World-famous for its port wine, Porto is Portugal's second largest city and is the commercial and industrial centre for the zone north of the country. The historic centre of Porto was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996, with a population of 1,3million in the metropolitan area.
In terms of location, it is the best area to stay. It is right in the heart of the city, close to famous sights and subway stations. The charm is in walking through the streets and getting to know the traditional Porto architecture. There are hotels for all tastes (and all budgets).
Do you know those classic photos that show the Luiz I bridge and the colorful houses of Porto in the background? They are a portrait of Ribeira. The hotels are a little more expensive, but, on the other hand, you have the privilege of waking up with the view of the Douro River.
It is the place for those who want to know the more artistic and young side of Porto. It has art galleries and conceptual stores within a reasonable distance of the city’s main monuments. If you want to stay in the hustle and bustle, check out the Rua Galeria de Paris, that’s where the many trendy bars and restaurants are located
Foz do Douro is known for being one of the noblest regions of Porto, with excellent infrastructure and the advantage of being seaside. The hotels are more expensive, but the location is ideal for those looking to relax a bit further from the tourist center
Not everyone knows, but the metro in Porto takes you to the beach. You can reach the coastal city of Matosinhos in less than half an hour from Trindade station. It is very popular with residents and tourists who want to swim and enjoy the seafood, whether at the Matosinhos Municipal Market or one of the many seafood restaurants. Another classic program is to visit the stores and factories of traditional Portuguese canned fish. Conserva Pinhais & Cia offers guided tours that tell about the fishing tradition and show the production processes that the brand has been using for over 100 years
It is one of the most emblematic bookstores in the country — and the world. It is right in the centre of Porto and is part of its historical heritage.
It was born in 1906 at number 144 Rua das Carmelitas. And it remained there until today, with the neogothic architecture that characterizes it, the carved wood, the golden columns and the ornate ceilings that form a unique calling card. But this historic building is not only there to be admired, and about 300 thousand books per year also come out of the high shelves distributed on both floors.
If you are a fan of the Harry Potter saga, know that this bookstore served as an inspiring setting for author J.K. Rowling, who lived in Porto.
It is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) ex-libris of the city. And the tour through Invicta (another name for Porto) is not complete without a visit to this monument. It's like heading out to Rome and not visiting the Pope.
The project for a bell tower was presented by the architect Nicolau Nasoni in 1753. Construction started the following year and took nine to finish. The inauguration happened in 1763 after the iron cross was placed at the top and the image of Saint Paul in the niche above the door. In Baroque style, this tower was built on an uneven street. Congratulations to the artist!
One of the best views of the city is at the top of this tower 75 meters high, but to enjoy it you will have to climb 225 steps. It will be worth it, we promise.
It is one of the oldest areas of the city and one of the most beautiful as well. The landscape over the river and the Rabelo boats (a traditional Portuguese wooden cargo boat used to transport people and goods along the Douro River) that cross the waters make the delights of tourists and locals alike.
Lose yourself in the narrow streets of Porto, full of ups and downs, colourful houses and caricature nooks. Charge your camera and phone battery before you arrive, because it will be almost impossible trying not to snap everything here. It also has good restaurants, bars and shops worth visiting.
Visit Casa do Infante, to learn more about the historical evolution of this area of Invicta, or take a leap at the beautiful Palácio da Bolsa.
It is one of the most iconic spaces of the Invicta to stroll around. There are eight hectares of gardens that welcome the Crystal Palace.
People have been strolling through these gardens since the nineteenth century, when they were designed by the German landscape architect Émille David. Nowadays, you can also expect peacock families, which is always a delight. This green destination is a must-visit for those addicted to strategic viewpoints with panoramic views of the Douro and the city. If you think the use of the word 'addicted' is excessive, just you wait.
It is one of the most important museums of the country and the first public museum, although with another name and address at the time.
The museum has a vast collection of paintings from the 16th to the 20th centuries, ceramics, sculpture, engraving, jewellery and textiles. On the walls of this museum you will find paintings by great Portuguese artists such as Henrique Pousão, Silva Porto, António Carneiro, Aurelia de Souza or Amadeo de Souza Cardoso. In addition, the institution also receives temporary exhibitions.
When you visit the museum, admire the work "O Desterrado" (1872), by the artist who gave the house its name. This is a mandatory stop.
It is one of the most iconic venues in the city, it hosts concerts of various musical genres all year long. It has a restaurant at the top and a cafe on the ground floor.
