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TOP THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN PORTO

Porto wasn’t on my list of cities to visit in Europe until my dad discovered his love for Port wine one year ago while having Christmas lunch in London. Since that time he couldn’t stop telling me how great that glass of wine was, he had to go to Porto and taste the wine in the land where its made. So we did.

And now I regret not putting Porto on my travel bucket list, as it is one of the most charming and authentic cities I’ve ever visit. I’ll travel there again and again.

So I made a list of the best things the city has to offer to make sure you put Porto on your travel plans next time you visit Europe, and to not commit the mistake I did.

Capela das Almas portoCAPELA DAS ALMAS (Chapel of Souls)

Located on the shopping street we find one of the most striking and beautiful chapels of the world.

Magnificent blue-and-white hand painted tiles here depict scenes from the lives of various saints, including the death of St Francis and the martyrdom of St Catherine.

While in the area, don’t miss the daily life in Mercado do Bolhao, nor A Pérola do Bolhão, a little traditional grocery store with a large variety of quality and delicatessen Portuguese products. Before the products catch your eye, the façade will: beautiful Art Noveau entrance covered in Portuguese tiles.

A Pérola Do Bolhão Porto

Ribeira PortoRIBEIRA

Ribeira is Porto’s biggest heart-stealer. Its Unesco World Heritage maze of medieval alleys zigzags down to the Douro River and a promenade lined with slender, pastel-hued houses and hole-in-the-wall tascas (taverns), with front-row views of the spectacular Ponte de Dom Luís I and the port-wine lodges across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia. Jam-packed with sights, shops, and restaurants (and flocks of tourists), this historic neighborhood is postcard Porto.

Ribeira Porto

avenida dos aliados PortoAVENIDA DOS ALIADOS

Avenida dos Aliados is generally regarded as Porto’s city centre and is, as such, the most grandiose avenue. Flanked by ornate buildings in a range of architectural styles, from neoclassical to French Beaux-arts, this avenue was built to impress. As such it is home to some of the city’s most prestigious hotels along with a number of banks.

Sao Bento Railway Station PortoSAO BENTO RAILWAY STATION

Probably one of the most beautiful train stations in the world, if not the most!

Its inside is covered with thousands of painted tiles that depict the history of the Portuguese transportation.

Livraria Lello, PortoLIVRARIA LELLO

Let’s catch up on clichés! Rumour has it that J.K. Rowling got inspired by that twisting staircase for the Harry Potter Books while she was living in Porto back in the 90s.

Either if that is true or not, the library itself it’s gorgeous and totally worth the visit.

Be sure to go there early in the morning cause it gets super busy and jam-packed with tourists, that taking a photo or just walking into the library trying to look for books can be a pain!

CRYSTAL PALACE GARDENS

There’s nothing better than taking a break after a full day walking the cobbled streets of Porto. Crystal Palace Gardens are the right place.

Luxurious greenery, romantic nooks, and belvederes with astonishing views over the river, the Atlantic ocean and the city itself.

The Porto Romantic Museum and the Port Wine Museum are also located inside the gardens.

igreja do carmoIGREJA DO CARMO AND IGREJA DAS CARMELITAS

Another church that caught my attention was Igreja do Carmo. Well, in fact, these are two churches that stand almost side by side.

The two churches are separated by a very narrow, 1m wide, house built so that the two churches wouldn’t share a common wall, and to prevent any relations between the nuns of Igreja dos Carmelitas and the monks of Igreja do Carmo. Curious, right?

Igreja dos Carmelitas is the one in the right, and Igreja do Carmo, the one in the left. And you are going to recognize them because this last one has an impressive facade made with, again, blue and white tiles.

TORRE DOS CLÉRIGOS

Climb its 225-step spiral staircase for phenomenal views over Porto’s tiled rooftops, spires and the curve of the Douro to the port wine lodges in Gaia. It also harbors an exhibition that chronicles the history of the tower’s architects and residents.

The price of the entrance is 5€.

