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Welcome to the internet’s most thorough guide on what to do in Porto, Portugal. After three months living here, I decided the top 10 attractions wouldn’t cut it.
Although it’s a relatively small city, at least compared to Lisbon, Porto is worth visiting because there’s plenty to keep you busy from sightseeing in Ribeira, port tasting in Vila Nova de Gaia, enjoying the parks and catching spectacular sunsets from the many viewpoints.
Let’s start with the popular places to visit in Porto before moving on to the lesser-visited attractions.
PORTO SIGHTSEEING ESSENTIALS
Accommodation: Booking.com / Hostelworld
Getting there: flight (Skyscanner), train (Omio), bus (Flixbus)
Porto activities: GetYourGuide
Getting around: walk / Metro / bus / taxi
Guidebook: Lonely Planet Porto
Where to stay in Porto
Ribeira (waterfront area) – The Editory House Ribeira.
Baixa (city centre) – Hotel: B The Guest Downtown. Apartment: Oportolazaro Apartment. Hostel: Oporto Invictus Hostel.
Cedofeita (trendy area) – Hotel: Casa Antiqua. Apartment: Almada Apartments. Hostel: Oporto Sky Hostel.
Bonfim (quiet area) – Catalonia Porto (luxury) and Moov Hotel (budget).
Visiting Lisbon? Find out what to do and eat with my 3 day Lisbon itinerary
The top 10 things to do in Porto
If you’re just visiting for a couple of days, this first section is for you. If you have more time or prefer unusual and lesser-visited Porto attractions, keep reading for the whole shebang (ordered by area).
Top tip – consider getting a 1, 2 or 3 day Porto card which grants you free entry into many attractions and includes unlimited public transport usage.
Here are the things you shouldn’t miss in Porto:
1. Tour the spectacular azulejo buildings
The Chapel of Souls on Rua de Santa Catarina (near central Bolhão) and Igreja do Carmo on Rua do Carmo are two of the best places in Porto to admire famous azulejos. These attractive tiles date back to the 13th century and are characteristic of Portugal.
As well as snapping photos beside these blue buildings, you can go inside, admire their interiors and learn about their history. Igreja do Carmo is a ‘twin church’ connected to Igreja dos Carmelitas Descalços by Casa Escondida (hidden house), used for secret meetings during the Siege of Porto.
The Chapel of Souls (Capela das Almas) is a small church that holds not daily but HOURLY ceremonies for Bolhão Market traders who can’t be flexible on timings.
2. Drink port in Porto
Of course one of the most popular things to do in Porto is drink the famous beverage named after the city. The best place to do this is Vila Nova de Gaia (or simple ‘Gaia’) south of the Douro River. There are so many places to taste port and learn about its history that it’s hard to know which venue to pick.Book your port and Douro wines tasting tour here
The best places in Porto for tasting include…
Many of the big-name wineries like Sandeman, Ferreira and Cálem offer cellar tours led by local guides. It’s best to book in advance as you may be waiting a while for the next English tour. Alternatively, Taylor’s offer an audio guide cellar tour which you can start any time (€15).
You’ll learn about the history of port, see how and where it’s produced, and get a few samples in the process.
Related Porto activity: Calem cellar tour with tasting
WOW (World of Wine)
New in 2021, the World of Wine is an interactive museum experience in Gaia. The complex includes wine museums and a bunch of workshops from Wine School to the Chocolate Story and the Instagrammable Pink Palace exhibition dedicated to rosé port.
The museums and classes can be booked individually from €17 but the complex can be entered for free. I’d recommend taking a wander: it’s an impressive building with artwork, several restaurants, cafes and a large terrace offering stunning panoramic views of Porto.
Simply go wine tasting
If you’re less about the history and more about wine and cheese, I see you. There are plenty of venues in Gaia where you can taste a range of port wines, either with a commentary from a guide or independently.
A few options include…
- Graham’s Port Lodge – here you will find tasting packages from €17. Make sure to book in advance as it’s by appointment only.
- Espaço Porto Cruz – this is an impressive, modern building with a wine shop, restaurant and rooftop bar. Sample a glass of port, a coffee and a pastel de nata for €5, or try five ports and a cheese board for €25. The staff are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their wines.
- Budget option – several bars on the waterfront offer a deal of five port wines for €5. You won’t get a history lesson at these modest bars but who can quibble at those prices? Bar Soares offer this deal along with a range of traditional Portuguese snacks to accompany your wines.
3. Cross Luís I Bridge
Luís I Bridge straddles the Douro River, connecting Gaia with Porto. There are two levels and it’s well worth walking the top one for unrivalled city views.
If you can plan your trip for late afternoon, do – it’s one of the most atmospheric places in Porto for golden hour.
4. Sunset views from Jardim de Morro
One of the best things to see in Porto is sunset over the city. On the Gaia side of Luís I Bridge, Jardim do Morro has live music performances even during winter. The park turns into a mini-concert stadium with a backdrop of Porto looking her most majestic.
