Top things to do in Porto?
Visit Douro Wine Cellars
Porto is the main start and ending point Porto’s wine. From the vineyards along the Douro valley, it is here that the wine itself ages and gets shipped. At the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the river, facing Porto, a number of cellars are open to visitors. From Ferreira to Calem or Sandeman, the major Port brands have here great page of their history. Take a tour and have a glass of Porto, in Porto.
Do the 6 Bridges Cruise
From the Arrábida Bridge to Freixo, you get the chance to cruise the Douro River along 6 bridges. Its a 1 hour ride where are will be able to see the Dom Luis I bridge, from the 19th century and Maria Pia, designed by Théophile Seyrig, Gustave Eiffel’s protégé.
Get a feeling of Miguel Bombarda new arts scene
Miguel Bombarda Street has recently emerged as the new arts & crafts district of Porto. The block around it is known for its art galleries, design jewelry shops, off the beaten path cafes or bookstores. Get to know local artist, try the chocolate cake at Pimenta Rosa or have a tea at Rota do Chá.
Eat a Francesinha
Porto’s “little frenchie” has been for year’s known as the Porto’s classic dish – even Anthony Bourdain went after the best one in ‘Parts Unknown.’. A massive sandwich with beef, sausage and ham, covered in cheese melted in the oven. Its secret comes on the top. The slightly spicy sauce that has variant, but its basis is tomato and beer. Get a Super Bock and dip the fries in the sauce.
Get a book from Lello
Just in the old historical heart of the city, Lello is not a random bookstore. Its red curvy stairs inspired J. K. Rowling for Harry Potter’s library and its shelves date from 1906. The colored stained glass in the roof, the gothic architecture and the outside facade make this one of Porto’s most emblematic buildings. The entrance fee is discounted in a book purchase!
Take the Train from the São Bento station heading to Pocinho
Linha do Douro is the train railway route going from Porto to Pocinho (Guarda) in a 160km extension along the river’s valley. Originally built in the late 19thcentury, the major part of the route is still working. You go through tunnels and bridges with an amazing sightseeing. This is one of the most beautiful train rides in the country. www.cp.pt
Have a coffee at Majestic
This is an historical café at the heart of Santa Catarina Street. A busy shopping area, you feel like you’re in another place as soon as you get in. Once called ‘Elite’, it was the place for artists, politicians and writers to meet and exchange ideas in the early 20’s like they do in NY’s Algonquin Round Table. Go back to the ‘”belle époque” and explore the small terrace.
Try the pork sandwich in Casa Guedes and the small sausages at Gazela
Guedes is the home for the most famous “sandes de pernil” in town. A rustic small tavern, you’ll probably have to wait just a bit. The bread is slightly toasted; the sauce gives a tasty flavor the meat. The pork is from the Alentejo and the cheese on top from the Serra da Estrela – a great combination. If you need a snack, you should try Gazela’s the hot dogs. A snack bar in the Batalha Square, the house is famous and the service usually fast.
Go up the Clérigos Tower
Built in the 18thcentury under the order of the Brotherhood of the Clerics, the Clérigos church and tower are a huge Porto landmark. With 76 meters high, you have to climb up 225 stairs to get up to the top, but the view is worthwhile. A national monument since 1910, its one of the first baroque churches in Portugal and has the signature of Nicolau Nasoni, a well-known Italian architect.
Explore Serralves Gardens
Serralves is a major art and culture Foundation in Porto. A museum, a Park and a Villa, it combines exhibits with workshops and activities, festivals, jazz in the park and conferences. Its 18 acres of green take you to gardens, woodlands and small ponds. The Museum of Contemporary Art and the old villa, built as a summer house by the 2ndCount of Vizela, are must see visiting points along with the garden route.
Mercado do Bolhão
If you’re a market fan, Bolhãois the place to visit. Two floors with stands of fresh fish, vegetables, meats or flowers, the vendors are usually the stars. They’re known for their sympathy and welcoming service. The market origins go back to the late 19thcentury and today the building is a monument of national interest. It's a must right downtown.
See a show in Casa da Música
A modern concert hall, the ‘House of Music’ hosts three main orchestras, a foundation and a music school. Its modern architecture in Batalha Square and every room inside has a different identity. Completed in 2001, it's the first building in the city exclusively dedicated to music!
Take a ride in the Trolley
The Porto Tram City Tour has 3 main routes that can take you from downtown along the
Douro shore passing by the city’s main monuments. You can either go from Ribeira to Foz, from Clérigos to Carmo or from Carmo to Batalha. These are the lines remaining from the original tram route that in the early 20thcentury was the most popular means of transportation in the city – and one of the first electrified routes in Europe.