Porto: a city to discover and be enchanted by!
Authentic, charismatic, and very friendly, the city of Porto is the 2nd biggest city in Portugal and is cherished by visitors for its warm and unparalleled reception – as only the northern regions know how to do. Combining tradition and modernity, Porto has special places to discover Portuguese gastronomy, immerse yourself in the culture, and absorb the essence of the city. The more you get to know this city, the more you will fall in love with it.
In this travel guide, we have gathered suggestions of what you cannot miss in the city of Porto and its surroundings, as well as some secret gems you don’t want to miss out on! Discover 20 activities that will allow you to enjoy the true essence of this region.
Taste and discover the Conservas Pinhais Factory Tour live museum
Our travel guide begins with an invitation to meet our family, but we promise that it is also a suggestion not to be missed: visit this live-museum about our artisanal and centennial production of Conservas Pinhais and NURI. Just 15 minutes away from Porto, you will visit our live factory museum and taste our unique sardines.
This interactive will take you on a journey through 100 years of artisanal production of tinned sardines (so traditional in Portugal and art that, over time, has been lost and we want to preserve it) and the five senses will be put to the test in our surprise activities throughout the visit.
Above all, we want to show what makes our production so unique and make our family known. In the end, there is a tasting session of truly Portuguese and special flavors – which you can take with you in your luggage. Do you accept this invitation?
Find the magic at Livraria Lello
Located right in the heart of Porto, this is one of Portugal’s most emblematic bookshops and has even been nominated numerous times as the most beautiful bookshop in the world. Built in 1906, Livraria Lello is a must for book lovers and beyond, as its ornate architecture and stunning staircase enchant any visitor.
On the shelves, you will find hundreds of thousands of books, including the saga of the author who was inspired by Lello to write about the famous magical scenarios: Harry Potter!
Try a chocolate éclair at Leitaria Quinta do Paço
Autor: JOSÉ COELHO | Crédito: LUSA | Direitos de autor: © 2019 LUSA – Agência de Notícias de Portugal, S.A
Centenary as us, Leitaria Quinta do Paço started in the artisanal production of dairy products, but quickly brought more sweetness to those who visit them through its fresh, daily-produced pastries.
The specialty is chocolate éclairs – fluffy, sweet and irresistible! But the classic artisanal salted butter sold by weight and wrapped in parchment paper is still a hit with locals.
Discover the view at the top of Tower of Clerics
Porto’s ex-libris, the Tower of the Clerics is the city’s most famous landmark, cutting through the landscape with its 75 meters of height.
Monumental and baroque, the more than two hundred steps should not deter you from climbing it, as the top has an extraordinary 360º view of the city – and even more breathtaking at sunset.
“Never forget” at the Holocaust Museum of Porto
“Never forget” was the founding purpose of the Holocaust Museum of Porto in partnership with the Jewish Community of Porto (CJP), B’nai B’rith International and other international Holocaust museums.
The museum provides a memorial to all the victims and survivors of the horrors experienced in the Holocaust during World War II, with a collection of documentation and belongings left by refugees at the Porto Synagogue. All curation is ensured by members of the CJP whose family members were victims of the Holocaust. A place to acknowledge the past and protect the future.
See outstanding art at Serralves Foundation
Divided into three spaces (Serralves Museum, Serralves Villa – both designed by the renowned architect Álvaro Siza Vieira – and the Park), the Serralves Foundation breathes culture and art, promoting various exhibitions and cultural programs throughout the year.
For all lovers of contemporary art, it’s a suggestion not to be missed, but anyone is invited to discover these spaces full of history and personality, including (why not?) a walk through the 18-hectare park, a reference in the city and decorated with installations and sculptures throughout the area.
Be a bookworm at Livraria Térmita
Foto from Livraria Térmita Facebook page (@termita.livros)
Right next to Café Candelabro, there is a well-kept secret for any book lover. The cozy atmosphere of Livraria Térmita brings a familiar feeling of home, where books find shelter.
In a harmony between new and used editions, these books are looking for new readers. Will you be able to only pick one?
Feel the sea breeze at Matosinhos beach
And after a special visit to the Conservas Pinhais Factory Tour, the invitation extends to stay a little longer in Matosinhos, the land of the sea and of the people who bravely cross the waves (in the past and present). Matosinhos has a coastline as far as the eye can see and beaches to discover.
Matosinhos beach has a lot to offer, from its waves, perfect for those who enjoy surfing or bodyboarding, to the vast sand, great for a walk along the seafront in total connection with nature. On this guarded beach, the view is appealing and full of life!
