Porto: The Complete Guide
Porto or Oporto is the second-largest city in Portugal, the capital of the Oporto District, and one of the Iberian Peninsula’s major urban areas. Oporto city proper, which is the entire municipality of Porto, is small compared to its metropolitan area, with an estimated population of just 231,800 people in a municipality with only 41.42 km2. Porto’s metropolitan area has around 1.7 million people (2021) in an area of 2,395 km2 (925 sq mi), making it the second-largest urban area in Portugal. It is recognized as a global city with a Gamma + rating from the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.
Located along the Douro River estuary in northern Portugal, Oporto is one of the oldest European centres, and its core was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996, as “Historic Centre of Porto, Luiz I Bridge and Monastery of Serra do Pilar”. The historic area is also a National Monument of Portugal. The western part of its urban area extends to the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Its settlement dates back many centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire. Its combined Celtic-Latin name, Portus Cale, has been referred to as the origin of the name Portugal, based on transliteration and oral evolution from Latin. In Portuguese, the name of the city includes a definite article: o Porto (“the port” or “the harbor”), which is where its English name “Oporto” comes from.
Port wine, one of Portugal’s most famous exports, is named after Porto, since the metropolitan area, and in particular the cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, were responsible for the packaging, transport, and export of fortified wine. In 2014 and 2017, Oporto was elected The Best European Destination by the Best European Destinations Agency. Oporto is on the Portuguese Way path of the Camino de Santiago.
Visiting Porto for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Porto on the first visit. Top help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!
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This complete guide to Porto not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.
This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Porto and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!
Praça da Liberdade (Liberty Square)
Praça da Liberdade is, by many, considered the heart of the city of Porto, in Portugal. It is located downtown, in the parish of Santo Ildefonso .
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Address: Praça da Liberdade, Porto, Portugal | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 0.14km
São Bento Railway Station
The São Bento Railway Station (Estação Ferroviária de Porto-São Bento), is one of Portugal's most striking railway stations.
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Address: São Bento Station, Praça de Almeida Garrett, Porto, Portugal | Distance: 0.25km
Livraria Lello & Irmão
Found close to the Torre dos Clérigos, the Livraria Lello & Irmão is considered the most beautiful library in Europe and one of the most beautiful in the world.
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Address: Livraria Lello, Rua das Carmelitas, Porto, Portugal | Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10am – 7pm.| Price: Entrance fee: € 5 (£ 4.40) (if you buy anything you will be refunded the ticket price). | Website | Distance: 0.32km
Clérigos Church and Clérigos Tower
The Clérigos Church is a Baroque-style church located in the city of Porto, Portugal. Its most iconic feature is the 75-meter-tall bell tower, known as the Torre dos Clérigos, which can be seen from various locations in the city. The church was built by Italian architect and painter Nicolau Nasoni in the 18th century for the Clergy Brotherhood. Construction began in 1732 and was completed in 1750, with the bell tower and stairway being finished in 1763. The main façade of the church is heavily decorated with Baroque motifs, and the interior features an elliptical floor plan, a polychromed marble altarpiece, and a monumental tower at the back of the building. The tower, which stands at 75.6 meters high and can be climbed via 240 steps, has become a symbol of the city. Nasoni is also responsible for other notable buildings in Porto, such as the Misericórida Church, the Archbishop's Palace and the lateral loggia of Porto Cathedral. He was buried in the crypt of the Clérigos Church, although the exact location of his grave is unknown. In 2015, the Clérigos Brotherhood announced that the Clérigos Tower and Church will be open to visitors during nighttime hours.
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Address: Torre dos Clérigos, Rua de São Filipe de Nery, Porto, Portugal | Hours: Every day: 9 am – 7 pm. | Price: Church: Free entrance. Tower and Museum of the Brotherhood: General entrance € 5 (£ 4.40) | Distance: 0.38km
Carmo and Carmelitas churches
The Carmo Church and Carmelitas Church are two notable religious sites located in Porto, Portugal.
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Address: Igreja do Carmo, Rua do Carmo, Porto, Portugal | Distance: 0.43km
Capela das Almas
Capela das Almas (meaning Soul’s Chapel), also called Saint Catherine Chapel, is a building from the 18th century that is known by its tile covered façade. These panels, added in 1929, represent episodes from the lives of S. Francis of Assisi and Saint Catherine. To create this magnificent piece of work 16.000 tiles were needed.
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Address: Capela das Almas, Rua de Santa Catarina, Porto, Portugal | Hours: Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m – 6:00 p.m – Saturday and Sunday 7:30 a.m – 12:30 p.m / 6:00 p.m – 7:30 p.m | Price: Free | Distance: 0.51km
Built in the highest part of the city, the Sé Cathedral is the most important religious building in Porto. It is located in the Batalha district, next to the walls that once protected the city. The exterior of the building has the appearance of a fortress with battlements.