Right beside Jardim do Morro is Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, a striking ex-monastery. From this slightly higher viewpoint, you can soak up yet more spectacular city views.
5. Marvel at São Bento station
Regularly voted one of the most beautiful train stations in the world, São Bento is decorated with 20,000 blue and white tiles, showing scenes from Portuguese history. It was built on the site of a 16th-century monastery after the last nun died.
Although it’s a functioning train station, it’s the smaller of the city’s two. It’s become a Porto tourist attraction where visitors take more photos than trains.
6. Eat typical Porto foods
It wouldn’t be a trip to Porto without sampling the local flavours. A few of the best things to try include:
Francesinha: this OTT meaty sandwich combines white bread, steak, ham and sausage, drenched in a tomato and beer sauce and topped with a fried egg. It’s not for the faint of heart or small of appetite! Try it at Cafe Santiago or Brasão.
Bolinhos de bacalhau: salted cod fritters are tasty morsels best eaten as an appetiser.
Pastel de nata: although technically a food from Lisbon, this egg custard delicacy is found in every Porto pasteleria. My favourite place to pastel de nata in Porto is Mantegaria in Bolhão.
Best tours in Porto for food lovers
- 🚶 Feast your senses on the delectable bites and cultural sights of Porto on a culinary walking tour of the vibrant Portuguese city
- 🍲 Savour foods at Porto’s beloved cafés and markets during this food and wine tasting tour
- 🥗 Ditch the touristy eating traps and discover authentic northern Portuguese specialties on this private culinary tour of Porto
Read next: what to eat in Porto, Portugal
7. Take the 6 Bridges boat cruise
For a fun, touristic activity in Porto, take a 50-minute boat cruise down the Douro River, passing under the six famous bridges, one designed by Gustave Eiffel responsible for the Eiffel Tower.
These cruises, complete with commentary, depart regularly from Ribeira do Porto near Luís I Bridge.
Related Porto activity: Book a 6 bridges boat cruise
8. Climb the Clérigos tower
Another of the best places to visit in Porto is Iglesia de los Clérigos thanks to the dreamy panoramic views it offers from the bell tower.
To reach the top of this 75m tower, buy a ticket at the front desk, walk through the church and museum, and take the 225 steps to the top. Entry costs €6.
9. Porto Cathedral
Visiting this 12th-century cathedral is easily one of the best things to do in Porto for historians and architecture fans. Inside, there are distinctive Porto vibes: the cloisters are adorned with blue tiles and, on the roof, you can see an impressive tile tapestry of Portuguese history.
The highlight might be climbing the tower for views out over Porto. The views are just as impressive as those from the Clérigos Tower so, to kill two birds with one stone, pay €3 to visit Porto Cathedral.
10. Sip Douro wine – ideally in the Douro Valley!
Port may be the city’s most famous beverage but don’t let that stop you from trying wines produced in the nearby Douro Valley during a day trip from Porto. Not only is this area of spectacular sweeping scenery one of the most beautiful places to visit near Porto but it produces delicious white, red and rosé wines.
Try them at the source while visiting the Douro Valley. You can either hire a car and visit independently, catch a train to one of the towns and organise a taxi ride to one of the many wineries, or take an organised day tour from Porto including tasting, boat cruise and lunch.
Read next: 16 top day trips from Porto
More things to do in Porto’s Ribeira
On the north side of the Douro River, Ribeira is one of the most popular places to visit in Porto, known for its cobbled streets and restaurants serving sardines and other Portuguese dishes. On a sunny day, Ribeira is bustling and atmospheric, to put it mildly. You might feel like a sardine, too!
11. Explore the backstreets
In contrast to the busy Ribeira waterfront, these charming backstreets are usually relatively empty, despite being merely metres from the tourist restaurants and bars.
Squeeze down tight alleyways between five-storey houses, once inhabited by multiple families. The rich people would take the top floors to avoid the impact of flooding.
To find this warren of hilly alleyways, use Terreirinho Restaurant as starting point.
12. Ride Funicular dos Guindais
After a few hours in Porto, you’ll be well accustomed to hills. A way to avoid walking back up to the city centre from Ribeira is riding Funicular dos Guindais from the base of Luis I Bridge.
It operates from 8am-10pm (midnight on weekends), 7 days a week and costs €2.50 a journey. You’ll commonly see it travelling empty on the way down and packed on the way up… For obvious reasons!
Another option is nearby Elevador Lada Ribeira which will also transport you to the centre for €2.50.
13. Bolsa Palace (Palácio da Bolsa)
The real reason to tour the neoclassical Stock Exchange Palace is the elaborate Arab Room that can only be visited as part of a guided tour.
Visiting is slightly complicated. Arrive early to book a tour in your preferred language (€10) and return when it begins.
14. Browse art in Mercado Ferreira Borges
Near the Bolsa Palace is this giant red building. Mercado Ferreira Borges was built in the 1800s as a market building but, on completion, was deemed not fit for purpose.
