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Best things to do in Porto if you a tourist

Today you will learn about an amazing city near the Atlantic Ocean. Our guide is perfect for a trip of 2 days in Porto or more. But what to see if it’s your first visit to Porto? What are the must-sees and where is the best place to stay?

Here you’ll find information on the best places to visit in charming Porto. Our guide is suitable for both tourists and those who want to combine a business trip with new and exciting experiences.

Porto attraction. 

Best things to do if you have two days in Porto.

Welcome to Porto, the city to which Portugal owes its name. A charming city rich in history, culture and unrivaled beauty. Porto beckons travelers from all over the world with its timeless charm and vibrant atmosphere. In this ultimate guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the best things to do in Porto, ensuring that your visit is nothing short of extraordinary.

The Porto Cathedral

Begin your exploration of Porto by immersing yourself in its rich history. The Cathedral is a magnificent testament to the city’s rich architectural heritage. The cathedral dates back to the 12th century and occupies a crucial place in the city’s culture and landscape.

Porto’s main architectural masterpiece, also known as Se do Porto, sits atop a hill in the heart of the historic center. The cathedral is an amazing combination of architectural styles such as Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque.

The facade of the cathedral is decorated with intricate details, from geometric patterns to intricate sculptures. The facade depicts scenes from biblical narratives and Portuguese history.

The interior of the cathedral is a masterpiece of religious architecture. Soaring vaulted ceilings, graceful arches and majestic columns are made of local granite. Some walls of the cathedral are decorated with traditional blue and white azulejos tiles. The tiles, measuring 5.56 by 3.50 meters, were produced in Lisbon’s Mocambo (now Madragoa) district, which is considered the birthplace of Portugal’s gonrara craftsmanship. During its existence, this architectural masterpiece has witnessed many events. From royal coronations and religious ceremonies to periods of war and upheaval. Despite the passage of time, the cathedral is a symbol of resilience, endurance and the enduring power of faith. Even if you are planning a day trip, be sure to visit this place.

Luís I Bridge

This structure is an iconic symbol of engineering excellence. The two-tiered metal bridge is named in honor of King Luís I. Today, the bridge continues to play an important role in the city’s transportation links. It is also an important landmark offering spectacular views of Porto.

The bridge was designed by Belgian engineer Theophile Seyrig, a pupil of Gustave Eiffel. The inauguration of the Dom Luis I bridge took place in 1886. The innovative design of the bridge, with its characteristic arched span supported by two massive pylons, revolutionized bridge building and was an impressive engineering achievement of its time.
Lovers of beautiful views should drive over the bridge at sunset. It offers the best views of the city. When the warm glow of the evening sun floods the city with golden light, it creates a magical atmosphere that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

The Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Fundação de Serralves

For lovers of contemporary art, Porto has a noteworthy destination. The Serralves Museum, opened to the public in 1999, has quickly established itself as a leading center for contemporary art. The place is renowned for its diverse collection, innovative exhibitions and architectural significance. The museum building was designed by renowned Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza Vieira. The Art Nouveau museum blends seamlessly into the surrounding landscape, creating a dynamic and exciting environment for visitors.

The museum’s collection covers a wide range of artistic media. Here we can see not only paintings, but also sculpture, photography, video and installations. The Serralves Museum is committed to presenting the most vibrant works of contemporary art. The museum’s exposition features both recognized masters and emerging talents. The diversity of styles and authors emphasizes the dynamism of the global art scene.

In addition to the museum’s art exhibit, the Serralves Foundation includes a stunning park, botanical garden and historic Art Deco villa. The picturesque environment provides visitors with a multifaceted cultural experience. It is arguably one of the most picturesque museum complexes in Portugal.

Clerigos Tower

The Tower rises against the city’s historic skyline. More than just a landmark, it is a symbol of the city’s rich history, architectural excellence and cultural significance.

The tower was built in 1732-1750 by the Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni as part of the church complex. The tower is 76 meters (249 feet) high and offers panoramic views of the city and the Douro River.

