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Things To See in Porto, Portugal

From river boat trips, to ornate churches, to sun, sea and sand, Porto has a wide variety of attractions to tempt visitors.

Six stunning bridges sit across the Douro, the river on which Porto is situated. A great way to see these bridges up close is to take on the river boat trips offered. These tours also take in Gaia and other parts of the city.

In terms of churches, Porto has quite a few and many of these are filled with important works of art. Take for example the Igreja de São Francisco and its incredibly detailed series of statues of the genealogical tree of Jesus. Also, if you’re up for climbing 225 stones steps, head to the Torre dos Clérigos, a church bell tower and the highest tower in Portugal, which offers stunning views of the city.

Porto is a pretty green city, with lots of little park areas, leafy streets and gardens. One of the most prominent of these green spaces is the Serralves Park. Covering 18 hectares, it’s home to rose gardens, an Art Deco villa, the Museum of Contemporary Art and much more.

Beach bunnies and surf seekers alike should head to Matosinhos where golden sands stretch along the shoreline and great waves lap at the beach. Sunbathing, swimming and surfing are all popular activities here.

If you’re looking to shop while visiting Porto, check out the main shopping drag along Rua de Santa Catarina. Some of the city’s malls are also well-worth a look, for example Dolce Vita and Shopping Cidade do Porto.

Attractions in Porto

  • Palácio da Bolsa

    Rua Ferreira Borges, Porto, Portugal

    Visits to the Palácio da Bolsa are by guided tour only because the building is still used by the Commercial Association today. Tours are available in various languages and it’s a good idea to go early so you won’t have to wait long for one that suits you. The jewel in the crown here is the Arabian room, which took 18 years to complete and is a stunning sight of glass and plaster. This was the first building in the city to have electricity and as such it is home to some amazing antique light fixtures. All the rooms are done in a different style and it’s a treat to get to wander around and see each one. Around 200,000 people visit here every year.

    Open Nov-Mar 9am-1pm & 2pm-6pm, Apr-Oct 9am-7pm; admission €5.50.

  • Igreja de São Francisco

    Rua do Infante D. Henrique 4050, Porto, Portugal

    São Francisco church is an incredibly ornate house of worship, and one that’s very open. You can literally walk right up to the altar and wander around. Make sure to check out the impressive stained glass, the huge organ and incredibly detailed series of statues of the genealogical tree of Jesus.

    Open Nov-Feb 9am-5.30pm, Mar-Oct 9am-7m, Jul-Sept 9am-8pm; admission €3.

  • Serralves Park

    Rua D. João de Castro 210, Porto, Portugal

    A verdant and vibrant area, Serralves Park covers an impressive 18 hectares and is administered by the Serralves Foundation, an important cultural organisation. Stroll through the shaded woods or enjoy the blooms in the sweet-smelling rose garden. There are lots of places to sit and take in the park’s free standing art works. You can also check out the intriguing Art Deco villa found here. The Museum of Contemporary Art is located on the grounds too, and it costs extra to visit.

    Open Apr-Sept Tues-Fri 10am-7pm & Sat-Sun 10am-8pm, Oct-Mar Tues-Sun 10am-7pm; admission €2.50.

  • Torre dos Clérigos

    Rua de São Filipe de Nery, Porto, Portugal

    Once you climb the 225 stone steps to the top of this, the highest tower in Portugal, you'll be afforded with amazing views of the city and its other main attractions. Torre dos Clérigos was built between 1754 and 1763 and stretches up for 76 metres. Today large numbers of people visit the tower each day, and you're sure to meet some on the winding ascent and descent. A beautiful church is attached to this bell tower, and it's well worth paying it a visit while you're here.

    Open daily 9.30am-1pm & 2.30pm-7pm; admission €2.

  • Pc da Cordoaria

    , Porto, Portugal

    This open park area sports a pond, lots of shaded areas where you can lounge on the grass, and plenty of benches to sit on. If you’ve got your computer, you can whip it out and check your email while you’re here too, as the park has its own WiFi.

  • Matosinhos

    , Porto, Portugal

    One of the best places around Porto to enjoy some sun, sea and sand, the stretch of golden beach at Matosinhos is a popular spot on warm, sunny days. Sunbathing and swimming are popular activities, with surfing also all the rage in this area. In fact, numerous surf shops have set up along the sea front and offer equipment rental and lessons. So if you feel like catching your first wave, Matosinhos is the place to go.

  • Ponte Luis I

    , Porto, Portugal

    From the Ponte Luis I you can take in some of the most stunning views of Porto and of the River Douro. Along with the pedestrian paths at both sides of the bridge, it’s also traversed by one of the city’s metro lines.

  • Catedral de Porto

    , Porto, Portugal

    Getting into the cathedral itself won't cost a penny and in here you can take in the contrast between the plain stone walls and the ornate altar. Sit in one of the wooden pews and have a look around at the stained glass windows. On the walls just outside the entrance, you'll see more of the blue and white painted tiles that are a feature of many of Porto's most beautiful structures.

    Open Apr-Oct 8.45am-12.30pm & 14.30pm-7pm, Nov-Mar 8.45am-12.30pm & 14.30pm-6pm.

  • El Corte Inglés

    Avenida da República 1435, Gaia, Porto, Portugal

    A well-known shopping institution in these parts, El Corte Inglés is filled with internationally renowned brands from Clinique to Hugo Boss to Tommy Hilfiger. Accessories, cosmetics, books, clothes, shoes and household goods are just some of the items on offer across the ten different floors of this giant department store.

    Open Mon-Sat 10am-11pm.

  • Rua de Santa Catarina

    , Porto, Portugal

    Santa Catarina is a mix of hip boutiques, local brands and well-known global names. Here you’ll find electrical goods, shoes, sunglasses, cosmetics, clothes and more. Some of the stores located along this street include Foot Locker, Benneton, C&A, Mango and Swarovski. A number of stalls set up shop along the street too, offering leather goods, jewellery and more. The Via Catarina mall, which offers three floors of stores, can also be found along this stretch.

  • Dolce Vita

    Rua dos Campeões Europeus 28-198, Porto, Portugal

    Beside the Estadio do Dragao, this shopping mall is spread over five different floors with plenty of top-notch shops to catch your eye and compel you to take out your wallet. Some of the stores to be found here include Pull & Bear, Quicksilver, Foot Locker, Lacoste, Pepe Jeans, Zara, and Vodafone, among many others. The oval shaped building is a cool spot, with lots of huge windows brightening the walkways and staircases that lead you from one shop to the next.

    Open Mon-Thurs 9am-11pm, Fri-Sat 9am-12am.

  • Shopping Cidade do Porto

    Rua Gonçalo Sampaio 350, Porto, Portugal

    Another of Porto’s large shopping centres, the stores in this mall are spread over four different floors. Furnishings, clothing, accessories, cosmetics, perfumes and more can all be bought here, with brands like Zara, Mango, Accessorize, Benneton just some of the well-known names to be found throughout this modern looking centre.

    Open daily 10am-11pm.

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