The top 30 Things to do in Porto Portugal, sightseeing, landmarks and all must-see sights, tourist attractions and monuments. What are the highlights and best attractions to see in Porto (Oporto)?
Top 25 Things to do in Porto - Attractions & Landmarks
While many will link Porto (or Oporto) to a delicious glass of Port, this city has many more beautiful sights to offer. Porto is the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon. The city is located on the Douro River and the historic city center with it's many places to visit has been placed on the Unesco World Heritage List. You will come across historic buildings, churches, beautiful bridges and street art during a Porto city trip. During your visit to this beautiful city of Oporto in Portugal, it is useful to consult the top 30 of the best Porto sightseeing, tourist attractions, must see highlights and best things to do in Porto Portugal, so that you won't miss any places in the city. Click on one of these highlights for more information about these unique sights, landmarks, activities and best places to visit in Porto Portugal:
1. Highlight: Dom Luis I Bridge
Top of the list of 'Things to do in Porto' is the Dom Luis I Bridge. Porto has a total of 6 bridges, of which the most famous arch bridge is the Dom Luis I bridge. This must see bridge is 400 meters long and was designed by a partner of Gustav Eiffel (the designer of the Eiffel Tower). The bridge is used by motorists on the lower part and the metro can travel over the upper part. You can also use the bridge as a pedestrian. You can also visit the 6 bridges with one of these boat trips. Vila Nova de Gaia with all the famous port cellars can be reached via the Dom Luis I bridge. A bit further along the Douro is a slightly smaller metal railway bridge (the Ponte Maria Pia) that was designed by Gustav Eifel himself.
2. Places to visit: Ribeira district
Do you know those famous photos of Porto with those brightly colored houses near the water? That is the Ribeira district. This district, which translates as 'on the river', certainly deserves a visit when you are in Porto. From the Praça da Ribeira, the square that is the heart of the center, you have a great view of the famous Luis I bridge and the Douro. You can sit down here on the many terraces or eat at the restaurants where you can taste local delicacies or a glass of port, but warning: you pay high prices here, while these are not the best restaurants in Porto.
3. Port cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia
The best thing to do in Porto! The city is known for its port and it is almost a must to visit a port house during your stay in Porto. The famous port cellars are all across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia. At various port cellars it is advisable to book a time slot in advance, especially during the high season. You can choose from 17 port houses, with these being the best rated tours in port cellars:
- Cálem: book a guided tour with tasting, special: the tour is also possible in combination with a Fado show, which must be reserved in advance. Recommended: this fun tour is also included in the Porto City Card
- Cockburn: my personal favourite: the largest port cellar in Vila Nova de Gaia with a choice of different types of tours, such as vintage tours for the real enthusiasts and sometimes demonstrations on how port casks are made, reservations are required (book your tour with tasting)
- Graham’s: reservation of guided tour with tasting, nice: tasting with also cheese, chocolate and Pastel de Nata, this port cellar is only a bit further away
- Taylors: only tours with audio guide, book tour with tasting
- Caves Poças: not so large-scale, still really a port house in Portuguese hands, book guided tour with tasting
- Casa Ramos Pinto: another real Portuguese winery
- Burmester: right at the foot of the bridge, book guided tour with tasting
- Porto Cruz: more of a cocktail lover? Then visit the rooftop bar of winery Porto Cruz with a beautiful view. They respond to the trend to make port more hip and have developed numerous unique cocktails with port as an ingredient.
During your wine cellars guided tour you can see how port is made and you get a tasting of various port wines, sometimes in combination with cheese, chocolate or the famous Pastel de Nata. A tour takes about 45 minutes on average, during which you will learn everything about the Port production process. When you choose the popular tour from Graham's Port Lodge Tour, you can also enjoy great views of the city and this tour of Cálem is fun because it can be complemented with a Fado performance at the tasting.
4. Climb the Torre dos Clérigos
The church with the Torre dos Clérigos towers high above the city and is famous is the skyline of Porto. Nicolau Nasoni built this baroque style church in the 18th century. Besides the fact that Nicolau Nasoni designed this church, he also designed many other buildings in Portugal with the same authentic baroque style. Inside the church you can see a lot of marble, granite and carvings. At the western end of this church is the tower which is made entirely of granite. You can freely visit the church, but climbing 225 steps to the top, one of Porto's most popular activities, requires a ticket. At the top you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city. During high season it can be useful to book your ticket and time slot in advance to climb the tower.
