Nestled on the slopes above the Douro Estuary, the coastal city of Porto in northwest Portugal is a historic mercantile city with a rich heritage of business and trade. Known for its stately bridges and port wine production, the city is a World Heritage site and boasts breathtaking architecture, medieval walls, ancient Baroque churches, and narrow cobbled streets lined with colorful buildings. The medieval Ribeira (riverside) district is home to the palatial 19th-century Palácio de Bolsa and the lavish São Francisco Church, while the stylish Foz do Douro district which is famed for its beautiful beaches and trendy cafés. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Experience Livraria Lello
Designed by renowned architect, Francisco Xavier Esteves and owned by bibliophile brothers, José and António Lello, Livraria Lello – also known as the Lello Bookstore - is a spectacular bookstore in Porto that is both a functional store and a work of art. Lined with walls of books, the store features elaborate wood and carvings busts of famous Portuguese writers, as well as stained-glass windows and a beautiful wooden staircase. Founded in 1869, Livraria Lello is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal and has been featured in several scenes in the Harry Potter films.
R. das Carmelitas 144, 4050-161 Porto, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-22-00-20-37
2.Graham’s Port Lodge
© Graham’s Port Lodge
Situated on a ridge opposite the Douro River in Vila Nova de Gaia, Graham’s Port Lodge is a working cellar dating back to 1890 that has been aging world-class port for more than 130 years. Based in the magnificent W & J Graham Lodge, which boasts breathtaking panoramic view of the historic city center and the iconic two-tier bridge that connects the cities of Gaia and Oporto, the cellar houses over 2,000 pipes (oak casks) and 40 tonels and balseiros (large oak vats) of aging port wine, along with extensive cellars of bottle-aged Vintage Port. Visitors can experience the rich craftsmanship and heritage of three centuries and sample some of the lodge’s finest port on guided tours of the cellars by appointment only.
Rua do Agro 141, 4400-281 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-23-77-64-84
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© Taylor’s Port
Founded in 1692 in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal by Job Bearsley, Taylor’s Port is dedicated to the production of world-class Port wine and is one of the oldest founding Port houses in the world. Later known as Taylor, Fladgate & Yeatman, after a partnership was formed in 1838, the archetypal Port house is regarded as the benchmark for Vintage Port, producing a range of quintessential Ports from the firm’s own quintas (estates) that have garnered awards around the world. Taylor’s also wood-aged ports and is home to one of the largest reserves of rare cask aged wines in the world. Taylor’s offers informative tours of its famous cellars at Vila Nova de Gaia, where visitors can learn about the history of Port wine and its production in the Douro Valley today.
Rua do Choupelo 250, 4400-088 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-23-74-28-00
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4.Appreciate Azulejo Art
Azulejo tiles are small decorative tiles that are unique to Portugal and are used to decorate buildings, homes, and streets, and the city of Porto is particularly renowned for these beautiful tiles. The town has several buildings that have become landmarks due to their breathtaking artistic and cultural mosaics, including the Igreja de Santo Ildefonso, the Igreja do Carmo, and the Estação São Bento. The city runs a project known as Os Azulejos do Porto (The Tiles of Porto) that preserves this rich artistic and cultural heritage by highlighting the exquisite decoration of façades with tiles, a well-known use of tiles that is dated from the 19th century in Portugal and represents an essential part of its artistic heritage.
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5.Praça da Ribeira
Porto’s Praça da Ribeira is one of the city’s most beautiful neighborhoods. Boasting winding medieval streets and small cobblestone alleyways lined with colorful restaurants, bars, and cafés, the riverside quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its scenic beauty. Resting on the banks of the Rio Douro, the waterfront (Cais da Ribeira) has a bustling, vibrant atmosphere with plenty of bars, cafés, and restaurants offering terraces overlooking the water where locals and tourists alike can relax with a coffee or a cold beer and watch the world go by.
