26 Cool Things To Do In Porto
26 Cool Things To Do In Porto
Going to Porto and not sure what there is to do? Check out our 26 cool things to do in Porto.
Porto has reinvented itself in recent years and is 100% worthy of the praise and recognition it is starting to attract. The city centre itself was recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site! There are not many citys that have that award! The people, climate, culinary delights, charm, authenticity and Port Wine are all what make Porto a fantastic trip.
Our Top 26 cool things to do in Porto is in no ascending order! We hope you enjoy this city as much as we did.
1. Vila Nova da Gaia.
Vila Nove da Gaia is a must when visiting Porto. The long quayside promenade is lined with restaurants serving fresh fish, tapas and port wines. Take your pick and visit one of the many Port Wine Cellars. We recommend Feirerra, Sandeman or Offley.
The view is also irresistible of Dom Luis 1 Bridge and of the multi coloured houses across the Douro River of Porto. You can also take a trip on the Teleferico de Gaia ( cable car ) that offers impressive views over the mouth of the Douro River. At Vila Nova da Gaia, you can also take a number of boat tours, such as the 6 bridges tour and Douro River cruises.
Don’t miss the ‘barcos rabelos’ – these were the boats used to transport the wine from the Douro Valley to the cellars in Vila Nova da Gaia. Now the wine is transported on land in metal cylinders as they kept loosing a few on the journey upstream!
2. Have Port wine tasting in a local wine tasting house.
When in rome, and when in Porto you must sample Port wine! You will have an intimate experience with an expert in Port wine. Spend the afternoon sipping and chatting with friends while you get a new love for Port Wine. We recommend Touriga Wine Shop.
3. Eat Francesinha (Meat, Vegetarian & Vegan options available)
Ahhh, the ‘little frenchie’! Not sure why this gets the nickname ‘little’ because there’s nothing little about Porto’s favourite sandwich! Picture this – bread, meat, meat, more meat, bread, melted cheese, a spicy beer sauce and french fries, all washed down with a beer of course! We recommend 3 places in Porto to sample the mighty Francesinha depending on choice.
- Meat Francesinha – Santiago
- Vegetarian Francesinha – Lado B
- Vegan Francesinha – Cultura dos Sabores
4. Take a FREE walking tour with Porto Walkers
We took the FREE classical tour in the morning with the lovely Ana (founder of Porto Walkers). The walk takes you around a lot of the citys sights and finishes up with an awesome recommendation for the best chocolate cake EVER!!!!
They also have Wine tours, bike & Surf tours and Pub Crawl tours. Check out Porto Walkers here and book ahead during summer months or weekends.
5. Have a picnic & watch the sunset at Jardim do Morro
This beautiful park offers you incredible views overlooking both Vila Nova da Gaia and Porto. Pack a picnic, a bottle of the finest Port Wine around, some great company and your evening is sorted.
6. Take the 6 Bridges tour with Rota do Douro
If you don’t have enough time to visit the magnificent Douro Valley, this cool boat tour will allow you to see Porto and Vila Nova da Gaia from a different angle.
Admire both from the comfort of the boat as you cruise along and learn all about the 6 brides past and present that connect the two cities together. There are also 2 great Bonus offers after the tour with Rota da Douro. But I won’t give everything away!
7. Rent a bike from Oporto Rent and cycle out to the Beaches of Porto.
Once you pick up you bike from Oporto Rent, cycle out towards Praia do Molhe and Matosinhos Beach. You will pass many km’s of beautiful coastline, a fort, restaurants, tidal pools and friendly locals. Getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city for an entire afternoon, will have you refreshed for the wine bars of the evening.
8. Explore Parque da Cidade do Porto (City Park)
After you have had your share of sun and sand, cycle back to Porto through City Park. It’s a beautiful park with wildlife, and lakes. Take it slowly and enjoy the ride!
9. Take part in a Food Tour
Learn all about the wonderful Porto Cuisine from past to present, we recommend ‘The Delicious Porto Food Tour’ by Bluedragon City Tours. You can read all about our experience here or book directly from their website.
10. Visit Livraria Lello
Considered the third most beautiful library in the world by lonely planet. The enchanted book store is of course famous these days because of JK Rowling, who got inspiration for Harry Potter’s library in Hogwarts whist living in Porto. The stain glass windows and sweeping staircase add to the majestic feel of the book store. It’s a truly captivating place that simply has to be experienced.
