Top things to see and do in Porto, Portugal.
Portugal is one of those European countries that are so versatile; it is rich in history and culture, offers delicious food, features breathtaking landscape, and has warm and colourful locals, not to mention, the climate is something to dream about...You can visit Portugal numerous times and still have plenty of leftovers for next time, in any case, it will always leave you wanting more!
Porto is one of my favourite cities in Portugal, it is a pretty and dynamic city on the coast of Portugal. Porto is probably most famous for three things: Port cellars, the blue and white facades visible everywhere around the city, and the six iconic bridges. The city is located along the Douro River that contributes to the city's picturesque water views and the old center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Views of Porto taken from the viewing point of Jardim de Morro
The best way to enjoy Porto is by walking, so go and explore!
There is something beautiful waiting around almost every corner, it is a wonderful city to get lost in ~ Small churches, markets, green lungs, narrow streets filled with character, and historical monuments.
The city is built on a hill so you will be walking up and down though it is easier than it will first seem to you 😊
Igreja dos Congregados
Walk down Rua Santa Catarina, this pedestrian street is the main shopping street of Porto, it has boutique stores selling typical Portuguese goods and souvenirs such as Port and cork goods (so unique! They even have postcards made of cork).
Walk through the Rua das Flores neighborhood; famous for its beautiful murals.
The highlights here are Igreja dos Congregados, this church is dedicated to Saint Anthony, featuring a traditional blue and white façade and Cafe Majestic, this is one of the most beautiful and oldest cafés of Porto.
This unique café is a stunning example of Art Nouveau, this is also where JK Rowlings wrote parts of her Harry Potter books.
Enjoying cheesecake in Cafe Majestic.
Fun fact for the Harry Potter fans out there; JK Rowling used to live in Porto for several years, during which she wrote some of the Harry Potter books, this fact has brought on quite a bit of speculation as to her inspiration.
She stated that the rumor regarding the famous Lello bookstore being the inspiration for the staircase in her books is unfortunately not true. It is a stunning bookstore but if you choose to wait in the long lines and pay to get inside, let it be for the right reasons.
Explore the Ribeira neighborhood:
This beautiful area is filled with hidden gems just waiting to be uncovered as it leads you down to the riverbanks, this was my favorite part of the city!
Colorful homes, gorgeous views of the river and the iconic bridges, and cozy cafes and restaurants along the water serving fresh. Take your time strolling through the narrow cobbled streets, have a break in the Praça da Ribeira square, and take in the vibes and beauty around you.
Cross the iconic D. Luís I Bridge by foot over the river to Gaia:
Cross the iconic D. Luís I Bridge by foot over the river to Gaia: This is where you will find Port cellars, unique street art, and gorgeous views of the city from a different angle!
Fun fact: Many visitors to Porto think that this iconic bridge was built by Gustav Eiffel, however, it was his disciple who built it!
Views of the river and the bridge from Ribeira riverbanks.
Treat yourself to a port tasting; I recommend visiting the exclusive Cockburn Port cellars, enjoy a guided tour and a tasting at the end of it. It was mind-blowing to see the efforts and level of craftsmanship required to produce quality port wine.
Stroll down the famous Aliados Avenue surrounded by Art Nouveau, Art Deco façades, and iconic monuments. You will also find here the most beautiful Macdonald's in the world! Worth taking a peek inside, you have never seen a MacDonald decorated in a 1920's style.
For fabulous panoramic views of Porto, go up the Clérigos Tower! It is, of course, a bit of climb, 244 stairs up to be exact, it will be worth it! The Clérigos Church attached to the tower was built in Baroque style and is an iconic landmark of the city of Porto.
Visit the Sao Bento train station:
Visit the Sao Bento train station: This unique train station is an art & history lesson of the Portuguese you do not want to miss. The hand-painted blue and white facades are gorgeous! Over 20,000 tiles that took just over two years to lay make up incredibly telling murals showcasing Portuguese craftsmanship and historical highlights, dating back to 1905.
Sao Bento train station
This food market is unfortunately closed for the foreseeable future due to renovations, however, a temporary market has opened around the corner from it and is also worth visiting. This is a great introduction to the Portuguese kitchen and its delicacies. There are a couple of small restaurants inside serving traditional local Portuguese dishes.
Bonus tip!Take a tuk-tuk ride to explore the area around Porto.
You can take a tour to the ocean side while passing through Afurada, this is an authentic fishermen village on the edge of Porto. There’s something special about this village and it’s not just the delicious fish and seafood restaurants here serving their daily catch for very low prices.
This spot offers beautiful ocean views while walking through the small marina but what grabbed me the most was the sense of community and unity you will see here.
Around 20% of the Portuguese people live under the poverty line and this village is no exception, while walking around speaking with people you will see how they all stand together and help each other in every way they can. By the marina, you will see a big public laundry wash house, this is where the women come and do their washing for free as they can not afford washing machines or dryers, the water and soap are supplied by the government, they then hang it to dry in the courtyard, I saw locals bringing a small breakfast to homeless people around the village, it was very touching to see.
Have a wonderful trip!
My name is Diti, I’m an Israeli travel and lifestyle blogger living in Amsterdam. I have been exploring the world, living in different countries from a young age (eight countries on three continents), always feeding my wanderlust ~ To TRAVEL is to LIVE!
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