There are many and diverse “must see” attractions in Oporto, for anyone visiting the city, even if it is for a few days: from emblematic works of architecture to wonderful gardens. Bathed by the magnificent Douro River and with its six bridges that connect with the neighboring municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia, “Invicta” is full of tourist attractions. Follow the suggestions from All About Portugal and set out to discover a beautiful city, whose Historic Center is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You can stroll along the river, enjoy superb views, discover places of great historical or cultural importance and, for those who likes sports, we suggest you watch a football match. Use your breaks and walks to enjoy a glass of the famous Port Wine or a typical dish such as “Francesinha” or “Tripas à Moda do Porto".
Torre dos Clérigos
Classified as a National Monument since 1910, the Tower that stands imposingly in the center of “Invicta” is 75 meters high, which makes it a splendid viewpoint. The ascent is made along a spiral staircase with 225 steps, an effort that is well worth it, such is the panoramic view that can be enjoyed. Built at the beginning of the 18th century, the architectural complex of Clérigos, which still includes the Church, is of Baroque inspiration and was undoubtedly one of the main attractions in Porto. In special seasons, the Tower has its doors open until 11 pm, which allows you to enjoy an unparalleled experience, whether watching the sunset or the busy night.
Considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, it is common to queue to visit it on Rua das Carmelitas, close to downtown and the Rectory of the University of Porto. Opened in 1906, it is a bookstore with exceptional historical, artistic and architectural value, with an interior that impresses with its beauty, with special emphasis on its emblematic staircase that inspired J. K. Rowling for the first book in the Harry Potter saga. Interestingly, the staircase that attracts so many fans, which was initially brown, only became red in 1993, due to a “very happy” mistake when conservation and restoration works were carried out on the building. Entry is paid, but the amount is deductible when purchasing books.
Palácio de Cristal Gardens
It is a perfect place for a romantic stroll in the central area of Porto, with visitors being invited to meander through the great diversity of flora and classified trees, or the lake to discover the various viewpoints that offer splendid views over the Douro River and the city. The beautiful gardens were designed by the German Emil David, included in the construction of the Palácio de Cristal building, inaugurated in 1865 and demolished in 1951, giving rise to the Rosa Mota Pavilion, a multipurpose space that hosts cultural or sports shows. From the original project, the Emil David Garden, the Avenidas das Tílias and Avenida dos Plátanos, as well as the woods and the balconies over the Douro, still remain. If you come across some peacocks while walking, relax. These are other reasons for the place's interest.
In the “heart” of the city, on the busy Rua de Santa Catarina, is the Majestic, one of the most outstanding examples of Art Nouveau in Porto and already considered one of the most beautiful cafés in the world. In addition to the iconic façade, the interior features huge mirrors, carved metal lamps and elegant furniture. Opened in 1921, this stunning café is also an important place for memories of Porto's history, in the 1920s, as well as for the debate of ideas and political gatherings. Furthermore, it continues to be a suitable setting for cultural events, with its distinct atmosphere reminding the “Belle Époque”. French toast wrapped in egg cream and nuts is one of its specialties.
Estação de São Bento
It is considered one of the most beautiful train stations in the world, due to its admirable tiled atrium. Anyone arriving at this station located in downtown Porto, very close to Avenida dos Aliados, can see a magnificent example of the “Belle Époque”, in the Parisian style. Upon entering, visitors and many daily users face 20,000 tiles. Painted in blue and white, the various panels represent significant history scenes, mostly, of Northern Portugal, such as at the entry, the kings D. João I and D. Filipa de Lencastre in Porto in 1387 to celebrate their marriage, on a horseback. Even for those who do not intend to travel by train, São Bento Station is one of the must-visit attractions in Porto.
