Wondering what there is to do in Porto? Don’t worry. We’ve gone on a search to find the top things to do in Porto, Portugal. You’ve probably heard of the Douro river and the famous Port wine, of course! But that isn’t the only thing charming Porto has to show you.
The second biggest city in Portugal is known for being much more laid-back than the capital, Lisbon, and has been elected Best European Destination in 2012, 2014 and 2017. It’s safe to say that this yet undiscovered destination should slowly crawl to the top of your traveling bucket list.
What To Do In Porto, Portugal
Table of Contents
We have compiled a list of unique things to do in Porto. Make sure to check these out and add them to your travel itinerary.
5 Fun Things To Do In Porto
Feeling like you want to escape the normal tourist attractions and activities? The following activities are definitely one of a kind and will ensure that you have a completely unique traveling experience.
Rolling Down The River
Ever been sipping Port wine on the banks of the Douro river? Well, when you do – you’ll be convinced to jump on a boat and enjoy the amazing views over Porto’s vineyards and houses crawling up the steep hills next to the river.
Book a river cruise and see all the beautiful landscapes of Gaia, the Douro river, the Port vineyards and the view over the Riberia neighborhood with the picturesque Porto serving as a backdrop.
Learn How To Make Pastel de Nata
One of the best things to do in Porto is to eat a Pastel de Nata.
This Portuguese sweet treat originated before the 18th century in Portugal and was made by Catholic monks. The egg whites were used for starching clothes which left them with a lot of excess egg yolks. The egg yolks were used to make cakes and pastries and the famous Pastel de Nata was born.
Want to learn how to make this delicious Portuguese delicacy? Visit AirBnB Experience host, Joana, and learn the history and the art behind making the sweet treat at their family restaurant.
Arrábida Bridge: The Only European Bridge Arch Climb
The Arrábida Bridge opened for the public the first time in 2016 after it has been closed for 53 years.
The bridge has a large concrete arch which was the largest in Europe back in 1963. Need an extra 262 steps on your Fitbit? Well, now you know how to burn those extra calories. Not one hundred percent convinced yet?
The Arrábida Bridge is the only place in Europe where you can climb the arch of a bridge. We promise the spectacular views at the end will make it worth your while. Find out more about the steep climb here.
Make Your Own Portuguese Hand-painted Tile
Looking for a fun and quirky activity where you can socialize with other travelers and locals?
Making and painting your own Portuguese tile will be an experience you won’t easily forget.
A few locals have dedicated their time and passion to teach visitors and craft lovers the history of Portugal’s tile making. Your tile might take some time to dry and bake, but do not fear, most workshops include a shipping option.
Porto Wine And Painting Class
Do you wish to avoid the normal tourists attractions in Porto? Desire a relaxing and inspiring holiday?
Join Hugo and Sylvia, two locals, who will share their passion for art, food, and wine with you while you are participating in an interactive art class. Snacks and port are included and of course, you get to take your beautiful masterpiece home with you. What a special souvenir!
The Top Things To Do In Porto
Not sure what to see in Porto, Portugal? Gastronomists, art lovers, wine connoisseurs and architect aficionados -you’ve picked the right destination! We’ve narrowed it down and sourced the best places to see in Porto.
Planning Your Trip: Must Do In Porto
It is time to start your planning! With so much on offer, it can be quite daunting to fit in as much as possible while traveling this city. We’ve included our favourites so that you don’t have to go on a time-consuming search and sussed out six of the best must-sees in Porto.
6 Things To See In Porto
The clock is ticking! Get ready to explore, be inspired and experience some jaw-dropping sites that won’t disappoint. Here is our list of the top things to see in Porto, Portugal.
The Best Sights: What To See In Porto
There are some important landmarks in Porto’s history. Visit them for your daily dose of tourist attractions.
Cais de Ribeira, Porto’s Riverfront
Sitting on the riverbanks of the Douro is absolutely worth it, especially after hiking up and down the steep hills of Porto. Visit Porto’s picturesque riverfront where locals and tourists come together to wine, dine and watch the sunset over the magical Douro river.
This is the must see in Porto! Enjoy the medieval architecture and local delicacies paired with Portuguese wines.
Clérigos Church And Tower
The Clerigos Church Tower can be seen all over Porto. The tower is part of the Clerigos church.
The church is built in Baroque interior style inside with objects hanging a lot higher to make the space look bigger. This is a characteristic of Italian architect and painter, Nicolau Nasoni. Climb the 200 steps to the top of the church tower to see the spectacular views of Porto city.
Praça da Liberdade
The Praça da Liberdade which translates to Liberty or Freedom square has a different architectural style to the rest of Porto.
It is located in the Baixa district in the lower part of Porto. The square links the old and the new, modern part of Porto to each other.
Why is it important to see? It’s located in the heart of Porto city center and close to the Clerigos Tower. It was an important place for the political, economic and social development and growth of Porto city.
Crystal Palace Gardens
Need to take a break from the hills and tourist attractions? Come and breathe in some fresh air while you sit or stroll a part of this enormous eight-hectare garden designed by German landscape architect, Emile David.
This garden is home to a few fountains, romantic little corners and spectacular views over the Douro river.
São Bento Railway Station
Public transport isn’t the only thing attracting people to this quirky train station. The entrance hall of the station is covered in Azulejo tin-glazed ceramic tiles.