It’s since found new life as a modern art gallery, concert venue and restaurant. Wander inside if you’re passing between Ribeira and the city centre.
15. Church of São Francisco
Although work began on Igreja de São Francisco in 1245, it was destroyed by a fire. The church we see today was built in the 1500s and given a makeover in the 1700s when the interior was covered in 100kg of gold.
Take a peek inside for €8. The outside is plain compared to the decadent interior.
Find it near Ribeira waterfront close to Bolsa Palace.
More Porto things to do in Vila Nova de Gaia
South of the Douro River, Gaia is another popular place to visit in Porto. Reach it by walking across Luís I Bridge (the lower level to reach the port wineries and the upper level for sunset views). Although tourists come to sample port wine, there are a few lesser-known things to do in Gaia.
The best places in Porto’s Gaia include…
16. Mercado Beira-Rio
This stylish market is a great place to eat and drink before or after wine tasting. Although there are a few stalls serving typical Portuguese fare, it’s a modern market where you can also eat Italian and Brazilian food.
Prices are inflated due to its optimum location, but you can still get a coffee and pastel de nata for €1.60!
17. Find the famous street art rabbit
Finding this incredible mural was on my list of things to do in Porto long before I’d booked my flights. The Half rabbit mural can be found at 42 Rua Guilherme Gomes Fernandes, just behind Mercado Beira-Rio.
The artist, Bordalo II, is known for his murals that create animals from repurposed materials. This piece is made from trash collected around the city, demonstrating the wastefulness of our society.
Read next: self-guided Porto street art tour
18. Teleferico de Gaia (cable car)
Gaia’s answer to Ribeira’s Funicular lets visitors travel up the steep hill without getting out of breath. The Teleférico cable cars travel from Cais de Gaia market by the waterfront to Jardim do Morro upper station (the location of the beautiful sunset mentioned earlier), costing €6 each way or €9 for the return ride.
19. Try some cool coffee roasters
Now Gaia has become trendy, of course cool coffee shops have sprung up. 7g Roasters is the ultimate place to sober up after port tasting or line your stomach before with a tasty brunch.
The warehouse-style roastery is a large, open-plan space with big, shared tables. Don’t miss the banoffee pie!
Read next: where to drink coffee in Porto
More things to do in Porto city centre
Adorned in blue tiles, Porto’s historic centre is UNESCO Heritage-protected. With over 2,000 years of history, there are, unsurprisingly, plenty of Porto tourist attractions in this area.
We’ve already mentioned the Chapel of Souls, Igreja do Carmo ‘twin church’, São Bento station, the Clérigos Tower and Porto Cathedral so let’s cover the other Porto attractions that didn’t make the top 10 but are still worth a visit.
20. Take a tuk-tuk tour
Although I’m not entirely sure how or why tuk-tuks became a thing in Porto, it looks like they’re here to stay. Riding around town in one is a touristy thing to do in Porto but fun nonetheless. The drivers have a great knowledge of the city.
Book a tuk tuk tour for €11 per person.
21. Livraria Lello (famous Harry Potter library)
Harry Potter fans wondering what to do in Porto can join the ever-present line outside Livraria Lello. This beautiful bookstore has become internationally famous due to its (slightly tenuous) Harry Potter connection.
It’s a lesser-known fact that J. K. Rowling lived in Porto before writing her famous novels. Many say she was inspired by this elegant library, however she shattered these rumours in 2020 when she announced she’d actually never been inside!
Still, the tourists keep coming. In peak season, I would recommend skipping the library as you may wait for hours and it’s very small and crowded inside. Huge Harry fans may think it’s worth it.
Entry costs €6 on the door or €5 on the Livraria Lello website. If you buy a book, the ticket price is deducted from your purchase.
22. Tour other Harry Potter connections
Livraria Lello is the most famous Harry Potter location in Porto but there are a few other places to check out.
Some say J. K. wrote at the Gardens of Palácio de Cristal while others say she scribbled stories on napkins at Majestic Cafe (side note, this cafe may be beautiful but it’s extortionately expensive. I’d suggest eating elsewhere).
It’s also been suggested she named Salazar Slytherin after Portuguese dictator, António de Oliveira Salazar, and styled the Hogwarts students’ uniforms on the capes worn by Porto University students.
23. Episcopal Palace (Bishop’s Palace)
Once home to the Bishop of Porto, this impressive palace can be found at high elevation near the Cathedral. Depending where you’re coming from, it takes some leg work to reach but it’s worth it to explore the baroque / rococo-style building designed by Italian architect, Nicolau Nasoni.
Visit between 9am-5pm in winter and until 7pm in summer. Entry costs €4 or you can get a combo ticket including the Cathedral for €6 (saving €1 on buying them separately).
24. Igreja de Santo Ildefonso
Another popular place in Porto for tile lovers is Igreja de Santo Ildefonso. This 18th-century church is covered in thousands of blue and white azulejos and contains an altarpiece by Nicolau Nasoni. Entry is free.