There is always something happening at Casa da Música. The calendar is dynamic and innovative and filled with from resident groups such as the Symphony Orchestra, Remix Ensemble and the Baroque and Choir Orchestra. The musical spectrum you'll find here goes from classical music to avant-garde urban trends.
Get to know this work by the architect Rem Koolhaas through expert-guided tours. The best of all? The amount covers the purchase of a ticket for a concert at Casa da Música.
This garden is at the rear of the Justice Palace and is developed on a series of steps. It is here that lives the largest Ginkgo Biloba in Portugal, a tree with about 35 meters.
As the day begins to approach its end, locals gather in this garden, one of the most sought after in Invicta, for a good time among friends. Do not be surprised to see people of all ages here, playing musical instruments and admiring one of the most beautiful views of the river Douro. Simply gorgeous.
Join one or two friends, order some beer from the bars around and enjoy the beautiful sunset. Porto doesn't get more blissful than this.
GAIA (near the Hilton hotel, south bank of the Douro River)
What is it? First it was a basement, now it's a basement- museum. Those responsible for the Sandeman cellars created a museum that contextualizes and tells the history of this brand of Port.
Why go? Coming to Porto and not visiting one of the Port Wine cellars is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. This granite building, built in 1797, houses an impressive collection of paintings, photographs, ceramics and antique bottles, of one of the port's most international brands. Every year they host more than 150,000 visits.
2. Take the Teleférico de Gaia (cable car) to the Jardin do Morro and the Mosterio da Serra do Pilar Part of the area classified by UNESCO as World Heritage in December 1996, the Monastery of Serra do Pilar is the architectural landmark of Gaia. The interesting church and cloisters are laid out according to a circular design unique in Portugal.
The convent built in the 16th century belonged to the Order of Saint Augustine. The church is characterized by a circular shape, a replica of the Church of Santa Maria Redonda in Rome, and is covered by a hemispheric vault with a narrow balcony running its full extent. It took 72 year to complete due to the lack of funding and the political turmoil of those times – with the kingdom of Portugal having fallen to neighbouring Spain. One legacy of that event was the adoption of a Spanish saint for the monastery, Our Lady of Pilar.
From the Mosterio da Serra do Pilar you may cross the bridge to Porto city centre and enjoy that beautiful area.
It is close to the upper board of the bridge D. Luís and is a fantastic viewpoint for the historical area of Porto. Not only that, but it is also a beautiful green space.
Walking from the centre of Porto to this garden is a good way to get to know the city. The upper deck of the D. Luís bridge guarantees you a panoramic view but, in the garden, you can concentrate on the Porto landscape that alone is already worth it. The proximity to the Serra do Pilar is also a plus.
A sunset lying on the grass, a visit to one of the markets that take place in this space and a cable car ride are always good ideas.
One of the most important national institutions, a veritable conveyor belt of historical and cultural heritage, composed by the Museum, designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira. It is found next to the Casa de Serralves (Serralve's House), a gorgeous example of Art Deco architecture.
The Serralves Park, with its great diversity of harmoniously interconnected spaces, is a reference in the landscape patrimony in Portugal. There is no shortage of things to do here, from getting up close and personal with nature to visiting the sculptures that make up the impressive collection.
In addition to the temporary exhibitions, there are many other permanent exhibits that will enrapture art lovers of all shapes and sizes.
Food & Drinks in Porto
There is an older brother in Foz, but this one, which opened in 2016, quickly became one of the busiest bars in Baixa.
Because of the low light, the antique-furnished walls and the good drinks, this is the ideal place to gather friends to chat before or after dinner. Or both. Yeah, definitely both. The menu is full of international beers, good whiskeys and various cocktails.
Every week a new craft beer is offered, the perfect accompaniment for watching football with a mountain of snacks in front of you.
2. KUG - near Palacio de Cristal (Porto)
The new menu, designed by chef Rui Paula, is made with fresh seasonal products, totally designed for this season. There are proposals such as the black pork tuna, alheira and apple (20€), tuna belly with sweet potato and citronella (24€), veal tenderloin with black pudding brás (23€) or the duck with chestnuts and mushrooms ( €21). If you prefer brunch, you can try it on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, from 12:00. at 3.30pm, with options from €19 per person.
3. Enoteca 17.56 (Gaia)
Located in Cais de Gaia, Enoteca 17.56 is part of the visitor center of Real Companhia Velha. It has a large space, with a restaurant, two private rooms and a panoramic terrace, overlooking the Douro River and Ribeira do Porto. It reopened on 19 April with a novelty: the consolidation of the partnership with the Romando restaurant group, now responsible for the entire gastronomic offer.
