Porto is the second most populous city in Portugal, with around 215 inhabitants. But this does not mean that the place loses its charm and all the charm that surrounds it: historical monuments, beautiful landscapes, museums and colorful streets attract visitors from all over the world.
It is located in the northern region of Portugal, being the capital of the metropolitan region of the same name. The distance between this charming municipality and Lisbon is about 300 km. Therefore, one of the ways to get there is by taking a train or a bus in the Portuguese capital.
The top 10 tourist attractions in Porto:
1- The Lello bookstore (or Chardron bookstore)
In addition to being beautiful, this bookstore offers many interesting curiosities.
It is considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world (the third, according to the 2008 Guardian list and the 2010 Lonely Planet list).
The building built in the neo-Gothic style of Porto attracts a lot of attention, besides its amazing interior architecture. Inside, it has a super iconic red staircase in the center, nicknamed “exotic flower”.
An interesting curiosity is that the Lello served as JK Rowling's inspiration for the Harry Potter movie. It has been used to describe the "Flourish & Blotts", the bookstore that Harry and his friends frequent. All of this happened when the author was living in Portugal and started writing drafts of this highly successful book.
2- Ride on the Rabelo boat across the Douro river
It is a typical Portuguese boat that once carried Port wine from the Douro region to the city of Porto. During this tour you will pass by the beautiful bridges of the city, such as the D. Luís I bridge.
The famous iron structure of the D. Luís Bridge is one of the postcards of Porto. She saw her project signed by the same creator of the most famous tower in Paris, Gustave Eiffel.
It connects the central region of the city with the Vila Nova de Gaia district and offers the best view of the Douro river.
A classic and delicious tour is to walk along the Douro River and observe the city. You can sit in a cafe or bar for a drink.
Place Riverside is a lovely place to watch life go by.
3- The church and the Torre dos Clérigos
The Torre dos Clérigos, a traditional tourist attraction in the city center, is the tallest tower in Portugal and stands 76 meters high.
It is possible to climb a staircase that leads to the top of the tower and have an incredible panoramic view of Porto. The structure is an annex of the church of the same name, and also has 49 bells installed inside.
4- São Bento station
It was designed by Marques da Silva in 1900 on the site of a former convent. It is located in the middle of the bustle of the city center.
This station is a must-see not only for those who will be traveling by train, but also for architecture lovers.
It is worth admiring its beautiful entrance, with paintings done on Portuguese tiles.
Its structure presents an astonishing wealth of detail, with more than 20 Portuguese tiles. These tell the historical stages of the country.
5- The Music House
Many people go there to take a guided tour or simply take photos of the facade and architecture of the place. The advice is therefore to try to really live the experience. Plan ahead and go see a concert.
The venue is responsible for promoting incredible concerts, with four fixed house groups: the Symphony Orchestra, the Remix Ensemble, the Baroque Orchestra and the Choir. The building also houses workshops and educational events for adults and children. As well as restaurants and bars.
6- Bolhão market
It is located in a super central part of the city, about 600 meters from São Bento train station. It is located in a building built between 1914 and 1917.
In 2006, the Mercado do Bolhão received the title of good of heritage interest, thanks to its architectural structure, its historical and cultural artistic and symbolic values. Later, in 2013, it was classified as a monument of public interest.
It is a traditional market that sells fruits, vegetables, fish, with authentic sales and some food options. There you will find flowers, fresh foods (cheese, sweets, bread, fish) and souvenirs from Portugal of all kinds.
A place with an incredible atmosphere, where even today lively negotiation sessions take place.
7- The Serralves Foundation and its gardens
This cultural institution aims to promote contemporary art in Portugal. Apart from the museum, which has hosted several traveling exhibitions since 1999, what also attracts the attention of visitors are the huge gardens.
Museum enthusiasts can enjoy lunch at the on-site restaurant. Be sure to stop by the library, whose giant blue lamps decorate the place.
8- Porto Cathedral or Sé do Porto
Visiting the churches of Porto is like immersing yourself in the history of the city, and Sé Cathedral is one of the mandatory stops on this type of visit.
Built in the romantic style in the middle of the XNUMXth century, the building has two side towers and three interior naves. You can also take the opportunity to visit the Gothic cloister and the treasure museum.
9- Vila Nova de Gaia - visit a Port wine cellar
This is a must visit for anyone traveling to Porto. Visit a winery, understand the Port wine production process and, at the end, taste the different qualities of wine.
You can go to the Calém Cellars located in Vila Nova de Gaia.
It will allow you to discover the production of this delicate dish, to taste a few titles and to buy a few bottles at attractive prices.
10- Enjoy the night in the rue de la Galeria de Paris
This tip is for those who want to get to know Porto's nightlife. Start your evening in one of the bars on Paris' bustling Rua Galeria, the liveliest street in Porto, then maybe hit a club.
To find out more about the restaurants and typical flavors of this region, see: Where to eat in Porto: tips on the typical flavors of the region to include in your itinerary.