Wonderful waterfront, stunning sights and some of the best wines in the world make a Porto city break a thrilling adventure which will broaden your horizons and open you up for new senses. Start your journey through Porto with exploring the charming local life – the streets of Ribeira, Massarelos and Miragaia are perfect for that purpose. Next, hit the centre for interesting architecture, bold street art and stunning museums. Objects like Museu de Arte Contemporânea and Casa da Música are iconic for Porto, and as such are the true must-sees of the city. Finally, after getting your fill of the local customs, culture, music and displays, treat yourself to the magnificent cuisine of Porto. Some of the most renowned chiefs in the world operate in Porto, with names like Ricardo Costa, Rui Paula, Pedro Lemos and José Avillez drawing thousands of tourists to the city every year. Hungry for more? After visiting the best marisqueria and petiscarias in Porto, take a sit on one of the famous terrace bars and wind down over a glass of wine, admiring the waterfront. That’s when you’ll be able to appreciate just how much of a good idea the Porto city break was!
Top 10 Things to See and Do in Porto
Porto Food and Wine Tasting Tour
This tour provides a good starting point for first-time visitors to Porto. Since food and wine are the most famous properties of Porto, the tour allows you to take your time visiting a couple of local eateries and bars to taste some of the specialties, along with a local guide who provides tips on where to eat and drink.
Porto Wine Lodges Tour
This tour not only takes you along several of the wine lodges in Porto, allowing you to see the process of winemaking and the beautiful buildings for yourself, but there are also tastings arranged in each of the seven lodges, and you can even take home some of the beverages as souvenirs at your own expense.
Douro Valley Tour
With a comprehensive, one-day tour of the region of Douro Valley, this tour includes visits to both large and small-time wineries with tastings included. A comfortable air-conditioned minivan will take you from the Porto city centre, allowing you to relax and not worry about the hot weather.
Porto Hop-On-Hop-Off Tour
This tour grants you the ability to discover the city of Porto at your own pace, as it allows you to use two routes of comfortable double-deckers with an open roof and stops strategically placed around the most popular attractions. There is also an option for a cheap upgrade to a small-group tour of the city and a cruise.
Arrabida Bridge Climb Experience
Take the opportunity to climb the renowned Arrabida Bridge during this thirty-minute tour supervised by a professional guide. The famous bridge is over sixty-five meters high, providing a gorgeous view of the landscape, and the guide will tell you the history of the bridge during the climb.
Four-hour Porto City Tour with Six Bridges Cruise
This comprehensive tour will take you along the most popular attractions and monuments in the city, including the Porto Se Cathedral, Clerigos Church, and Ponte de Don Luis. The tour also includes a hotel pick-up and drop-off, as well as a relaxing cruise and even a wine tasting in an authentic wine cellar.
3-hour Porto Bike Tour
During this three-hour tour, you will be able to visit some of the famous spots in the city with your friends and family on comfortable bicycles. The pace of the tour ensures everyone to have an enjoyable experience, as you drive through the Ribeira district and visit such monuments as Sao Francisco Church.
Skip the Line World of Discoveries Ticket
Avoid waiting in long lines to visit the famous World of Discoveries museum in Porto with this premium ticket, which grants you a priority entrance. The museum shows the history of the world with over twenty thematic exhibitions and installations, with various multimedia displays and life-sized models.
4-hour Guided Porto Pub Crawl
Combine fun with excellent value during this four-hour guided pub crawl, which will take you along some of the most popular pubs and clubs in Porto. Drinks are included in several of the places, as well as discounts for the whole group for drinks and beer, and even after-hours access in some of the establishments.
Aveiro Half-Day Tour from Porto
This half-day tour will allow you to escape the bustling city of Porto and enjoy a cruise to the scenic town of Aveiro. Nicknamed the Venice of Portugal, Aveiro is filled with gorgeous water canals, and the tour will take you through them, as well as through the famous tiled buildings of Costa Nova.
Other Things to See and Do
Torre dos Clerigos
Being a part of the Clerigos Church in Porto, the Clerigos Tower is probably the best spot to see the cityscape of Porto for free. The tower is over seventy-five meters high and requires quite a workout to get on top, but the view of the skyline is totally worth the effort. Make sure to come during the sunset!
Visit one of the terraces in the Ribeira district of Porto for a relaxing afternoon. The terraces of the district are popular among locals as a spot to unwind after a hard day, some take a book and enjoy a tranquil evening. Make sure to take some photos of the traditional boats that were used to transport wine.
