The 50 Best Things to Do in Porto
Whether you’re planning a romantic escape or a group getaway, Porto offers something to satisfy every palate. Perched on the banks of the Douro River, Portugal’s second-largest city buzzes with lively restaurants, bars, port cellars (when in Portugal…), monuments and shops. Plus, it’s wonderfully walkable. And that’s just the beginning. Here are 50 things you won’t want to miss while in Porto.
1. EXPLORE RIBEIRAStart by exploring the historic riverside district of Ribeira. It’s home to many prominent landmarks and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Center in 1996.
2. HEAD TO PORTO CATHEDRAL
First up? Porto Cathedral, an important Romanesque monument built on the highest point of the city.
3. MARVEL AT PALÁCIO DA BOLSA
The Neoclassical-style Palácio da Bolsa mesmerizes with its ornate interiors.
4. TAKE IN THE CHURCH OF SÃO FRANCISCO
Around the corner is the Church of São Francisco. Constructed in the 14th century, it’s (arguably) the most impressive example of Gothic architecture in all of Porto.
5. ISIT CASA DO INFANTE
Casa do Infante, where Prince Henry the Navigator was born, later acted as the royal mint, prior to becoming a museum.
6. GLIMPSE MERCADO FERREIRA BORGESIt’s impossible to miss the red iron Mercado Ferreira Borges. Like so many things in Porto, the former market building now has a second life—in this case, as a nightclub and restaurant.
7. DON’T FORGET RIBEIRA SQUARE
As you’re knocking key attractions off the list, don’t skip Ribeira Square.
8. DISCOVER TABERNA DOS MERCADORES
Tucked away in a narrow alley, Taberna Dos Mercadores is a hidden gem that serves outstanding regional dishes. (We hope you called ahead because this tiny spot fills up fast.)
9. SNAG A TABLE AT WINE QUAY BAR
Ready for a round of bebidas? Oenophiles rave about the extensive wine list, affordable prices and friendly staff at Wine Quay Bar.
12. AMBLE ALONG CAIS DA RIBEIRACais da Ribeira is a postcard-esque promenade lined with eateries and souvenir shops.
11. CROSS THE UPPER SECTION OF THE DOM LUÍS I BRIDGE
Walk or ride the tram across the upper section of the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge that connects Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia.
12. HOP ABOARD THE TELEFÉRICO DE GAIA
The Teleférico de Gaia offers exquisite vistas—provided you’re not afraid of heights.
13. CRUISE THE DOURO RIVER
Before imbibing port lodges (aka when you’re still sober), sail the Douro River on a rabelo boat, a wooden cargo vessel that was originally used to transport barrels of vin
14. SAVOR AGED-TO-PERFECTION FORTIFIED WINE
Vila Nova de Gaia is the true epicenter of port. We suggest tastings at Cálem, Graham’s and Kopke.
15. APPRECIATE CAIS DE GAIA
Take a break from booze to soak in the scenic beauty of Cais de Gaia.
16. CHOW DOWN IN AFURADABy now, you’re probably famished. Head to the traditional fishing village of Afurada for grilled dorade or seafood stew.
17. GRAB A SEAT AT DICK’S BAR
Or stride 15 minutes inland to Dick's Bar. Travelers rave about the casual atmosphere, palate-pleasing menu and scenic views.
18. EAT MICHELIN-STARRED CUISINE
The Yeatman also has a two Michelin star restaurant, renowned for creative multi-course menus and wine pairings.
19. BOOK A VINO-CENTRIC FACIAL
Need to unwind? The property houses an award-winning Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa, too.
20. RETURN VIA THE LOWER LEVEL OF THE DOM LUÍS I BRIDGE
On your return voyage, choose the lower level of the Dom Luís I Bridge to gain a different perspective.
21. HOP ABOARD FUNICULAR DOS GUINDAISPrefer to hoof it? Relish a leisurely journey up the steep hill to Batalha Square.
22. HIT UP MAJESTIC CAFÉ
Belle Epoque-era details and indulgent specialties (ahem, custard-wrapped French toast) shine at Majestic Café.
23. PERUSE LOCAL PRODUCTS AT COMER E CHORAR POR MAIS
Speaking of deliciousness, Comer e Chorar por Mais is a gourmet grocery that dates back to 1916. Shelves are stocked with a variety of quality Portuguese products. Think: cheese, sausage and olive oil. (Check, check and check.)
24. POLISH OFF PASTRIES
For a slightly sweeter treat, pop into Confeitaria do Bolhão. We dare anyone not to devour the buttery pastries in seconds.
