Top 10 best things to do in Porto


Image: Wikimedia Commons

Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal, home of the famous FC Porto! The city, on the northwest side of Portugal, might not seem very familiar to many tourists, but it is popular for its amazing wine, beautiful beaches, rich history, and vibrant culture. 

Here are ten interesting activities and places that one can enjoy in Porto! Have fun!

1. Church of San Francisco

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Church of San Francisco. This amazing church was completed in 1425. It is the last gothic masterpiece in the area and it truly stands out. The church has memories and touches from many different centuries; it was remodified in the 16th and 18th centuries and some aspects like woodwork, curved panels, vaults, walls are sights to behold! You have to see it, to believe the details that went into its design, construction, and final touches. 

2. Casa da Música

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This one of the most modern buildings and attractions in Porto. The Concert hall was opened in 2005, designed by Koolhaas and it turned out to be an amazing music venue! It holds about 1,300 people and it is the place to treat yourself to some great performances!

3. Sun and sand at the Foz do Douro

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There is no other way to enjoy Porto than to stroll the sandy beaches! The Foz do Porto will have you enjoying the sun and sand and also, do not forget to take photographs, because the views are breathtaking! It is only 15 minutes trip by bus or tram from the city center and you can have some food at restaurants, including two of Porto’s Michellin Star hotels. Foz Duoro means ‘Mouth of the Duro’- it is where the Duoro River meets the Atlantic Ocean, and while you are there, do not forget to learn a bit of history even as you enjoy the sun!

4. Soares dos Reis National Museum

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If you love museums, then this one is one you have to visit. When in Porto, please check this Soares dos Reis National Museum out. The Soares doe Reis National Museum was founded in 1833 and at that point, it showcased religious art and artifacts taken from Portuguese convents and you can still see some of these today! The museum is named after a sculptor from Vila Nova de Gaia whose pieces are also showcased there! 

5. Take a trip down the Duoro River 

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For as little as 15 Euros, you get an experience you will enjoy. A trip down the Duoro River in a boat! The Duoro River stretches about 900 kilometers from Castile to the Atlantic at Porto. You will get a local guide who will explain all the amazing history and great things about the river and attractions around it! It is a beautiful river so this is a trip to enjoy.

6. Fancy some wine?

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Who doesn’t like some wine on a trip? And what best way to enjoy a wine experience than to go to the source? In Vila Nova de Gaia are wine cellars where one can learn a ton about wine! This region has been producing wine for hundreds of years, and it is only fair that one visits some of the cellars in the city. There are many guided tours one can get, where one will learn the art of wine production and even have a taste; just don’t taste too much, you might not be able to get around! Some of these cellars date to as far back as the 16th century. Caves Ferreira, Caves Cálem, and Caves Taylor’s are just some of them.

7. FC Porto Museum

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A trip to Porto needs some football experience and of course, there is a museum which will give you that experience! Interactive technology at the museum in Estádio do Dragão allows you to interact pretty well with some legends in football, very well to the residents of Porto, who love their football and who love FC Porto! Some great names from the club are featured in this amazing museum; I mean, the team has two Champions League and two UEFA titles under their belt so there is something to learn and enjoy at this museum!

8. Visit Livraria Lello

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This is a book lover’s paradise! Entering this library feels like one is like going back in time to the 18th or the 19th centuries. The gothic interior feel, and design; made of wood, stained glass sunlight, lots of art, murals are amazing! And the collection of books is so wide, you will leave there inspired to read! There is a wooden staircase that gives the library more character and oh, the author of Harry Porter loved this place when she was a resident at the town, so you best believe that it is amazing. The library was built in 1906 but has such a rich history dating way back and is located at the Rua das Carmelitas part of Porto. Check it out.

9. Climb the Porto Bridge 

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Want to get some workout and adrenalin on vacation? It is not daunting! The Ponte da Arrábida bridge in Porto was built in 1963 and is the last bridge just before the Atlantic. It is a long climb, but people who do not fancy heights should not worry, because one is fitted with proper kits for security and ease of climbing and once one reaches the very top, you have a panoramic view of the beautiful town below you that will make the climb worth it! Who would not want that? The climbing part was added after the bridge had been built and it adds to the list of attractions and functions of the bridge, which is pretty cool!

10. Visit the Santa Clara Church

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This is one of the most spectacular churches in Porto and, anywhere, built during the renaissance period! The intricate details in the design, the thoughts that went into decorating the church is amazing! The well done wooden carvings, the red marble, and attention to detail is something out of this world! You have to see this to believe it. The massive and historic Santa Clara church is located in one of the oldest parts of town, understandably because it was built in 146 and completed in 1457; together with the Saint Clara convent which was occupied by nuns; and was built to replace a medieval church that was in that spot. It has undergone some refurbishments but the detail is still very intricate!

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