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Best things to do in Porto

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Portugal  /  Northern Portugal  /  Porto District  /  Porto

Top 15 things to do in Porto

1. Porto Cathedral (Se Catedral)

Visit Porto Cathedral (Se Catedral), one of the country's prime Romanesque monuments, featuring two square towers supported by a counterfort, a baroque porch, and a gothic chapel. Apart from being the largest church, this cathedral is also among the oldest monuments in the city. The site served as a wedding spot of King John I, and Prince Henry the Navigator was baptized at the site. Dating back to the 12th century, the structure you see today was finalized in 1737. See its Gothic cloisters featuring blue and white Baroque tiles, check out an art collection within, and look for the silver-adorned altarpiece held in the chapel.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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2. Ponte de Dom Luis I

Traverse the iconic Ponte de Dom Luis I along its pedestrian pathway for beautiful views of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. When it was completed in 1886, this 172 m (564 ft) bridge was the longest of its kind in the world. Now the two-hinged, double-deck, arched steel bridge is beloved for the spectacular vantage points it offers. The bridge is comprised of a lower section for cars and an upper section for a light rail and pedestrians. If you walk across the bridge, you can take photos from the high above the Douro River.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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3. Palacio da Bolsa

Tour Palacio da Bolsa, a 19th-century stock-market palace, and walk through the lavish rooms of the assembly and tribunal. Built by the Commercial Association in 1850, the building was improved upon and decorated until 1910. See the courtyard room, filled with arched doorways and covered by a large octagonal metallic and glass dome. You can explore quaint chambers that host allegorical paintings, rustic furniture, sculptures, and antique objects. Visit the most lavish room at the site, the Moorish Revival-styled reception hall, which once welcomed important personalities and leaders.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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4. Food Tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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6. Wine Tours & Tastings

Taste wines of the finest quality from vineyards sculpted into the Douro Valley landscape on a Porto tasting tour. A region known for its distinct grapes, the area allows you to spend as much or as little time as you wish sipping on locally made whites, reds, and roses as you look out across UNESCO World Heritage-listed landscapes. When you travel with a local guide, you'll have a chance to learn about the process of traditional winemaking from age-old family-run estates and lunch at a local village on some typical Douro cuisine. Tours last a full day, with lunch included on most tours.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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7. Douro River

Explore Douro River aboard a cruise ship or by visiting the cities that line its shores. At 897 km (557 mi) long, this river stretches between Duruelo de la Sierra in Spain and Porto in Portugal. Spend your day cruising down the river or kayaking while enjoying views of the valley. On land, you can take a bike ride. Discover a riverside city, such as Vila Nova de Gaia, Foz do Tua, or Peso da Regua. Or experience the wine-making region of Douro Vinhateiro, a World Heritage Site.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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8. Room Escape Games

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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9. Torre dos Clerigos

Climb to the top of Torre dos Clerigos, an iconic symbol of the city. This tower behind the Clérigos Church was built in the mid-18th century. Its design contains aspects of Roman Baroque architecture, though it is modeled after Tuscan-style bell towers. While this structure can be seen from various places in the city--making it one of the most recognized sites of Porto and a compass for lost travelers--you can't fully experience the tower until you ascend the 240 steps to its peak. Once you reach the top of this six-floor trek, you will be rewarded with incredible views of the ancient city.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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10. Livraria Lello

You'll find Livraria Lello fascinating even if you're not into books. A bookstore with loads of character not found in malls, this building from the early 20th century features Neo-Gothic details that add a punch of magic to the usual shopping experience. "Harry Potter" author JK Rowling, who lived in Porto in the 1990s, allegedly used one of the shop's twisting stairways for inspiration. Stop by and you might be inspired to read--or write--something too.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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11. Liberdade Square

Cutting through the heart of the city, Liberdade Square recalls the grand boulevards of Paris. Flanked by stately buildings and elegant hotels, the wide street features one of the city's most recognizable landmarks, a granite town hall famous for its 70 m (230 ft) tall bell tower. The boulevard's central square, featuring the towering equestrian statue of King Peter IV, serves as the site of frequent art festivals and exhibits. Try to avoid the heavy traffic that often chokes this avenue by exploring the area on foot or by bicycle. Literary fans may want to stop by the statue of writer Almeida Garrett in front of the town hall.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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12. Ribeira do Porto

Walk down the boardwalk at Ribeira do Porto, a popular historic district packed with cultural offerings. This area is home to Ribeira Wharf and Riveira Square--one of the city's oldest squares, built in 1389. The narrow side streets are lined with colorful homes, lively bars, traditional restaurants, and small shops. Meander along the pier for views of the Duoro River and bridges. You can also take a river tour by boat.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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13. Museu Serralves

In a minimalist building, Museu Serralves hosts frequently changing contemporary art exhibits. This prominent European contemporary circuit, part of the most-visited museum in Portugal, aims to bring attention to art and the fragile environment. Built on 18 hectares (44 acres) dotted with modern sculptures, the complex includes a 14-gallery museum, farmland, a shop, a bookstore, and several cafes. Use an audio guide at the museum to learn about its frequently changing exhibits and activities--there is not a single permanent exhibit at the site.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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14. Igreja da Ordem Terceira de São Francisco

Along the riverbank, the Baroque styling of Igreja da Ordem Terceira de São Francisco draws visitors with its gold, marble, and wood interior. This monument dates to the 14th century, when its construction was initiated by King Ferdinand. The church features decoration from as late as the 18th century, including pillars and columns with cherubs, plants, and animals adorning the surfaces. The amount of gold inside the church is said to total 400 kg (880 lbs). See the catacombs below the church, which house a museum with monastery artifacts. You can also view an underground cemetery, with thousands of exposed human bones.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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