Pink and purple sunset sky behind the white circular building of Serra do Pilar monastery on the hill on the left and the iron arch of Porto's Dom Luis I bridge spanning the Douro River on the right.

Things To Do In Porto

If you’re looking for a list of all the best things to do in Porto, I just spent two weeks there and am excited to share my top recommendations. Porto is as pretty as a postcard, but it’s also very hilly and crowded, so read my suggestions about how to avoid the crowds and make the most out of your holiday in this picturesque Portuguese paradise.

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.

This list of things to do in Porto is entirely based on my own recent experience, and all the photos are mine. I hope you find them useful! If you have any comments or feedback, I’d love to hear from you!

1. Walking tour of Porto

The very first thing I always do in a new city is to take a walking tour. It helps to orientate me and also gives me a bit of an insight into the vibe of the city. Best of all, there are always opportunities to ask your local guide questions, either during the tour, or at the end.

Most walking tours are around 1.5 – 2.5 hours and are offered in different languages (most commonly English and Spanish). They cover a wide variety of interest areas, so if you’re a history buff, choose a history tour. If you’re a foodie, choose a gastronomy tour. In Porto, there are old town tours, port wine tasting tours, sunset tours… Something to suit everyone!

I did a ‘free’ walking tour of Porto on my first day. I went with a group called Revolutours and found them to be fantastic. So much so that I did their Porto Old Town walking tour the next day! And a walking tour of Vila Nova de Gaia the next week!

Walking Tour of Porto Tips

1. ‘Free’ walking tours are not free. There’s no set price – you pay at the end what you think the tour was worth. As a guide, around €12 – €15 per person.
2. Porto is VERY hilly. If hills aren’t your thing, choose a walking tour that starts high and finishes low (for example, Clerigos Tower or Porto Cathedral to Ribeira).

2. Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto)

No trip to Porto is complete without visiting the city’s most important religious building, Porto Cathedral. Set high on top of one of Porto’s two hills and flanked by some of the old town walls, the cathedral is an impressive and recognisable figure over the city. It has been declared as a Portuguese National Monument – deservedly so, given its construction began in the 1100s!

As well as its religious significance, Porto Cathedral offers visitors some of the best views over Porto and neighbouring Vila Nova de Gaia. And while most churches in the city charge an entrance fee, entrance to Porto Cathedral is free. (Although you will need to pay if you visit the cloisters or the Episcopal Palace (or Bishop’s residence) next door.)

3. Dom Luis I Bridge

If you think the Dom Luis I Bridge looks familiar – you’re (sort-of!) right. It wasn’t built by Gustav Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame), but in fact by one of his students.

The Dom Luis I Bridge connects Porto with neighbouring city Vila Nova de Gaia and is a beautiful piece of architecture. It has been operational since 1886 and boasts two crossing platforms. The upper deck only accommodates pedestrians and the metro. The lower deck carries pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles.

The bridge is hugely popular for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, it offers magnificent views it offers over both Porto and Gaia.
Secondly, it’s the most convenient way to cross quickly between Porto and Gaia.

If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself criss-crossing the Dom Luis I bridge several times a day during your trip to Porto!

Pink and purple sunset sky behind the white circular building of Serra do Pilar monastery on the hill on the left and the iron arch of Porto's Dom Luis I bridge spanning the Douro River on the right.
Porto’s fabulous Dom Luis I Bridge across the Douro River and Vila Nova de Gaia’s old Serra do Pilar monastery.

Dom Luis I Bridge Tip

Cross the upper deck of the bridge from Porto to Gaia a little before sunset. On the Gaia side of the bridge, you can sit in the Jardim do Morro (park) and look west as the sun sets over Porto.

4. The Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa Porto)

Wow – the Stock Exchange Palace was a fantastic surprise for me! I don’t know why, but it hadn’t featured heavily in any of the research I’d done before my trip. However, my walking tour guide mentioned it on my first day, so I added it to my list of things to do in Porto. And I’m so glad I did! It’s one of the highlights of my Porto trip.