Visitors to the Clérigues Tower can climb up a narrow spiral staircase, where a spectacular view of Porto and other cities awaits. From the observation deck, you can admire the historic rooftops, medieval alleyways and lively squares of the city.

In addition to its architectural significance, the Clérigues Tower holds a special place in the hearts of Porto’s inhabitants. It appears in countless works of art, literature and photography. The scale of the tower has amazed generations of visitors and residents.

Lello Bookstore

A charming literary gem located in the heart of Porto. Livraria Lello is one of the oldest bookstores in the whole world.

The store is located on Rua das Carmelitas, next to the Clérigos Tower. The iconic facade is decorated with intricate Neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau motifs, charming visitors at first sight.

Stepping through the ornate entrance of Livraria Lello is like stepping into another world! Books come to life and imagination knows no bounds. The interior is a true masterpiece of architectural beauty. Soaring ceilings, ornate wooden staircases and stained glass windows will leave no one indifferent! Every corner of Livraria Lello is adorned with intricate details and decorative elements.

In addition to its architectural splendor, Livraria Lello is renowned for its rich collection of books. Here you can find classic literature, contemporary fiction, as well as extremely rare editions. The shelves of the bookstore are stacked with literary treasures in different languages.

Livraria Lello’s rich history and cultural significance only add to its appeal. Founded in 1906 by brothers José and Antonio Lello. Since then, the coveted place has become a favorite Porto institution for writers, artists and intellectuals from all over the world.

If you are a lover of books, architecture or just looking for inspiration, you should definitely check out Livraria Lello.

Café Majestic

This place is a true symbol of Porto’s elegance and sophistication. The café is characterized by its ornate Belle Époque façade and luxurious interior. The café started to receive visitors back in 1921. Today it remains one of the most beautiful establishments in the city.

Located on Rua de Santa Catarina, one of Porto’s busiest streets. Inside there is an atmosphere of refined elegance and timeless charm. The walls are decorated with luxurious moldings and mirrors. It is the ideal place for a leisurely breakfast or afternoon tea.

Café Majestic is renowned for its exceptional cuisine and impeccable service. The menu offers tempting dishes as well as fine wines and cocktails. From classic Portuguese pastries to international delicacies, Café Majestic has something to satisfy every taste.

The Café has a special place in Porto’s cultural heritage. Many artists, writers and intellectuals have been here. It was the meeting place of the most influential minds of the 20th century.

In search of perfectly brewed coffee and an unforgettable atmosphere, you must visit Café Majestic.

Port Wine

If you love quality spirits, then don’t miss the opportunity to try port wine. This drink is historically produced in the Douro Valley, in the northeast of Portugal. There are 165 varieties of grapes grown here. In no other city will you find a better port wine! The cellars in Porto store large quantities of this nectar. According to local law, producers can only use local grapes. Wine tasting is definitely one of the best things to do in Porto or in other Portuguese cities.

Charming streets of Porto

Two crowded streets capture the essence and charm of Northern Portugal’s most beautiful city – these are Rua Simo da Vila and Ribeira.

Rua Simo da Vila. This picturesque cobbled street winds through narrow alleys. As you stroll along it, you’ll see centuries-old buildings and get a sense of Porto’s rich history and architectural heritage.

Here you will find a captivating mix of traditional stores, cozy cafes and quirky boutiques. Each of the street’s facilities emphasizes a unique atmosphere.

One of the attractions of Rua Simo da Vila is its vibrant street art. Colorful murals adorn the walls of buildings and alleys, adding a modern touch to the street’s historic surroundings. Connoisseurs of street art will definitely appreciate Rua Simo da Vila!

Ribeira. One of Porto’s most iconic and beloved neighborhoods is located on the picturesque banks of the Douro River.

The real gem of this neighborhood is the stunning waterfront. From here you can enjoy panoramic views of the Douro River. Relax in one of the waterfront cafes or take a leisurely stroll along the promenade. Alternatively, take a scenic boat cruise to explore the surrounding scenery.