25. MEANDER OVER TO THE SÃO BENTO RAILWAY STATION
Regardless of whether you have a train to catch, it’s worth a trip to São Bento Railway Station to admire the gorgeous blue-and-white azulejos (tin-glazed ceramic tiles).
26. CONTINUE ON TOWARDS CLÉRIGOS CHURCH
Do yourself a favor and fork over a couple euros for admission to Torre dos Clérigos. Standing at 249 feet, it’s the tallest bell tower in Portugal. Folks who successfully climb the narrow stairs to the top are rewarded with spectacular panoramas.
27. GAIN ENTRY TO LIVRARIA LELLOLisbon may boast the oldest operating bookstore in the world, but Porto has Livraria Lello. And, in our opinion, the latter is far more architecturally interesting—not to mention photogenic. (Insider tip: avoid standing in two separate queues by buying an online voucher in advance.)
28. STROLL PAST IGREJA DO CARMO
Stroll past Igreja do Carmo. Pause to snap a few photos of its famous tiled facade.
29. INSTAGRAM BRUNCH
Nearby is Zenith Brunch & Cocktails, a popular spot for Instagrammable pancakes and egg dishes.
30. NOSH ON HEALTHY FARE AT ÉPOCA PORTO
Typically less packed—though it depends when you go—Época Porto feeds a hip, health-conscious crowd with organic, seasonal breakfast and lunch fare.
31. SEE PRAÇA DA LIBERDADE
Widely regarded as the most significant square in Porto, Praça da Liberdade links the historic and modern parts of the city.
32. STRIKE A POSE WITH D. PEDRO IV
When else will you have the opportunity to pose beside the emblematic equestrian statue of D. Pedro IV?
33. SWING BY AVENIDA DOS ALIADOSAt the north end of Liberdade Square lies Avenida dos Aliados. A bustling hub of activity, the grand avenue is surrounded by stately buildings, including a shockingly attractive McDonald's.
34. GAZE AT CÂMARA MUNICIPAL
On that note, consider making a pit stop at Câmara Municipal (aka Porto City Hall).
35. SHOP TILL YOU DROP ON RUA DE SANTA CATARINA
Rua de Santa Catarina is a traditional shopping street with numerous stores and cafés.
36. PICNIC IN JARDINS DO PALÁCIO DE CRISTAL
The landscaped gardens of Jardins do Palácio de Cristal stand out as a lovely locale for an afternoon picnic.
37. GET SOME FRESH AIR AT PARQUE DA CIDADE DE OPORTO
On the outskirts of the city, Parque da Cidade de Oporto is a mecca of outdoor fun.
38. PEEP CONTEMPORARY ART AT MUSEU SERRALVES
Yes, Museu Serralves is off the beaten path, but the impressive collection of contemporary works warrants going the extra mile.
39. FLOCK TO THE GALLERIES ON RUA DE MIGUEL BOMBARDA
Discover exciting art at the galleries on Rua de Miguel Bombarda.
40. CATCH A CONCERT AT CASA DE MÚSICAIn 2001, Porto was dubbed the “European Capital of Culture.” To mark the occasion, the city built Casa de Música. The venue regularly hosts concerts and live performances.
41. WATCH A FADO SHOW
Music fans should also check the schedule at Fado na Baixa.
42. ENJOY A PORTO TÓNICO (OR TWO)
Happy hour means many things to Tripeiros. In the mood for a porto tónico? Botequim Nostalgic is the move.
43. SIP A CREATIVE COCKTAIL AT DIGBY
44. ORDER SEAFOOD RICE AND CROQUETTES AT MITOFrom here, it's just a stone's throw to a handful of excellent restaurants—notably Mito.
45. GET YOUR STEAK FIX
Craving red meat? Nab a reservation at Porto’s premier steakhouse, MUU.
46. FEAST ON TAPAS AT TRAVESSO
Still hungry? It's always tapas o’clock at Travesso.
47. FREQUENT WINE BARS
48. SAMPLE CRAFT BREW
You might be surprised to find a brewpub in Porto. Located in Cedofeita, Catraio celebrates all things craft beer. Thirsty patrons can try over 100 national and international brands.
49. CAP OFF YOUR EVENING AT THE GIN CLUB
Seeking something a bit stiffer? Grab a late-night tipple at The Gin Club.
50. SNOOZE AT TOREL 1884
Finally, retire to the chic comfort of Torel 1884. Bet you’d never guess this boutique stay was previously a bank!