Wide angle view from the top of a bridge looking down across the Douro River to the orange roofs of the city of Porto, Portugal. There are several small boats on the river and the sky above is mid blue with a few wispy white clouds.

Best Viewpoints in Porto

Finding the best viewpoints in Porto will help you to get a great overview of this spectacular city – and great photos! Nestled into the sides of two hills, Porto offers countless opportunities for awesome views. On my most recent trip to one of Portugal’s prettiest cities, I made a list of the 15 best spots to get stunning views, both from Porto and of Porto. Join me as we discover the best free viewpoints and the best paid viewpoints in Porto!

Wide angle view from the top of a bridge looking down across the Douro River to the orange roofs of the city of Porto, Portugal. There are several small boats on the river and the sky above is mid blue with a few wispy white clouds.
Pretty as a picture Porto, Portugal.

1. The Dom Luis I Bridge (Ponte Dom Luis I)

When you look at the Dom Luis I Bridge, what does it remind you of? The Eiffel Tower, by any chance? That’s no surprise because it was designed by a student of Gustav Eiffel, Teófilo Seyrig, and opened in 1886. The Dom Luis I Bridge is the primary route crossing the Douro river and connecting the neighbouring cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia (just Gaia, for short). The bridge allows pedestrians and trains across the upper deck (offering spectacular views!), and vehicles and pedestrians across the lower deck.

The Dom Luis I Bridge is, in my opinion, the best viewpoint in Porto. From the western side of the upper deck, you can look out across both Porto and Gaia, as well as up the Douro River towards the Atlantic Ocean. It really is my favourite viewpoint in either Porto or Gaia. Additionally, you really feel like you’re part of the view – immersed in the scenery – when you’re standing on such a magnificent structure!

What does it cost? It’s free!

Buildings built into the side of the hill in Porto behind an azure blue sky. An old yellow rabelo boat is on the river in front of the buildings.
View from the lower deck of the Dom Luis I Bridge, Porto.
Black and white view over the Douro River and Porto.
View from the top deck of the Dom Luis I Bridge, Porto.

2. Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto)

Porto Cathedral and the attached Episcopal Palace (or Bishop’s residence) next door should be on your Things To Do In Porto list. They’re beautiful – inside and out – and they offer a great vantage point over Porto. At the back of the cathedral (away from the main street), there is a large paved courtyard with spectacular views over Porto and towards Gaia.

What does it cost? It’s free! (Well, it’s free to walk around the outside of Porto Cathedral.)

View over orange terracotta tiled roofs towards a distant church tower. Blue sky, white fluffy clouds, a seagull flying.
Looking from Porto Cathedral over the roofs of Porto towards Clerigos Tower.

3. Miradouro da Rua dos Aldas

From Porto Cathedral, it’s just a short walk away from the main road (down the steps past the Visitor Information building) to Miradouro da Rua Dos Aldas. While there can be some big crowds around Porto Cathedral (particularly in summer), Rua dos Aldas is usually much quieter. There are even a couple of benches against the wall, so you can take a quiet break away from the crowds.

What does it cost? It’s free!

4. Vitoria Viewpoint (Miradouro da Vitória)

There are very few free and worthwhile things when you’re travelling, but this is definitely one of them! However, it is just a block of (privately owned but not maintained) vacant land. With the appeal of Porto ever-expanding, I really can’t imagine this piece of prime real estate being vacant – or free! – for too much longer. It offers stunning views of Porto, across the Douro River, and on the other side to beautiful Vila Nova de Gaia. So enjoy it while it lasts! Each time I’ve visited there have been buskers playing music at the entrance, which provides a lovely background to videos.

What does it cost? It’s free!

5. Clerigos Tower (Torre dos Clérigos)

One of the best viewpoints in Porto is from the top of the Clerigos Church Tower. From there, you get 360 degree views of the beautiful city of Porto. There is no doubt that this is a sensational view.

However, in my opinion, there are some drawbacks to the Clerigos Tower view:

  1. Cost. It costs €7 to enter the Clerigos Church and Tower.
  2. Queue. In peak times (summer, holidays, etc), the queue to get into the Church and Tower is huge.
  3. Steps. There are approximately 250 steps to reach the top of the Clerigos Tower, so it is not accessible for everyone.

Remember that if you want to visit Clerigos Church and Tower – particularly in peak seasons – you will need to book.

What does it cost? €7 per person – timed entry ticket (pre-booked in high and shoulder season) + approximately 250 steps.

View from between two ornately carved stone pillars looking over the buildings of Porto. The sky is azure blue with a few faint white wispy clouds.
Looking over Porto from Clerigos Tower.

6. Guindais Funicular (Funicular dos Guindais)

The Guindais Funicular operates from riverside Ribeira to Batalha – not too far from Porto Cathedral. You can walk almost the same route – up the Guindais Steps (see below) – but that involves approximately 300 steep stone steps. That’s certainly do-able, but hard work when it’s wet, hot, with young children, if or you have mobility issues.

What does it cost? €3.50 per person, one way.

7. Guindais steps (Escadas do Guindais)

There are over 300 steep stone steps from the east side of the riverside Riberia district up, up, up to the Batalha neighbourhood at the top of the city. On the way up (or down!), there are killer views over the Douro River and the Dom Luis I Bridge, Porto’s old town walls, and over to Gaia’s wine cellars. Also, about 60 steps from the top are some great murals!

What does it cost? It’s free!

Looking down several sets of steep stone steps nestled narrowly between old houses. In the background, the steel framework of the Dom Luis I Bridge is visible.
Walking down the Guindais Steps, Porto, Portugal.
Night view looking down several sets of outdoor stone steps towards mural'd buildings and the lit up Dom Luis I Bridge in Porto in the background.
Looking down Guindais Steps towards the murals and the Dom Luis I Bridge.

