Beautifully located by the Duoro river, rich in history, culture and nightlife and filled with picturesque streets and houses – this is Porto! It is the second largest city in Portugal after the capital of Lisbon. Its old town and historical core has been proclaimed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite an increasing amount of tourists arriving to Porto in the recent years (Ryanair opened flights here!) the city still remains very charming and provides its visitors with a nice mix of old and new. There are many things to do in Porto and we really enjoyed the city a lot. We put together a small list of things to see and do here.
Take a stroll along the Ribeira Square
Also known as the true heart of town, Ribeira Square is a nice place to have some drinks or food and a great view across the river. It also is the most touristic spot but a beautiful square that shows the colors and life of Porto. Head down to the waterfront and relax along the river with a cold sangria. Across you will see the hill of Gaia with its Port Wine cellars and restaurants.
Walk across the Dom Luís I Bridge
The bridge of Dom Luís I connects the the city of Porto with the Vila Nova de Gaia. From here you can enjoy a fantastic view across the city and the river. It has a pedestrian walkway from which you can take good pictures from the Ribeira area. Also, a great place to be to enjoy the sunset. We walked across it twice to get a picture from both sides of the city.
Take a ride with the Teleferico de Gaia
Once you walk across to the other side of the river and toured the area you can reach the top of the bridge with a cable car. It’s the lazy way up to the bridge and will cost you around 5 Euros but it’s a nice ride and will also give you some nice views across the river and town. The upper station is close to the Jardim do Morro station from which you can decide to get back to Porto town or discover more of the other side.
Visit Livraria Lello
The Livraria Lello is a famous bookshop located in the center of Porto. It is one of the oldest bookshops in Portugal and is constantly rated among the top bookstores in the world. It has a very beautiful, Art Nouveau and Gothic architecture and served as an inspiration to Harry Potter’s library in Hogwarts. Actually, J.K. Rowling lived in Porto and taught English back in the early 1990s.
Climb up Torre dos Clérigos
Another thing to do in Porto is to climb up the Torre dos Clérigos. The Clérigos Tower is a very iconic construction of Porto and also provides a nice view of the city. It’s a 76-meter high baroque bell tower, so be prepared to walk up a lot of staircases. It is located at one of the highest points in town and allows you to have a look at the beautiful buildings and rooftops of Porto from the top.
Try some sweet Port Wine
One of the most well-known products of Porto is its wine (yes, that’s where the name Port wine comes from). It is the most common of things to do in Porto. The wine is exclusively produced along the Douro valley and you will find numerous places to enjoy it. There are many cellars along the Vila Nova de Gaia which offer wine tastings where you can try the various types of wines and buy them as well.
Walk through the small side streets
Porto is full of small side streets. The buildings and colors of this city are amazing and you should really take some time to walk around these streets. Discover the colorful doors, small balconies, hidden art and cute eateries and cafes.
Check out the nightlife
Porto does have a fun and very active nightlife. You can enjoy your evening at the Piolho café in Praça Parada Leitão, which is close to the University. It is a traditional meeting point for students where you can enjoy some cheap local beer and wine. It gets very crowded but has a nice atmosphere. Another place to go is the Largo de Mompilher to enjoy some drinks. In general, nightlife in downtown Porto is mostly enjoyed on the streets and in smaller bars and cafés.