Afterwards, take a walk to nearby Jardim Marques de Oliveira where you’ll find lots of well-known Porto restaurants like Cafe Santiago.
25. Igreja de Santo António dos Congregados
Although São Bento Station next door steals the show, make sure to check out Igreja de Santo António dos Congregados (the Church of St Anthony’s Congregation), used as a hospital during the Seige of Porto. Entry is free.
26. Wander Rua das Flores
One of the most beautiful and atmospheric streets in Porto is Rua das Flores (in English, Flower Street). Traditionally, flowers were sold on the right side and jewellery on the left due to the direction the sun hit in the mornings.
Many of the best things to do in Porto are close to Rua das Flores so it’s become a hub for shops, restaurants, wine bars and live music.
27. Spot the giant cat mural
28. The most beautiful Mcdonald’s in the world
I bet you didn’t expect a McDonald’s to be listed as a top attraction in Porto, did you? While I’d of course encourage supporting local businesses and eating elsewhere, McDonald’s Imperial on Praça da Liberdade has been voted the most beautiful Mcdonald’s in the world.
The door is flanked by an enormous stone eagle and the interior is no less decadent with chandeliers and Art Deco stained glass windows. The mural behind the counter of a man and woman drinking coffee was created by Portuguese artist, Ricardo Leone.
It was previously the location of Cafe Imperial, open since the 1930s. McDonald’s took over the venue in the 1990s but left the interior intact. Even the menu is enhanced: try pastel de nata and bolo de berlim (egg custard doughnuts).
29. Find peacock in Jardins do Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace Gardens)
One of the best places in Porto to enjoy a little peace and quiet is Crystal Palace Gardens. The architect, Émile David, named the gardens after a palace that used to stand here. Spot live peacock, the real owners of the park.
30. Catch a show a Superbock Arena (in Crystal Palace Gardens)
You won’t miss this distinctive dome building at the centre of the garden. The Superbock Arena hosts shows, concert and sporting events. See upcoming events on the website.
31. Parque da Quinta da Macieirinha
32. Shop for goods and souvenirs
From fridge magnets to playing cards and shot glasses, commemorate your trip to Porto with tile-style souvenirs. Shops in Baixa are emporiums of (slightly tacky) blue and white goodies.
For something more upmarket, purchase beautiful Portuguese tiles at Fleur de Lis Tiles. This small store sells replica azulejos and other high-quality ceramics. It’s around €50 for three genuine tiles.
Some of my other favourite shops in Porto include:
- Mercado 48 – this art gallery and gift shop sells products made by local designers
- Caravancerai – visit to browse vintage clothes, bags, accessories and homeware from India and Morocco
- IllustrART – this shop sells funky artwork including abstract images of Porto and – the real highlight – tons of Frida Kahlo merch
- Wild At Heart – rummage through this vintage clothes shop to bag a bargain
- M Guimarães Novais & Maia Lda – browse homeware including ceramic tiles, as well as luxurious fragrances and bath products.
Things to do elsewhere in Porto
Once you’ve exhausted the attractions in Porto city centre, head further afield to…
33. The Botanical Gardens
Slightly out of the city centre, Porto Botanical Gardens make for a lovely free thing to do in Porto. The small (4 hectare) gardens boast a rose garden, greenhouse and cactus garden.
They’re open from 9am to 6pm.
For an atmospheric winter activity in Porto, wander the Magical Garden illuminated with thousands of colourful bulbs. Each section is centered around a different continent so expect to see Buddhas, camels… and even dinosaurs!
34. Bonfim neighbourhood
After 2 months living in this neighbourhood, I’m a huge fan of Bonfim. Just a 15-minute walk from the centre, it has a sleepy, local feel with many locals living here for generations.
Joining the affordable, authentic cafes are a few trendy businesses like Combi Coffee Roasters, TerraPlana cocktail and pizza bar, and some of the best vegan cafes in Porto.
Read next: Things to do in Bonfim & area guide
35. Fontainhas neighbourhood
Near Bonfim is Fontainhas, a quiet and traditional neighbourhood with spectacular views over the Douro and Ponte Infante Dom Henrique bridge. Don’t expect a lot to ‘do’ but take a wander, watch sunset from Miradouro das Fontainhas, and glance down at the cliffside community gardens tended by elderly locals.
Sit at a modest outdoor cafe like Fontainhas Cafe or Azul e Branco serving coffee and typical Portuguese dishes for a couple of Euros. No frills, just meaty bifanas and riverside views.
36. Eat around Jardim Marques de Oliveira Square
This small square not far from central Porto is a treat for foodies. Several streets meet here including Praça dos Poveiros where you’ll find iconic sandwich deli, Casa Guedes; Passeio de São Lázaro home to Oficina dos Rissóis, and Rua de Passos Manuel where you have Cafe Santiago and Brasão.
37. Parque de Serralves
A hidden gem not far from central Porto is Parque da Fundação de Serralves. This cultural institution boasts a pink Art Deco mansion, two art galleries, a treetop walkway and even a farm.
