Porto is a quaint riverside destination; apt for romantic getaways, endless exploring, wine tasting and culture absorbing. Sip a cup of coffee or indulge in a pastel de nata and admire the view of the Douro River and colorful townhouses that layer the riverbank hills. A truly scenic city, Porto offers a special kind of city break with long stretches of sand and inviting seashores just around the coastline corner.
Delve into our list of impressive sights to see and things to do in Porto on your next city break.
São Bento Railway Station
Whether gothic churches or medieval castles do or don’t phase you, Porto’s sumptuous cathedrals and churches are bound to impress you. Even its train station, São Bento, branded one of the world’s most beautiful train station, is decorated in over 20,000 tiles displaying beautiful artistry work.
Mercado do Bolhão
Cork is one of Portugal’s main industry products with half of the world’s cork produced in Portugal on an annual basis. You can find almost anything made out of cork in Porto. Visit the famous long-established market, Mercado do Bolhão, and choose an original handbag, purse, or better yet, a placemat or coaster which combines the traditional blue tiles and cork to create uniquely beautiful kitchen and dining items. This is the perfect place to pick up and souvenirs, even if they are for yourself!
Feeling peckish after a wander? Some of the best food is served in this friendly, local market.
The intricate wooden detail and warm, cozy corners of the Livraria Lello inspired J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books when she lived in Porto in the 90s. Today, this enchanting bookshop oozes with visitors who speculate the winding staircases and its charming ambiance.
The bookshop was built in 1906 and still functions as a bookshop, although visitors are now charged entry (with a ticket that can be redeemed on books purchased) due to the overwhelming crowds that love to come and see this magical shop.
Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
Looking down over the Douro River, the Palácio de Cristal Gardens are the perfect place for a tranquil walk, a picnic or simply a ponder. Large white water lilies float on the pond while peacocks and peahens wander the gardens freely. There is a fragrant rose garden, as well as a stone turret; perfect for a view of the curving Douro.
The buzzing urban area located along the riverbank of Porto’s center, Ribeira offers endless dining, dancing, and daydreaming opportunities. You can also cross the bridge over to Gaia on the other side, where you’ll find plenty of wine tasting opportunities at port wine cellars, bars, and shops.
Igreja de São Francisco
The outside look of this Gothic church paints the picture that the inside will follow suit. However, visitors who enter the Igreja de Sao Francisco are usually pleasantly surprised when they enter a golden display of baroque design and architecture.
For those who wish to see Porto from a more panoramic angle, climb to the top of the bell tower of the Igreja dos Clérigos and seize the opportunity to visit another of Porto’s marvelous churches.
For more information on travel in Portugal, check out our country page with information on Portugal’s sights, charming cities and delicious delicacies.