Praça da Ribeira, Porto, Portugal
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6.Foz do Douro
© Henner Damke/stock.adobe.com
In addition to beautiful architecture, rich culture and history, and delicious cuisine, Porto is also home to stunning golden sandy beaches, which make up the spectacular coastline of the Costa Verde. Foz do Douro is one such beach – lapped by the Atlantic Ocean and lined with an esplanade for strolling, the blue-flag beach is lined with buzzing beach bars, numerous restaurants, including two Michelin-starred establishments, lush botanical gardens and several lighthouses commanding breathtaking ocean views. The Costa Verde coastline is lined with many beautiful beaches, which are easily accessible from central Porto via the city’s inexpensive public transport network.
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7.Luis I Bridge
The Dom Luís I Bridge, or Luís I Bridge, is an impressive 172-meter double-deck metal arch bridge that spans the River Douro between the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. Designed by Téophile Seyrig, a student of Gustave Eiffel, and completed in 1886, the bridge’s lower deck bears regular traffic, and narrow walkways and the upper floor accommodates one of the city’s metro lines and pedestrians. The bridge is named after the king of Portugal, Luís I, and boasts beautiful views of both Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, which is famous for its port wine houses.
Pte. Luiz I, Porto, Portugal
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8.Palacio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace)
The Palacio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace) is a historical building located in the Infante D. Henrique Square in the heart of Porto that houses the Associação Comercial do Porto. Designed by Porto architect Joaquim da Costa Lima Júnior and built in the 19th century in the Neoclassical style with Palladian influences. The interior of the Palace is magnificently decorated with striking features like a large metallic, octagonal dome with glass panels over the central courtyard, a grand stairway built by Gonçalves e Sousa in 1968, and stunning ceiling frescoes painted by António Ramalho. The building is been classified as a National Monument and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
R. de Ferreira Borges, 4050-253 Porto, Portugal
9.Torre dos Clerigos (Clérigos Church)
The Torre dos Clerigos (Clérigos Church) is a beautiful Baroque church with a 250-foot bell tower that can be seen from most parts of Porto and is one of its most characteristic symbols of the city. Designed by Nicolau Nasoni and built in the mid-18th century, the building is a stunning example of Baroque design with awe-inspiring Baroque carvings, a single granite and marble nave, and a polychromatic altarpiece by Manuel Porto. The main feature of the church is the bell tower that protrudes out of the western side of the building and soars for 250 feet with a spherical clock house at the top. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower via 240 steps to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the city.
Porto, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-20-14-54-89
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10.Museu Serralves (Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art)
Located in Fundação Serralves, the Museu Serralves (Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art) is a world-class museum of contemporary art. Opened in 1999, the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art is housed in a striking minimalist building designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Alvaro Siza Vieira and displays cutting-edge international art. The open spaces and sharp angles for the building create an exquisite space for showcasing the museum’s collection, which spans from the 1960s to the present, representing the beginning of the contemporary art movement. The collection showcases a variety of modern concepts in various media and styles from pop art and minimalism, to film and photography. Eighteen hectares of exquisitely manicured formal gardens designed by French architect Jacques Gréber lie next to the museum and feature striking sculptures, tranquil ponds, and ornate fountains.
R. Dom João de Castro 210, 4150-417 Porto, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-26-15-65-00
11.ODE Porto Winehouse
© ODE Porto Winehouse
Tucked down a side street in the heart of Porto, ODE Porto Winehouse is a slow-food hideaway with warm décor boasting exposed stone walls, chestnut-wood beams, slate tables on wine barrels and crates. The eatery serves traditional Portuguese cuisine with local and regional ingredients such as oregano from the Algarve, sheep's cheese from Alentejo, smoked pork from Minho, and bread from Bragança. The menu features beautifully cooked and presented Portuguese dishes and an impressive wine list featuring local wines from around Portugal and further afield. ODE Porto Winehouse is open for lunch on Friday and Saturday, and dinner Tuesday through Saturday.
