Porto is one of the gems of Portugal. There is so much to see, it’s difficult to choose the best things. We selected only 7 things to do in Porto. But, you have so many possibilities.
Located along the Douro river estuary in Northern Portugal. Porto is the second-largest city and one of the oldest European centers. The western part of its urban area extends to the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Porto has less than half the size of the capital of Portugal, Lisbon. But arguably Porto’s smaller size is part of its charm.
Here, you will find a city with a rich history and fierce pride as its shoulders. The architectural highlights are immense. Passing from Porto Cathedral the oldest surviving structure to the remnants of the city walls and a few 15th-century houses.
The D.Luis Bridge is one of the icons of the city, signed by Théophile Seyrig. But, originally projected by Gustavo Eifell when it projects also D. Maria Pia Bridge.
Porto is one of the best places in Portugal to live in. The climate features the warm-summer Mediterranean as a result, its climate shares many characteristics with the coastal south: warm, dry summers and mild, rainy winters.
Porto was elected Best European Destination in 2012, 2014 and again in 2017. So what are you waiting to visit this beautiful city? Once you were there you will find yourself wanting to learn more. While enjoying all of the amazing food, history, and panoramic vistas that Porto has to offer.
Discover some of the things to do in Porto below.
1. Discover the Portuguese Tile – Azulejo
Azulejo is the famous tin-glazed ceramic tile work that adorns many of the interior and exterior of the buildings in Portugal.
Azulejos are found in churches, palaces, ordinary houses, schools, and nowadays, restaurants, bars, and even railways or subway stations.
In Porto, you will find samples everywhere you look. They were not only used as an ornamental art form. But, also had a specific functional capacity like temperature control in homes.
The tile murals are not only beautiful but they also depict important stories about the history of the city.
2. Cruise down the Douro River
There are many operators that will take you for a tour in the Douro River, for about 10 euros.
You will be treated to a view of the 6 bridges in the area and magnificent views of the city. Most operators throw in a visit to a wine cellar for a sampling of Porto’s famous Port Wine.
There is also an option to take a longer trip along the river to the Douro wine region where the Porto grapes are grown.
If you have the time this is one of the things to do in Porto you will be grateful.
3. Eating some Francesinha
Porto has a lively café culture. You will find several restaurants. Lining the major city streets and the majority of them will invite you to try Porto’s most famous sandwich – the Francesinha.
Originally from Porto. Made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat. Covered with melted cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce served with french fries.
It’s been said that Francesinha was invented for one returned emigrant from France and Belgium. He tried to adapt the croque-monsieur to Portuguese taste.
Porto and its surroundings are the traditional areas of the Francesinha so you’re in the right place to try it.
4. Taste the Wine – Port Wine
Port wine is worldwide famous. You can get a sample at any number of restaurants in Porto, but interestingly all of the Port Wine is actually aged and stored across the Douro River in Vila Nova de Gaia.
Tours and tastings are available at each of the wineries. You can also view replicas of the boats (rabelos) used to transport the wine from the Douro region where the grapes are grown and pressed.
5. Take a Free Porto Walking Tour
There are several tours available you only need to choose the most convenient for you. Do some research on the web but, always remember to use local tour guides.
It’s a good way to help the local economy and know the city.
In most of the tours, the highlights include the ancient wall that once surrounded all of Porto, gilded churches, and one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world Livraria Lello.
Don’t like group tours? Here’s a pocket guide to Porto that will allow you to explore the city on your own.
6. Lose yourself in the side streets
Porto is full of little streets. Most of them a car can barely pass. But this is a wonderful place to wandering and lose yourself in the little streets.
There are stone steps and narrow cobbled streets that beg to be explored throughout Porto.
Each neighbourhood has a slightly different look and feel. It’s fun to just wander along listening to music and neighbours calling out to each other. Be prepared to smell amazing things coming from the kitchens.
7. Visit the San Francisco Church
The San Francisco Church located in the historic center of the city is one of the most important and beautiful churches in Porto. In the entrance, you will see a polychrome granite statue (13th century) of Saint Francis of Assisi within a Baroque altarpiece.
This a remnant of the first St Francis church, replaced after 1383 by the present structure.
It is thought that the interior is decorated with more than 400 kg of gold leaf. It also contains the catacombs where remains of Franciscan friars and some dignitaries of the city are buried.
With so many activities to do in Porto, it is important to try something different. A souvenir video is an activity that you can do as a family, alone or with friends. Try this activity with Birdie, who will record a fully personalized video in just 15 minutes about your visit to Porto.
What are your favourite things to do in Porto?
Did you have already visited Porto? Tell us what you liked more in the comments below.
The historic center of Porto it’s now been renovated. Owners of buildings in the historic center must adhere to strict guidelines before renovating.
The original façade has been kept, the restoration process has a long way to go, but they sure improve this important part of Porto.
Some buildings in the downtown area are being renovated and turned into hotels or hostels. Porto has become a more cultural spot and a paradise for food lovers.
If you need some advice on the food you should check our post about 10 places to have breakfast & brunch in Porto. The city has been increasing tourism and the future looks bright.