The Stock Exchange Palace is a operational building. The stock exchange is no longer there (it’s moved to Lisbon), but people work regular jobs in the building every day. Therefore, all tourist entry is with 30 minute guided tour in groups of 50 (or fewer) people. I had been a bit dubious about it, but the guide was excellent. And the rooms – WOW! I loved it – and took waaaaay too many photos!

Exquisitely ornate and opulent gold interior ballroom in Arabian style.
The dazzling gold ‘Arabian Room’ inside the Stock Exchange Palace.
Large central room with domed glass ceiling, ornately tiled floor, and gold pictures around the tops of the walls.
The super-impressive ‘Hall of Nations’ inside the Stock Exchange Palace.
Old fashioned jury room with intricately painted scenes adorning the ceiling and walls.
Ornately painted ‘Juror’s Room’ inside the Stock Exchange Palace.

Stock Exchange Palace Tips

The booking process for tickets to the Stock Exchange Palace is weird.
You can book tickets for a particular day online, but you cannot book for a particular time slot or language for your guided tour.
To book a guided tour, you have to queue up at the front door on the day (in the same queue as everyone – whether they have tickets or not) and book into an available guided tour for that day. The pre-bought tickets don’t seem to mean anything!
I was first in line when the doors opened at 0900h, but the first guided tour in English wasn’t until 1015h.
So my suggestion is not to worry about pre-buying a ticket – just turn up!
However, the Stock Exchange Palace is a very popular attraction, and the line can get very long. My advice is to arrive early, buy your ticket and book into a guided tour time that suits you, and return later in the day.

5. Wine tasting in Porto

Wine tasting in Porto is one of the best things to do in the city (if you like wine and port, of course!). Because of this, I’ve written a whole article on it! So for a detailed explanation, check out my not-so-cryptically named article port wine tasting in Porto where I go into much more detail.

As a quick guide, though, most of Porto’s port houses and wineries are located just over the other side of the Douro River – in Vila Nova de Gaia (or just Gaia, for short). And there are LOADS of wine tasting places in Gaia! There are some of the big, famous brands like Sandeman and Taylor’s, as well as some fabulous boutique wineries that you will only find in this region. My favourites were Ferreira and Bom Dia.

If you’re in Porto during the summer (or even late spring and early autumn), you will definitely need to book a wine tasting tour because they are extremely popular. However, if you’re visiting in the cooler months (the off-season), you can usually just walk into one of the port houses and book yourself on the next available tour. In most, the tasting tour will include a look around the cellar with a guide who will tell you some of the port house’s history, and will finish with two or three sample glasses of port. The expectation is that you will buy a bottle of port to take home with you, but of course you don’t have to.

6. City Centre Porto

The City Centre in Porto is a shopper’s paradise! Not only will you find the fabulous Bolhão market (Mercado do Bolhão), but also all the high street stores you would expect to find.

Rua de Santa Catarina is 1.5 kilometres of pedestrian shopping goodness (including the gorgeous Majestic Cafe!), starting from Praça da Batalha.

7. Clérigos Church and Tower (Torre dos Clérigos)

Clérigos Church and Tower gets really busy because the tower offers some of the best views over Porto, so:

  1. Buy your tickets online in advance, particularly so at peak periods (like summer, Easter etc). I visited in the spring and people were buying tickets at the door, but I wouldn’t risk it.
    You will book for a particular day and a timed entry (30 minute time slots). The ticket covers the tower and museum.
  2. Be prepared to queue!

Clérigos Church & Tower Tips

The view from the top of Clérigos Tower is undoubtedly great.
However, it is €8 and you have to climb 250 steps to get there.
If you want to save some money and avoid those steps, there are other great views in Porto. I have a whole post about the best viewpoints in Porto and most of them are either free or cost less, so check it out for some suggestions.

Under a cloudless blue sky, the Clerigos Church tower looms over street, dwarfing the crowds of people standing at the bottom.
Clérigos Tower, Porto.

8. Lello Bookstore (Livraria Lello Porto)

The Lello bookstore is a truly delicious place! Crowded? Absolutely. Lacking in authenticity? Yes. But worth a look? Definitely.

I’m sure you’ve heard that the Lello bookstore and its gorgeous staircase were inspiration for JK Rowling’s stairs in the Harry Potter series. However, Rowling has emphatically denied that this is the case. Therefore we must take her on her word that the various Portuguese coincidences are exactly that: coincidences.