Count Carlos Alberto Cabral commissioned French architect, Jacques Grébe, to design the gardens between 1932 and 1940 while other architects like José Marques da Silva (responsible for São Bento station) played a part in this marvellous property.
Enter from Rua Dom João de Castro and start at the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art. Then, explore the gardens and treetop walkway before finishing at the pink Serralves Villa housing art exhibitions. During my visit in 2022, I caught one on Joan Miró.
Entrance costs €20 making it one of the most expensive things to do in Porto. You can buy individual €12 tickets for the different attractions but the general ticket is better value. Book yours here.
Catch the 502, 207 or 201 bus from Porto.
Foodie tip – near the entrance is a branch of Lareira where I had a fantastic prego (steak) sandwich with a €1.80 glass of red wine. Just incredible!
Things to do in Porto at sunset
Most places look gorgeous at golden hour but picture-perfect Porto surely steals the show. If you find yourself at a loose end when the sun’s going down, pack a picnic and head to one of the following sunset spots.
If you’ve ticked off Dom Luís I Bridge, Jardim do Moro and Serra do Pilar Monastery (which are all right beside each other), these are the best places in Porto for sunset…
38. Miradouro da Vitória
The secret’s out on Miradouro da Vitória; it’s one of the most popular viewpoints in the city. You can see the Douro River, Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace.
Since it’s near the Clérigos and Carmo area, tie it in with your Porto sightseeing plans.
39. Drinks at Guindalense Football Club
For a lesser-known thing to do in Porto at sunset, visit this modest bar. There are plenty of fancy rooftop bars in Porto with inflated prices but Guindalense Football Club isn’t one of them.
They serve local beers and vinho verdes for a couple of Euros. The views over Dom Luis I Bridge are priceless.
40. Torreão do Jardim do Palácio
In Parque da Quinta da Macieirinha (behind the Superbock Arena), this stone tower offers beautiful views at sunset and any other time of day. Find Torreão do Jardim do Palácio towards the back of the park overlooking the river.
A local told me this used to be a hidden gem but now it’s popular… Isn’t that always the way! The viewing platform on top is tiny so arrive early on a sunny, clear day when other people have the same idea.
Fun things to do in Porto at night
Porto isn’t renowned for megaclubs but the nightlife is still lively. There are plenty of stylish bars, craft breweries and places to dance.
Continue your Porto sightseeing into the AM at the following places…
41. Attend a fado show
Fado music, originating from the Alfama area of Lisbon, speaks of fate or destiny. Although the melancholy music about the life of the poor (among other topics) isn’t the most uplifting, it’s a Portuguese cultural treasure.
Some of the best places in Porto to watch fado are Galerias de Paris and Casa da Guitarra.
Book a Fado show in Porto.
42. Find the best cocktails at Royal Cocktail Club
I challenge you to find a more delicious drink than the blossom cocktail, slightly sour and flavoured with melon, at the Royal Cocktail Club.
43. Go clubbing on Rua de Galeria De Paris
This is Porto’s busiest bar street. On Fridays and Saturdays, every bar is booming. The Book House and La Boheme Entre Amis are two good choices.
44. Go on a bar crawl
Take a Porto bar crawl for €20, visiting four bars and departing every night at 10.30pm.
46. Pizza & cocktails at Maus Hábitos
Maus Hábitos is one of my favourite places for dinner and drinks in Porto. They do fantastic pizzas (including lots of veggie and vegan ones) and great cocktails. There’s a funky blue terrace for outdoor drinks and the whole venue turns into a club later with local DJs playing.
47. Capela Incomum
The most unusual bar in Porto has to be Capela Incomum. This pretty yellow chapel has seats outside during the summer months and, for cold evenings, cosy tables inside. Sipping wine beside the altar is an experience for sure!
48. Visit a quirky Brazilian bar
Bar Santa Cachaça serves the best caipirinha in Porto, no contest. It’s a no-frills bar capable of holding just a few customers at a time, every inch covered with retro Brazilian-themed clutter. Go early because the times listed on Google aren’t always right.
Read next: the best places bars in Porto
Foodie things to do in Porto
Time your Porto sightseeing plans around some indulgent meals. Eating is half the fun of travel, after all!
These are the best foodie activities in Porto…
49. Take a food tour with Porto Food Tour
No one knows more about Porto food and drink than Taste Porto Food Tours. Started by a group of passionate, hungry locals, the tours have the feel of walking through the city with friends, sharing stories about the city and culture.
The vintage food tour is a great way to get immersed in the culture, trying foods and wines in restaurants you might never find otherwise. Another option is their craft beer and food tour.
50. Visit OG grocery stores
Although they lost popularity after supermarkets came to Portugal, these traditional grocery shops still have a solid customer base thanks to elderly locals who have been shopping here their whole lives. In recent years, the young generation have also become keen to support local businesses.