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Address: Porto Cathedral, Terreiro da Sé, Porto, Portugal | Hours: April – October: 9 am – 6:30 pm. November – March: 9 am – 5:30 pm | Price: Cathedral: Free entrance. Cloisters €3 | Distance: 0.55km
Muralhas de D. Fernando (Porto City Walls)
The Muralhas de D. Fernando, or Fernandine Walls, are medieval fortifications located in the civil parish of Cedofeita, Santo Ildefonso, Sé, Miragaia, São Nicolau e Vitória, in the municipality of Porto, Portuguese Porto.
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Address: Muralha Fernandina, Escadas do Caminho Novo, Porto, Portugal | Hours: Monday – Friday: 08h30 - 17h30, Weekends: By Appointment Only | Distance: 0.71km
Funicular dos Guindais
The Funicular dos Guindais, also known as The Guindais Funicular, is an elegant and unique way of getting from one part of the city to the other.
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Address: Funicular dos Guindais, Rua da Ribeira Negra, Porto, Portugal | Price: € 3.5 | Distance: 0.78km
Palácio da Bolsa in Porto
The Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace) can be found in the very centre of the city is currently the headquarters of Porto’s Commercial Association.
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Address: Palácio da Bolsa, Rua de Ferreira Borges, Porto, Portugal | Hours: April – October: 9 am – 6:30 pm. November – March: 9 am – 12:30 pm and 2 pm – 5:30 pm. | Price: Adults: € 10 (£ 8.90) Student Card and Seniors: € 6.50 (£ 5.80) Children under 12: free | Distance: 0.81km
Praça da Ribeira (Ribeira Square)
The Ribeira Square or Praça da Ribeira is a historical square in Porto, Portugal. It is included in the historical centre of the city, designated World Heritage by UNESCO.
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Address: Praça da Ribeira, Porto, Portugal | Hours: 24 hours | Price: Free | Distance: 0.82km
Casa do Infante in Porto
First established in 1325, the Casa do Infante (Prince’s House) was given this name after Prince Henry the Navigator, leader of great expeditions of discovery in West Africa, was born here in 1394.
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Address: Casa do Infante, Rua da Alfândega, Porto, Portugal | Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 9:30am – 1pm and 2pm - 5:30pm.| Price: Adults: € 2.20 (£ 1.90) (including the temporary exhibitions). Porto Card: free entrance. Saturdays and Sundays: free entrance. | Distance: 0.83km
Church of São Francisco (Porto)
The Franciscans began work on the Igreja de São Francisco in 1245, but it was later reformed due to a fire which destroyed the old cloister and part of the church.
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Address: Church of São Francisco, Rua do Infante Dom Henrique, Porto, Portugal | Hours: November – February: 9am – 5:30pm. March – October: 9am – 7pm. July – September: 9am – 8pm. | Price: Adults: € 7.50 (£ 6.60) | Distance: 0.85km
Soares dos Reis National Museum
At more than two hundred years old, the Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis is the oldest public museum in Portugal and the most famous in Porto.
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Address: Soares dos Reis National Museum, Rua de Dom Manuel II, Porto, Portugal | Hours: Wednesday – Sunday: 10am – 6pm. Tuesday: 2pm – 6pm. Mondays: closed 1 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May and 25 December: closed. | Price: Adults: € 5 (£ 4.40) Porto Card, seniors over 65 years old, youth card and youth between 12 and 25 years old: 50% discount. Youth Card: € 2.50 (£ 2.20). Children under 12 years old: Free admission. Sundays and public holidays until 2 pm: free admission | Distance: 0.88km
Dom Luís I Bridge
The Dom Luís I Bridge or Ponte de Dom Luís I, or Luís I Bridge, is a double-deck metal arch bridge that spans the River Douro between the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia in Portugal. At its construction, its 172 metres (564 ft) span was the longest of its type in the world. It has been confused with the nearby Maria Pia Bridge, a railway bridge that was built 9 years earlier, which is similar in aspect to the Luís I bridge.
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| Distance: 0.89km
Museu dos Transportes e Comunicações
The Transport and Communications Museum is situated on the right bank of the Douro River, adjacent to the Porto Historic Centre, which is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The museum is housed in the historical building of Alfândega Nova do Porto.
