The top 10 attractions you shouldn’t miss in Porto

Muslim Travel Blog

What to See in Porto, Portugal

The top 10 attractions you shouldn’t miss in Porto

vista geral porto com ponte
©Marco Duarte

Of all the cities in Portugal, the capital is often the favourite, but Porto is fast becoming the destination of choice. While it may be smaller than Lisbon, Porto packs a feisty little punch when it comes to the best attractions. First of all, it’s the home of port and the wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia are a must-visit (and must-taste). Secondly, its Ribeira district is one of the most Instagrammable historic quarters you’ll have ever laid eyes on.

Also like Lisbon, this northern city is rather hilly, but there are heaps of heavenly parks in which to take a breather. From many points in Porto you’ll get an extraordinary view of the Douro River, which is crossed by the iconic Dom Luis I iron bridge to connect Porto to Gaia. And let’s not forget the amazing array of traditional restaurants to visit.

Whatever your interests, Porto will have something to suit you. And to narrow down your search, check out our guide to the ten best attractions in Porto.

Torre dos Clérigos

Clérigos Tower

This ornate, 75-metre bell tower, which watches lovingly over the city of Porto, is arguably the city’s most iconic silhouette. It was opened in 1763 and is blessed with a beautiful barrage of Baroque motifs thanks to its Italian designer Nicolau Nasoni. Given its prominent position, you can get some amazing 360° views of the city from the top, but you’ll have to climb 225 steps to get there.

vista dos jardins do palácio de cristal

© João Saramago

Attractions, Parks and gardens

Crystal Palace gardens

When Googling this park, if you’re faced with a bunch of fiberglass dinosaurs, then you’re in the wrong Crystal Palace. Despite the lack of prehistoric models, these gardens are somewhat more exotic than what London has to offer. Not only does this verdant paradise have a maze of walkways, tree-lined waterways, sculptured topiary and a huge domed pavilion (all thanks to German landscape architect Emile David), but it overlooks the Douro River too. Well worth the hike up there.

Serra do Pilar

© Cláudia Paiva

Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

Serra do Pilar

Vila Nova de Gaia

The Serra do Pilar is a jagged hill above the Douro river on the Gaia side. Needless to say, the view is spectacular, especially at sunset. Visit the thirteenth-century monastery to find out more about the four World Heritage sites in Portugal’s northern region: the historic centres of Porto and Guimarães, the Douro wine region and the Côa Archaeological Park.

cave ferreira

© DR

Porto Wine Cellars

Porto’s sister city Gaia has beaches and those famous Port wine cellars. They’re gorgeous, with guided tours to teach you the history of the stuff and the distinguishing features of each variety (there are many varieties of port). Every tour has a happy ending: a Port tasting. We recommend the Sandeman Cellars (Largo Miguel Bombarda, 3; the ones with the chap in the black cape), which include a museum; Taylor’s (Rua do Choupelo, 250), featuring the highly-rated O Barão de Fladgate restaurant; and Cockburn’s (Rua Serpa Pinto, 346), where you can enjoy a picnic with some lip-smacking Portuguese delicacies.

escadaria da livraria lello

© Edgar Jiménez

Shopping, Bookshops

Livraria Lello

Galerias

The Guardian and travel website Lonely Planet picked this as the world’s third most beautiful bookstore. Are they having a laugh? It’s gorgeous! More than a century old, Lello is an art nouveau pearl with gothic details, stained glass and a fabulous red staircase, said to have inspired the one in Hogwarts (JK Rowling once lived in Porto). Harry Potter fans: make a beeline here immediately. There are so many visitors these days that you are now charged to enter, but this is discounted from any purchase. Plenty of tours go to the Lello Bookstore.

6
Sé Catedral

© João Saramago

Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

Porto Cathedral

Porto’s Cathedral (‘Sé’) is the city’s most important church. Built in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, it’s a national monument. Look out for the gothic cloister, the chapel frescoes, the Teixeira Lopes sculpture in the baptistery and the medieval portrait of Our Lady of Vandoma, the city’s patron saint. When locals talk about the ‘Sé’, they don’t just mean the cathedral: the name also applies to the historic district at Porto’s heart. Wander its streets, keep Google Maps turned off and you’ll thank us for it.