All coincidences!

  • Portuguese university students (still – today!) wear black trousers, white shirts, and a black cape. Which makes them look very much like Hogwarts students.
  • This spectacular bookshop resembles various scenes in Harry Potter.
  • JK Rowling lived in Porto when she started writing Harry Potter.
A wide angle view inside the Livraria Lello bookshop. In the centre is a flight of shiny red stairs leading up to the second floor, flanked by intricately carved wooden banisters, the underside of the stairs as they wrap around, and the surround of the stained glass ceiling. The walls are covered in bookshelves.
The beautiful and intricate staircase inside Livraria Lello bookshop, Porto.

Whether you recognise the coincidences or not, there is no denying that the Lello bookshop is beautiful. To go inside, you will need to buy a time-specific ticket online in advance. There are a LOT of people allowed in at the one time. Don’t think that your timed ticket will give you any time on your own in there!

Lello Bookstore Tip

The ONLY way I found to get a photo without anyone else in it is to buy a ‘gold’ entry for the first entry of the day. Then arrive super-early and start queuing. You won’t be queuing on your own for long; people do arrive early because they know it will be busy. I arrived at 0815 for my 0900 gold ticket entry and I was first in line – but only just!

9. Porto Markets (Mercado do Bolhão)

The big traditional market in Porto (Mercado do Bolhão) is in the heart of the city and as such, truly captures the spirit of the city itself. It is open Monday to Saturday from 8am until late and draws people from all over Porto to buy their daily supplies. You will find colourful displays of fruit and vegetables, fish (including the local specialty of cod) and meat, bread and pastries, herbs and spices, nuts and pulses, as well as freshly cut flowers and ready made snacks. There are also some nice souvenir-y things available, as well as coffee and tea, beer and wine. There are restaurants, cafes, and bars around the market, too, so there’s truly something for everyone here!

10. São Bento Train Station

The São Bento train station in the heart of Porto’s Old Town area is the most beautiful train station in the world (in my opinion)! The site used to be a Benedictine monastery, and inside the main hall (which was the cloister of the old convent), the walls are covered in over 20,000 hand painted tiles. If you stand and look towards the clock and train tracks, a colourful frieze begins in the top right corner and moves to the left, telling the story of the evolution of transportation. It begins with a Roman scene, encircles the large hall, and finishes with the introduction of train travel. Truly magnificent!

Beneath the frieze, beautiful Portuguese azulejo tiles illustrate several large, intricate scenes. The most striking of these is on the right side wall which depicts the 1837 royal wedding of King John I of Portugal to Philippa of Lancaster (England) in Porto Cathedral. That wedding sealed the ongoing alliance between England and Portugal.

11. Porto Boat Tour

There are various traditional Portuguese ‘rabelo’ boats moored along both sides of the Douro River. These wooden rabelos used to transport port wine in barrels from the wineries in the Douro Valley to Porto. However, these days the deliveries are made using trucks. The old rabelos are now used to provide a glimpse into the city’s history, and to offer cruises to tourists. The most popular cruise is a 50 minute “6 Bridges” cruise and costs €15 – €20 per person. It takes you under the:

  • Dom Luis I bridge
  • Infante Dome Henrique bridge
  • Dona Maria Pia bridge (built by Gustav Eiffel)
  • Sao Joao bridge

Then the boat turns around just to the east of the Freixo bridge, giving you a view of it but not actually travelling underneath it. The boat heads back down the Douro River – past Porto Old Town and the port houses of Gaia – and takes you to look at Arrábida Bridge. Arrábida Bridge was the largest single span concrete bridge in the world… for about two seconds when construction finished.

Another turn and you’ll head back to Porto. All the while there is a pre-recorded commentary about the various bridges as well as the area you’re passing on both sides of the river. With boarding and disembarking, it’s an hour and a lovely way to spend some time on a nice day.

Porto Boat Tour Tip

Boat tours leave from both sides of the Douro River and offer the same itinerary.
However, boats leaving from the Gaia side are often several Euros cheaper!