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Address: Museu dos Transportes e Comunicações, Rua Nova da Alfândega, Porto, Portugal | Hours: Tuesday to Friday: 10 am - 1 pm (last entry 1 hour before closing) / 2 pm - 6 pm (last entry 1 hour before closing) Saturday/ Sunday/ Public Holidays - 3 pm - 7 pm (last entry 1 hour before closing)Closed: Mondays, January 1st, Easter Sunday, June 24th, December 25th | Website | Distance: 1.00km
Calém Wine Cellars
Calém Wine Cellars in Porto are a renowned destination for wine enthusiasts seeking to delve into the world of port wine. Located in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the Douro River from Porto, Calém offers visitors a captivating experience blending tradition, history, and exceptional wines.
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Address: Caves Cálem, Avenida de Diogo Leite, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal | Price: Between €7.5 and €40 | Website | Distance: 1.08km
Serra do Pilar Monastery
The Serra do Pilar Monastery, located in Porto, is an architectural gem and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Situated on a hill overlooking the Douro River and the city of Porto, it offers breath-taking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
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Address: Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, Largo Aviz, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal | Distance: 1.10km
Sandeman Wine Cellar
The Sandeman Port Cellar in Porto is a renowned and historic establishment that offers an immersive experience into the world of port wine. Located in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the Douro River from Porto, the Sandeman Cellar is steeped in tradition and known for its exceptional range of port wines.
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Address: Sandeman, Largo Miguel Bombarda, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal | Hours: Offered daily, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm in multiple languages. | Price: Tours and port tastings start at €19 and range from 3 to 5 port wines. | Website | Distance: 1.14km
Jardim do Morro
Miradouro do Jardim do Morro, also known as the Garden of Morro Lookout, is a popular viewpoint located in Porto, Portugal. Situated on the south bank of the Douro River, it offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city's historic center, including the iconic Ribeira district and the picturesque riverside landscape.
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Address: R. Rocha Leão 10 70, 4430-999 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 1.14km
Ponte do Infante
Ponte do Infante, also known as the Infante Bridge, is a notable bridge in Porto, Portugal. It is named after Infante Dom Henrique, a prominent historical figure in Portugal known as Henry the Navigator. This modern bridge spans the Douro River and connects the city of Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia.
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Address: Ponte do Infante, Porto, Portugal | Distance: 1.14km
Espaço Porto Cruz
Espaço Porto Cruz goes beyond the realm of traditional port wine tasting, offering a complete and immersive experience dedicated to celebrating the rich culture of Port wine. It seamlessly blends modernity with tradition, creating a unique space that serves as a hub for information, exhibitions, and leisure, while also fostering new and exciting encounters with this renowned beverage.
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Address: Espaço Porto Cruz, Largo Miguel Bombarda, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal | Website | Distance: 1.15km
Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
The Crystal Palace Gardens is a delightful park in Porto, designed at the end of the 19th century.
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Address: Jardins do Palácio de Cristal, Rua de Dom Manuel II, Porto, Portugal | Hours: 8am-9pm Apr-Sep, to 7pm Oct-Mar | Distance: 1.20km
Churchill's Wine Cellar
Churchill's Wine Cellar is a revered establishment that holds a prominent place in the world of Port wine. Founded in 1981 by Johnny Graham, a member of the renowned Graham's Port wine family, Churchill's has established itself as a boutique winery that produces exceptional Ports and Douro wines.
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Address: Churchill's Lodge, Rua da Fonte Nova, Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto, Portugal | Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 6 pm | Website | Distance: 1.37km
Maria Pia Bridge
The Maria Pia Bridge, known as Ponte Maria Pia in Portuguese, holds a significant place in engineering history as one of the pioneering wrought-iron railway bridges constructed by the renowned Gustave Eiffel. Located in Porto, Portugal, it spans the Douro River and served as a crucial transportation link during its operational years.
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Address: Ponte Dona Maria Pia, Oliveira do Douro, Portugal | Distance: 1.47km
Ferreira Wine Cellars
Caves Ferreira, located in Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto, is an esteemed and historic establishment renowned for its production of exceptional port wines. With a legacy dating back to 1751, Caves Ferreira is the only big house of Port Wine that has remained in Portuguese hands since its foundation. Founded in 1751, the brand’s history is intertwined with the history of the evolution of the Douro Region, demarcated only 5 years after, in 1756. Its most famous owner was, unlike in the other wineries was a woman. Twice widowed, Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira contributed significantly to the consolidation of the brand, taking over the business at 33, strengthening and expanding it thanks to her entrepreneurial spirit and charisma.
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Address: A.A. Ferreira, Rua Carvalhosa, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal | Hours: From 10.15 - 16.30 | Price: From €19.00 | Website | Distance: 1.54km
Graham’s Port Cellar
Graham's Port Lodge in Porto is a renowned destination for wine lovers seeking to explore the fascinating world of port wine. Situated in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the Douro River from Porto, Graham's Lodge offers a captivating experience that combines history, tradition, and exceptional wines.