Tip: One of the unique things to do in Porto is an innovative Spiritus multimedia show which is regularly shown in the church (view show dates). A unique experience of projections with light and sound on the walls and roofs. To attend this special performance it is necessary to book your tickets.
5. Sightseeing cruise on Douro river
When you are in Porto, a cruise on the Douro should not be missed. You can choose from two different boat trips. The first option for a boat trip goes along the 6 famous bridges of Porto (more info and booking 6 bridges tour). You will also see the historic center of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. This boat trip takes about 50 minutes. Recommended: this 6 bridges tour is also included in the popular Porto City Card which includes the most important tickets for your city trip.
The second option, by far the nicest option if you have enough time: an extensive boat trip with wine tastings in the Douro Valley that takes a full day trip (more info and Douro wine cruise bookings). The trip starts in Porto and you will go through the Douro Valley where you will also visit wine estates, usually combined with a visit to Pinhão. In between you will have a delicious lunch at a winery and you will be dropped off back in Porto at the end of the day. During this Douro wine day trip you will get the chance to taste port wines in nice locations. Definitely a recommendation if you are staying in Porto for more than two days!
6. Landmarks: Porto Cathedral
Sé do Porto is the cathedral of Porto which is located as a landmark on the highest hill in the city. Next to this cathedral is a beautiful monastery, both of which are worth a visit. From the square Terriero da Se, which is located in front of the cathedral, you have a beautiful view of the entire city. For a few euros per person you can visit the monastery and the cathedral (tip: you can buy your tickets online, but the ticket is also included in the Porto City Card). Inside the cathedral you will be welcomed by a beautiful Gothic style. In the monastery you will find blue and white azulejos panels painted by António Vital. Next to the cathedral and the monastery is the Paço Episcopal, a large episcopal palace. You can also enter here for a small fee, but this palace is not very impressive.
7. Porto sightseeing by bike
One of the best ways to explore the Porto landmarks is by bicycle. During this 3-hour bike tour a guide will take you to the most beautiful places. Because Porto is built on hills, you will use an electric bicycle. Climbing the hills is ideal with an e-bike.
During this guided bike tour you will pass along narrow streets, cozy squares, the most beautiful buildings and special monuments. There will be stops at various Porto sights and you will receive information about the history of these main highlights. Tip: plan the bike tour on your first day (more info and bike tour bookings).
8. Palacio da Bolsa
Palacio da Bolsa is the stock exchange palace of Porto and therefore also a very important historical monument. In the 19th century, the Palacio da Bolsa was built as the seat of the trade association. After that time, the building was used, among other things, as a trade fair by order of Queen D. Maria II. The stock exchange building was designed by the architect Joaquim da Costa Lima Júnior. During your stay in Porto, this building is definitely worth a visit, but that is only possible with a reserved guided tour. You follow a tour with a guide who can tell you everything about the interior and history of the building. The absolute must see highlight in the palace is the enormously decorated Arab room. In front of the stock exchange palace is a square where you can see a statue of Prince Henry the Navigator and on the other side is the Mercado Ferreira, an iconic iron market hall that is now used for events and as a restaurant.
Please note: It is only possible to visit Palacio da Bolsa with a guided tour (price 12 euros). You should always book tickets for a guided tour in advance.
9. Sao Bento Train Station
São Bento train station is located in the center of Porto. This train station attracts hundreds of tourists every day and is therefore one of the most important train stations in Portugal. Before the train station was built in the 19th century, there was a monastery on the same spot. The station hall is completely covered with tiles painted by the painter Jorge Colaço. On the tiles you can view the history of northern Portugal, which is depicted in beautiful blue paintings. In addition to the blue and white tiles, there are also colored works of art by the same painter. The train station is centrally located and admission is free. You will be amazed by one of the best places to visit in Porto, so be sure to take your time.
10. Livraria Lello
The Livraria Lello is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. JK Rowling was inspired by this library for the famous Harry Potter book series. Inside the bookstore you will see a large wooden staircase where many photos are taken, and for good reason. The interior is a mix of art nouveau, art deco and neo-gothic with beautiful paintings. The entire first floor is made of wood. The second floor is made of plaster that has been painted. From the street, however, you will probably pass the shop (if it weren't for the fact that there are often huge queues in front of the door). Note the large wooden doors and the two painted women on the facade.
Note: Unfortunately, the bookshop is no longer free to visit. To regulate the crowds in the bookstore, you must purchase entrance tickets which you must do online through the official website.