4. Rua Herois de Franca (Matosinhos)
An splendid selection of fish and seafood restaurants, from popular and cheap to fancy and expensive. Amazing quality and great atmosphere in this road that runs parallel to the beach of Matosinhos.
It is a vegetarian restaurant full of tasty, greasy (yes, it is possible), and creative dishes, which gains new converts every day.
If you think that vegetarian food is all green and always tastes the same, Época is the ideal place to visit to smash those preconceptions into smithereens. The dishes are made with seasonal products, and the space is decorated in the Nordic style, very clean and full of natural light.
The incredible sauteed brown rice malt with a reduction of soybeans, homemade kimchi, sautéed mushrooms, fried egg, fresh coriander and roasted peanuts, as well as Turkish eggs, fried, served with seasoned greek yoghurt.
It is one of the best-known pastries of Porto, such is the quality of its excellent éclairs. Every day 2,500 are made and that number doubles over the weekend.
Leitaria Quinta da Paço was established way back 1920 in Paços de Ferreira as a dairy factory and still continues to respect that tradition. Its whipped cream, for example, continues to be made only with cream and sugar, as it was in the '50s. The result is a crispy éclair on the outside, because of the choux mass, and very sweet and creamy inside, thanks to the whipped cream.
Try the classic, our favourite, or maybe try the lemon, the dark chocolate, the caramel and the crunchy one. Fine, try them all.
The Royal Cocktail Club is a speciality cocktail bar, housed in a 100-year-old building in Baixa. It also happens to be one of the best on the planet.
Why go? Because the stars of the house are the signature cocktails, idealized and prepared by four prodigious mixologists with plenty of experience in the field. There are also alternatives without alcohol, mocktails, which bring all of the fun without any of the day after problems.
Don’t miss: On the lower level, where reservations are a must, there are board games that involve alcohol (of course), a good time and friends. Not necessarily in that order, but you get the point.
A Michelin star restaurant of fine dining cuisine with very few seats, an open kitchen and a menu that changes depending on the season.
Get that palate ready for a real party. The tasting menu at Euskalduna is sure to become one of the best dining experiences of your life. Want a tip? Try and nab a seat by the counter to get a sneak peek into the kitchen, where the magic happens.
The dishes are never the same, but everything is a must. Make your reservation, put
It is a mandatory stop in the city. Here are the best hot dogs in Porto, which bring people of all ages and professions together, as only hot dogs can.
Because for more than 50 years the art of cachorrinhos (small hot dogs) has been front and centre of this place's popularity. On a normal day, more than 300 are served, each as good as the last. The bread is thin and crispy and the cheese is melted, arguably the three most inviting words in the English language. In the end, it is all brushed with butter and hot sauce. No, you're drooling.
Accompany your cachorrinho with one or two cold beers (finos) and go catch a show at the National Theater São João, which is right next door.
It is one of the favorite terraces in the city for locals (and tourists) for a drink at the end of the day, which often lasts into the night.
The sun is shining here for the most desired hours of the day, ideal for a light lunch and an afternoon spent in good company. As far as snacks are concerned, Aduela has cheese boards and open toasts that are well worth it. A bonus? Animals are welcome, so bring your four-legged friend.
The good wine offer and the national preserves that are served here. There is something for everyone, from sardines in tomato sauce to the sardine fillets in olive oil.
It is one of the best restaurants of traditional Portuguese food in the city, where dishes are made with the expertise and love of the old days.
There are many reasons, but the friendly service, in true Porto style, the busy and peculiar esplanade on the São Nicolau stairs and the proximity to the river are some of the characteristics that make this restaurant a true box office success.
The freshly-baked cod dumplings that arrive on the table as soon as you sit, octopus fillets with rice, and the famous cow tongue stewed with peas. Everything here is great, the difficult thing is choosing what to go for.
It is one of the busiest places in Porto’s Baixa and a great start to your day. Why? They make the best pancakes in town.
Besides being tall, fluffy and very tasty, the visitor gets to choose the batter used. There are six options, covering plain, chocolate, oatmeal, vegan, blueberry or Oreo cookie. As for the toppings, there is a bit of everything, from fresh fruit, granola, ice cream balls and Nutella to peanut buttercreams.
The salty pancake with cheese, bacon and garlic and herb butter. Better yet, just plump for the seasonal pancake, made with whatever ingredients happen to be in season at the time.