Estação de São Bento

© Diego Delso

Attractions, Railways

Why are we directing you to a train station? Because it’s one of the world’s most stunning. We’re not being biased either, as São Bento was voted tenth most beautiful in Travel+Leisure magazine’s list of the World’s Most Beautiful Train Stations. First, take in the Belle Epoque, Parisian-esque exterior, then prepare to have your mind just a little bit blown upon entering. The concourse is jaw-droppingly wonderful, with 20,000 decorative tiles covering the walls, which took painter Jorge Colaço 11 years to complete, no less. Get up close and personal to truly appreciate the scenes of intricately painted Portuguese history, daily life and transportation (for the trainspotters). And if you do wish to travel, you can catch a train from here to nearby towns such as Miramar (with its beautiful beaches and mansions), Braga or Guimarães.

foz

© João Saramago

Foz

Foz is almost a mini-city within Porto. In the nineteenth century it was a seaside resort where Brits and well-heeled Porto residents went on holiday. Nowadays, visit it for its beaches (several of them have a blue flag), seaside-y outdoor cafés (try the ones at the Praia da Luz and iBar’s, located among the rocks), or a stroll in the sun along the Avenida do Brasil with its view of the Atlantic. Nearby is the Queijo Fort, the Passeio Alegre Fountain, the Felgueiras lighthouse, the Molhe Breakwater and Old Foz (a quainter part of the district). You can eat very well around here: try chef Pedro Lemos’s eponymous restaurant (for a splurge), Casa Vasco, Cafeína or a burger at Peebz.

ribeira
© Marco Duarte

Ribeira

If you’re in Porto you absolutely, positively must visit Ribeira. This old city district located by the Douro is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Yes, it’s swarming with tourists, but don’t let that put you off. Cross the river in a rabelo boat; go wobbly looking at the Luíz I, D. Maria II and Arrábida bridges (great backgrounds for dramatic photos); visit the Bacalhoeiros Wall, the Casa do Infante museum, the Rua da Reboleira, Cubo square, São Nicolau Church and the ‘Alminhas da Ponte’, a sculpture by artist Teixeira da Lopes. Eat at the Adega de S. Nicolau (they sometimes have fado nights), have a drink at the Pestana Vintage Hotel’s amazing RIB bar, then head up to the heights on the Guindais Funicular Railway. Phew!

piscina das marés

© DR

Marés Swimming Pool

Leça da Palmeira

Just you try and resist diving straight into this breathtaking pool. Go on, we dare you. Designed by famed Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira, Marés Pool is quite literally built into the rocks that divide the land and the ocean and is quite a sight to behold, let alone swim in. Although do be sure to take a dip, as it’s filled with salty seawater and is great for floating your cares away.

 

Original post written by Danielle Goldstein on Time Out 

Other articles you may like

Top Five Islamic Heritage Site in Seville, Andalusia

  Seville, top travel city in Andalusia The travel giant Lonely Planet announced in 2018 the quintessentially Andalusian city of Seville as its top travel city. Home of the flamenco, bullfighting, tapas, and over 500 hundred years of Muslim history. So here are our...

Some of the best shopping malls in Madrid

Madrid is home to some great outdoor shopping areas like the Gran Vía, but sometimes, especially when the weather is bad, a shopping mall is a much nicer shopping prospect. Read on to discover some of the city’s best shopping centres. Centro Comercial La Gavia If you...

Don’t miss this spectacular 16th-century mansion in Seville

Casa Pilatos (House of Pilatos)     Seville's Casa de Pilatos was built in the 16th century and is an outstanding example of Seville's civil palace architecture. It is a splendid blend of the Renaissance, Mudejar and Baroque styles. The humanist character of...