Graham's Port LodgeGRAHAM’S WINE CELLAR

(VILA NOVA DA GAIA)

We came for the wine, so this couldn’t miss on the list. The wine that had my dad astonished my dad was a Graham’s so it made sense we decided to visit that house. And it didn’t disappoint.

Tours last approximately 30 minutes and conclude with a tasting of three to eight port wines (tour prices vary according to quality).

Plus, it boasts a fancy restaurant with lovely views over the city.

Graham's Port Lodge

I hope you enjoyed that little guide and wish you a pleasant time in Porto.

I’m already planning a next visit there caurse I missed on some spots.. 😛

14 Comments
  • Ketki
    Posted at 13:01h, 31 May Reply

    Wow! That is gorgeous find. I agree that Sao Bento railway station is beautiful and even the church. I would love to visit here someday,Who knew Porto would be so pretty!

    • Nuria Vidal
      Posted at 18:00h, 05 June Reply

      Right?! You need to make it there! I’m sure you won’t regret it 🙂

  • Chelsea
    Posted at 13:11h, 31 May Reply

    Beautiful shots of the city! Seriously that shot of the railway station and the blue and white building … perfect.

  • Diana
    Posted at 13:22h, 31 May Reply

    Portugal has been on my list for a long time, and Porto looks just stunning. Even simple buildings like grocery stores look well adorned and intricately designed. It’s so funny how you came to choose Porto as a destination – when you find a wine you really like, you gotta visit its origins!

  • Maggie
    Posted at 13:24h, 31 May Reply

    I had no idea Porto had such amazing architecture! Those blue and white facades everywhere are gorgeous! And while I love a good port, it’s good to know there’s so much more to the city than just it’s famous beverage. I haven’t made it to Portugal yet, but Porto is definitely going on my list for whenever I do get there.

  • Chloe
    Posted at 13:40h, 31 May Reply

    Porto looks beautiful! I wish I could be there right now. You said you missed a few things. How many days would you recommend staying? I’m pinning this post and taking a note. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Nuria Vidal
      Posted at 18:13h, 05 June Reply

      Hi Chloe!! I was there for 3 days, 3 nights. It’s not a big city and you can visit all the interesting things perfectly in that period of time. We took our time in Porto in a very relaxed way, spending afternoon hours seating and enjoying the views in Ribeira promenade terraces, or strolling around the city in a very low pace.. So that’s the reason we didn’t get to see everything I would had liked. Anyways we did all the major touristy spots.. if I could go back I wouldn’t miss visiting Mosteiro da serra do pilar, it boasts an amazing look out point over the River and the city itself.

  • Alexis Rae
    Posted at 15:09h, 31 May Reply

    All those painted building are beaitufil and the library is literally straight out of my dreams! Plus if it inspired Harry Potter, it must be magical!

  • Jess Acreman
    Posted at 16:42h, 31 May Reply

    A friend was literally asking me yesterday about Porto tips so this post has come into my life at exactly the right time. Thank you, Universe! Your photographs and descriptions are wonderful and I can’t wait to not only share this with my friends but use your tips for when I visit this pretty city.

    • Nuria Vidal
      Posted at 18:17h, 05 June Reply

      Wow! So happy you stumbled upon my post and can give some tips to your friend now 🙂 Hope they find it interesting and have a great time in Porto!

  • Yvette Benhamou
    Posted at 17:55h, 31 May Reply

    As an avid wine drinker (so much classier to say than wino), Porto had always been a place of interest, but this post just sold me. Your pictures are incredible, and I love all the unique spots you chose to highlight.

    • Nuria Vidal
      Posted at 18:18h, 05 June Reply

      you know whats next then, head to Porto to sip wine.. or head to your nearest grocery store and buy some Port haha

  • Daniela Fries
    Posted at 01:22h, 01 June Reply

    Your article brings back memories. In 2015, I spent the whole month of December in Porto and remember that on many days, it was still warm enough to sit outside and drink a coffee. A good friend of mine lives in Porto now, so there’s a reason to go back.

    • Nuria Vidal
      Posted at 18:19h, 05 June Reply

      So happy you found memories in my post. Porto’s such a lovely city. You are so blessed to had the opportunity to live there for a while.

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