Largo do Terreiro 7, 4050-603 Porto, Portugal, Phone: +35-19-13-20-00-10
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© Restaurante Cafeina
Located on the banks of the Douro river, Restaurante Cafeina is a casual eatery just a block away from the beach in the Foz area of Porto that serves an array of tapas, fresh seafood dishes, and other contemporary European creations. Popular with local artists and Porto’s hip young crowd, the café is based in a beautifully renovated turn-of-the-20th century building and has a cosmopolitan interior decorated in neutral tones, dark-hued walls, and meticulously set dining tables, and features a cozy dining room and an elegant cocktail lounge. The bar offers a range of beverages from local craft beers and casual Portuguese wines to handcrafted cocktails and premium spirits. Restaurante Cafeina is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
Rua do Padrão 100, 4150-557 Porto, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-26-10-80-59
Overlooking Praça Carlos Alberto, Camafeu is a must-try dining experience in the heart of Porto. Warm and welcoming, the eatery is comfortably decorated to resemble a stylish apartment, giving diners the feeling of eating in a friend’s living room. The eatery has mismatched chairs and tables, and large French windows offer charming views over the bustling Carlos Alberto Square and serves a menu of authentic Portuguese home-style cuisine. Signature dishes include grilled octopus, hazelnut and mushroom crumble and green asparagus, slow-cooked pork cheek with Alheira, and duck with puréed sweet potato. There are also decadent desserts on offer and a selection of handcrafted cocktails and casual wines.
Praça de Carlos Alberto 85, 4050-185 Porto, Portugal, Phone: +35-19-27-55-11-95
© Pedro Lemos
Named after the restaurant’s head chef, Pedro Lemos specializes in gourmet Portuguese cuisine with a focus on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients and paired with fine wines from around the world. The restaurant has stylish décor and a refined ambiance and is perfect for a romantic celebration or a night of fine wining and dining in style. Perfecting the art of traditional Portuguese cooking, the restaurant offers a seven-course feasting menu that showcases the unrivaled expertise of the chef’s creativity and culinary skills. A three-course tasting menu with wine is also available, with each dish reflecting the rich culinary heritage of Portugal.
R. do Padre Luís Cabral 974, 4150-464 Porto, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-20-11-59-86
15.Casa da Horta
© Casa da Horta
Casa da Horta is a casual restaurant that specializes in vegetarian fare using locally sourced and organic ingredients and produce. The restaurant serves a set lunch menu which includes homemade soup, an entrées and a glass of wine or other drink, and a dinner menu of soup, a dish of the day and special dish, while certain days of the week offer unique dishes like the traditional Porto dish of Francesinha Vegetariana on Fridays. Fresh vegetables are sourced from local farmers such as Da Quinta para Mesa in Lousada, homemade apple, elderberry, or grape juices are delivered from Fernando Paiva, coffee from Zapatistas, and artisanal beer from local producers in Porto. Casa da Horta also has a store that sells organic and ecological products such as Fair-Trade products, recycled notebooks, hygiene products, and locally made socks.
R. de São Francisco 12, 4050-253 Porto, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-22-02-41-23
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16.Bacalhau do Porto Restaurant
Located at Porto Alegre, Bacalhau do Porto Restaurant is a cozy and warm spot that specializes in traditional Lusitanian cuisine. Named after the salted cod specialty that is central to Portuguese cuisine, Bacalhau serves a varied seafood menu that is centered around the salted cod specialty with a variety of dishes featuring the fish. Bacalhau-inspired dishes include codfish with turnip greens and chorizo; cod served with spinach and chestnuts, fresh cod with an egg-yolk, and cod roe açorda (stew). The bar offers a range of beverages from local craft beers and casual Portuguese wines to handcrafted cocktails and premium spirits. Bacalhau do Porto Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily.