12. Find the best Francesinha in Porto!

Francesinha is super-delicious but probably the closest thing you’ll find to a heart attack on a plate! Apparently it started as a Portuguese take on the French sandwich, croque madame. But it grew, and it grew. These days it’s most often used as a hangover cure, and doesn’t resemble anything the French have ever made!

So what is a Francesinha sandwich? Four types of meat, loads of cheese, a fried egg, hot chips, and a special sauce made from beer, tomatoes, and (sometimes) peri-peri sauce. Stacked between two slices of white bread toast.

Traditionally, the Francesinha was only found in cafes and snack bars – never in restaurants. However, Porto’s recent(ish) tourism boom has seen restaurants now offer the Francesinha (so fancy!).

The area behind (to the north of) Batalha offers a smorgasbord of Francesinha cafes and restaurants. You could try a different one every day for a week – if you dared!

The Best Francesinha in Porto Tip

I had a local guide tell me that Francesinha should cost between €10 – €15.
Less than that and the establishment probably isn’t using quality ingredients. More than that and you’re being ripped off!
Also, the best Francesinha comes with hot chips and a fried egg on top. Make sure to check when you order!

13. Porto Funicular (Funicular dos Guindais)

The Porto Funicular (or Funicular dos Guindais) is a life saver! It travels from the east end of the Ribeira district (down by the river, just near the Porto end of the Dom Luis I bridge) and goes up the hill to the Batalha district (near the Porto Cathedral). It’s fast, and saves you trudging up 300 steep stone steps!

Unfortunately for me, it was being serviced while I was in Porto in the spring, so I didn’t get to use it (or see the views!). Doubly sad was that I was staying just near the top – right by the Guindalense Football Club – so I could see the funicular doing its test runs, but just couldn’t have a go on it myself. My thighs would have loved a rest from all those stairs!

So while I can’t speak from personal experience, I do know that there are times when anything at all would be better than walking up those stairs. And I know that the view on the way up is SENSATIONAL.

If you’re lucky enough to ride the funicular, please drop me a line and let me know how fabulous it is!

14. Porto Beaches

There are some fabulous beaches in Porto – some just to the north and some just to the south. In fact, I wrote a whole post about Porto Beaches!

In a nutshell, though, the easiest beaches to get to from Porto using public transport are Foz and Matosinhos.

Foz – basically where the Douro River meets the Atlantic Ocean – is accessible via Tram Number 1 and Tram Number 18.

Matosinhos Beach is a few minutes further north and faces the Atlantic Ocean. To get to Matosinhos Beach, you can take the 500 bus that leaves from halfway down the hill from Porto Cathedral, on the cathedral side of the road. Or you can take the metro. Both the bus and the metro stop at similar places along the way, and both stop at the entry to the beach at Matosinhos.

Incidentally, the 500 bus terminates at the Matosinhos traditional market, which is a really interesting place to have a look around.

15. Museum of Photography

The Porto Museum of Photography is housed in an old prison built in 1767. The prison was in use until the 1970s and during the course of its use, it housed some ‘interesting’ characters. One inmate, who spent two stints in the prison, was renowned Portuguese author, Camilo Castelo Branco.

These days, the old prison is used exclusively by the Porto Centre for Photography, although you can still see old cells, iron doors, and bars on the windows. It’s a fabulous building! The Museum’s exhibitions are spread over three floors and include an impressive collection of old cameras, as well as historical photographs. There are various temporary, changing displays, too, which are worth checking out.

What’s more, the Museum of Photography is close to the Clerigos Church and Tower, and close to the Livraria Lello bookshop, not to mention loads of cafes and souvenir shops.

Museum of Photography Tips

1. Entry is free (and therefore so are the toilets!).
2. Museum is closed on Mondays.
3. There is rarely a queue and rarely crowds, so visit when other attractions are full and busy.
4. The old stone building remains deliciously cool even on hot summer days!

16. Walking tour of Vila Nova de Gaia

I had been hearing about and dreaming about beautiful Porto for decades before I finally visited. However, I’d never heard of Vila Nova de Gaia (or just Gaia, for short). It wasn’t until I was researching Porto in preparation for my most recent trip that I learned about Gaia. I stayed in Porto, but I crossed the bridge to Gaia loads of times and fell in love with it.

