Things to do in Porto

Things to do in  Porto

Welcome to Porto

Characterized by cobbled hills, colorful tiled facades, and a tumble of terracotta roofs, Porto is a laidback destination which blends old and new world charm with ease. From the modern Casa da Música and Don Luis Bridge to the steep streets of riverside Ribeira, historical Baixa—home to the Lello Bookstore—and trendy Cedofeita, there’s no shortage of things to do and see. After hours, sample decadent pastéis de nata (custard tarts) and smooth tawny ports; take a Rabelo boat ride down the Douro; or catch a late-night Fado performance in Portugal’s second city.

Top 15 attractions in Porto

Porto Cathedral (Sé Catedral do Porto)

Watching over the city from its hilltop spot, the imposing fort-like Porto Cathedral (Sé Catedral do Porto)is a reminder of Porto’s diverse history. Featuring Romanesque, Gothic, and baroque architecture, this is Porto’s oldest and largest church, a must-visit for architecture and history aficionados.More

Clérigos Church and Tower (Torre & Igreja dos Clérigos)

Standing atop a hill overlooking Porto, Portugal, are the Igreja dos Clérigos, an 18th-century church and one of the city’s architectural symbols, and the Toree dos Clérigos, its bell tower. Intricately carved baroque shells and garlands on the church reflect Porto’s seaside location, and the bell tower offers panoramic views of the city.More

Palace of the Stock Exchange (Palácio da Bolsa)

Forming an integral part of Porto’s historic center, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Palace of the Stock Exchange (Palácio da Bolsa is a marvel of neoclassical architecture. The 19th-century palace has played host to royals such as Her Majesty the Queen, and today can be explored only as part of a guided tour.More

Dom Luis Bridge (Ponte de Dom Luis I)

Designed by a student of Gustave Eiffel—the architect responsible for the Eiffel Tower—Ponte de Dom Luis I marked a significant step forward in Porto’s economic growth at the time of its construction; before it existed, the only passages across the river were boats lashed together. Today, visitors can admire the Douro River and the Ribeira District from the pedestrian walkway of Porto’s most symbolic sight.More

Rua Santa Catarina

Stretching from Praça do Marquês de Pombal in the north to Praça da Batalha in the south, Rua Santa Catarina is Porto’s principal shopping street and social hub. The 1-mile (1.5-kilometer thoroughfare is lined with Art Nouveau buildings and serves as a perfect place to start your Porto sightseeing.More


Set on the banks of the River Douro, Ribeira is Porto’s oldest quarter. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the district’s maze of alleyways and pastel-colored houses rises up on a hill above the bay. The Ribeira’s modern waterfront—lined with restaurants, bars, and cafés—is a popular leisure hub and nightlife destination.More

Church of São Francisco (Igreja de São Francisco)

Behind its comparatively stark Gothic facade, the Church of São Francisco(Igreja de São Francisco) harbors a trove of baroque finery: The interior has marble columns, intricate wooden carvings, and gold-covered walls. Highlights include the magnificent Tree of Jesse altarpiece, a 13th-century statue of Saint Francis, and eerily beautiful catacombs.More

Liberdade Square (Praça da Liberdade)

Lying at the southern end of Porto’s majestic Avenida dos Aliados is Liberdade Square (Praça da Liberdade), which started its life in the late 18th century when the city began to expand beyond its medieval walls. If you stand in the centre of the square, you’ll get spectacular views of some of Porto’s architectural symbols, which include the Baroque City Hall (Câmara Municipal).More

Casa da Música

Casa da Música is one of the top attractions in Porto for music and architecture fans alike. Modern and eye-catching from the outside, inside it houses a vast 1,300-seat concert hall used by the Porto National Orchestra. The rooftop restaurant offers drinks and dinner options that are as delightful as the views.More

Porto Calem Wine Cellars

Founded in 1859 by António Alves Cálem, Porto CalemWine Cellars are one of the most celebrated wineries in the Porto region. Located at the heart of the Douro Valley, the family-run winery produces some of Portugal’s finest port wines, using centuries-old production methods and offering a completely unique tasting experience for wine lovers.More

Carmo Convent (Carmo Archaeological Museum)

Built sometime in the late 14th century, the Carmo Convent (Carmo Archaeological Museum) withstood many battles yet came crashing down during the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755. It was the city’s largest church at the time and now serves as a reminder of the quake. Today, the main altar hosts an archaeological museum beside the old convent ruins.More

Serralves Museum (Fundação de Serralves)

Situated in a magnificent garden just west of downtown Porto, the Serralves Museum(Fundação de Serralves) has become a top city highlight and one of the most influential modern art museums in Portugal. Its permanent collection spans from the 1960s to the present day, with large sculptural pieces scattered throughout the grounds.More


Stretching from the city of Porto on Portugal’s Atlantic coast to the Spanish town of Duruelo de la Sierra, the Douro river is the third-longest river on the Iberian Peninsula, and flows through one of Europe’s most picturesque wine-growing regions. Visitors come to enjoy the scenery, and taste the local wine and port.More