Muro dos Bacalhoeiros 154, 4050-080 Porto, Portugal, Phone: +35-19-60-37-88-83
17.Restaurante O Comercial - Palacio da Bolsa
© Restaurante O Comercial - Palácio da Bolsa
Restaurante O Comercial - Palácio da Bolsa is a sophisticated restaurant in the city’s stock exchange that offers a slick spot for business lunches and lavish dinners. Exuding an elegant ambiance with crisply dressed white tables, contemporary décor with traditional Portuguese tiles, and ultra-modern accessories, the main dining room features six large gates that divide the patio of the S. Francisco church and offer beautiful views of the Vila Nova de Gaia and its famous wine cellars. The award-winning menu features fresh seafood, prime meat, handmade pasta, and organic salads and is accompanied by a world-class list of fine wines and handcrafted cocktails made with premium spirits. Restaurante O Comercial - Palácio da Bolsa is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Sunday.
R. de Ferreira Borges, 4050-253 Porto, Portugal, Phone: +351-91-83-86-49
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© O Paparico
Hailed as Porto’s best restaurant, O Paparico is a highly-acclaimed dining destination helmed by Executive Chef Jonathan Seiller, who creates an innovative menu of sublime Portuguese cuisine. The restaurant boasts an elegant and intimate ambiance with rustic centuries-old stone-clad walls, perfectly starched white table linens, crystal stemware, and romantic lighting. Diners can choose from the Sharing Menu, which includes two starters, two main courses, and two desserts or savor the gourmet Portugality Menu, which takes customers on a culinary journey across Portugal, showcasing the flavors and heritage of the various regions with dishes like octopus ceviche and calf’s liver terrine with Port wine sauce. The bar offers a range of beverages from local craft beers and world-class wines to handcrafted cocktails and premium spirits. O Paparico is open for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday.
Rua de Costa Cabral 2343, 4200-232 Porto, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-25-40-05-48
19.Grelhador da Boavista
Grelhador da Boavista is a popular lunchtime spot that serves a range of fresh seafood and prime meats hot off the grill. Locals and visitors alike flock to this vibrant and welcoming spot, which showcases the day’s freshest raw offerings in a glass case and cooks each dish to personal tastes. The menu features fresh seafood, prime meat, handmade pasta, and organic salads and is accompanied by a wide selection of fine wines, craft, and draft beers and ales, and handcrafted cocktails made with premium spirits. Grelhador da Boavista is open for lunch and dinner, daily.
Portugal, Rua da Meditação 39, Porto, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-26-09-14-40
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19 Best Things to Do in Porto, Portugal
- Experience Livraria Lello, Photo: Fotokon/stock.adobe.com
- Graham’s Port Lodge, Photo: Graham’s Port Lodge
- Taylor’s Port, Photo: Taylor’s Port
- Appreciate Azulejo Art, Photo: txakel/stock.adobe.com
- Praça da Ribeira, Photo: Alena/stock.adobe.com
- Foz do Douro, Photo: Henner Damke/stock.adobe.com
- Luis I Bridge, Photo: dudlajzov/stock.adobe.com
- Palacio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace), Photo: dudlajzov/stock.adobe.com
- Torre dos Clerigos (Clérigos Church), Photo: Alfredo/stock.adobe.com
- Museu Serralves (Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art), Photo: jeeweevh/stock.adobe.com
- ODE Porto Winehouse, Photo: ODE Porto Winehouse
- Restaurante Cafeina, Photo: Restaurante Cafeina
- Camafeu, Photo: InsideCreativeHouse/stock.adobe.com
- Pedro Lemos, Photo: Pedro Lemos
- Casa da Horta, Photo: Casa da Horta
- Bacalhau do Porto Restaurant, Photo: Pixel-Shot/stock.adobe.com
- Restaurante O Comercial - Palacio da Bolsa, Photo: Restaurante O Comercial - Palácio da Bolsa
- O Paparico, Photo: O Paparico
- Grelhador da Boavista, Photo: Olga/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: SeanPavonePhoto/stock.adobe.com
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