Things to do in Porto: Discover the best places to visit

Nick Karvounis
December 28
Written by Elena Kostas

Discover things to do in Porto, a complete guide to explore the city's top attractions. Get ready for a unique experience in Porto.

Discover things to do in Porto, a city full of charm and beauty. Located in the northwest of Portugal, Porto is known for its impressive old town, Ribeira, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll through its narrow cobbled streets and discover the colorful historic buildings lining the Douro River.

A must-visit in Porto is the famous Torre dos Clérigos, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the entire city. You can also visit the emblematic Porto Cathedral, Sé, a gem of Romanesque-Gothic style.

If you're a wine lover, you can't miss the opportunity to visit the Port wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, on the other side of the river. Here, you can taste the famous Port wine, a unique experience for wine enthusiasts.

Don't miss the chance to visit Porto, a city full of history, culture, and beauty.

1. Porto Cathedral

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a blue and white tiled wall with columns
Porto Cathedral / Ryan Miller, Unsplash

The Porto Cathedral, also known as the Sé de Porto, is one of the most emblematic places in the city. Built between the 12th and 13th centuries, this Romanesque-Gothic cathedral is a true architectural gem.

Located on top of the city hill, it offers stunning panoramic views of the Douro River and the old town of Porto.

The cathedral features several highlights, such as its imposing main facade, adorned with sculptures and reliefs, and its Gothic-style rose window. The interior of the cathedral also surprises with its chapels, altars, and religious paintings.

2. Ribeira

History and Cultural Heritage
person walking on stairs beside brown door house
Ribeira / Adelio, Unsplash

The Ribeira district is the historic heart of Porto and one of the most picturesque places in the city. Its narrow cobbled streets, colorful buildings, and vibrant cultural scene make it a must-visit for lovers of ancient architecture, fascinating history, and good food.

Explore the narrow streets of Ribeira and discover its charming corners. From Ribeira Square, where you can enjoy stunning views of the Douro River and the famous Dom Luis I Bridge, to the Church of San Francisco, an architectural gem full of history.

In addition to its architectural beauty, Ribeira is also known for its delicious traditional dishes. Don't miss the opportunity to try the famous francesinha or the port wines in the cozy restaurants and wine cellars in the area.

3. Port Wine Cellars

Museums and Art Galleries
person holding grapes
Port Wine Cellars / Maja Petric, Unsplash

The Port Wine Cellars are one of the main tourist attractions in Porto. Here you can discover the history and production process of the famous Port wine, as well as taste different varieties of this delicious beverage.

Port wine is a fortified wine produced in the Douro region and aged in the wine cellars of Porto. These cellars are located on the banks of the Douro River and offer guided tours where you can learn about all stages of wine production, from the harvest to fermentation and aging.

In addition to learning about the production process, you can also enjoy wine tastings in the cellars. You can taste different varieties of Port wine, from the young and fruity to the aged and complex ones.

4. Torre dos Clérigos

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a tall clock tower
Torre dos Clérigos / Dalila Moreira, Unsplash

The Torre dos Clérigos is an important tourist attraction in Porto. It offers incredible panoramic views of the city from the top of its tower.

This baroque tower, built between 1754 and 1763, is one of Porto's most iconic landmarks and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Torre dos Clérigos is an excellent example of Portuguese baroque architecture, with its design inspired by the Tower of the Church of the Jesuits in Rome.

The tower's staircase consists of 240 steps and will take you to an observation platform where you can enjoy stunning views of the city. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the Torre dos Clérigos during your stay in Porto.

5. Livraria Lello

Historical Monuments and Architecture
people standing near tables under blue and brown ceiling building
Livraria Lello / Ivo Rainha, Unsplash

Livraria Lello, also known as Lello & Irmao Bookstore, is considered one of the most beautiful and impressive bookstores in the world. Located in Porto, Portugal, this bookstore has become a cultural and tourist icon of the city.

With its stunning Neo-Gothic architecture, Livraria Lello is a true architectural treasure. The interior is adorned with exquisite details such as stained glass, carved wood, and a spiral staircase that has become one of the main attractions of the bookstore.

At Livraria Lello, book lovers can immerse themselves in a world of literature and beauty. The bookstore houses a vast collection of books in various languages, including rare and antique editions. It also hosts literary events and has a café where visitors can relax and enjoy a good book.

6. Palace of the Stock Exchange

Historical Monuments and Architecture
cityscape at night near body of water
Palace of the Stock Exchange / Víctor Martín, Unsplash

The Palace of the Stock Exchange is an impressive neoclassical architectural gem located in the heart of Porto. Built in the 19th century, this imposing building houses the city's stock exchange and has become a prominent tourist attraction.