Around Bolhão, there are several stores selling spices, tea, coffee, fruits and wine with over 100 years of history. Try traditional snacks and buy souvenirs to take home. Bring your Portuguese phrasebook if you have one because the shop owners rarely speak English. Don’t miss:
- A Pérola do Bolhão – with a pretty Art Deco front, this store open since 1917 sells tea, coffee, spices and more.
- Comer e Chorar por Mais – after a refurb, this is the fanciest grocery store on the street. Buy your gifts here.
- Mercearia do Bolhão – as one of the oldest shops in Porto (open since 1896), this is a no-frills place to see how the locals shop. Oh, and the wine shelves are stacked to the ceiling!
- Casa Natal – opened in 1900 as a deli of exquisite goods, this family-run business remains as popular as ever. At Christmas time, every fruit imaginable is displayed in the window in crystalised form. They stock more than 50 brands of port ranging from a few Euros to €1,800 special reserves.
51. Snack at Confeitaria do Bolhão
Part of the same business as Mercearia do Bolhão but two doors down is Confeitaria do Bolhão, a 100-year-old cafe. Eat your way through the confectionary counter, sampling pastel de nata, fruit tarts and marzipan sweets.
52. Mercado do Bolhão
Porto’s largest and most famous market is the beating heart of the city, open since 1914. From fresh fruit and veg to sweets, cakes, meat and famous Portuguese canned fish, you’ll find it at Mercado do Bolhão.
53. Eat at Mercado Bom Sucesso
For a stylish, modern market (and a complete contrast to traditional Mercado do Bolhão), head to Mercado Bom Sucesso. Highlights include:
- Francesinhas at Lado B – this stall doesn’t look much but it’s a branch of one of the most famous places to try francesinha (the flagship is on Rua de Passos Manuel beside rival, Cafe Santiago)
- Banoffee pie and coffee at Chocolate Rosa – those with a sweet tooth shouldn’t miss this!
- Veggie buffet at daTerra – I adored this buffet. One of the healthiest and most delicious meals I’ve eaten in Porto.
54. Sandwich at Casa Guedes
When Time Out voted the sande de pernil (pork leg sandwich) at Casa Guedes one of the top 25 sandwiches in the world, you can bet the prices doubled!
While it’s quite expensive these days (€5.90 for a small sandwich), you can’t deny they’re delicious.
55. Try vinho verde (green wine)
Verde wine is not really green; it means ‘fresh wine’ and refers to wine that’s been fermenting for less than 3 months. It’s a light, fresh summer beverage that slips down easily. It can be red, white or rosé and either still or with a hint of fizz.
At local eateries, you’ll pay as little as €5 a bottle.
56. Follow in Anthony Bourdain’s footsteps at Gazela
Fans of Parts Unknown will want to try Gazela‘s cachorrino (a spicy sausage in a skinny, crusty roll) washed down with Portuguese beer. If it was good enough for Tony, it’s good enough for me!
57. Pastel de nata & francesinha making class
Why stop at eating all the best pastéis de nata in Porto? Take a cooking class to make your own.
Walking tours in Porto
Wandering at your leisure is a great way to discover things to do in Porto but, if you need a helping hand, there are a few local-led tour companies I can vouch for.
58. Sandeman’s free walking tour
I’ve taken many Sandeman’s tours around the world and they’re always great. My guide on the Porto tour was funny, friendly and knowledgeable.
Book your Porto Free Tour in advance and give €5-10 if you enjoy it.
59. Porto Walkers tours
Porto Walkers also run fantastic free tours around the best places in Porto. They also offer port wine and food walks and bar crawls at a surcharge.
60. The Worst Tours
Say what? Branding themselves the worst tour in Porto, this group of ex-architects skip the Porto tourist attractions in favour of lesser-known places.
Unusual things to do in Porto
Ticked off the main places to visit in Porto and want to dig a little deeper? I got you…
62. Take a street art tour
There are plenty of urban murals in Porto. As well as Bordallo-II’s Half Rabbit in Gaia and the Perspéntico blue cat on Rua das Flores, there are a couple on Rua Nova da Alfândega and a few towards Trindade station.
Take a street art tour by tuk-tuk for €25.
Or use my Porto street art guide to navigate around
63. Jewish history tour
Jewish history in Portugal is a rich yet troubled one. Learn from a local guide while visiting the Jewish Quarter and hidden synagogues on a Jewish Heritage Walk.
64. Casa São Roque
This sunny yellow mansion in east Porto was once a manor house owned by a wealthy family. When member, Maria Virginia de Castro married António Ramos Pinto (a famous port producer), he commissioned José Marques da Silva to redesign the house.
With the architect behind São Bento on the job, of course it turned out well!
Casa São Roque was eventually taken over by Porto Council and, in 2019, opened to the public as a contemporary art gallery.
Although I found the house fascinating, the modern art wasn’t too impressive and I thought the entry price was high. The gardens are closed for renovation in early 2022 but I imagine they’d be lovely in warm weather especially since there’s a cafe serving snacks and wine!