Gaia offers several great things:

  • The port wine houses are all in Gaia! It’s easy to spend whole afternoons in the port cellars. Some have the most gorgeous views over Porto, and some will even feed you while you’re there!
  • Accommodation is a bit cheaper in Gaia.
  • There is lots to do in Gaia, and plenty more is on the way as this little powerhouse of a city builds itself up to compete with neighbouring Porto. Recently opened is the WOW cultural district. There’s the cable car. There are the Pasteis de Bacalhao and Fantastic World of Portuguese Sardine shops. There are lots of great cafes and restaurants. There is the local food market (yum!).
  • The boat tours that leave from the Gaia side of the Douro River are often a few Euros cheaper than the tours leaving from the Porto side.

So, in order to discover all the awesome things to do and see in Vila Nova de Gaia, I highly recommend a walking tour!

In a park setting, giant characters spelling GAIA stand in green, yellow, red, and blue lettering.
Lovely Gaia neighbours Porto.

Quick Story

I flew into Porto and had the funniest Uber driver ever! He was born and bred in Porto, and was very proud to let me know it. He was great at bringing my attention to points of interest along the route, and took great delight in pointing out Gaia. Then he asked me (several times!), “Do you know what’s the best thing about Gaia? Do you know? You can see Porto!!”
And he’d laugh and laugh and laugh! He really was quite a character!

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

Look across the Douro River and standing proudly on top of the hill (on the far side of the Luis I bridge) is the Serra do Pilar Monastery. Unsurprisingly, the building is the most recognisable landmark in the city of Vila Nova de Gaia. It started life in 1537 as a monastery for the Order of St Augustine, but because of its prime strategic position, it was soon taken over by the military. Today it is shared by the church and the military. However, I have never seen it used for anything other than a fabulous vantage point for tourists to get a great view of the Dom Luis I bridge and the pretty city of Porto.

Serra do Pilar Monastery is on my list of the best viewpoints in Porto! Especially early in the morning when it’s really quiet, and late in the day for sunset views.

18. Cable Car Porto*

First and foremost, the views from the Porto* cable car are amazing! Honestly, the views just don’t get any better than from the cable car.

(*I’ll let you in on a little secret: the Porto cable car is actually across the river in Gaia!)

The cable car runs from the Teleférico de Gaia building next to the upper deck of the Dom Luis I bridge to the western end of the riverside promenade. It’s a quick and easy way to get from the bottom of the hill to the top (or the other way!) without trekking up the steep hill or all those stairs. And it does offer incredible views over both Porto and Gaia.

It’s not cheap, though – about €7 per person one way – so plan your visit. And be aware that the trip is relatively fast, so be ready with your camera!

Cable Car Porto Tip:

From Ribeira (Porto old town area next to the Douro River), walk across the lower level of the Luis I bridge to Gaia.
Turn right at the end and stroll along the Gaia side of the waterfront, listening to buskers, taking in the views of Porto, and enjoying a drink at one of the many cafes. You can even stop in at a port wine house or two.
After an easy and flat 750m walk you will reach the lower cable car station.
Take the cable car up to the top of Gaia (next to the monastery and the Luis I bridge), then walk back to Porto across the top level of the bridge.
Voila! You’re back in Porto having had some of the best views in the city and you haven’t had to walk up any steps or hills! 

19. Crystal Palace Gardens (Jardins do Palácio de Cristal)

The Crystal Palace gardens would suit some travellers to Porto – particularly if you’re travelling with younger children. Personally, however, I wasn’t all that impressed. The beautiful old Crystal Palace that used to be here is not anymore. It’s been replaced by an ugly (in my opinion!) dome that looks either reptilian or space-aged, or something in between. The gardens are pretty, but not spectacular, and nothing that you couldn’t see anywhere else.

If you’re travelling with kids, or if you just want some breathing space, Crystal Palace gardens is a nice place for a picnic. There are wild peacocks, chickens, and roosters roaming around, and it was cool to see the peacocks showing off their feathers. In my experience, there wasn’t much shade, so it gets very hot in summer. There also isn’t much shelter, so don’t go in wet weather! There is a cafe (overpriced, in my opinion), and public toilets.

