10 BEST THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN PORTO
The North of Portugal is quite beautiful and Porto is a city you will not want to miss out on, from delicious food, to iconic monuments and very welcoming locals, Porto has become one of the top Portuguese cities to visit! Read on to learn all about our 10 best things to see and do in Porto!
We could list your standard monuments such as Clerigos Tower, Bolsa Palace, Se Cathedral and even Bolhao Market, but we’re sure you will find these in a simple search online. Below, you’ll find a fun mix of some of our favorite traditional locations, and also new and exciting things to see and do!
One of the most popular sites of the city, Lello Bookstore is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal, founded in 1869! Considered one of the 3 most beautiful bookstores in the world, and the inspiration for the Harry Potter books and movies, this is a place you will absolutely want to check out while in Porto!
2. Douro Valley and Douro River
The Douro River and Valley are a must see while in Porto! Classified as one of the 3rd largest rivers in the Iberian Peninsula (over 800km), you can explore this region by boat or by guided excursion! If you decide to cruise the river, there is a wide variety of options from adrenaline speedboats crossing the Six Bridges, to more leisurely cruises in large motor yachts… you can even cruise the Douro River in a traditional Rabelo boat! If you are not comfortable on a boat, there are many excursions to the Douro Valley, offering you the chance to visit wineries (with tastings), and explore some of the most beautiful lookout points of Northern Portugal!
3. Avenida dos Aliados
A casual stroll down Avenida dos Aliados is an unforgettable experience! Starting at the top with the City Council and ending at the iconic Sao Bento Train Station (more on that below), you will find a lovely and wide walkway lined with trees and benches, and lots of fun places to check out! If you’re looking for somewhere to eat, check out Cafe Alianca!
As you reach the statue of Dom Pedro IV, have a look at Mc Donald’s. We are not kidding, this is well worth a visit! Known as Mc Donald’s Imperial, it is ranked the most beautiful of all restaurants of the chain! For the ultimate Douro experience, you’ll find many cruises, tours or even boat charters! Check out some cool options here!
4. Sao Bento Train Station
As you end your walk down Avenida dos Aliados, just a few meters ahead you will find the famous Sao Bento Train Station. One of the most spectacular train stations in the Europe, its main hall is the highlight, with over 20,000 traditional hand painted tiles, from floor to ceiling! Take some up close pictures of some of these tiles – these beautiful works of art can be printed into amazing posters to hang in your home and a wonderful souvenir of your travels to Porto!
5. Port Wine Tasting
No trip to Porto is complete without a visit to a winery for some Port tasting! Some of the most popular include Calem, Taylor’s Port Cellars and Sandeman. Our personal favorite is Espaco Porto Cruz! This is not your standard wine tasting experience, you will learn about Port wine culture, how it is made, and delicious tastings of course! Along with this, you can participate in workshops and do not miss going up to the terrace where you will find amazing 360o views!
6. Guided and Self Guided Tours
Porto offers a wide variety of fun guided or self guided touring options! Hop into an electrical two seater Gocar, or take a spin on a Segway! There are also lots of bike rental places where you can rent for an afternoon or even a full day and go out exploring on your own!
7. World of Discoveries
An amazing experience, particularly if you are traveling as a family! A combination of interactive museum and theme park, you will get to travel back to the Age of Discoveries. Hop on a boat and take a historical fantasy trip to the various countries discovered by Portuguese sailors including India, Timor, China and so much more! Along the way you will find lifelike interactive animals like snakes and gorillas!
8. Try a traditional Francesinha!
The Francesinha is likely the yummiest and most filling sandwich you will ever eat! Between two slices of thickly cut bread, you’ll find ham, Portuguese sausage and steak or roast beef. Sound good? We’re not finished yet. This sandwich also has a generous layer of melted cheese and sits in a slightly spicy tomato and beer sauce….oh and it’s normally topped with a fried egg and served with french fries! Sound good? Add this to your list of things to do in Porto!
9. Look At Porto
An unexpected little gem in Porto is the Look at Porto Movie Theater. A cool experience, taking you through a 5D cinema experience like no other! In 10 minutes of moving seats, smells and even light mists of water, you will leave knowing lots of fun facts about Porto and experiencing them in a totally different perspective! A great way to prepare an itinerary of fun things to do!
10. Cross the D. Luis Bridge
Yes you heard that right! A walk across the bridge is an experience you do not want to miss! The D Luis I Bridge joins the Ribeirinha district to Port wine houses of Vila Nova de Gaia. The bridge itself has two levels, the spectacular arch, and the suspended bridge below, offering amazing views from 60 meters (190 feet) over the Douro River! Once you cross from the zona Ribeirinha to Vila Nova de Gaia, you have two options to descent to the lovely narrow roads – you can just walk down from the bridge to the narrow streets of Gaia, or you can take a cable car! The cable car should set you back 6 euros for a one way trip and 9 euros.