It’s a 30-minute walk from central Porto so you might want to catch a bus or taxi. The galleries are open from 1.30pm to 7pm. Buy a ticket for €7.
For a unique thing to do in Porto, take a stroll around Armazém, a vintage emporium packed floor-to-ceiling with antiques. Don’t worry if you’re not looking for homeware items; you don’t need to buy anything to enjoy this quirky location.
From gramophones to vinyls, vintage cars, scooters, luggage, books and old newspapers, you could spend hours here, especially when you consider there’s a well-stocked bar. As well as cocktails, they even serve francesinhas (though let’s face it, where in Porto doesn’t?).
Find it at Rua de Miragaia 93 near the river and Passeio das Virtudes.
66. Community gardens in Fontainhas
Head to Bananeira to see small community gardens looked after by the locals. These plots are located on Fontainhas cliffside offering spectacular Douro views.
Things to do in Foz do Douro
This upmarket area of Porto is a short drive or public transport journey from the city centre, located on the banks of the Douro River where she joins the ocean.
Take the 500 bus the whole way (€1.60) or call an Uber or Bolt (€7). The other option is the historic tram which I’ll discuss in a moment.
Spend a half-day exploring Foz (pronounced fosh), ticking off some of the following Porto activities…
67. Ride the historic tram
The tram is not the quickest or cheapest way to reach Foz which is why I’ve listed it as a Porto attraction in itself. This 1930s-style tram trundles from Ribeira to Foz alongside the Douro and under Ponte da Arrábida, offering spectacular river views the whole way.
Inside, it retains many of its original features including a bell to stop the tram.
Line 1 tram departs every 20 minutes between 9am-8pm at a cost of €3 per journey.
68. Walk along Pérgola da Foz
The attractive Pérgola da Foz runs along a section of the Foz promenade. It’s a lovely place to meander at sunset taking advantage of westerly views of the sun sinking behind the crashing waves.
69. Eat dinner at Brasão Foz Brewery
Although there are two branches of Brasão in Porto, if you’ve spent the day in Foz there’s no better place for dinner than this atmospheric restaurant with out-of-this-world food and drink at reasonable prices.
I suspect 80% of guests order the francesinha which, by the way, is the best one I’ve tried. But don’t miss the starters: the veggie, prawn and meat rissóis (croquettes) are mouthwatering. The black truffle mushroom and pork ones are *chef’s kiss*.
This bistro is also a brewery so wash your meal down with an IPA served in a 22ml glass or 40ml cup.
Things to do in Matashinos, Porto
Just up the coast (and reachable on foot) from Foz is Matashinos, one of the best places in Porto for surfers and fans of fresh seafood.
It couldn’t be easier to reach Matashinos from downtown Porto: just 45 minutes by Metro from Bolhão Station (€1.60). Get off at Matashinos Sul station which is just five minutes’ walk from the main beach.
70. Go surfing on Matashinos Beach
Matashinos is renowned as one of the best surfing beaches near Porto. Board hire at Onda Pura costs €15 for two hours and you can opt to take lessons if you’re a beginner.
For non-surfers like myself, there are beach bars like Lais de Guia where you can sip cocktails and soak up the sun. I spent an afternoon here watching my friends ride the waves.
71. Praia do Castelo de Queijo (the Cheese Castle)
If there’s a place with an anti-climatic name, it’s the ‘Cheese Castle’ in Matashinos. You can imagine my glee when learning such a place existed then my disappointment to discover there would be no cheese.
Allegedly, Praia do Castelo de Queijo received its name because the rock it’s built on resembles a chunk of cheese. How, I’m not sure.
Anyway, entrance costs just 50 cents. Climb to the top for sea views and period details including canons used for defence.
72. Rotunda da Anémona scultpure
Contemporary artist, Janet Echelman, is responsible for this sculpture near Matashinos beach. Known as She Changes, this tribute to the fishermen of the region is designed to mimic the movement of a swaying anemone.
73. Brunch at Breathe Brunch & Feel
Start your day in Matoshinos by tucking into delicious brunch and coffee at Breathe Brunch & Feel cafe. Despite the unusual location inside the leisure centre, this is a lovely cafe with a sunny terrace serving some of the best brunch in Porto.
Try pancake stacks, eggs benedict and smoothie bowls. They have great coffee and a huge range of teas. Just next door is a yoga studio if you want to take a class.
Read next: the ultimate Porto brunch guide
74. Try crazy croissants at MixPão
These croissants are the doughy Portuguese variety rather than the flaky French type but you may want to try them for the OTT fillings including Ferrero Rocher and Oreo!
The MixPão cafe is beside the Rotunda da Anémona sculpture near Matashinos Beach.
75. Eat fresh seafood
This is 80% of the reason I return to Matashinos. Chefs grill freshly-caught fish on hot coals, enticing you into their restaurant. There are over 200 seafood restaurants but I don’t think you can do better than Tito II. The octopus and the swordfish are unbeatable.
Foodie tip – although it’s not authentic Portuguese seafood, sushi lovers should visit Zen House. The all-you-can-eat buffet costs €13 (including sushi, sashimi and starters) and is surprisingly good quality!