I’d heard that the views back over Porto and the Douro River were great. I also heard that you could see the Atlantic Ocean. Neither was true for me. There are MUCH better viewpoints (that are much easier to get to) in Porto and Gaia.

Don’t shoot the messenger!!

20. Tram Porto

There are several trams in Porto and they’re a fun way to get around while seeing the sights of Porto.

  • Porto tram Number 1 . Departs from the Porto Old Town riverfront (Ribeira). From there it runs west along the river to Foz, where it intersects with the Number 18 tram.
  • Porto tram Number 18. My favourite because it’s not as busy as the others. The tram departs from the upper side of Clérigos Church and travels through the city past Igreja do Carmo (beautiful church with a tiled facade – tram intersects with tram Number 22 here). The tram then heads to the river and travels west past the Tram Museum. It terminates at Passeio Alegre on the waterfront (where it intersects with the Number 1).
  • Porto tram Number 22. Not operating at the moment because its route is disrupted by construction of a new metro station. Due to recommence operation at the end of the year. Usually, Number 22 is a great little loop around the city. It takes you to attractions like Igreja do Carmo, the Guindais Funicular and Porto Cathedral, and Clérigos Church and Tower. It’s a pretty popular route in the high season!
Pale yellow and wooden tram carrying passengers through the Old Town in Porto.
Tram Number 1 leaving from Ribeira, Porto.

Porto Tram Tip

The trams get super busy, especially in the summer. The earlier you travel, the better your chances of not having to queue for so long. Also, you have a better chance of getting a seat on the tram back into the old town, rather than on the way out. Try getting an Uber out to the end of the line, and getting the tram as it’s heading back into Porto 🙂

21. WOW Porto

Technically located in Porto’s neighbouring city, Vila Nova de Gaia, the WOW Cultural District is a new addition to the area’s landscape and is shaping up to be BIG. 

Firstly, there has clearly been a lot of money spent on converting the old wine warehouses into sleek, modern, and functional spaces. Everything is clean, cool, and gorgeous. 

Secondly, the complex gives adult theme park feels, especially the Pink Palace which is designed to make you rethink rose (wine). It’s *very* Instagrammable, and that’s exactly the look they’re going for.

There is also a chocolate factory and planet cork, various other museum-type places, and some restaurants and eateries. When I visited in the spring, the renovations were done and I was told there were 7 museums and 12 restaurants, as well as lots of shops. However, I couldn’t find anywhere near those numbers. The place was completely empty (totally!) and so it had no vibes at all.

Also, the ticket prices for entry into the museums was pretty steep – around €20 per person – so that was off-putting. 

I had a look around and it definitely looks like it has potential, but it just wasn’t quite happening yet. I’m very keen to hear feedback from anyone who has visited so please drop me a line!

22. Guindais Steps Murals (Escadas dos Guindais)

About two-thirds of the way up the Guindais Steps are some beautiful wall murals, including one of “Dona Rosa” (Mrs Rosa). The artist (@mrdheo on Instagram) did an excellent job of simultaneously lifting the look of the area and and maintaining locational relevance.

Full wall mural featuring the head and shoulders of an elderly woman smiling broadly. She is wearing a white long sleeved shirt with the sleeves pushed up, a blue apron and blue headscarf. The background is black, white, and grey geometric shapes.
Guindais steps mural – “Dona Rosa”, Porto.
Large wall mural showing a woman hanging laundry.
Guindais steps mural – “laundry day”, Porto.

Guindais Steps Murals tip:

Just above the Guindais Steps Murals are two restaurants.
1. A tiny, family owned restaurant offering very well priced food that they serve from the kitchen of their home to tables set up on the steps. The menu is small, but the food is authentic, tasty, and very well priced. And the setting is certainly different!
2. The Guindalense Football Club. Doesn’t sound particularly great, does it?
However, the views are SPECTACULAR, the drinks are cold, and the food is reasonably priced.
You can thank me later 😉

23. Flea Market (Feira da Vandoma)

If you’re in Porto on a Saturday morning, make sure to check out the flea market near Porto Cathedral. It’s reminiscent of London’s Portobello Road market where vendors sell everything from bric-a-brac, second hand clothes, old coins, stamp collections, and books. You’ll also find a good selection of food and drinks, so it’s an enjoyable and easy morning out.

