The city of Porto (also written as Oporto), located in the north of Portugal, is the country’s second largest city after Lisbon. About two million inhabitants live in the entire conurbation. Porto is located on the Douro River with the city of Vila Nova de Gaia to the south of this river. The world-famous port wines come from Vila Nova de Gaia and not, as is generally assumed, from the city of Porto itself. The best way to taste port is at one of the terraces on the Douro. Since becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2001, Porto has experienced increased interest from tourists from outside Portugal.
Top 10 sights of Porto
#1. Vila Nova de Gaia
This coastal town opposite the city of Porto is responsible for the worldwide supply of the famous Port wines. This delicacy has been made in the city of Porto since the 17th century. The monastery church Serra do Pilar from the 16th century offers you a magnificent view over the city of Porto and the river Duoro. In the cellar of this monastery church you can taste different types of port. The most famous port is that of Sandeman, which was founded in 1790.
#2. Ribeira (old center)
According to 3R Jewelry, the oldest district of Porto is Ribeira, which is located on the Douro River. Many port boats moor here in the harbor and then go to Vila Nova de Gaia. The facades of the houses on the quay provide a beautiful picture. The narrow streets, alleys and local markets give you the feeling that time has stood still here.
#3. Torre dos Clérigos
The famous tower of Porto is the Torre dos Clérigos. The tower belongs to Igreja dos Clérgos church. Because the important tower can be seen from all over Porto, it is a symbol of this city. From 1754 to 1763, work was done to make this 76 meter high tower as it is today. The church and tower are built in baroque style. With a climb of about 225 steps you will be rewarded with a spectacular view over the city of Porto.
#4. Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
The green heart of Porto is the beautiful park ‘Jardins do Palácio de Cristal’. There is a specially designed ‘Crystal Palace’ in the park. This domed palace is mainly made of glass and iron. Concerts and sporting events are often held here. You will also find a romantic museum, library, restaurant and a beautiful lake in the park.
#5. Maria Pia Bridge
The Maria Pia Bridge between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia is no longer in use. The railway bridge, named after the Portuguese Queen Maria Pia, was previously mainly used to transport Port by train. It was also Gustav Eiffel’s first design. Since 1991, the bridge has been replaced by the São João bridge. The bridges can be admired even better with a boat trip. The view of Porto is magnificent from the water.
#6. Casa de Música
The special building ‘Casa de Música’ in Porto is quite an appearance. The Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas is responsible for this icon of the city of Porto. The design is futuristic, modern, sleek and is also in a super location. You don’t know what you see inside either. Every detail has been carefully thought out. Opposite the large roundabout ‘Rotunda da Boavista’ is this concert hall, which cost about 100 million euros.
#7. Cathedral Sé
The large cathedral Sé can be found on the Terreiro da Sé. It is one of the oldest monuments in the city of Porto. The cathedral has two towers topped by a dome. Over the years, many architectural styles have been added, including the interior. Next to the cathedral is a monastery which is definitely worth a visit. Because this cathedral is located on a hill, you have a beautiful view over the old historic district of Ribeira.
The museum of modern art is located in a beautiful park ‘Parque de Serralves’ near the center of Porto. Beautifully landscaped gardens and various sculptures can be seen on the estate of approximately 18 hectares. The Serralves Museum has many temporary national and international exhibitions.
#9. Casa de Chá da Boa Nova Leça da Palmeira
A restaurant in a very special location is ‘Casa de Chá da Boa Nova’. Translated it means ‘tea house of the good news’. If you like special architecture and a beautiful view, you should eat in the restaurant here. The architect Alvaro Siza Vieira designed this special structure on top of the cliffs of Leça da Palmeira. Next to Casa de Chá da Boa Nova is a lighthouse and chapel.
#10. Livrario Lello & Irmão
Library Chardron or Livrario Lello & Irmão is a very famous historical and artistic bookstore of the city of Porto. According to various sources, it can itself be called one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. The impressive stairs can simply be admired as art. You rarely come across the warm atmosphere that the wood, the red steps and all the books give in a bookstore of this size. The whole looks very royal.