One of Porto’s top attractions for families of all ages, the SEA LIFE® Porto aquarium is home to dazzling displays of marine life. Visitors can enjoy up-close encounters with some of the sea’s most colorful inhabitants, including octopus, rays, sea turtles, and sharks.More

Douro River (Rio Douro)

A major river on the Iberian Peninsula, the Douro River (Rio Douro) flows from Duruelo de la Sierra in northern Spain all the way to Porto in Portugal, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. More than just the region’s lifeline, it’s also the centerpiece of the Douro Valley, Portugal’s most famous wine region and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.More

Top activities in Porto

Porto to Lisbon up to 3 stops (Aveiro, Nazaré or Fatima, Obidos)
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Douro Valley Historical Tour with Lunch, Winery Visit with Tastings and Panoramic Cruise
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Best of Braga and Guimaraes Day Trip from Porto
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Oporto Six Bridges Cruise

Oporto Six Bridges Cruise

Aveiro & Costa Nova Half Day Tour from Porto with Moliceiro River Cruise
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Complete Douro Valley Wine Tour with Lunch, Wine Tastings and River Cruise
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Authentic Douro Wine Tour Including Lunch and River Cruise
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Douro Valley Tour with Visit to two Vineyards, River Cruise and Lunch at Winery
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Douro Valley Tour: Wine Tasting, River Cruise and Lunch From Porto
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Douro Valley - Expert wine guide all day, Boat, Lunch and Tastings.All included
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Douro Valley Wine Tour: Visit to Three Vineyards with Wine Tastings and Lunch
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Porto Boat Tour

Porto Boat Tour

Douro Valley 3 Wine Experiences with Traditional Lunch and Optional Boat Cruise
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The Award-Winning Private Food Tour of Porto: 6 or 10 Tastings
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All about Porto

When to visit

Midsummer in Porto brings a different festival each week, with highlights including the raucous 600-year-old Festa de São João do Porto. Thanks to a temperate Mediterranean climate, even the coldest months in Porto are still warm enough to sightsee, and even if you do get chilly, warming up in a century-old port cellar is always an option.


A local’s pocket guide to Porto

Sílvia Ferreira Santos

Sílvia was born in Zurich, raised in Aveiro, and has lived in Lisbon for more than a decade but she dreams of moving to Porto, where most of her family and friends are patiently awaiting.

The first thing you should do in Porto is...

wear comfortable shoes. This is a very compact city and you can walk pretty much anywhere, but it is hilly!

A perfect Saturday in Porto...

starts at the Crystal Palace, followed by a visit to Ribeira neighborhood and a stroll along the river. Then, sample port wine before taking the cable car to Serra do Pilar for the sunset and a night out.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

Francesinha, an unorthodox sandwich made with bread, beef, sausage, ham, bacon, and loads of cheese, then covered in a slightly spicy sauce.

To discover the "real" Porto...

visit in June during the Festival of São João, a city-wide street party during which people eat sardines and dance while hitting each other with plastic hammers. It’s as bizarre as it sounds.

For the best view of the city...

cross the Dom Luis Bridge and climb to the Serra do Pilar viewpoint. The view looks like a postcard—Instagram it!—and the sunset will make you want to stay in Porto forever.

One thing people get wrong...

Porto’s custard tarts are not the same as Lisbon’s famous pastéis de nata—they’re even better.

People Also Ask

What is Porto famous for?

The northern city of Porto is famous for its wine. Its placement at the edge of Portugal's Douro River made it a key location for wine transportation. In centuries past, wooden rabelo boats transported the barrels into the city for storage in large in-town cellars—ones that you can visit today.

How many days do you need in Porto?

Two to three days is sufficient to visit Porto before you head off to a Douro Valley wine tour. In Porto, take a city tour of the top landmarks such as the Clerigos Tower and Dom Luis I Bridge, and try a tasting tour to sample local dishes and wines.

Which is better Porto or Lisbon?

Porto and Lisbon each provides its own charm. Lisbon, the capital, is the busier of the two. Porto is a bit more on the alternative side, with various art galleries; whereas Lisbon is more traditional, home to several government buildings and national museums.

What should I not miss in Porto?

When visiting Porto, it’s important not to miss a tour of at least one port wine cellar. There are several in the city, each with its own take on the fortified wine, and visitors can enjoy tours of the facilities followed by tastings of the sweet drink.

Is Porto expensive?

No. Porto is not expensive in terms of European cities. Most tourists find meals and drinks especially affordable. Portuguese cafe meals with a drink won't break €15. Beers run a couple of euros at most bars and you'll pay a bit more for a glass of wine or a cocktail.

What do locals do in Porto?

Portuguese people love to eat, and many locals spend evenings and weekends having meals with family and friends. When they’re not eating, Porto locals can be found strolling the city, enjoying the views at one of the many miradouros (viewpoints), or having a glass of Douro wine on a terrace.

Frequently Asked Questions