15 Must-Do’s That Guarantee Your Best Porto Moments

Retro, colorful, yet relaxing. Get inspired in Porto by indulging in these 15 must-do’s!

Facebook Serralves Porto Portugal featured

Facebook/Serralves

1. Capture your postcard moment at Cais de Gaia.

Av. Ramos Pinto, 4400-261 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal (map)

When in France, you’ve got to take a photo of the Eiffel Tower, right? When in Porto, you’ve got to snapshot your “I’m in Porto” moment at Cais de Gaia. It’s the most iconic view of the city’s skyline with picturesque boats and the beautiful Dom Luis bridge.

Facebook Cais de Gaia Porto Portugal
Facebook/Cais de Gaia

2. Don’t miss the other iconic view: Ponte de Dom Luís I.

Ponte Luís I, Porto, Portugal (map)

Besides Cais de Gaia, there is also Ponte de Dom Luís I which is a metal bridge spanning the Douro River between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. At the time of construction, it was the longest of its type of bridge in the world, breaking record at 172 meters.

Flickr Yellow.Cat Dom Luis I Bridge Porto Portugal
Flickr/Yellow.Cat

3. Enter the rush of gold inside Church of São Francisco.

Rua do Infante D. Henrique, 4050-297 Porto, Portugal (map, website)

As one of Europe’s most glamorous churches, São Francisco Church in Porto delivers the sanctuary experiences with Mida’s touch of gold. This is the most prominent Gothic monument in Porto, particularly for its exceptional Baroque inner decoration. It is located in the historic center of the city, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Flickr S. Faric Sao Francisco Church Porto Portugal
Flickr/S. Faric

4. Be artistically charged at Serralves.

R. Dom João de Castro 210, 4150-417 Porto, Portugal (map, website)

Serralves is one of the most important cultural institutions in Portugal, and the most visited museum in the country with more than 300,000 visitors per year. The museum was designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira. Serralves includes: a Contemporary Art Museum, a park and a villa. Each is a magnificent work of modernism and Art Deco. For art lovers, this is a must-do.

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Facebook/Serralves

5. Wanderlust along the colorful houses in Cais da Ribeira.

Porto District, Portugal (map)

Many call the district Cais da Ribeira “the soul of Porto.” Jetset Times contributor Nadia Cho describes da Ribeira as such, “Looking around at the colorful houses lining the Cais da Ribeira and the small boats loaded with barrels of wine, you can imagine sailors and pirates sailing in from the river as well as swordsmen and nobles walking down the pier.” We highly recommend spending a few hours strolling through this World Heritage riverfront district. It’s vivid and medieval, as if you just stepped into a time machine.

6. Put on your thinking cap at Lello Bookstore.

R. das Carmelitas 144, 4050-161 Porto, Portugal (map)

If you’re a book lover, you’ll definitely need to stop by Livraria Lello & Irmão, aka: Livraria Lello. Lello Bookstore is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal. Many consider Lello as one of the best bookstores in the world, simply for its gorgeous staircase, Neo-Gothic interior design and its lavish stained glass.

localporto.com Livraria Lello & Irmão bookstore porto portugal
localporto.com

7. Say a little prayer at Clérigos Church.

R. de São Filipe de Nery, 4050-546 Porto, Portugal (map, website)

Built during the 18th century, the Clérigos Church (translation: Church of the Clergymen) is a Baroque church with a tall bell tower: Torre dos Clérigos, which is symbolic as part of the Porto skyline and can be seen from different parts of the city.

Facebook Torre dos Clérigos Porto Portugal
Facebook/Torre dos Clérigos

8. Have a feast at the Bolhão Market.

Mercado bolhao Loja 1, 4000 Porto, Portugal (map, website)

The Bolhão Market is the most famous market in Porto, with numerous shops and vendors selling: meat, fruits, seafood, flowers…and many more. The architecture dates back to 1850 with a two-floor singular structure characterized by neoclassic style.

SEE ALSO: Top 5 Places To Get Your Grub On In Porto, Portugal

Flickr NoirKitsuné Bolhao Market Porto Portugal
Flickr/NoirKitsuné

9. Get cultured at Soares dos Reis Museum.

R. de Dom Manuel II 44, 4050-342 Porto, Portugal (map, website)

Located in the ancient Carrancas Palace, National Museum Soares dos Reis is one of the most renowned Portuguese museums. Founded in 1833, this is Portugal’s first national museum. It displays one of the finest collections of Portuguese art, look out for a special gallery exhibiting works by Portuguese sculptor António Soares dos Reis who the museum was named after.

Facebook Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis
Facebook/Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis

10. Stroll through the Crystal Palace Gardens.

R. de Dom Manuel II, 4050-346 Porto, Portugal (map)

A lovely way to spend an afternoon is to enjoy Porto’s most beautiful garden: Crystal Palace Gardens. Notice the large dome built in 1956, which replaced the 19th century iron-and-glass “Crystal Palace.” Here, you can also check out a lake, blooming flowers, and lively peacocks.

Across the street from the park’s entrance is Rua Miguel Bombarda which encompasses the city’s largest art galleries – another must-see if you’re an art fanatic.

11. Treat yourself to live orchestra at Casa da Música.

Av. da Boavista 604-610, 4149-071 Porto, Portugal (map, website)

An architectural wonder all on its own, Casa da Música (translation: House of Music) is a concert hall designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. When it was completed in 2005, it instantly became an icon in the city. Check out programs available during your trip here.

Facebook Casa da Música Porto Portugal
Facebook/Casa da Música

12. Shop ’til you drop in downtown Porto.

Galeria de Paris 20, 4050-182 Porto, Portugal (map)

Shopping in downtown Porto is authentic and original. You’ll feel like stepping back in time as you browse through creative yet somewhat vintage boutiques selling items you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Check out: A Vida Portuguesa (one of the most original stores in the country,) Pérola do Bolhão (a traditional grocery store,) Lobo Taste (a contemporary concept store) and Arcadia (for delicious chocolates!)

Facebook A Vida Portuguesa Porto Portugal
Facebook/A Vida Portuguesa

13. Indulge in architectural wonder at Palacio da Bolsa.

R. de Ferreira Borges, 4050-253 Porto, Portugal (map, website)

Designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Palácio da Bolsa (translation: Stock Exchange Palace) is a historical building built in the 19th century by Porto’s Commercial Association. The architecture boasts true Neoclassical style, it’s the perfect backdrop for an amazing Instagram post!

Facebook Palácio da Bolsa Porto Portugal
Facebook/Palácio da Bolsa

14. Grab a drink and chill out at Majestic Cafe.

Rua Santa Catarina 112, 4000-442 Porto, Portugal (map, website)

Established in 1921, Majestic Cafe is very similar to Cafe de Flore in France where artists and writers during that era were often meeting in such cafes. Porto’s Majestic Cafe boasts a tea room recently restored and reopened. Grab a book or grab a date then grab a drink at this historical landmark. Don’t forget to order a pastry, they’re absolutely mouthwatering.

Facebook Majestic Cafe Porto Portugal
Facebook/Majestic Cafe

15. Don’t forget: Porto Cathedral

Terreiro da Sé, 4050-573 Porto, Portugal (map, website)

Just in case you had to check out one more church, don’t forget Porto Cathedral. Situated in the historical part of the city, the 12th-century Porto Cathedral is one of the city’s oldest monuments and it’s one of the most significant Romanesque monuments in the country. This was also where Prince Henry the Navigator was baptized.

Flickr Yellow.Cat Porto Cathedral Portugal
Flickr/Yellow.Cat

Wendy Hung

CEO, FOUNDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and St. Bart's because they were all so different!

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