Porto is an increasingly popular destination, and when you get there, it’s easy to see why. This multi-faceted city skillfully blends different worlds. Here, the charm of the popular gourmet scene rubs shoulders with renowned modern architecture. Historic monuments span the centuries and will take you on a journey back in time to the past. Here are 10 things to do in Porto that are not to be left out from your itinerary.
The monumental Duomo (La Sé) in the heart of Porto is an absolute must. Its Gothic façade and enormous forecourt are an invitation to pause. What is unusual is that when it was built, it was so surrounded by residential buildings that its beauty could not be seen. There are also treasures hidden inside, in particular the cloister, which is covered with sublime azulejos, and a fine collection of religious objects.
Sao Francisco Church
Another religious monument worth visiting is the Church of São Francisco, not far from La Sé. From the terrace of the church, you can admire the church and enjoy a beautiful view of the city. But it’s in the interior that it shows all of its beauty, with its baroque works and ornaments. It is also the home of a museum that specializes in this period.
The church and the Clercs Tower
You can’t miss the Tour des Clercs on your list of things to do in Porto. It’s actually the tallest tower not only of Porto, but of all Portugal. It is 76 meters high and has a staircase of 200 steps. Climbing the tower offers one of the best views of Porto, as you’d expect. And don’t forget to have a look at the 49 bells that are part of the giant carillon.
Lello & Irmao Library
Popularized by the famous Harry Potter saga, Lello & Irmao is the bookshop that partly inspired JK Rowling. Its narrow façade is fascinating in itself and makes it an atypical bookshop. As you enter, you can see the Art Nouveau inspiration with its stained glass windows shaped like plants. The heart of the store is undoubtedly the red staircase with its rounded banister, which takes us straight into a world of fantasy.
The Stock Exchange Palace
The Stock Exchange Palace, still in use today, is a fascinating building to visit. The central courtyard, with its huge glass dome, will take your breath away as soon as you enter. This is followed by a series of surprises in the rooms of the palace, the most surprising of which is the salon in the Moorish style. The decor is a real eye-catcher in this neoclassical building, with its pastel colors and inlays.
Casa do Musica
Decidedly modern, the Casa do Musica is, as its name suggests, a building dedicated to music. It is a white cube that seems to have fallen from the sky, and it is fascinating. It has been designed with acoustics in mind, so that the music is not only a pleasure, but an experience. It’s a pleasure not only for the eyes, but also for the ears. It’s also home to the best secret rooftop in Porto.
The Serralves Garden and Foundation
The Serralves Foundation and its adjacent garden should be your next stop if you want to continue your exploration of contemporary art. This foundation is home to many bold works of art that will be the focus of your curiosity. The garden also offers a view of the Art Deco Serralves House and is a great place to take a refreshing break.
Thirsty after a stroll? Then head to the Majestic Café. It is a wonderful place to have a drink and a cup of tea while taking in the art nouveau surroundings. It’s one of the more popular things to do in Porto, so it’s not uncommon to see queues of people waiting for a chance to get in.
After a day of sightseeing, when the sun goes down and the bars come alive, the Ribeira Quays are an excellent place to go and have a drink and enjoy the friendly atmosphere. This area of winding alleys is perfect for getting lost, forgetting time and discovering small architectural details.
Port wine cellars
Alternatively, you can visit one of the many wine cellars on the banks of the river across from the Ribeira. They offer guided tours of the entire process of making Port wine. And, of course, they all end with a tasting of different vintages and local products (cheeses, charcuterie, oils, etc.). A perfect preamble to a Douro day trip from Porto!