They are all hand-painted. It took artist Jorge Colaço 11 years to place the blue and white tiles on the walls. The paintings, on the more than 20 0000 tiles, tell the history of Portugal through depictions of the war and the transport system of that time.
Soares dos Reis National Museum
This art museum is the oldest and most well-known art museum in Portugal, being more than 200 years old.
The Museum is named after Antonio Soares dos Reis, a famous Portuguese sculptor. The museum is hosted in Carrancas Palace which was occupied as a private residence from the eighteenth century.
The museum is filled with antiques, prints, glass objects and definitely visited for its collection of paintings and sculptures.
Visit The Neighbourhoods, Porto Must See
Get ready to explore the coolest neighborhoods Porto city has to offer. Every neighborhood in Porto is known for having a different type of vibe. Neighborhoods focusing on art, locations where locals like to hang out, and neighborhoods where you’ll get to experience the best cuisine of Portugal. These are our favourite places to see in Portugal.
List of Places To See In Porto, Portugal
Do you need some help deciding where to stay or hang out while you are in Porto? This neighborhood guide will tell you all about the trendiest neighborhoods including some suggestions on what to do in Porto.
Porto Neighborhood Guide
This guide has something on offer for every type of traveler, just check out the Porto neighborhood guide and pick the district that suits your vibe!
The Ribeira district is located in the historic center of old town Porto, a must see. Ribeira hosts some of the best restaurants, bars, boutiques, and museums Porto has to offer.
The neighborhood is reminiscent of old-world Portuguese charm. UNESCO established Porto’s historical center as a world heritage site back in 1996.
Visit these restaurants and bars in Ribeira:
- Jimão Tapas e Vinhos | Praça Ribeira 11, +351 22 092 4660
- Portologia | R. de São João 28, +351 912 538 219
- Restaurante Avó Maria | Cais Ribeira 30, +351 22 203 3166
Baixa is part of downtown Porto and is the contemporary, trendy and upcoming side of the city. Here you will find a lot of modern, quirky restaurants scattered all over. As well as a lot of boutique stores for the shopaholics.
Iconic buildings São Bento station and Praça da Liberdade which marks the heart of the city center can be found in the Baixa district.
Visit these trendy places in Baixa:
- Livraria Lello | R. das Carmelitas 144, Livraria Lello website
- Bar Baixa | R. de Cândido dos Reis 52, +351 22 201 5855
- Café Candelabro | Rua da Conceição 3
All art lovers, listen up. This is the neighborhood you want to spend a lot of time in. The hip and happening art scene of Porto is rooting in this part of town now.
You will find a lot of modern galleries and unique clothing stores. Cedofeita also has a lot of bars and clubs where locals and tourists go to experience the best of Porto’s nightlife.
These art galleries are worth visiting:
- YellowKorner | Rua de Santa Catarina 563, +351 22 324 8777
- Vantag Galeria | R. Calouste Gulbenkian 223, +351 22 609 0996
- Fernando Santos Gallery | Rua de Miguel Bombarda 526, +351 22 606 1090
Boavista is the district with the longest street in the city. You can visit places like Casa de Musica, the most well-known architectural landmark of this district or visit the Porto Planetarium.
This neighborhood is also home to the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art which is a must see in Porto for modern art lovers.
Pop in for a snack at these places in Boavista:
- Mercado Bom Sucesso | Praça Bom Sucesso 74-90, +351 22 605 6610
- Grelhador da Boavista | Rua da Meditação 39, +351 22 609 1440
- Em Carne Viva | Av. da Boavista 868, +351 932 352 722
Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia is not part of the city of Porto, but it is the best place to have the most amazing view over Porto city.
It is situated south of Porto on the banks of the Douro river. Want to have the best Port wine experience? Cellars at Vila Nova de Gaia are regularly visited by Port wine lovers. Cais de Gaia is the historic area of this district.
Here you can enjoy the best food and wine from Gaia’s many cafes and rooftop bars,all while overlooking the beautiful skyline of Porto.
Wine and dine in Gaia :
- Espaço Porto Cruz | Largo Miguel Bombarda 23, +351 22 092 5340
- VINUM Restaurant & Wine Bar | Rua do Agro 14, VINUM
- Restaurante Casa Adão | Av. de Ramos Pinto 252, +351 22 375 0492
Porto, Portugal Points of Interest
Still not 100% convinced? Well, now we’ve added a few points of interest to the list too.
Check it out:
- Miguel Bombardo Street | visit for shopping and street art
- Porto Walkers | see the best of Porto on this free guided tour with a local
- Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art | Contemporary and Art Deco Art and Architecture
- Church of Saint Ildefonso | Visit this church with its iconic blue tile facade
- Mercado do Bolhão | Visit this local favourite for fresh produce and prepared foods
Final Thoughts: Indulge In The Best of Porto, Portugal
There is a wide variety of things to see and activities to do in Porto, Portugal. Walk through the cobblestone streets, be in awe of buildings decorated in hand-painted tiles and smell the warm and inviting flavours coming from local Portuguese kitchens. Make sure to try some Port wine at least once, visit a few tourist attractions and enjoy the magnificent views this city has on offer. Add it to my bucket list now, please.