The Vandoma flea market is located on Avenida 25 de Abril – get the metro to Estádio do Dragão station and it’s a five minute walk. Lots of fun!

24. Rock Climbing

If you’re looking for an indoor activity, give São Rock Climbing a go. It’s close to the Vandoma flea market, and is suitable for young kids, teens, and adults. It’s a lot of fun and there’s a cafe on site for lunch and a drink. A great option for wet or cold weather days.

25. Tuktuk Porto

Porto is VERY hilly and when it’s hot (or cold, or raining) getting up and down those hills can be tiresome. That’s where jumping in a tuktuk can be very handy – and a lot of fun! The tuk tuks roaming around Porto are 100% electric and can be hired either for a tour, or to take you from A to B. The Porto tuk tuk drivers have “set” rates, but in my experience, they are very open to some good-natured negotiation. Getting a tuktuk at the end of the day when you’re hot and tired and going to see the sunset from a couple of different viewpoints is awesome!

Time Out Market Porto

The Time Out Market in Porto is still the ‘new kid on the block’ – right next to the gorgeous São Bento train station. It’s open every day from 10am until midnight and offers a dozen restaurants for you to choose from. You can’t book a table, but just turn up and sit anywhere where there’s a free seat. Order from whichever restaurant you like, and chat to your table neighbours. The Time Out Market offers a selection of the city’s food and drinks altogether under one roof, in a UNESO World Heritage building.

The price of the dishes available at the Time Out Market varies depending on what you order and which restaurant you order from, of course. It’s not budget-friendly, but it is quality food from some well-known local chefs.

There’s a wide variety of food, too, from vegetarian, to local favourites, hearty meals and snacks. Come for brunch, lunch, dinner, supper or anything in between 🙂

Is Porto Worth visiting?

If you’re asking yourself “Is Porto worth visiting?”, the answer must be a resounding YES! Whether it’s your first trip to Portugal or your fifth, Porto definitely should be on your holiday itinerary.

Porto sits near the mouth of Portugal’s Douro River where it blends its rich history with a lively culture. Wander through Porto’s UNESCO-listed old town Ribeira district, sip on the famed port wine, and marvel at the ancient cobbled streets. Don’t miss the Dom Luís I Bridge, an iron marvel offering stunning views, or the ornate splendour of the Stock Exchange Palace with its golden Arabian room and incredible staircase.

Every corner of Porto tells a story, from the majestic and ancient Porto Cathedral to the colourful tiled houses. With lively markets, buzzing nightlife, and the warm spirit of the locals, Porto is a feast for the senses. It’s not just worth visiting — it’s unforgettable!

Tips for Porto

  • Do a walking tour first. The best way to orientate yourself in the city is to do a walking tour. Porto is not as big as it first appears, but there are lots of little streets and some really interesting stories. Spend 2 hours learning about the city, its history and inhabitants. You won’t regret it!
  • Wear sneakers. Definitely wear good walking shoes! Porto is very hilly and there are lots of steep steps, slopes, and cobblestones. I recommend comfortable sneakers with good grip.
  • Dress in layers and take a hat. The weather can be changeable and a cool wind can rip through the city unexpectedly – especially at some of the viewpoints. The city also gets quite hot in summer, and can even have hot days in spring and autumn/ fall, so do take a hat.
  • Pre-book activities in high season. In peak periods and high season (ie, summer), you absolutely must pre-book tickets to museums etc. Also, if there are particular restaurants you want to try, or tours you want to do, definitely book those, too. Although you will always find a table *somewhere*, don’t miss out on your first choice just for the sake a quick booking email.

Closing Thoughts on Things to do in Porto

Porto is a pretty city packed with things to do and places to see. I recently spent two weeks there and could easily have spent another two! So make a plan before you go and list down what is important for you to see and/ or do. However, all good travel plans need to have an element of flexibility about them. Remember that the best holiday will be one in which you’re happy and relaxed. And if you miss seeing some things this trip, it just means you’ll have to return! 🙂

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