Porto travel guide: things to see and do, best hotels, best restaurants
Buildings and museums
Porto is full of beautiful structures: blue-tiled churches here, Eiffel-designed bridges there. Be sure to puff past the twin-towered Sé do Porto Cathedral – and climb up to its fascinating miradouro (viewpoint) – and the blue and white azulejos of nearby Sao Bento Station. Then, for more modern kicks, take in the Casa da Musica, a concert hall carved out of white concrete, and the Serralves, Portugal’s finest museum of contemporary art. The Clérigos Tower, a 75-metre bell tower, which “lovingly watches over the city”, is arguably Porto’s most iconic silhouette, Time Out said. “Given its commanding position, you can get an amazing 360 view of the city from the top, but you’ll have to climb 225 steps to get there.”
World of Wine
Five years in the making, the World of Wine is, as its name suggests, a tribute to all the elements that go into producing your favorite drink. The 55,000m² site sits just below the famous Yeatman Hotel, with a vast plaza at its heart and spectacular views of the Douro River and the Dom Luís I Bridge. There are museums, restaurants, shops and experiences to live in the wine district of Porto.
On the south bank of the Douro River, a 15-minute drive from the center of Porto, is Vila Nova de Gaia (aka Gaia) and the original old port lodges of businesses like Cockburn’s and Croft. Take part in a tasting or a walking tour.
Potter in Porto
Livraria Lello is one of the oldest bookstores in the world and often ranked as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, Harrison Jacobs told Business Insider. Many say it was the “direct inspiration” for JK Rowling and her Harry Potter books – the author lived in Porto from 1991 to 1993. Every day thousands Potter fans flock to Livraria Lello and it “can make the cramped bookshop feel like a tourist trap”. Despite the crowds, “I still enjoyed my visit”.
A glut of design-focused multi-purpose spaces has materialized in recent years, with most selling desirable crafts. Lobo Taste and Scar.ID are two of them, while Armazém is a former wine warehouse turned café, gallery and boutiques, selling everything from vintage clocks to chic handbags.