The interior of the palace is equally stunning, with extravagant halls adorned with luxurious furniture and precious artworks. The Arab Room stands out, famous for its exquisite ornamentation and unique architectural details.

In addition to its historical and architectural value, the Palace of the Stock Exchange also hosts cultural events and exhibitions, making it a dynamic and vibrant place to visit. From state ceremonies to concerts and receptions, there is always something interesting happening in this magnificent building.

7. São Bento Station

Historical Monuments and Architecture
brown concrete building under blue sky during daytime
São Bento Station / Rostyslav Savchyn, Unsplash

São Bento Station is one of the main tourist attractions in Porto. Built in the 19th century, this railway station is known for its stunning tilework, which tells the story of Portugal.

The tiles adorn the interior walls of the station, creating a unique and historical atmosphere. In addition to its architectural beauty, São Bento Station is an important transportation hub in the city, with connections to various cities in Portugal and other international destinations.

If you're planning a visit to Porto, you definitely should include São Bento Station in your itinerary. Not only is it a unique place to admire the beauty of Portuguese tiles, but it's also the ideal starting point for exploring the city and its surroundings.

8. Casa da Música

Entertainment and Pop Culture
a building with a glass wall
Casa da Música / Rui Alves, Unsplash

Casa da Música is an impressive concert hall located in Porto, Portugal. It has become an icon of the city and is a must-visit for music and architecture lovers.

The building was designed by the famous Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and was opened in 2005. Its unique and avant-garde design makes it an impressive architectural landmark.

At Casa da Música, concerts of classical music, dance performances, operas, and other world-class music events take place. The acoustics of the hall are exceptional, making each musical experience truly special.

9. Foz do Douro

Natural Spaces and Parks
man fishing near sea at daytime
Foz do Douro / Rui Alves, Unsplash

Foz do Douro is a picturesque coastal area located at the western end of the city of Porto, Portugal. It is known for its stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful sandy beaches.

This area is also home to some of Porto's most popular restaurants and bars, where you can enjoy delicious seafood and refreshing drinks.

Foz do Douro is a very popular tourist destination due to its relaxed atmosphere and charming landscapes. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, such as walking along Passeio Alegre, cycling along the coast, or simply relaxing on the beach.

10. Serralves Museum

Museums and Art Galleries
green trees beside pink concrete building during daytime
Serralves Museum / Rui Alves, Unsplash

The Serralves Museum is one of the most important tourist attractions in Porto. Located in a beautiful park, the museum houses an impressive collection of contemporary art and offers exhibitions by internationally renowned artists.

Explore modern art and enjoy the unique architecture of the main building. The museum also features gardens and an auditorium where cultural events take place. Don't miss the opportunity to visit this iconic site in Porto.

The Serralves Museum is a must-visit for art and culture lovers visiting Porto. With its modern architecture and impressive collection of contemporary art, this museum will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on all visitors.

11. Clérigos Church

Historical Monuments and Architecture

Clérigos Church is a magnificent example of baroque architecture in the city of Porto. Located in the famous Liberación Square, it is one of the most important tourist attractions in the city.

The church is known for its bell tower, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of Porto. The tower stands at 76 meters tall and can be climbed via a spiral staircase of 240 steps. From the top, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire city, including the Douro River and the rooftops of Porto.

The interior of the church is also impressive, with exquisite baroque decoration and beautiful altars. It is worth visiting to appreciate the beauty and history of this religious building.

12. Cais da Ribeira

Historical Monuments and Architecture
person walking on stairs beside brown door house
Cais da Ribeira / Maria Teneva, Unsplash

Cais da Ribeira is a picturesque waterfront located along the Douro River in Porto. It is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions and offers spectacular views of the old town and the Rabelo boats, the traditional Port wine boats.

Strolling along Cais da Ribeira is like stepping back in time, as the narrow cobbled streets and colorful buildings transport you to medieval times. Here you will find a plethora of restaurants, bars, and shops where you can indulge in delicious Portuguese cuisine and buy souvenirs.

Don't miss the opportunity to take a river cruise from Cais da Ribeira. These cruises offer a unique perspective of the city and the chance to see the beautiful vineyards on the hills of Gaia. You can also take a cable car ride from here to enjoy panoramic views.

13. Dom Luís I Bridge

Historical Monuments and Architecture

The Dom Luís I Bridge is one of the main tourist attractions in Porto and an important transport link. It was built in 1886 by Théophile Seyrig, a disciple of Gustave Eiffel, and offers stunning views of the city and the Douro River. In addition to its architectural beauty, it is an iconic spot for photography and enjoying the scenery.

The double-deck bridge spans the Douro River, connecting Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia. The upper level carries the Metro do Porto and road traffic, while the lower level has a pedestrian walkway.