11. The double church 'Carmo & Carmelitas'
Located on the square Praca Gomes Teixeira you will find two churches right next to each other, on the left the 17th century Carmelitas and on the right the Igreja do Carmo. Between the two churches is the smallest house in Porto, which is just over a meter wide. This small narrow house was built because it used to be said that churches should not be neighbors. Be sure to see the impressive side of the right-hand church Igreja do Carmo, which is completely covered with a large painting made of azulejo tiles. The artist Silvestro Silvestri made this painting. Would you like to visit the cottage? Then buy an entrance ticket (4.50 euros) at the church on the right.
12. WOW: World of Wine
The new tourist attraction in Porto: World of Wine (WOW) opened in 2021 in Vila Nova de Gaia and calls itself a gigantic cultural district consisting of a combination of no less than 7 different museums, 9 restaurants and various shops which are only located in a number of old port houses. The 7 separate and highly interactive museums are spread over several buildings where you can learn everything about themes such as port production, various wines, cork, chocolate or the history of Porto. Tip: It is impossible to visit all museums, so choose the 1 or 2 most appealing museums. After your museum visit you can take a seat at one of the 9 restaurants (from vegetarian to fish restaurant). You must purchase an entrance ticket for each World of Wine museum, hence my selection of the most appealing museums:
- The Wine Experience: the most important museum of WOW. This is a very interactive museum about wine that takes you completely on the route of the grape until it is served in the glass. You will of course conclude the tour with a glass of wine (more info & tickets).
- Pink Palace: this eccentric museum takes you into the world of rosé wine and combines it with numerous unique photo opportunities, of course in the pink theme. The museum concludes with a tasting of five different rosé wines (more info & tickets).
- Chocolate Story: the reason chocolate is also included in WOW is because chocolate goes very well with port. The journey runs from the history of cocoa and ends backstage at a real chocolate factory. The most interesting museum when you travel with children (more info & tickets).
- Furthermore, you can, for example, book a Portuguese wine tasting at the wine school, in Planet Cork you can learn all about cork or in Porto Region you learn more about the region through the ages.
13. View from Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar
Across the river, in Vila Nova de Gaia, you will find a monastery called Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar. This monastery is completely round, which is unique to Porto, and has also been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. From the monastery you have a beautiful view at Porto city. Nowadays, the monastery has a military function and therefore cannot be visited. From the monastery you can also visit Jardim do Morro. This is a small park near the monastery where you also have a beautiful view over the Douro. You can also take the cable car from the park.
14. Things to do in Porto: Cable car
In 2009, work started on building the cable car in Vila Nova de Gaia to transport people and bridge the difference in height. Today you can take the cable car from the park Jardim do Morro. In a few minutes you will be brought 600 meters away. This cable car takes you to a height of more than 63 meters and gives beautiful views along the river from Vila Nova de Gaia towards the old center of Porto.
15. What to see in Porto: Fado Show
When you are in Portugal, it is advisable to attend a Fado show. During the show you can see for yourself why a Fado show can be so touching. You can attend the Fado shows in a few places. The four most famous places are: the popular Ideal Clube de Fado Porto, Fado na Baixa, Casa da Guitarra and Caves Cálem (combined with a tour of the famous port house). During the show you can enjoy delicious port or let yourself be carried away by the traditional Fado singers. Most fado shows you should book in advance:
16. Igreja de São Francisco
The Igreja da São Francisco is a beautiful church which is decorated with gilded carvings. More than 200 kilograms of gold was used to decorate the church. When the church was built in the 14th and 15th centuries, it was not yet decorated. Only later was the church renovated and decorated. In addition to all the striking decorations in the church, there is one striking piece; the Jesse Tree. This tree is made entirely of wood on which the family lineage of Jesus is depicted. You can visit the church with the accompanying museum for 8 euros.
17. Avenida dos Aliados
Avenida dos Aliados, or Liberty Square, is located in the center of Porto. This elongated square is surrounded by several restaurants and banks. You can also get on a bus at almost every corner of the street and there are several options to catch the metro. Places of interest on the square are the City Hall of Porto and you will also find the Monument of Dom Pedro IV in the middle of the square.