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Address: Graham's Port Lodge, Rua do Agro, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal | Price: Starting from 23 | Website | Distance: 1.55km
Igreja Matriz do Bonfim
The Igreja Matriz do Bonfim is a church located in the city of Porto, Portugal, with a history dating back to the existence of a chapel on its current site in 1786. The current church was built between 1874 and 1894, as the population of the parish annexed by the city had grown and the existing chapel was no longer sufficient. It was consecrated to Santa Clara and Senhor do Bonfim.
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Address: Igreja Matriz do Bonfim, Rua do Monte do Bonfim, Porto, Portugal | Distance: 1.55km
Taylor’s Port Wine Cellar, Porto
Taylor's Port Wine Cellar, located in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the Douro River from Oporto (Porto), is one of the most esteemed and historic port wine houses in the region. With a rich heritage dating back to 1692, Taylor's has established itself as a producer of exceptional ports, renowned for their quality and craftsmanship.
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Address: Taylor's Port, Rua do Choupelo, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal | Hours: Cellars (mon-sun): 11:00 – 18:00 Tasting Room and Shop (mon-sun): 11:00 - 19:00 Restaurant: 12.30-15.00 // 19.00-22.00 | Website | Distance: 1.57km
São João Bridge
The São João Bridge, also known as the São João Railway Bridge, is a prominent bridge in Porto, Portugal. It was built as a replacement for the Maria Pia Bridge to accommodate the increasing demands of modern railway transportation.
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Address: Ponte de São João, Porto, Portugal | Distance: 1.63km
Museu do Carro Eléctrico
The Museu do Carro Eléctrico is a museum dedicated to the history of electric transportation in Porto, Portugal. It is operated by the Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos do Porto and houses a collection of trams, trailers, and other vehicles. The museum opened in May 1992 and is located in the former Massarelos thermoelectric power station. It features exhibits on the history of electric rail transportation in the city. The museum's collection includes 16 electric cars, 5 trailer cars, and 2 support cars. An annual parade featuring some of the vehicles is organized on the line between Massarelos and Passeio Alegre. The museum has been praised by experts, with Nélson Oliveira, the former vice-president of the Associação Portuguesa dos Amigos dos Caminhos de Ferro (APAC), calling it "one of the best in Europe, if not in the world" in 1996.
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Address: Tram Museum, Alameda de Basílio Teles, Porto, Portugal | Hours: Monday: 2 pm – 6 pm. Tuesday – Sunday: 10 am – 6 pm. | Price: Adults: € 4 (£ 3.60) Children from 4 to 12, students and seniors: € 2.50 (£ 2.20) Children up to 4 years old: free | Distance: 1.83km
Casa da Música
Designed by architect Rem Koolhaas, the Casa da Música is one of Porto's most emblematic buildings and was built as part of the Porto 2001: European Capital of Culture project.
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Address: Casa da Música, Avenida da Boavista, Porto, Portugal | Hours: Monday - Saturday: 10am - 7 pm. Sundays: 10 am - 6 pm. There are free English guided tours every day at 11am and 4pm | Price: Guided tour: € 10 (£ 8.80) Children less than 12 years old: Free entrance | Distance: 2.05km
The Arrábida Bridge, locally known as Ponte da Arrábida, is a remarkable bridge spanning the Douro River in Porto, Portugal. Designed by engineer Edgar Cardoso, the same mastermind behind the São João Bridge, it stands as an iconic landmark in the city's skyline.
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Address: Ponte da Arrábida, Via de Cintura Interna, Porto, Portugal | Distance: 2.44km
The Freixo Bridge, also known as Ponte do Freixo in Portuguese, is an impressive bridge spanning the Douro River in Porto, Portugal. It is an essential part of the city's transportation infrastructure, providing a crucial connection for both vehicles and pedestrians.
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Address: Freixo Bridge, Circular Regional Interna do Porto, Porto, Portugal | Distance: 2.62km
Forte de São Francisco Xavier
The São Francisco Xavier Fort, also known as the Cheese Castle, is located in the parish of Nevogilde in the municipality and district of Porto, Portugal. It sits in a commanding position over the Atlantic Ocean and is close to the mouth of the Douro River. The fort was built in the mid-17th century during the War of Restoration of Portuguese independence, using the design of French military engineer Miguel de l'Ècole and directed by Fernando César de Carvalhais Negreiros. Its exact construction date is uncertain, but it is believed to have been built around 1661 or 1662 as a small maritime fortification to protect the coast from the Galician fleet.
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Address: Forte de São Francisco Xavier, Praça de Gonçalves Zarco, Porto, Portugal | Hours: 1-6pm Tue-Sun | Price: €0.50 | Distance: 6.99km