Carmen de los Martires gardens

Carmen de Los Martires The hidden gardens of Alhambra   Carmen de Los Martires is a 19th-century construction made up of a palace building and vast gardens; a French Baroque garden with a large pond, which has a statue of Neptune in the center and is surrounded...

Casa Mila “La Pedrera” Anthoni Gaudi’s House

Casa Mila "La Pedrera A masterpiece by architecture Gaudí Barcelona, Spain Everything in this building is curved and undulating. Its originality and the techniques used in its construction are surprising throughout. This is one of the best-known works of the architect...

What to See & Do in Madrid?

The 10 top Things to See & Do in Madrid There are many things to be done in Madrid, so choosing where to go and what to see can be stressful. Here we profile the ten most fun, interesting and unique things to do in Madrid, so no matter if you are spending two days...

Palace of Maximianus Herculeus

The first news mentioning possible remains in the area go back to 1922, when, due to a reform in the railway system, Joaquín María de Navascués found the cryptoportico - of which up to 18 metres of its inside silting were excavated - and one of the buildings related...

Al Andalus Live Museum at Calahorra Tower

Located inside the Calahorra Tower, opposite the Great Mosque, at the end of the Roman Bridge. Its aim is to provide a recreation of the Cordoba of the period between the 9th-13th centuries, at a time of brilliant cultural, artistic and scientific achievement. Its...

Top 10 things to do when visiting Cordoba, Andalusia

Top 10 things to do when visiting Cordoba, Andalusia Boasting a fascinating and multi-faceted history, Córdoba is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain. From its iconic Mosque-Cathedral to the beautiful flower-adorned patios open to the public every...

Discover San Sebastian in the Basque Country

Also known as Donostia-San Sebastián, the city of San Sebastián stretches across an area of over 60 square kilometres and is home to a population of nearly 200,000 inhabitants. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain due to the numerous events and...

Discover the Islamic architecture of Spain

Top sites to discover the Islamic architecture of Spain   The Alhambra Palaces Save Credit: Nathan Rupert on Flickr When you hear the name Alhambra, somehow the name itself gives you a certain excitement, as the place seems mystical and adventurous. Who would not...

Costa del Sol Malaga, Andalusia

The sunny coast of Malaga Endless beaches to stroll along, hidden coves, white villages that appear like a mirage in the middle of the mountains, historical landmarks with centuries of culture, afternoons spent shopping and evenings dining by the sea. These are the...

Cordoba capital of the Roman Hispania

Roman Cordoba was founded by General Claudio Marcelo between the years 169 BC and 152 BC, and he settled, as we will see in the section dedicated to urban planning, opposite the part of river Guadalquivir where it is no longer navigable. The settlement had an...

The Seville Cathedral

The Seville Cathedral is the biggest Gothic cathedral in the world and also the 3rd biggest one in terms of size, after Saint Peter (the Vatican) and Saint Paul (London, UK). Its construction started in 1401, after the Christians reconquered Seville, and it ended in...

What to Visit in The Alpujarra of Granada

The Alpujarras is a region of mountain towns and villages that lie on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada, just one to two hour’s drive from the city of Granada in Andalusia. The area was made famous by Chris Stewart’s Driving Over Lemons series of novels about...

Gardens of Al-Andalus: A way of live

Since the arrival of Islam as a religion in the 7th century C.E., Gardens have been described as a metaphor of Paradise or al-janna (the garden). Every time heaven is mentioned in the holy book of Quヴげaミ, there is a description of flowing water and fruit bearing...

The old Madrasah of Granada a House of Science

Built by Yusuf I in 1349, the Madrasah of Granada was the first university of Al-Andalus Located in the heart of Granada, in Oficios Street, is the only Nasrid building that remains in the heart of Granada. Until the 15th-century in the area was located the main...

Muslim Travels App that will make your trip much easier

What are the good apps for Muslim travelers Fortunately, technology has made our lives easier. Kompas.com has compiled four apps that would make your trip during this holy month more enjoyable. If a Muslim women in #Hijab, how to protect yourself traveling Europe...