Sé do Porto
Close to the São Bento train station and Ribeira, this grandiose Cathedral rises above the ground, a National Monument since 1910. Built between the 12th and 13th centuries, it has Romanesque and Gothic features, along with others from the Baroque, when it had renovation works. Its interior retains the appearance of a fortress-church, with special attention to the 12th-century rose window, as well as the 18th-century side galilee, which faces the city. Another point that justifies a close look is the distinctive Gothic cloister, from the 14th century, which displays seven large tile panels, from the 18th century, with representations of scenes from the "Song of Songs".
Ribeira do Porto
With a privileged location next to the Douro River and integrated in the Historic Center, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, it is one of the most picturesque and lively places in the city, popular among tourists and residents looking to relax or enjoy a meal in the bars and restaurants in the area. From there you can enjoy the Vila Nova de Gaia pier or the Dom Luís Bridge, considered one of the most beautiful in Europe. Ribeira is also one of the possible starting points for the 6 Bridges Cruise, one of the most popular experiences offered by the city, which allows you to get to know the Bridges that connect Porto to Gaia on board a Rabelo, a typical Douro River boat.
Fundação de Serralves
It is undoubtedly another of the Attractions in Porto and a reference in terms of architecture and cultural offer. The Foundation includes the Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by the award-winning Portuguese architect Siza Vieira and which has a collection of Portuguese and foreign contemporary art; the beautiful Casa Cor de Rosa, a reference example of “Art Déco” architecture: and the 18 hectares park with its beautiful gardens. Enjoy and walk along the Serralves Treetop Walk, a unique walkway at the treetop level. The Serralves heritage complex has been classified as a National Monument since 2012, a distinction that further enhances the cultural, architectural and landscape value of what is one of the most consolidated cultural projects in Portugal.
Casa da Música
It was designed as part of the choice of Porto as European Capital of Culture in 2001 and is one of the icons of contemporary architecture and the main concert hall in the city. Inaugurated in 2005, it is the first building in Portugal entirely dedicated to music and quickly became one of the Attractions in Porto, capturing the attention of visitors from all over the world, whether to appreciate the project by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, or for the cultural offer. Sala Suggia, a room with capacity for 1238 people, is the largest in Casa da Música and considered its “heart”. It stands out for its excellent acoustics and seven windows that guarantee different viewing angles. It is possible to carry out guided tours of this magnificent building.
Dragão Football Stadium
It is the home of Futebol Clube do Porto, one of the biggest football clubs in Portugal. A remarkable work of architecture by Manuel Salgado and inaugurated for the 2004 European Championship, it is a modern, comfortable, functional stadium with good acoustics, with a capacity for around 50,000 spectators. It is possible to visit it daily, but if you can, go on game day to experience “in loco” the emotions of Porto fans. The Museum is located in the same premises, where great athletes who have passed through the club are highlighted, as well as their many achievements, with emphasis on the two football Champions Leagues. In addition to the extensive collection of trophies, let yourself be impressed by the interactive exhibition.
Located right in front of the sea, next to Parque da Cidade and Castelo do Queijo, Sea Life is a “giant” aquarium that includes more than three thousand fascinating creatures. Have fun walking through the first underwater tunnel in Portugal and delight in the beauty of turtles, Humboldt penguins, octopus, sharks or rays, among many others. In this oceanarium, visitors can experience picking up a urchin or touching a starfish, while children are challenged to answer questions about the marine world. In the SOS Oceanos area, the focus is on the risks that the marine world faces and the care that can be taken to preserve it. Before or after visiting this tourist attraction, and if the weather is nice, take the opportunity to stroll around the Foz area with your family.
WOW - World of Wine
On the other side of the Douro, in the historic area of Vila Nova de Gaia, we find this innovative cultural and museum space, which includes seven themed museums and 12 restaurants, bars and cafes, in addition to areas for exhibitions and events. Entrance to the open-air central square, from where you can enjoy an amazing view over Porto, is free. Admission to the museums is paid and you can chose for “The Wine Experience” or the “Pink Palace Experience”, where you are entitled to tastings of rosé wine, among other five themes ranging from cork to chocolate. WOW has already become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Porto area, and perfectly combines the world of wines with history and gastronomy. There is also a Wine School, which promotes workshops and tastings.