Country: Portugal Language: Portuguese Currency: Euro (€)
Porto is a charming Portuguese city set to classic cobbled laneways, Portuguese hills, and features every color of the rainbow. The two sides of the Douro River, Gaia and Porto, are connected by the historic bridge, Ponte de Dom Luís I, and these two sides are very different from each other. In Gaia, you will find all of the port wineries. It’s there where you will have your wine tastings and tours, catch a ride on the cable car, and admire the view looking back at Porto's Riberia Square and skyline. In Porto, you have the cobbled laneways and hills, colorful tiles and architecture, and the funicular (railway), which will take you from the top of the hill to the bottom, or vice versa. Regardless, whichever side of the river you find yourself on, relish the seaside breeze, a glass of port, fresh seafood, and vibrant colors painted onto the stunning Portuguese architecture.
CTW Must See
Porto’s main square is absolutely beautiful. Located on the river, it provides a spectacular view of Gaia, the Ponte de Dom Luís I, and the traditional Rabelo Boats - the cargo boats that were once used to transport port from the vineyard to the cellar in Gaia. Riberia, Portuguese for riverside, is full of cafes, bars, and restaurants. From here, you have the ability to walk across the bridge to Gaia, access the funicular, and you’re in the heart of Porto’s Old Town. There is no better place to soak in the atmosphere than Riberia Square with a glass of port in hand.
Ponte de Dom Luís I
When the bridge was built in the late 1880s, it was the longest double-decked bridge in the world. This iconic bridge aids pedestrians and trams on the top deck and cars on the bottom deck, to cross the Douro River between Porto and Gaia. While it may no larger be the longest double-decked bridge, the arch is said to be the largest of its kind.
At the top of the hill in Porto, near the river, sits the Porto Cathedral, one of the city’s oldest monuments. The cathedral is free to visit, but the Gothic Cloisters of the Cathedral will cost a couple of euros for entry. Enjoy the views overlooking Porto, where you can see the Clergios Tower and beyond to the Atlantic Ocean.
Infante D. Henrique Square
This classic square is located in Porto’s historical center. Roughly 100 meters from the Douro River, the square is the gateway to Porto’s many cobbled laneways. The square features a statue of Infante D. Henrique, more commonly known as Prince Henry the Navigator; the Stock Exchange Palace that was built in the 19th century; and the old Ferreira Borges Market, which is now an empty market hall that is used as an arts and entertainment center.
Rua das Flores
Rua das Flores is one of the famous pedestrian streets in Porto. It translates to "Flower Street" and it certainly lives up to its name! The buildings' facades are painted bright colors, and some of the buildings are decorated with flowers. This street used to be where the goldsmiths and jewelers were found. Today it is filled with many shops and cafes. It is the perfect street to visit at any time of the day.
Clergios Tower / Clergios Cathedral
Tickets are required to visit the Clergios Tower, costing about €4. This ticket grants you access to the tower, the museum and the cathedral balcony. The walk to the top of the Baroque church’s bell tower is narrow, and quite high (76m), but it is totally doable for any fitness level, it’s just 240 steps! The views from the top are quite beautiful, providing a perfect photo opportunity. See our post on how to take better photos to get the most of your Clergios Tower experience! If you choose to save your money for a port wine tour or a couple of scoops of gelato, you can still visit the Clergios Cathedral free of charge!
If you are a Harry Potter fan, you will not want to miss this place. Livraria Lello is said to be the bookstore that inspired JK Rowling to create the Hogwarts Library! She lived in Porto for a couple of years back in the early 90s, and once you go inside the bookstore, you will certainly recognize the scene! One thing to know before visiting, however, is that you need tickets. You can buy your tickets online here (onlinevouchers.livrarialello.pt/), or you can buy them at the library. Find the building on the top corner of the street to buy your tickets, then head a few doors over to the library. Also be aware, the library is always very busy, as it is a very small building… Harry Potter aside, Livraria Lello is one of the oldest bookstores in the world!
This square is one of the most popular squares in Porto. Liberdade translates to liberty or freedom, and ironically, Liberdade Square is more rectangular than square shaped. Because of Liberdade Square’s central location, it connects many of Porto’s neighborhoods. Porto’s City Hall is one of the main monuments of the square, it is also one of the most recognizable buildings in Porto. The clock tower stands tall above the other buildings, but the row of buildings leading up to the City Hall are equally as impressive.
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