Formentera: What to see in the Spanish Island

If you are looking for tourist attractions in Formentera, in this section we give you a list of places that you cannot miss on the island given its tourist interest. Formentera has options for all tastes: art and culture, nature, sport, tradition, etc. Below you will...

REGULATIONS ABOUT CHILD CAR SEATS IN SPAIN

WHY IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW REGULATIONS ABOUT CHILD CAR SEATS? Would you like to be aware of new regulations for child car seats issued by DGT (Spanish traffic authorities) in 2019? In past years regulations about child car seats have gone through several changes up to...

Gardens of Al-Andalus more than aesthetic role

Author(s): FUNCI Book publication: Editorial Al-Fadila. Valencia. 2012 Number of pages: 53 ISBN: 978-8461276806 Price: 10 € on de info@funci.org 

The Biggest Shopping Malls in Barcelona

Here we resumed all the information you may need about Barcelona’s largest shopping centres, you’ll read about the centres and what you can find inside. Barcelona is a beautiful city that offers such a great number of places to explore, where you can never really go...

IBIZA

What to Do and See while visiting Madrid?

What to Do and See when visiting Seville?   The city of Seville boasts a rich history of over 2,200 years with numerous civilisations and eras behind its name. Several well-preserved historic sites such as the Alcázar, Torre del Oro, City Hall, Palace of San...

Don’t miss this spectacular 16th-century mansion in Seville

Casa Pilatos (House of Pilatos)     Seville's Casa de Pilatos was built in the 16th century and is an outstanding example of Seville's civil palace architecture. It is a splendid blend of the Renaissance, Mudejar and Baroque styles. The humanist character of...

Discover the Islamic architecture of Spain

Top sites to discover the Islamic architecture of Spain   The Alhambra Palaces Save Credit: Nathan Rupert on Flickr When you hear the name Alhambra, somehow the name itself gives you a certain excitement, as the place seems mystical and adventurous. Who would not...

Things to do in 3 days in Barcelona

3 Days itinerary for your getaway to the city   If you have 3 days in Barcelona, you are lucky! because that’s the perfect amount of time to experience most of the city’s main tourist attractions and even get a little bit off the beaten path! The Catalan capital,...

Andalusia: Explore The Greatest Spain Islamic Heritage

Andalusia: Explore The Greatest Spain Islamic Heritage   Spain today is a country with a majority population of Christians. But a lesser known fact is that Muslims conquered and ruled a region of the country called Andalusia or Al-Andalus, at the time, for...

Things to See and Do in Santa Cruz Quarter, Seville

It was into the beautiful barrio of Santa Cruz that Seville’s Jewish population was confined when Ferdinand III took the city from the Moors in 1248. Brutal as the Catholic monarch could be, you can’t help but feel as you wander around the pretty, impossibly narrow...

Cordoba capital of the Roman Hispania

Roman Cordoba was founded by General Claudio Marcelo between the years 169 BC and 152 BC, and he settled, as we will see in the section dedicated to urban planning, opposite the part of river Guadalquivir where it is no longer navigable. The settlement had an...

Mosques to visit in Spain

Mosques to visit in Spain By Sakina Kamrudeen | 15, Nov, 2017 Spain has a long and colourful history, having first been conquered by the Roman Empire until the Middle Ages, when in the 8th century, Spain became a part of the ever-expanding Umayyad Caliphate. Although...

Andalusia, South Spain

European Cities where to spend fantastic Muslim-friendly Holidays

European Cities where to spend fantastic Muslim-friendly Holidays   Europe is such an awesome place to be living. So much diversity, beauty, and hospitality everywhere. After completing a 3-week tour of Europe I thought I will put together a guide of my favorite...

REGULATIONS ABOUT CHILD CAR SEATS IN SPAIN

WHY IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW REGULATIONS ABOUT CHILD CAR SEATS? Would you like to be aware of new regulations for child car seats issued by DGT (Spanish traffic authorities) in 2019? In past years regulations about child car seats have gone through several changes up to...