There’s a small entrance fee of 4 euro to enter and it can get quite busy. Arrive early to avoid the lines.
[26 cool things to do in Porto]
11. Visit Casa da Musica (House of Music)
Catch one of their FREE summer concerts. International concerts also take place at Casa da Musica and cater for all tastes from classical and jazz to hip hop and fado.
12. Eat in a local Portuguese Tavern
Sample simple and traditional no fuss Portuguese food. We recommend Sai Cão. This very traditional, local tavern is full of fresh ingredients, home made with love.
13. Explore Cais da Ribeira
Located on the Porto side of the bridge. This promenade is also lined with restaurants and cafes, amongst street performers, locals and tourists all mixing and enjoying each other’s company. The riverside quarter is full of narrow streets, and bright and beautiful coloured houses. This north bank of the Douro River is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
14. Admire Ponte de Dom Luis l (Dom Luis 1 Bridge)
What an iconic bridge. The magnificent bridge joins Porto and Vila Nova da Gaia. The city is very proud of this bridge and we can see why. The two tier bridge is mighty and majestic, especially at night. Be careful of the trains on the top of the bridge as the trains and the people both share it!
15. Wander through Jardins do Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace Gardens)
Take a romantic stroll through the gardens and admire the spectacular views of the Douro River below.
16. Visit FC Porto Museum and see some of their silverware
Even if you are not a football fan, a visit to the FC Porto Museum is a must. It’s dedicated to Porto FC and showcases their 200 trophies. The interactive museum is great. You can also get a combined ticket and do the stadium and museum together.
We could have included a lot more than 26 Cool things to do in Porto, but we give your our favourite 26!
17. Eat a Pastel De Nata ((everyday) !!! Traditional Portuguese custard tarts)
If you have yet to try a Pastel de Nata, you have not lived! Get yourself to the nearest Pastelaria when you arrive in Porto or Portugal for that matter!
[26 cool things to do in Porto]
18. Drink wine and eat tapas at the wonderful Capela Incomum
This was a little hidden treasure we found in Porto. Order your choice of wine and tapas, relax and enjoy jazz music in this old XV century chapel now converted into a wine bar!
19. Admire the art in a gorgeous surrounding Serralves Foundation
The contemporary Art Museum is located in an 18 hectare garden. The pink art deco building is also cool, definitely a great place to spend the afternoon, see some art and have a picnic in the gardens.
20. Visit Miguel Bombarda Street – Art Gallery Street
The vibrant, colourful and artsy street is full of art galleries, shops, restaurants and cafes.
21. Take a trip back in time and visit Bolhao Market
Experience the true heart & soul of Porto, it’s people and it’s food. Bolhao Market is the most famous in the city, dating back to 1850 and the infrastructure has not changed much since then. There are talks of modernising it in the future. So get here as soon as possible if you can to experience it’s true authenticity.
22. Reserve a table and drink the night away at Wine Box
Also a great option for lunch, serving amazing wine and tapas.
23. Eat Bacalhau (Salted cod)- there are over 1001 ways to cook it!
Ironically this traditional Portuguese cod dish is not found in their waters, with the cod being imported from Norway and Iceland! This is the staple of Portuguese cuisine and must be paired with a nice vinho verde (white wine).
24. Admire the wonderful Churches of Porto
Porto has a plethora of fantastic churches, beautifully covered with azulejos (tiles) out side and filled with gold inside. If your schedule only allows for one church visit, we would recommend Capela das Almas.
25. Visit Sao Bento Train Station
Be prepared to be amazed at the handdrawn tiles. This 19th century railway station should be declared a museum and is the most beautiful train station we have ever seen!
26. Visit Cafe Majestic
This vintage, Parisian style cafe is considered one of Europe’s most historical cafe’s and it’s also where JK Rowling worked on her first draft of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. (beware of the 4 euro espressos)!
Porto is not a huge city and you can definitely get around by foot, just be prepared to climb the many, many hills. It’s an incredible city that is starting to reap the rewards that tourism is bringing, so our advice would be to go now before it is ‘on the map’. Get your walking shoes on and start ticking off our 26 cool things to do in Porto!
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Going to Porto, feel free to ask us any questions & enjoy the top 26 cool thing s to do in Porto!
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