The city of Porto is one of the most visited cities in Europe, hosting more than a million tourists a year.
It is the second largest city in Portugal, is known worldwide for its wine, its bridges and ancient and contemporary architecture and its historical center, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO.
Needless to say that one of the most popular things to do in Porto is to visit the wine cellars of Port wine, in Vila Nova de Gaia. Along with the wine tasting, you have architecture, bookstores, concerts, festivals, museums, majestic cafes and local restaurants to fill your time. Take time to take a relaxing cruise on the Douro River.
Many of the places you want to visit are merely a few steps away from each other. The inhabitants are helpful and friendly and the city offers plenty to keep you busy.
DO NOT MISS
Torre dos Clérigos is a bell tower that is part of the church with the same name, considered by many the ex-libris of the city.
Lello Bookshop considered by the magazine Lonely Planet as the third best bookstore in the world, it was also used as the backdrop for shooting some scenes of the Harry Potter films, lending its identity to "Flourish & Blotts" in King's Cross, where witches buy the material for Hogwarts. JK Rowling lived a few years in the city of Porto, where she worked as an English teacher. After some time observing the students of the University of Porto with black capes that were part of the academic uniform, came to her the inspiration to create the uniforms of the wizardry school Hogwarts.
Câmara Municipal do Porto is an opulent six-storey building, with a central tower 70 meters high, with chiming clock. Opens to the imposing Avenida Aliados becoming this and its architectural set, the "Guest Room" of the city.
Mercado do Bolhão a market that combines traditional commerce with architecture. Being a symbol of the city, here are the famous sellers of Bolhão, so characteristic of the city.
Estação de S. Bento this train station can be considered the most beautiful gateway to the city, where you can admire several scenes in the history of Portugal represented on the sublime façade of the building, decorated with traditional portuguese tiles.
Ribeira is one of the oldest and most typical places in Porto city. Along the Douro River, where you can admire the Rabelo Boat (typical of the Douro River because it was traditionally made up to transport casks of Port wine), is part of the historic center of the city, considered a World Heritage Site, classified by UNESCO. Having become one of the most visited tourist attractions in Porto, where you can find various trading points, bars and restaurants as well as squares and historic buildings, which are the source of the city, like the Sé Cathedral.
On the south bank of the Douro River lies the city of Gaia where you can visit the cellars of virtuous Port wine, produced in Alto Douro Wine Region, the oldest demarcated region in the world.
Foz is a popular tourist area, where you can enjoy Blue Flag catalogued beaches and where the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean invites us to romanticism promenade.
The 5 bridges over the Douro River, Ponte D. Luís I is the oldest of the city which remains active; Ponte Maria Pia was built by Gustave Eiffel; Ponte da Arrabida had, at the time of building, the largest arch of reinforced concrete in the world; Ponte do Freixo is the one most upstream of the river and Ponte do Infante is the last bridge that units Porto and Gaia and was built in the historical area, linking the mythical neighbourhood of Fontainhas (Porto) to the legendary Serra do Pilar (Vila Nova de Gaia).
Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the most visited museums in the country. Designed by the known architect Siza Vieira, is inserted into Serralves Park, thus exposing, side by side, the art of several contemporary artists and flora of the region existing in the park.
Palácio da Bolsa must visit building, with a mix of architectural styles, including the nineteenth century neoclassical, tuscan architecture, as well as neopaladiano english. Of all the rooms of the palace, the Arab Hall is noted with plasters of nineteenth century labelled with gold Arabic characters that fill the walls and ceiling of the room.
Museu Soares dos Reis National Museum created in 1833 by D. Pedro IV, includes most of the sculptor’s work, with perhaps the most emblematic work “The Exile“, a beautiful marble sculpture.There are several thematic Museums in the city such as Museum of Port Wine, Porto Military Museum, Museum of Industry, Printing Press Museum, Museum of Paper Money and the Castelo do Queijo, remarkable for its viewpoint and which hosts several temporary exhibitions.
Rua Miguel Bombarda adds some of the most modern galleries and fashionable shops, or Rua Galeria de Paris, a street where you can find some Art Nouveau, culture cafes and live jazz.
Casa da Música this auditorium is the city's cultural construction and building most relevant in recent years. This work of architecture, designed by Rem Koolhaas, was designed for the Porto Capital of Culture 2001 event and is still today internationally applauded.
Teatro Rivoli, the Teatro Nacional S.João ,the Teatro Sá da Bandeira and Coliseu do Porto are relevant theaters, with historical and architectural prominence, located in Porto downtown.
The city of Porto has more than 10 000 annual events, ranging from concerts, theaters, exhibitions or festivals with famous disc jockeys at several nightclubs and bars in the city. However, the biggest event of fun remains the night of St. John, from 23 to 24 June, with thousands of people invading the streets in a mixture of euphoria, fun, color and smells loaded with tradition.
For the grand finale, do not forget to taste the dish par excellence, Tripas à moda do Porto, not bleaching the most recent but no less renowned Francesinhas!