkable importance in Portugal’s history – it was the city that gave the name to this beautiful country. By visiting Porto you will discover a city like no other in Europe, friendly people, a rich gastronomy and much more – there are in fact so many things to do in Porto!
Here are the places to visit and things to do in Porto:
1. Aliados Avenue (Avenida dos Aliados)
The Aliados Avenue is the centre and heart of Porto city. At the top of this avenue you can find the beautiful building housing Porto’s city hall. Going downwards to Ribeira make a little detour to São Bento train station and enjoy the beautiful glazed tiles.
2. Bolhão Market (Mercado do Bolhão)
One of the things to do in Porto that should be on your list is a visit to Bolhão Market – here you’ll discover the real nature of Porto’s inhabitants, welcoming and friendly.
Built in 1914 to gather the city’s merchants until then scattered across Porto, Bolhão Market still is an important place to visit even though the building has had happier days. You will find fresh products, fish, meat, vegetables and even florists.
- Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 07:00 to 17:00 and Saturdays from 07:00 to 13:00
3. Clérigos Tower (Torre dos Clérigos)
The 76 metre high Clérigos Tower was the tallest building in Portugal when it was constructed (between 1754 and 1763), and still is the tallest tower in the country. For many years it worked as a lighthouse to ships coming into Porto, since then it offers you the tallest views over the city, Porto’s Cathedral, Douro and the Port wine cellars.
- Tickets: 2€
- Opening hours: Daily from 09:00 to 19:00
4. Lello Bookshop (Livraria Lello)
Considered one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world, Lello Bookshop inspired J.K. Rowling to write Harry Potter. Inside, apart from the books, you can admire a unique atmosphere with its majestic stairway leading to the upper floor. There’s a small bar in the first floor where you can have a cup of coffee while admiring the beauty of the Lello Bookshop.
- Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 19:30 and on Saturdays from 10:00 to 19:00
5. Porto’s Cathedral (Sé do Porto)
The construction of the Cathedral began early in the 12th century but ended only during the 13th century. The Cathedral was fortified to secure the city against the invaders. The windows are narrow and little light passes through; the main chapel was completely reconstructed in the 18th century.
- Opening hours: Daily from 09:00 to 12:30 and 14:00 to 18:00 in the winter and to 19:00 in the summer
6. Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa)
The Stock Exchange Palace is, in my opinion, the most beautiful monument in Porto. Built in 1862 in a neoclassic style and inspired in the Moorish style, it was meant to be the headquarters of the Commercial Association of Porto. During your visit, you can’t miss the Pátio das Nações and the marvelous Arab Room.
- Tickets: 7€
- Opening hours: Daily from 09:00 to 18:30 in the summer and from 09:00 to 12:30 and 14:00 to 17:30 in the winter
7. St. Francis Church (Igreja de São Francisco)
Built in the 14th century, St. Francis Church is beyond any doubt the most beautiful in Porto, mainly because of its gilded wood interior. About 500 kg of gold were needed to literally cover the church’s interior. The luxurious church will surely astonish you and visiting it should definitely be on your list of things to do in Porto.
- Tickets: 3.50 €
- Opening hours: Daily from 09:00 to 17:30, November to February; 19:00 from March to October; and 20:00 in July, August and September.
Of the things to do in Porto you can’t miss a visit to Ribeira. Classified as Unesco World Heritage since 1996, Ribeira, Douro’s riverfront, is the most emblematic neighbourhood and part of the historic centre of Porto.
Have a stroll through the narrow streets to discover the real appeal of this place. In Ribeira’s riverfront you may gaze at the Luis I Bridge designed by the engineer Théophile Seyrug, Gustave Eiffel’s disciple.
9. Port Wine Cellars (Caves do vinho do Porto)
On the other side of Douro river, in Vila Nova de Gaia, there are more than 50 Port Wine cellars. Though the wine was named after the city, the vineyards are 100 kms away, in Douro valley; the wine is then transported to Porto to be aged and sold. Numerous cellars may be visited and give you the opportunity to taste many types of Port wine.
10. Serra do Pilar Monastery (Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar)
Serra do Pilar Monastery keeps the interesting church and cloister, built in 1538; of round format, it is a replica of Santa Maria Redonda in Rome and a unique example in Portugal. In 1832, during the Siege of Porto, the monastery was converted in a temporary fortress.
It is a military barracks since the beginning of the 20th century and is currently under the responsibility of the Serra do Pilar Artillery Regiment. Enjoy the beautiful landscape from the viewpoint, in front of the church, overlooking Porto and Douro.
- Tickets: 1€ or 3€ with access to the dome
- Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 09:30 to 17:30
Are you going to visit Porto? Then don’t hesitate to book your hotel room and your car by clicking the links below. This way you are helping me in the development of my blog and I’ll be able to offer you free tips and travel guides so that you can better prepare your visit to Portugal. Thank you!
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