18. Old tram 1 to Foz for a coastal walk
When you take tram line 1 from the quay near the old center or at Torre dos Clérigos tram line 18 (you buy a ticket in the tram for 5 euros one way and a map with info about the route), you can travel to the final stop Passeio Alegre. When the tram has reached its final stop, all seats are folded up and turned around so that the tram can take the same route back. From the final stop you can walk to the coastal district of Foz where you can take a wonderful coastal walk of several kilometers. Here you will successively see the dilapidated fortress 'Fortaleza de São João da Foz' and 'Molhe e Farolim de Felgueiras', which is a dike with a lighthouse. You will also pass a few beaches such as Praia dos Ingleses and Praia da Luz where you can enjoy walking, getting a breath of fresh air, sunbathing or swimming. During your coastal walk in Foz you will also come across other Porto sights such as the Queijo fortress, next to which is the Sea Life Aquarium of Porto. The Parque da Cidade is also located here, this is a gigantic city park. Then you walk on to Matosinhos, where you will find attraction number 19.
Another fun way to visit the sights around the beach is with this guided bike tour where you cycle via the river to Foz; an ideal bike tour if you have visited the city before or if you are traveling with children. You can also take the castles route of this yellow hop on hop off bus, which also passes Foz and Matosinhos.
19. Unique experience: Conservas Pinhais in Matosinhos
From Foz you can then walk along the artwork of She Changes (the 'anemone' on the roundabout) to the harbor town of Matosinhos, where you will find blue metro line A to travel back to the center of Porto. Another special activity in Matosinhos is visiting Conservas Pinhais, where you can follow this unique tour with accompanying tasting in the renowned sardine cannery of Conservas Pinhais. Definitely a unique experience, taking you to a small-scale tour through the factory that still has a beautiful interior from the 1920s and where you can see this quality process with your own eyes. One of my personal favorite activities in Porto if you want to escape mass tourism!
20. Things to do in Porto: Funicular dos Guindais
To get to the higher part of Porto in a very short time, you can take the Funicular dos Guindais, Porto's funicular. You get on at the Ribeira side by the river and pass the Muralha Fernandina wall. At the top at the stop of the funicular you will also find Santa Clara, a small church at the top. During your trip you have a beautiful view over the Douro and Porto. Besides the fact that it is fun to take this cable car, it also ensures that you do not have to take this steep walk for a few euros.
21. Estádio do Dragão - FC Porto Stadium
This trip to Estádio do Dragão is for real football fans who would like to visit the stadium of FC Porto. You can buy a ticket to visit the stadium, where you will also find a museum with all the history of FC Porto. The Estadio do Dragao FC Porto is a place where many football matches have been won, including the UEFA Champions League. The museum can be visited with an audio guide and consists of 27 themed parts, where you can admire all the prizes (more info and tickets).
22. Shopping around Rua Santa Catarina
Would you like an afternoon of shopping during your stay? Then head to the area around Rua Santa Catarina, the busiest shopping street in Porto. In and around the shopping street you will find many nice shops, boutiques and large shopping malls, but also the Capela das Almas. This is a small, but beautiful church with authentic Portuguese blue and white tiles (azulejos). Rua Santa Catarina is also known for Café Majestic. This is an old cafe with a beautiful belle époque look. In this 'too touristy' café you can settle down for a snack and a drink, but you will pay high prices there. Close to Rua Santa Catarina is Mercado do Bolhão, a two-storey neoclassical market hall that has recently been fully restored. On the ground floor are the stalls of the fresh market or you can buy your food souvenirs, but there are also restaurants and shops in this market complex.
23. Serralves Foundation
The Serralves Foundation is located outside the center of Porto and is located in a beautiful park. In the museum building you will find the Museum of Contemporary Art, but you can also admire various works of art in the park or escape the hustle and bustle of Porto city. You can even take a Treetop Walk in the park. Due to the spacious layout of the park and the museum, you can easily spend half a day here (more info and tickets). The Serralves Foundation is located just inconveniently outside the center and near a metro line. The easiest way to visit the museum is therefore with this yellow hop on hop off bus.
24. Taste a Pastéis de Nata in Rua das Flores
Pasteis de Nata is one of the most famous delicacies in Portugal. You should definitely try this during your trip. The picturesque street Rua das Flores is an old shopping street where you can eat good Pastel de Nata, for example at Nata Lisboa. In this shopping street that connects Sao Bento with Ribeira you will also find buildings with nice balconies and numerous flowers on the facades. You also have a wide choice of various restaurants and cafes between all the Porto sightseeing and shopping. Another way to taste Pastéis de Nata is with one of the food tours below:
25. Jardins do Palacio de Cristal
For a walk a little further from the center of Porto, head to the Jardins do Palacio de Cristal. Here you will find gardens with flowers and places to hide in the shade. The striking building of the Super Bock Arena event hall is also located here. From the park you have a beautiful view over the Douro and Porto city. In the park you will find peacocks and you can escape from the bustle of the city. Close to the park you will also find the Extensão do Romantismo museum, a museum housed in an 18th century country house, which is included in the Porto Card.