In the evening, Ribeira comes alive with the sounds of live music. The aroma of delicious Portuguese cuisine wafts through the air from the many cafes. The restaurants and bars located here are perfect for a romantic dinner or a raucous evening with friends. Here you will find a lot of entertainment for all tastes and budgets.

P.S. Of course, the list of the most interesting places to visit in Porto doesn’t end there. It is impossible not to mention São Bento train station. The walls of the station are decorated with luxurious Portuguese azulejo tiles. Check out the Igreja do Carmo, a baroque church built in 1910. Sign up for a tour of Palácio da Bolsa. Or start exploring other cities in Portugal, such as neighboring Lisbon. A digital travel planner can do the job just fine. Triplay will create the best Porto itinerary for you. The artificial intelligence-based travel planner will group the most interesting places for you to get the most out of your trip!

Where is the best place to stay?

Choosing the best place to stay depends on your preferences, budget and the type of experience you are looking for. Here are a few popular neighborhoods to consider:

Ribeira. A stay here puts you right in the heart of the action. Charming cobblestone streets, colorful buildings and stunning views of the Douro River await you here.

Baixa. Located in the center of Porto, this area is perfect for shoppers. Bustling streets and lively squares echo with stores, restaurants and cafes. Staying at Baixa puts you within walking distance of major attractions. Livraria Lello bookstore and São Bento train station are all within walking distance.

Sedofeita. If you prefer a quieter atmosphere, stay in Sedofeita. This residential area offers a quieter alternative to the city center, but is still in close proximity to Porto’s attractions. 

Foz do Douro. For a beach vacation, head to the area west of the city center along the Atlantic coast. This upscale neighborhood is known for its beautiful beaches, picturesque promenades, and trendy cafes and restaurants. Staying in Foz do Douro will give you a break from the hustle and bustle of the city center. You’re sure to enjoy sunbathing, surfing, and dining on the beach.

Vila Nova de Gaia. Across the Douro River from Porto’s historic center is Vila Nova de Gaia, home to many of the city’s famous port wine cellars. Staying here puts you in close proximity to the cellars, where tours and tastings await.The area also offers stunning views of the Porto skyline and easy access to the riverfront. 

Hopstays will help you find the most comfortable accommodation in Porto at the best price. Be sure to explore the offers if you are planning to visit Porto. Hopstays specializes in apartments in Portugal, so it will definitely be very useful for you.

As you explore Porto, you’ll quickly realize why it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Porto is definitely a city you should visit at least once in your life!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

1. What are the must-see attractions in Porto for a first-time tourist?

Porto offers many attractions. Don’t miss Cathedral, Luis I Bridge, Serralves Museum, Clerigos Tower, Lello Livraria. Be sure to stroll the charming streets of Rua Simo da Vila and Ribeira.

2. What is the best thing to do in Porto if I only have two days?

If you only have two days in Porto, be sure to visit Porto Cathedral, stroll across the Luis I Bridge, and check out the Serralves Museum. If your strength allows, climb the Clerigos Tower and check out the Livraria Lello. Enjoy a delicious meal at the Majestic Café.

3. Where is the best place to stay in Porto?

Explore central Porto. Baixa is ideal for shopping and exploring the city. Ribeira offers a charming river scenery. Cedofeita is a quieter option. Foz do Douro is ideal for a beach vacation. Vila Nova de Gaia is ideal for wine lovers. Use Hopstays to find comfortable accommodation at the best prices in Porto.

4. What are some popular attractions in Porto that are suitable for both tourists and business travelers?

Definitely every visitor to the city will be impressed by the Cathedral. For creative inspiration and valuable gifts, you can check out the Livraria Lello bookstore. These iconic landmarks and cultural centers will provide an unforgettable experience for all visitors.

5. How to plan the best trip to Porto or another city in Portugal?

Planning the best trip is easy with Triplay, an AI-powered travel planner. Triplay selects the most interesting places according to your interests. This ensures that you get a great itinerary in Porto.

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