The mouth of the Douro River
While to get there you will probably need to take a tram, which is quite cheap itself, a walk along the river is absolutely free and totally worth it. The place where the Douro River meets the Atlantic is fitted with a gorgeous promenade to walk on, and there are a lot of small-time ice cream parlors and eateries along the way.
Palacio da Bolsa
If you are looking for a piece of beautiful architecture, Palacio da Bolsa is definitely a place worth visiting for you. The Stock Exchange Palace is built in a Neo-Classical style, and dates back to the nineteenth century. While guided tours are quite expensive, you can still take pictures and see the gorgeous façade for free.
Church of Sao Francisco
Located right next to the Palacio da Bolsa, the Church of Sao Francisco is one of the most famous spiritual places in all of Porto. The church is made in Gothic style and was built during the transition between the twelfth and thirteenth century, with Baroque details added sometime later inside.
Surrounded by gorgeous gardens which themselves are worth walking through, the museum shows a variety of rotating exhibitions, including local and international artists. The gardens cover over eighteen hectares of terrain and are filled with beautiful local wildlife and plants, along with some exotic greenery.
The Museum of Contemporary Art
Located right next to the gardens of Serralves lies the Museum of Contemporary Art, housing a wide collection of both Portuguese and foreign art. The oldest pieces of art in the museum are from the 1960s, and most of them are modern. Make sure to come on the first Sunday of a month, when the museum is free to visit.
Wine cellars of Ribeira
While the district of Ribeira is widely known for its gorgeous terraces and excellent sangria, made by the locals, the area is also filled with plenty of both large and small wineries. Some of the wineries allow visitors to come for free and see the winemaking process for themselves, so make sure to look around.
Rue de Miguel Bombarda
The street of Miguel Bombarda is popular among the locals, as it is filled with many great pubs and bars, many of which provide happy hours for their customers, allowing them to get a discounted drink of their favourite beverage. There is also a lot of old-fashioned bakeries, which are a sight to see.
While driving a tram does require a ticket, it is extremely cheap and definitely worth the experience. The old-fashioned trams of Porto are picturesque in and of themselves, and they moreover ride at a steady, slow pace, allowing you to gaze at the marvellous monuments filling the streets outside the window.
One of the oldest districts of Porto, Foz, is also one of the most picturesque ones in all of the city. The name of the area translates to “river mouth”, as it is located around the spot where the Douro River meets the Atlantic. The district is also filled with beautiful parks and monuments, so make sure to explore thoroughly.
Rua Passeio Alegre
Located in the district of Foz, Rua Passeio Alegre is one of the best spots in the city to go for an afternoon walk or a relaxing jogging session. The street is located along the city’s seaside and runs alongside the Douro River, surrounded by palm trees, and leads to a gorgeous garden at the end of the road.
If you are a fan of books, make sure to come to the Lello Library. The gorgeous bookshop is not only famous for its exquisite architecture, designed by Francisco Xavier Esteves during the early nineteenth century. The legend of the library is that it inspired JK Rowling during her work in Porto as an English teacher.
Fort of Sao Francisco do Queijo
Also called by the locals the “Castle of the Cheese”, is a place definitely worth visiting. The unusual name of the fort comes from its location, as it is placed on top of a cliff that resembles a wheel of cheese, but it is still a remarkable defensive structure and one worth visiting.
Villa Nova de Gaia is a small town located near Porto, famous for its old-fashioned wine cellars. Gaia is located just south of the Douro River and is famous for its special wine, made only in northern Portugal. While guided tours and tastings cost quite a bit, some of the wine cellars will allow you to visit for free if you buy a bottle.
While this may not sound like an attraction, street food in Porto is such a vibrant phenomenon that it is definitely worth seeing. Even if you are not hungry, make sure to travel the streets of the city in the evening and indulge in the smells and sights.
There is far more to explore when it comes to the Douro River than just what you can see inside of the city. While you can take a boat cruise to see the famous bridges of the city, you can always travel outside of the city to explore the Douro Valley region on your own for cheap.
Coliseu do Porto
If you are lucky, you might be able to catch a free concert, or some sort of event at the Coliseu do Porto, which is a relatively new addition to the city of Porto. There are frequent music and ballet performances, along with theatrical displays, but the building is worth visiting just for the architecture.
Mercado do Bolhao
The Bolhao Market is a favourite among the locals, as it fills each day of the week with colourful stalls with fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as local delicacies. If you are not in the mood for buying anything, a walk through the stalls is still quite an experience, as you will witness the authentic local life of the city.
Centre Portugues de Fotografia
Located in an interesting spot which used to be a prison, the photography museum of Porto is a great place to visit if you are looking for some free exhibitions. Take a look at the original doors of the former prison, which are still in use, and visit for free from Tuesday to Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.