Guide to Mosques, Prayer rooms and Musallahs in Spain

Guide to Mosques, Prayer rooms & Musallahs in Spain Find a Masjid near you   Barcelona Mosque Abi Ayoub Elansari Barcelona Carrer de Massanet, 5 , 326 , Barcelona ,Spain Mosque Hanza Barcelona Mosque Hanza Carrer de Almenara Alta, 12 , 326 , Barcelona ,Spain...

Da Pena Palace & Sintra National Park

Park & National Palace of Sintra (Portugal) The Palace of Pena stands atop a rocky peak, which is the second-highest point in the Sintra hills (the only place higher than the palace itself is the Cruz Alta, 528 meters above sea level). The palace is situated in...

Palace of Maximianus Herculeus

The first news mentioning possible remains in the area go back to 1922, when, due to a reform in the railway system, Joaquín María de Navascués found the cryptoportico - of which up to 18 metres of its inside silting were excavated - and one of the buildings related...

The Ummayad dynasty in al-Andalus

Reign of the Andalusian UmayyadsʿAbd al-Rahman IThe ascent of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān assured the survival of Muslim power in Spain. Confronted by the intrigues of the ʿAbbāsids, by the jealousy of the earlier Muslim settlers, who opposed his appointments, and by the uncertain...

All You Need to Know About Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban

Everything You Need to Know About Trump's Latest Travel Ban Immigration has been a long standing point of contention since President Donald J. Trump was sworn into office in January 2017. Trump’s controversial "Muslim Ban"—a travel ban primarily targeting immigrants...

Things to See and Do in Santa Cruz Quarter, Seville

It was into the beautiful barrio of Santa Cruz that Seville’s Jewish population was confined when Ferdinand III took the city from the Moors in 1248. Brutal as the Catholic monarch could be, you can’t help but feel as you wander around the pretty, impossibly narrow...

Find Halal Food

Please don’t be one of those people who travel to Paris, Tokyo, or Nairobi and spends the entire trip eating at McDonald’s. How are you going to enjoy an authentic travel experience if you don’t eat what the locals eat? That gets a bit tricky when you’re on the hunt...

What to See & Do in Portugal?

Do you want to see the best historic destinations in Portugal? Explore these Beautiful Villages Keep reading for a few ideas to explore one of the oldest countries in Europe and its many beautiful historic towns Tomar, Portugal Inside the Convento de Cristo in Tomar |...

14th century synagogue of Cordoba, unique in Spain

Of all the monuments preserved in our city, it is probably the Synagogue of Córdoba the one with the lowest dissemination. However, in this section we will try to prove that it is a very important building, from an artistic, historical, social and political point of...

12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter

12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter by Lisa Alexander   Known for its winding streets and hidden squares steeped in history, El Barri Gòtic is ideal for a historic walk followed by a rest at one of the many trendy bars or cafes. A trip...

The Seville Cathedral

The Seville Cathedral is the biggest Gothic cathedral in the world and also the 3rd biggest one in terms of size, after Saint Peter (the Vatican) and Saint Paul (London, UK). Its construction started in 1401, after the Christians reconquered Seville, and it ended in...

Top 10 things to do when visiting Cordoba, Andalusia

Top 10 things to do when visiting Cordoba, Andalusia Boasting a fascinating and multi-faceted history, Córdoba is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain. From its iconic Mosque-Cathedral to the beautiful flower-adorned patios open to the public every...

Tourism Measures during the Covid 19 pandemic in Spain

Measures to reduce the spread of the virus SARS-CoV-2 Guidelines and recommendations to be applied by the tour guides in order to minimise the risk of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection in their activity.    COVID-19 is a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus; a...

What to See & Do in Madrid?

The 10 top Things to See & Do in Madrid There are many things to be done in Madrid, so choosing where to go and what to see can be stressful. Here we profile the ten most fun, interesting and unique things to do in Madrid, so no matter if you are spending two days...