76. Take the Foz – Matashinos coastal walk (at sunset)
Finally, the best way to link together these Foz and Matashinos attractions is to combine them with the coastal walk between the two locations. It doubles up as one of the best things to do in Porto at sunset and can be taken in either direction along the coast. It takes about an hour in total.
For a real foodie day, eat breakfast at Breathe Brunch & Feel and lunch at Tito 2 then, after the coastal walk, dinner at Brasão Foz Brewery!
77. Sunset drinks at Ibar Praia do Aquario
While walking between Foz and Matashinos, you’ll pass countless cliffside bars. Rather than fancy beach clubs, these are relaxed outdoor drinking holes where you can grab a beer and watch sunset. Ibar Praia do Aquario is a nice spot.
Things to do in Porto further afield – day trips
Once you’ve finished with the main things to do in Porto, consider taking a day trip or two.
In my opinion, the best day trip from Porto is to the Douro Valley which I already mentioned in my ‘top 10 Porto attractions’ at the start of this blog. However, there are a few other trips you can take to discover Northern Portugal.
Some of the places to visit near Porto include…
Just over an hour from Porto by train or bus, the small city of Aveiro is known as the ‘Venice of Portugal’ (although honestly you might be disappointed if you compare the two). Colourful moliceiro boats roam the rivers, taking tourists for rides at a cost of €5-10.
Other things to do include sampling fresh seafood, checking out the museums and religious buildings and trying ovos moles, a typical dessert made with sweetened egg yolk.
Read next: 20 things to do in Aveiro
A worthwhile excursion from Aveiro is Costa Nova, a colourful beach town just 15 minutes away by car or taxi (or slightly longer by public bus). While visiting Aveiro as a day trip from Porto, I managed to squeeze in a quick trip to Costa Nova and I’m so happy I did: it’s stunning!
An hour from Porto by train is another of the most notable cities in Northern Portugal. Guimarães is known for its medieval architecture and 10th-century castle. A fun option during a day trip from Porto is riding Penha Cable Car to the top of the mountain to soak up spectacular views over the city and countryside.
80. Visit Senhor da Pedra (beach and chapel) – better yet, cycle there!
Everyone knows Matashinos but there’s a prettier, quieter set of beaches in Gaia. One is Senhor da Pedra beach put on the map by Capela do Senhor da Pedra, an ancient pagan pilgrimage site converted during the Christianisation of Europe. Take a look inside, admire the azulejos and walk around the back to watch the crashing waves.
Although you can arrive by train (the Aveiro line from São Bento), a better option is hiring a bike from Porto Rent a Bike near Luís I Bridge (ground level) and crossing to the Gaia side, following the flat cycle path along the coast.
Stop at São Pedro da Afurada fishing village to see local life (and potentially have a non-local coffee and brunch with sea views at Bio Coffee & Brunch). Continue the ride past beautiful Douro Estuary before reaching Senhor da Pedra, around a 1.5-hour journey from your starting point.
Thanks for reading!
I hope you have a fabulous trip. There are so many incredible places to see in Porto and even more things to do and eat! Until next time…
Read my other Porto blogs:
- The ultimate 3 day Porto itinerary
- Reasons why Porto is worth visiting
- What to eat in Porto
- The best day trips from Porto
- The perfect day trip from Porto to the Douro Valley
- Bonfim, Porto area guide
- Finding the best pastel de nata in Porto
- The best breakfast cafes in Porto
- The best cafes & coffee shops in Porto
- Where to eat vegan in Porto
- The best cocktail bars in Porto
More Portugal posts you might like
- How to spend three days in Lisbon
- Solo female travelllers guide to Lisbon
- Where to find unusual & quirky places in Lisbon
- Taste Lisboa tour review
- What to do in Aveiro, Northern Portugal
- 50 top things to do on Madeira island
- What to eat in Madeira, Portugal
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TRUSTED RESOURCES FOR VISITING PORTUGAL
Getting around by air – I use Skyscanner to find the best-value flights, using the ‘search by month’ tool to find the cheapest dates. You can also use the ‘to anywhere’ feature if you’re flexible on where you’re going.
Driving in Europe – use Rentalcars.com to compare car rentals in European countries (and all around the world).
For trains, I use Omio. The search feature allows you to compare prices, and they show live departure times on the website. This is also a handy tool to compare trains and buses in one search.
For buses, I use FlixBus. Find journeys between European countries from €1!
For hotels and self-catering apartments, I use Booking.com. You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.com.
Browse tours and activities on GetYourGuide.
To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters, a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets.
Need travel insurance? I use True Traveller (for UK & Europe residents) since it’s some of the most affordable insurance out there but still covers everything you’d need including various activities, valuables and pre-existing conditions. Unlike some companies, they insure you if you’re already travelling / don’t yet have your flight home booked. Get a quote.
For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing.
Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and budget tips from my 10+ years on the road!