Porto and Northern Portugal have long been tourist hot spots – and who can question why with their rich culture, history exuding from every corner and tranquil beauty right at your fingertips? With our helpful guide, you can learn exactly what to do in Porto on your next holiday.
Best things to do in Porto
Whether it’s art and culture that catches your eye, or the idea of relaxing in a seawater tranquillity pool, Porto has a lot to offer. But, what are the best things to do in Porto?
Step right into the heart of the city and the history of Porto by visiting Porto Cathedral. A national monument, this iconic cathedral was built during the 12th and 13th centuries with a gothic inspired architecture. Considered to be the city’s most important church, you can soak up the stunning aesthetics this castle-like cathedral offers while enjoying the historic culture of the area known by locals as the “Sé”.
Inside, you can discover the medieval portrait of the city’s patron saint, Our Lady of Vandoma, while outside you can admire the main chapel’s frescoes and the delicately crafted turrets of the cathedral. Named as one of the best things to do in Porto, a journey around this Roman Catholic church is a must on your next visit.
Crystal Palace Gardens
Translating into “Palácio de Cristal”, take a step away from city life and breathe in the fresh air of the Crystal Palace Gardens. Wander through eight hectares of tree-lined walkways while admiring the astonishing views of the Douro River. Hiking up to this secluded maze of greenery is well worth the visit – take in the delicately sculptured topiary, the intriguing hidden gems of foliage and the huge domed pavilion which is an iconic feature of the gardens.
Visiting Porto in September? Be sure to take a trip up to the Crystal Palace Gardens, the home of Porto’s annual book fair.
And if you consider yourself a book worm, discover the Livraria Lello - named by The Guardian and Lonely Planet as the world’s third most beautiful bookstore. Marvel in its art nouveau pearl design and gorgeous gothic features. And if this wasn’t enough to entice you, its magnificent red staircase is said to have inspired the staircase of Hogwarts. JK Rowling wrote while in Porto from 1991 – 1993 while she was working as an English teacher – making this the ultimate place to visit in Porto for Harry Potter fans.
And even if you’re not so passionate about books or the wizarding world of Harry Potter, experience the magic of this book shop for its neo-gothic and art nouveau exterior and its carefully crafted interior plaster resembling wood, and a stained-glass skylight – enough to turn anyone’s head.
Journey back in time to visit the old city district of Riberia – with narrow cobbled streets to discover, small bars and eateries dotted across the district, and river boats to explore the city by water, visiting Riberia is one of the best things to do in Porto.
With an authentically Portuguese feel, this traditional area is the perfect day out when visiting Porto. Take in the rich culture with ancient multi-coloured houses creating a unique landscape, secluded plazas to discover while also exploring this UNSECO World Heritage site. Jump aboard a famous Rabelo boat and journey from Douro to Gaia, maybe stumbling across a wine cellar or two on your travels.
Situated in Leça de Palmeria and designed by famed Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira, this luxury salt-water hot spot is built between the rocks and the ocean. The Leça de Palmeria beach plays host to one of the largest stretches of sand to be found in Northern Portugal - making it the perfect place for an idyllic salt-water swimming pool where visitors and locals can relax.
Considered to be one of the top things to do in Porto, bask in the salty water while enjoying the beautiful views of the sea and surrounding landscape; listen to the sound of waves crashing against the rocks; and experience the union of architecture combined with a natural setting.
Decided to visit Porto on your next travels? Learn more about what to do in Porto, Portugal – Long Travel can help plan your entire trip from start to finish. Find out everything you need to know about Porto, and our luxury holiday itineraries online today.
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