Buy fresh fish at the Matosinhos Municipal Market
Who says a municipal market can’t have a modern feel? Filled with natural light, this is a reference point for locals who do their grocery shopping and is worth visiting to admire the alliance between contemporaneity and Matosinhos’ maritime roots. Besides, you can go to the fish market, buy your fish and then taste it in one of the restaurants located inside the market. A fantastic experience!
Lunch at Terraplana Café
Foto from Terraplana Facebook page (@terraplanacafe)
If lunch calls for a relaxed menu and a cool atmosphere, the Terraplana Café is the perfect suggestion. Order one of the delicious wood-oven pizzas and try one of the many signature cocktails available. The perfect place to get gather with friends or family!
Go on a Douro boat tour
The best place to get a unique view over the city of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia is on board the Rabelo boats – a traditional Portuguese boat.
On this tour, and while the boat crosses the Douro River, it is possible to admire the picturesque landscape on the banks, with their houses, and pass under the iconic D. Luís I bridge, which connects the two cities of Porto and V. N. de Gaia and that keeps a wonderful legend, which the locals tell like no one else!
Enjoy the best view of Porto from Flores Rooftop
Foto from Rooftop Flores Instagram (@rooftopflores)
The top floor of the Museu e Igreja da Misericórdia do Porto secretly reveals the best view over the city. Flores Rooftop invites anyone to relax outdoors on the grassed terrace or in the shade of orange trees.
You can enjoy this live postcard on a lounger or while having a snack and a drink from the terrace menu.
Wine tasting at Porto wine cellars
Port wine is one of the world’s most iconic drinks and it’s worth heading down to the cellars in V. N. de Gaia to learn more about its history and explore the traditional production sites and the vast collection of bottles and special editions of Port.
In the end, there’s a glass – or two! – to taste.
Have brunch at Época restaurant
Enjoy one of the best brunches in Porto at the Época restaurant! In a contemporary, bright environment, full of natural elements, the menu is colorful, with healthy dishes and fresh seasonal ingredients.
Watch a concert at Casa da Música
Being an emblematic building in the city of Porto, Casa da Música brings together a unique cultural and musical program throughout the year. There are concerts for all tastes, from classical music to jazz, as well as more contemporary genres.
But it is not only for the music that this place is worth a visit; the building itself – designed by French architect Rem Koolhaas – deserves admiration for its bold and very modernist design.
Shopping on Santa Catarina Street
This is one of the most famous streets in Porto and the ideal spot to admire the traditional facades while shopping, as it is an important shopping street with many stores, from handicrafts to international brands.
Full of life and movement, Santa Catarina Street is to be crossed calmly, walking by the lively street artists – who entertain the city – and with a mandatory stop at one of the most elegant and oldest cafés in Porto: Café Majestic. Opened in 1920 and considered a cultural heritage, the sophisticated atmosphere will transport you to the sumptuous Roaring Twenties and invite you to take a delicious break for a coffee and a fresh pastry before returning to shopping.
Eat the best pancakes in town at O Diplomata
Foto from O Diplomata Facebook page (@odiplomatabar )
True pancake lovers cannot miss a visit to O Diplomata. In a colorful and very relaxed atmosphere, the promise is fulfilled: pancakes with various fillings and combinations, for all tastes, and with a fluffy and delicious dough.
And if you’re accompanied by salty food fans, there’s no need to argue! The toasts and bagels are equally irresistible.
Be enchanted by poetry at the Poetria bookstore
The Poetria bookstore is already part of the tourist and local itinerary for two reasons (one more unexpected than the other); it is an independent bookstore specializing in poetry and theatre, one of a kind in Portugal.
On its shelves there is an impressive collection of classic poetic anthologies, but also more recent works, focusing on emerging poets in Portugal.
But the truth is that no one can resist Blake, Poetria’s lovely bookseller and who accompanies all the customers. It is the house cocker spaniel, ready to recommend a book and be petted!
Enjoy the sunset from Jardim das Virtudes
Foto from blog Gail at Large
When sunset approaches, we already know where the locals will be: at Jardim das Virtudes which is a great place to enjoy a superb view of Porto.
Just a few minutes from the historic center, access is free and, in addition to the magnificent view, there are also temporary outdoor exhibitions and events not to be missed throughout the year.
Have fun at Ferro Bar
Foto from Ferro Bar Facebook page (@ferrobarporto)
Close to the famous São Bento station, you’ll find Ferro Bar, the golden key to end the evening, with a fantastic view of the Tower of Clerics and the Porto Cathedral (so charming when dotted by the city lights).
Through delicious signature cocktails and snacks, entertainment is guaranteed with a program full of concerts, DJ and stand-up comedy shows.