26. Day trips in the area
During your stay in Porto, you want to see as much places as possible. You can opt for a bike ride, a walking tour or a boat trip. For example, you can choose between a cruise of the 6 famous bridges or take a tour along various port houses and other famous sights. When you opt for a bike tour, you can admire the entire city from a bicycle in half a day. Together with a tour guide you will visit the most beautiful places with all the interesting information. Or visit the Douro Valley, old cities such as Braga and Guimarães, or Aveiro, also known as the Venice of Portugal, with a day trip.
Recommended! If you only have time for one excursion from Porto, then this excursion to the Douro valley definitely my favourite. You will take a long boat trip through the valley and at a few stops at wineries you can enjoy port wines and a traditional Portuguese lunch.
27. Miradouro da Vitória
For a beautiful view of the entire city, you can walk to Miradouro da Vitória. Here you will pass narrow streets and make a steep climb up, but in the end it is worth the effort. Originally, this viewpoint was built for the local army to defend the city during the Siege of Porto. From Miradouro da Vitória you have a view over the Douro and the Luis I bridge. Upon arrival, the building does not look much, but there is a nice vantage point behind the dilapidated building.
28. Immersivus Gallery
At a special location, in the old cellars of the customs building, changing shows of the Immersivus Gallery are displayed. With the help of special multimedia projections, the story of some Porto's legends is told, but there are also changing shows about Egypt, for example. The shows are several times a day, available in English and definitely a unique experience. The Porto Legends show is a fun activity for both young and old. Click on one of the shows below for show times and tickets:
29. Porto landmarks: Casa da Musica
Casa da Musica is a striking concert hall in Porto which was designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. After 4 years of construction, the building was officially opened in April 2005. You can recognize this Porto landmark by its modern and unique appearance. The building has two rooms, a large and a small room. The hall is especially nice to attend a concert, it is just too far outside the old center to only admire the outside (official website).
30. Visit more museums in Porto
Are you a museum lover or looking for the best activities on a rainy day? There are several interesting museums in Porto Portugal, such as:
- Museo da Cidade Extensao do Romantismo: In this museum housed in an 18th century building you will find beautifully decorated rooms in typical styles (included in the Porto Card).
- World of Discoveries: This museum is fun for kids where they go through the museum like Portuguese explorers (more info).
- Centro Portogues de Fotografia: This museum is located in an old prison where you can now find a photo exhibition.
- Casa do Infante: This building used to be the birthplace of Prince Henry in 1394. During a tour of the museum you will learn about the time when this was a customs house and about the currency that was used at the time (included in the Porto Card).
- Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis: Listed as a National Monument, this museum is housed in a neoclassical palace from the 18th century. Here you will find unique collections of Portuguese paintings and sculptures (more info).
- MMIPO – Museo da Misericordia do Porto: This museum is next to the church at Rua das Flores. In the museum you will find religious art from the 15th to the 17th century (more info).
- Museo do Carro Electrico: Lovers of historic trams can go here (website).
Where are the highlights in Porto Portugal?
FAQ Sightseeing Porto - What to do in Porto Portugal?What is the Top 10 sightseeing Porto?
Porto's most famous landmark is the huge Dom Luis I Bridge over the Douro River, which you can use to visit the port cellars across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia. In addition, the colorful city center of Ribeira should not be missed and also beautiful churches such as the Torre dos Clérigos and the Porto Cathedral. In this article you can read all about the Top 10 Porto sights.What are the best excursions from Porto?
A holiday to Porto is not complete without visiting the beautiful surroundings of the Douro Valley. From Porto you can easily take boat trips across the river and stop at nice places to visit like Amarante and Pinhão. Another fun activity is a day trip to Braga with the Bom Jesus do Monte, which can be combined with Guimarães. Aveiro is also called the Venice of Portugal. More info about the best day trips from Porto.Which wine cellars can I visit?
At many port cellars it is possible to get a tour, which usually ends with a port tasting. Tours can often be booked on the spot, but some need to be booked in advance. Good port cellars include Graham's, Taylors, Calem, Sandeman and Ferreira. In this article you can read all about the things to do in Porto.