The ultimate attraction in Porto is actually the city itself, especially if you stand across the Rio Douro and the Ponte Luis I bridge, at the lookout point on the side of the Port wine cellars. The view you then have over Porto is indescribable. You see a city with houses in countless colors, birds fly over and you can more than imagine that in the narrow alleys there are endless secrets.
In the evening you can hear music from the street musicians blaring over the water. One time a bombastic drum roll and the other time the most melodious violin tones. Postage. In a few days you managed to steal our hearts.
What to Do in Porto?
Curious about what there is to do in Porto? Then check the top 10 for Porto below and prepare yourself for your own trip to this city in Northern Portugal!
To the Estação De São Bento Train Station
You don’t necessarily go here to take the train, although you can easily take the train from Porto to Lisbon or other places in Portugal, but you should definitely take a look. Just like the many churches in Porto, the station is very beautiful to see. Not only the tiles, but also the stained glass windows and the black and white tiled floor.
Watch the Sunset From the Ponte Luis I Bridge
Porto is actually always beautiful to view from the Ponte Luis I bridge, but the view is extra special when you see it during sunset. Not only are the houses colored in endless shades, the sky also changes by the minute. Perfect start to your evening and a fun thing to do before going out for dinner or on summer evenings after dinner for dessert!
Get Lost in Rebeira, the Historic Center of Porto
The best part of Porto is perhaps Rebeira. This is the historic center in Porto and the part with many small alleys, balconies where the laundry hangs outside and many restaurants. Nice to stroll through during the day, but also a good place to eat out in the evening.
Walking the Avenida Dos Aliados
Our first real acquaintance with Porto arises when we walk along Avenida Dos Aliados. With on one side the Paços do Concelho, the town hall, and behind it the church Igreja da Trindade. While opposite, far on the other side of the square, stands the statue Estatua d Pedro IV.
On the square itself you will find a small fountain, folding chairs and tables where Portuguese people can chat and on both sides of the square are the most impressive buildings. Would you rather discover Porto a little faster than on foot? Then a bike tour in Porto is also recommended!
Get Out of Porto and Discover the Rest of Northern Portugal
Get out of Porto and discover the rest of Northern Portugal! There is much more to do in the north of Portugal. You will find the incredibly cool design Hotel Minho, but also many vineyards and visit beautiful places such as Valença.
Counting Tiles at the Many Churches in Porto
Porto is filled with endless churches and many of these churches are covered with the most beautiful tiles. Often in white and blue with a hint of yellow here and there, making it somehow reminiscent of our own Delft Blue. The most beautiful churches we saw are:
- Igreja do Carmo (right next to the Carmelitas church)
- Igreja dos Carmelitas (recommended!)
- Igreja dos Congregados
- Church of Sao Pedro de Miragaia
- Church of Saint Ildefonsus (one of the most beautiful!)
Eat Portuguese Pastéis De Belém and Taste Port in Porto
When you go to Porto, you can’t really leave until you’ve had a glass of Port and tasted a Pastéis de Belém.
There Are Plenty of Port Wine Cellars in Porto
Especially on the other side of the Ponte Luis I bridge, on the water of the Rio Douro. In the end we tasted our glass of Port (one of 20 and one of 30 years old, guess which one was better!) in Hotel Minho in the region of the same name in Northern Portugal, but in Porto you do it best at a wine cellar. One of the Port wine cellars that was recommended to us is Ferreira. Or do as the locals do and drink a cocktail with Port, such as a “Port and Tonic”!
Pastéis de Belém can be found almost everywhere, it is a typical sweet from the Portuguese kitchen. We found it in our Airbnb, but you can also buy it in cafes or bakeries.
The Third Most Beautiful View Point in Porto Can Be Found at the Top of the Torre Dos Clérigos
Not only on the other side of the river or on the Ponte Luis I bridge you will find a great view over the city, but also from the Torre dos Clérigos. With the Porto Card you pay 1.50 euros to go to the top and 3.00 euros without the Porto Card. A small amount, for a spectacular view. Inside the tower you will also find a smaller museum on the lower floors, oh and be prepared that it can be crowded upstairs. Sometimes you have to wait in the smaller corridors for people who want to go up or down.