The Dom Luís I Bridge is a symbol of the city and a must-visit for tourists. Not only is it an architectural masterpiece, but it also bears witness to the history and culture of Porto.

14. Majestic Café

Historical Monuments and Architecture

The Majestic Café is one of the most emblematic places in Porto. Located in the heart of the city, this historic café is a must-visit for anyone in Porto.

Its elegant facade and meticulously decorated interior will transport you to another era. Since its opening in 1921, the Majestic Café has witnessed important historical events and has been frequented by illustrious personalities, becoming a symbol of the city's cultural life.

Don't miss the opportunity to try their delicious pastries and coffee while enjoying the unique atmosphere of the Majestic Café. They also offer light meals and traditional Portuguese dishes.

15. Portuguese Centre of Photography

Museums and Art Galleries

Discover the art of photography at the Portuguese Centre of Photography, a major tourist attraction in Porto.

The center houses an impressive collection of historical and contemporary photographs, and offers temporary exhibitions that showcase the evolution of this art form over time.

From iconic portraits to stunning landscapes, the Portuguese Centre of Photography will transport you through Portugal's visual history.

16. Garden of the Crystal Palace

Natural Spaces and Parks

The Garden of the Crystal Palace is a beautiful park located in the city of Porto, Portugal. This park is known for its natural beauty and panoramic views of the city. It is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the tranquility.

In the Garden of the Crystal Palace, you can stroll along paths surrounded by trees and flowers, discover beautiful ponds and fountains, and enjoy the different resting areas. You can also visit the crystal palace, which houses art exhibitions and cultural events.

The park offers beautiful views of the Douro River and the gardens, as well as the city of Porto. It is a perfect place to have a picnic, exercise outdoors, or simply spend some quiet time in nature.

17. Church of São Francisco

Historical Monuments and Architecture

The Church of São Francisco is one of the oldest and most significant churches in Porto. Its Gothic-Romanesque architecture and interior full of details make it a must-visit for history and architecture lovers. The church was built in the 13th century and has undergone several renovations over the years. Its main facade is Gothic in style, with Romanesque details and Baroque decorative elements.

Inside the church, visitors can admire the impressive Rococo and Baroque-style decoration, with carved wooden sculptures and hand-painted tile panels. One of the highlights is the Chapel of Bones, a small chapel completely lined with human bones. This macabre chapel is a reminder of the fleetingness of life and has been described as a masterpiece of macabre art.

In addition to its architectural and historical value, the Church of São Francisco is also an important religious center. Throughout the year, numerous masses and religious ceremonies are held in the church, and it is a place of pilgrimage for Catholic faithful. Visitors can also attend classical music concerts and choirs in the church, taking advantage of its magnificent acoustics.

18. Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis

Museums and Art Galleries

The Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis is one of the most important museums in Portugal. It is located in the city of Porto and is known for its extensive collection of Portuguese art.

The museum is named after António Soares dos Reis, one of Portugal's most prominent sculptors. The collection includes works of art from different periods of Portuguese history, from antiquity to the 20th century, with a special emphasis on sculpture and painting.

Among the highlights is the Virgin and Child, a 15th-century stone sculpture attributed to António Soares dos Reis. Paintings by artists such as Doménikos Theotokópoulos (better known as El Greco) and Antoine Watteau can also be found.

19. Cedofeita Street

Shopping and Commerce

Cedofeita Street is one of the most interesting streets in Porto. Located in the city center, this pedestrian street is known for its bohemian atmosphere and its offering of trendy shops and concept stores.

In Cedofeita Street, you will find unique shops and concept stores where you can find exclusive and cutting-edge products. From clothing and accessories to home decor and design items, here you can find everything you need to stay up to date with the latest trends.

In addition to its shopping offering, Cedofeita Street is home to a large number of cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy delicious food or have a coffee while watching the hustle and bustle of the city. Whether you're shopping or simply strolling and enjoying the atmosphere, Cedofeita Street is a must-visit on your Porto itinerary.

20. Mercado do Bolhão: Visit a traditional market

Food and Markets

Mercado do Bolhão is one of the most iconic places in Porto. Built in 1914, it is one of the city's oldest markets and has witnessed the history and daily life of its inhabitants for over a century. With its unique architecture and traditional atmosphere, Mercado do Bolhão offers an authentic and colorful experience.

The building of Mercado do Bolhão is an example of early 20th-century iron architecture. Its tiled facade and covered halls filled with stalls of fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, and other local products make it a special place for lovers of Portuguese gastronomy and culture.

In addition to fresh products, Mercado do Bolhão also houses small shops where you can buy souvenirs, crafts, and other traditional products. It is the perfect place to discover the flavors and aromas of Portuguese cuisine, as well as to meet local producers and learn more about Porto's culture and history.