Visiting Porto’s Historic Centre
Ribeira is the historic district of Porto, consisting of colourful tenement houses with red tiles built along winding, narrow streets full of fascinating nooks and crannies. The district has retained its charm, combining an intimate atmosphere with plenty of tourist attractions. So which should you put on your “must-visit” list?
- Casa do Infante
The house where Prince Henry the Navigator (Dom Henrique o Navegador) was born.
- Sé do Porto Catedral
This is a real mix of architectural styles. Head inside to admire the famous azulejos. You’ll also find striking mosaics at the São Bento railway station and Capela das Almas, among others.
- Torre dos Clérigos
A must see if you love to admire the city from above. To get to the top of the 75-metre building, you’ll have to climb 250 steps.
- Funicular dos Guindais
The railway between Ribeira and Batalha. A great option to take a break from walking and see the city from a different perspective.
- Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves
No trip to Porto is complete without a visit to this place. This is the most important museum in the city, with works by artists from all over the world. The museum is also surrounded by an 18-hectare park where you can relax, admire exotic plants and walk among the treetops. The park is also home to the Serralves House, which is an example of Portuguese Art Deco style.
- Livraria Lello (Lello Library)
Our last stop on the list and this is ideal for lovers of unusual attractions. Recognised as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, it attracts attention with its winding wooden stairs lined with red velvet and its shelves filled with books up to the ceiling. Buy your ticket in advance to avoid the long line at the entrance.
Port tasting in Porto
If you are wondering where to taste port in Porto, head to the port cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia. In Porto itself, you can visit wine bars, where wine tasting often takes place accompanied by traditional fado music. Returning to Vila Nova de Gaia, you can l taste the most popular and also the rarest ports here – the choice is yours. Port cellar tours and wine tasting tickets are available at various prices. In most facilities, the rule is simple – the more expensive the ticket, the better the port! Free Porto tastings are available, but you can expect a far inferior wine.
Rent a car and buy tickets for attractions before you go!
So, which port wine cellars in Porto are worth visiting? One of the largest port cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia is the Sandeman cellar. The guide will show you around the museum, explain the brand’s history and the wine tasting can be accompanied by a fado music show. The Cálem cellar is also very popular, where wine tastings are interspersed with snacks paired to the drink. If you dream of tasting port in a trulyunique setting, head to Taylor’s cellars. Their terraces have a beautiful view of the Douro River! One of the most innovative port brands is Ramos Pinto. It is here that you will taste some of the rarest and most exclusive port wines. In turn, one of the oldest companies producing port here is Ferreira.
To avoid any nasty surprises, buy your port tasting ticket in advance. Many of the cellars are so famous that visiting them without a reservation is almost impossible.
Walk along the Douro River
The Douro River flows through Porto, providing beautiful scenery for leisurely walks during the day or late evenings. Even a short walk will provide you with unique views of the colourful facades of the tenement houses reflected in the water, or the hills of Vila Nova de Gaia rising above the opposite bank. Along the way, you can see six bridges, the most famous of which is the Ponte Dom Luis I. This two-storey bridge was built in the 19th century and is now one of the best viewpoints in Porto.
This is also a great route if you wish to explore the harbour cellars by foot. Prefer a cruise on the Douro River? Try the so-called six bridges cruise, lasting approximately 50 minutes. This attraction is available all year round, with tickets costing between €15-18. The cruise takes place on rabelo boats, which are used to transport port wines on the Vila Nova de Gaia-Porto route. Start your exploration at Ribeira station.
Sampling local cuisine
Want to try something delicious? The food in Porto perfectly represents what Portuguese cuisine is all about. A mix of flavours and aromas awaits you, with plates featuring meat, fish (mainly cod and sardines), seafood, sausages and cheese. No matter which district of Porto you are in, you can visit plenty of bars and restaurants serving delicious local cuisine.
What to eat in Porto?
- Caldo verde soup
A traditional dish of potatoes, cabbage and sausage, which is not only tasty, but also nutritious.
A toasted sandwich with lots of sausage, ham, beef and cheese, served in tomato and beer.
Baked, grilled, in cream sauce and with vegetables… however you eat them, Bolinhos de bacalhau, or cod meatballs, are a popular choice among locals and tourists alike.
- Tripas à fashion to Porto
A tripe-based goulash with the addition of white beans, onions and carrots.
- Queijo Serra da Estrela
An intense cheese produced in the Serra da Estrela mountains.
The choice is huge, but if we had to limit it to just one choice, we would opt for the pastéis de nata. These are delicious, small puff pastry cupcakes filled with velvety custard cream.
Old Porto tram tours
Porto’s steep location makes exploring the area on foot a bit more physically demanding. Fortunately, you can also travel through the narrow streets of the city by tourist tram. This is the perfect opportunity to see the city from a different perspective and relax a bit. When it comes to the historic tram in Porto, you have three lines to choose from – Lines 1, 18 or 22. The journey takes place in colourful vintage carriages that have been fully restored and you can buy a ticket from the driver.
We have best flight and accommodation offers in Porto
Want to know more about Porto’s tram transport? Be sure to visit the Museu do Carro Eléctrico, where you will see renovated historic horse trams. It is worth noting that the ticket to the museum also includes one-way travel on the tourist tram.