Harry Potter Fans Head to the Livraria Lello Bookstore in Porto
The most beautiful bookshop in Porto, perhaps even in Portugal or the whole world, can be found at Rue das Carmelitas and bears the name Livraria Lello. Not only is it one of Portugal’s oldest bookstores, but it’s also a place that inspired JK Rowling to write Harry Potter.
Lovers of Harry, Ron and Hermione must have been here for a while. Make sure you buy a ticket, because to enter the bookshop you have to pay an entrance fee of a few euros. You can buy this in the red building across the street from the bookshop.
Harry Potter readers will often be surprised in Porto, because the students here walk around in a kind of black robes. Make no mistake, they are not even necessarily Harry Potter fans, as much as they resemble Hogwarts students, but just University students.
By Tram (or Bus) to Porto Beach
Last but not least: To be fair, it took a very long time for the tram to reach Rue nova da Alfandega, so we ended up taking the bus to the beach of Porto a little less romantically. At the same place where you can take the tram, on the water, bus line 500 also goes.
Eventually you can get off as soon as you have driven along the sea for a while, this takes about 15 minutes. At the beach you can enjoy a nice dinner at Varanda do Sol, you will find the best pizza and you have a beautiful view over the sea. This restaurant can be found at Rua Cel. Raul Peres 244.
Also Useful to Know if You Are Going to Porto Next to Our Top 10 to Do’s!
Finally, a few handy tips if you want to go to Porto:
Flight Tickets to Porto
You can fly to Porto via several budget airlines:
- Fly with Ryanar from Eindhoven
- Fly with Transavia from Amsterdam
Or, which is also a very smart thing to do, book a complete city trip to Porto via TUI. Then your plane ticket and hotel are immediately arranged, and this can often be done via TUI for a super affordable price. Certainly compare with how expensive it is if you book a separate ticket and hotel.
Staying Overnight in Porto via Airbnb
You can sleep in Porto in various hotels, but also in great Airbnbs. We chose the latter and although our Airbnb was located in the busy entertainment street Rua de José Falcão (be prepared for noise if you sleep here on Saturday night), it was a nice home here. Do you also want to sleep in an Airbnb in Porto? Then sign up for Airbnb via this link and get a discount between 18 and 23 euros!
Shopping in Porto
If you want to go shopping in Porto, you should go to Rue de Santa Catarina. Here you will find all kinds of shops from well-known brands (such as Zara, Bershka or H&M), but also smaller boutiques. Fancy a coffee? Then you have to go to Cafe Majestic, this is one of the most beautiful cafes in Porto and was opened in 1921.
Eating Out in Porto
Nice places to eat out in Porto or to have a drink are:
- Cafe Majestic, for a coffee (Rua de Santa Catarina 112)
- Maria Bola, for cake (Cedofeita Street 516)
- Cultura Dos Sabores, for vegetarian & vegan dinner (Rua de Ceuta 80)
- Fargi, for the best ice creams (51 Rue de Elísio de Melo)
- Armazem, tapas bar but also a vintage market (Rua de Miragaia 93)
- Picota, for the very-very-tasty (and cheapest!) lasagna (Largo São Domingos 56)
- Oporto Serviced Apartments – 1858, for a good breakfast menu (Rua de Cedofeita 379)
Pay attention to the times that you eat out, because the Portuguese are sometimes strict when it comes to food. For example, lunch is often between 12:30 and 14:30, while dinner is normally between 20:00 and 23:00. The more touristy restaurants will stick to this less.
Nightlife in Porto
There are several fun streets to go out in Porto. You can go to:
- Rue de Jose Falcao
- Rue das Oliveiras
- Rue de Candido dos Reis
- Rue da Galeria de Paris
- Rue do Conde de Vizela
Oh and do you order a beer while going out? Order a Super Bock, which is the typical beer from Porto, and don’t be mistaken by choosing a Sagres, because it comes from Lisbon. Would you rather choose a wine? Then go for a Vinho Verde, the well-known green wine from Northern Portugal!