8. Guindalense Football Club

I know it may not sound like one of the best viewpoints in Porto, but trust me on this one! Guindalense Football Club is perched high on the hill above Ribeira, just to one side of the Dom Luis I Bridge. As such, it has fantastic, unobstructed views over the bridge, river, and over to the old Monastery in Vila Nova de Gaia. And if the views weren’t enough to get you to the football club, the prices will. The beer, wine, toasted sandwiches, and fries are all very reasonably priced.

Tip: bring a light jacket because it gets windy up there on the side of the hill!

What does it cost? The price of whatever you food or drinks you order while you’re there.

Fun Fact

Did you know that miradouro in Portuguese means ‘viewpoint’?
So anywhere you see miradouro in Portugal means that it’s a lookout or a great place for a view.

9. Garden on the hill (Jardim do Morro)

Just across the other side of (the top level of) the Dom Luis I Bridge in Vila Nova de Gaia is a lovely little park that overlooks Porto. Our Uber driver from the airport into Porto told us (repeatedly!!) that “the best thing about Gaia is the views of Porto!” And then he laughed and laughed and laughed! I haven’t spent a whole lot of time in Gaia, so I can’t speak with authority on whether it’s a great place or not, but I *do* know that Jardim Do Morro has stunning views over Porto. Especially at sunset!

What does it cost? It’s free!

10. Serra do Pilar Monastery (Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar)

There is a striking-looking white building sitting atop the hill on the opposite side of the Douro River. The Serra do Pilar monastery has been around since the 16th century – as a monastery, and as a military post. Today, however, it’s mostly unused – except as one of the best viewpoints in Porto!

Actually, the Serra do Pilar monastery is in Gaia, not Porto, so the views from here are of Porto, not from Porto. It’s a really popular spot just before sunset because of the monastery’s spectacular and unobstructed view to the west.

What does it cost? It’s free!

High view over Douro River and Porto including the top deck of the Dom Luis 1 Bridge with metro going over. Sky is blue with fluffy clouds, reflected in river.
View over Porto from Serra do Pilar monastery, Vila Nova de Gaia.

11. Porto Cable Car (Gaia Cable Car)

I am not a fan of heights, but I really enjoyed the Porto Cable Car. (Although, technically, the Porto Cable Car is in Gaia!) The view in either direction – up or down – is absolutely spectacular! However, depending on your budget, it can be expensive, and in peak season there can be long queues.

Porto Cable Car Tip

The Porto (actually, Gaia!!) Cable Car is super busy in peak season (eg, summer or Easter) so the queues are long.
In my experience, the queues are shorter for the downward journey.
People (including me!) often use the cable car as an easy alternative to walking up the hill or steps from the Gaia riverfront to the top of the bridge, so the upward journey is a busier route.

What does it cost? Around €7 per person one way. Discounts for children and if you buy a return journey.

12. Teleférico de Gaia

There are two places to get on the Porto (actually, Gaia!) cable car. The first is at the western end of the Gaia riverfront, nestled in among the restaurants and cafes. The second is at the Gaia end of the Dom Luis I Bridge at the Teleferico de Gaia. While I loved the cable car (not only the views, but also the ease of getting from the lower level of Gaia up to the top level), it is expensive.

One option to avoid the cost of the cable car but still get some of the great views is to stand at the entrance to the Teleferico de Gaia building. The views over the Dom Luis I Bridge, the Douro River, and Porto are gorgeous – and it won’t cost you anything.

What does it cost? It’s free!

13. Shores of Vila Nova de Gaia

Just standing on the other side of the Douro River and looking back across to Porto is very pretty! The river isn’t very wide, so you can see the pretty shopfronts, the boats, the buskers, and people dining alfresco. And because Porto is very hilly with buildings nestled into the hills, you don’t necessarily need to be up high to see everything. The views from the banks of the river in Gaia are beautiful!

What does it cost? It’s free!

14. Porto Port Wine Caves in Vila Nova de Gaia

Some of the port wine caves in Gaia offer stunning views from their tasting rooms and/ or restaurants. In my opinion, the best views are from Graham’s, but there are also lovely views from others including Quinta do Noval.

Check out my article on port wine tasting in Porto for all the inside information!

What does it cost? It’s around €20 per person for a port wine tasting tour, but prices do vary.

15. Crystal Palace (Palácio de Cristal Park)

Once upon a time there was a beautiful Crystal Palace that stood very close to the centre of Porto… It sounds like a fairytale, and it would be lovely if Porto had a Crystal Palace, but unfortunately it’s long gone. In its place is an unusual UFO-like dome that I don’t think is either interesting or pretty. However, the gardens are still there, and they are lovely.

From those lovely gardens, you can see the Douro River as it winds its way to the Atlantic Ocean. The gardens are home to wild (but mostly friendly) peacocks and chickens, so it’s a good spot for a walk and a picnic.

Crystal Palace is last on my list of the best viewpoints in Porto because it’s my least favourite. I found it a bit out of the way, and without much shade. Also, while the gardens and plants are gorgeous, it can also be difficult to see past them to the views!

What does it cost? It’s free!

Summary of the Best Viewpoints in Porto

I loved searching for the best viewpoints in Porto because it’s such a picturesque and friendly city. I hope that my research helps you to plan your holiday, particularly if you’re on a budget and looking for free viewpoints. Please share your photos and experiences of Porto, and whether you found any other great places to get a view of this beautiful city. Happy travels!

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