One of the oldest cities of Europe, Porto is now the new design powerhouse. World Heritage proclaimed by UNESCO and home of two Pritzker winners (arch. Álvaro Siza Vieira and arch. Eduardo Souto Moura), Porto is like an open air museum. The Douro river bathes the shores of the old city and, at the same time, is the birthplace of the many vineyards where grapes come from to produce the iconic Port wine. From architecture to arts and music, Porto is a wonderful city where you can combine the busy working life with the joy of its maritime weather, combined with the tasty and traditional food. If you take this menu into consideration, plus the genuine and welcoming people that make this city so warm and welcoming, the ‘Best European Destination’ is a well-won prize. Enjoy and be inspired by the wonderful sights!
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Historical and Must-see Spots
São Bento Train Station
The amazing building dates from 1893. It is majorly famous for the tile panels on the inside, depicting historical scenes. The tiles were installed between 1905 and 1906 by Jorge Colaço, a renowned Portuguese artist.
Praça Almeida Garrett, 4000-069 Porto
Casa da Música
The concert hall and home of the symphony orchestra is a remarkable architect Rem Koolhaas’ building. It is four stops away from Trindade’s metro station, a five-star stunner.
Avenida da Boavista 604-610, 4149-071 Porto
One of the most notable examples of Baroque architecture, it was built in the 18th Century. Its façade is covered by a magnificent panel of blue and white tiles, representing the Brown Scapular imposition on Mount Carmel.
Praça de Gomes Teixeira 10, 4050-011 Porto
Located at the Infante D. Henrique square, the historical city’s commercial association (Stock Exchange Palace) was built in the 19th Century. You have to buy a ticket to visit and there are guided tours available, that last approximately 45 minutes with several language options (Spanish, French and English besides Portuguese).
Rua de Ferreira Borges, 4050-253 Porto
This avenue is the main one among all that constitute this city. The buildings that surround it go back to the 18th and 19th Centuries.
Avenida dos Aliados, Porto
Standing 75 meters tall, it’s the biggest tower in Portugal. It was built in the beginning of the 18th Century and the tower’s staircase has 240 steps that lead to a balcony with a stunning panoramic view of the city and the Douro river.
Rua São Filipe de Nery, 4050-546 Porto
D. Luís I Bridge
Conceived by Gustave Eiffel and finished in 1888, the main bridge of Porto is an easy way to walk to Vila Nova de Gaia and its wineries. All made of iron, the double-decked arch bridge is a popular spot for photographers.
Ponte Luiz I, Porto
Take a walk at the stunning Serralves Foundation surroundings. It is composed by the museum, a masterpiece built by architect Álvaro Siza Vieira, the Art Deco villa and its gardens with pieces of art.
Rua Dom João de Castro 210, 4150-417 Porto
Where to Sleep
Infante Sagres Hotel
Porto’s most prestigious city centre address has been a meeting place for the city’s élite and the residence of choice for discerning travellers and international celebrities for more than six decades. Renowned for its stylish ambience, personalized service and a unique blend of timeless elegance and contemporary sophistication.
Praça D. Filipa de Lencastre, 4050-259 Porto
Pestana Freixo’s Palace
This is a 5-star hotel near Douro, located in an 18th Century palace. This luxury hotel will provide you with an unforgettable stay. With decorative and figurative elements that emphasize the country’s nobility, this hotel offers history in all of its corners.
Estrada Nacional 108, 4300-316 Porto
In a renovated 18th Century palace, the 5-star Intercontinental Hotel in Porto has spacious rooms with views for Porto’s historic center. Ample and with details ranging from the designed floor, the majestic lamps and the comfort of the room, this hotel privileges the most monumental and bustling part of the city of Porto.
Praça da Liberdade 25, 4000-322 Porto
Port Wine Tasting
Dressed with the mantle of the Porto’s University students and a wide-brimmed hat, Don (the iconic Sandeman figure) stands out as dramatic shadowy figure, holding a glass of a ruby coloured Port wine. This is a winery located in a 1797 building with guided tours of Port cellars and tastings, plus a museum and a gift shop.
Largo Miguel Bombarda 3, 4430-175 Vila Nova de Gaia
Taylor’s, now in its fourth century, recently renovated its 300 year old cellars to incorporate a modern and innovative museum circuit. Prepare to be taken on a vivid tour of the lodge that includes an array of films, images, exhibits, photographs and paintings.
Rua do Choupelo 250, 4400-088 Vila Nova de Gaia
Founded in 1751, the brand’s history is intertwined with the history of the evolution of the Douro region, demarcated only 5 years after, in 1756. Twice widowed, Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira contributed significantly to the consolidation of the brand.
Avenida Ramos Pinto 70, 4400-082 Vila Nova de Gaia
Right on the riverfront, you can visit the rather grand Ramos Pinto and take a look at its historic offices and ageing cellars. The basic 40-minute tour includes a visit to the museum plus a generous five-Port tasting.
Avenida de Ramos Pinto 380, 4400-222 Porto
For Those Who Like to Move
It literally means “bad habits” and it is a hip space on the roof of an Art Deco car park. There are regular exhibitions and talks, plus nightly DJ’s playing everything from shoegaze to jazz funk.
Rua Passos Manuel 178, 4th floor, 4000-382 Porto
Fé Wine & Club
The bar has the signature of the interior designer Paulo Lobo with more than 10 tons of books accompanied by the garish and attractive colors of the lighting. Expect a refined space with a wide variety of drinks.
Praça D. Filipa de Lencastre 1, 4050-259 Porto
This club results from the combined effort of two architects and a plastic artist to make a new space to hold exhibitions and cultural events, as well as a space to enjoy music either hosting concerts or in the form of a nightclub. With two dancing rooms, you can listen to a variety of music that includes jazz, rock, electronics or experimental music.
Rua de Cândido dos Reis 30, Porto
Galerias de Paris Street
Focusing on the nightlife, this street is the best place to hang out, drink, dance and meet new people. The streets that make the block are full of bars, restaurants and people, lively and willing to make every night a new adventure.
Rua das Galerias de Paris, 4050-284 Porto
What & Where to Eat
Santiago is a restaurant and café from the 60’s, which is best known for the ‘francesinha’. The space is not very big and, due to its reputation, is usually crowded.
Rua de Passos Manuel 226, 4000-382 Porto
Brasão is a success story in Porto because it is one of the few restaurants to compete on quality in snacks, offering hardcore ‘francesinha’ sandwiches (with lighter options available) and rump or sirloin steaks.
Rua de Ramalho Ortigão 28, 4000-035 Porto
Museu d’Avó, or “grandma’s museum” is a restaurant with a decoration that bring us back to the beginning of the 20th century, with old objects hanged on the walls and ceiling. The food is served by the candle light and the environment is warm and cozy.
Travessa de Cedofeita 54/56, 4440-452 Porto
Cantinho do Avillez
José Avillez, the young, head-turning chef awarded with 2 Michelin stars, is behind this homey yet modern dining room located just downhill from São Bento railway station. The menu rotates according to what’s in season yet his cooking signature is always contemporary and Portuguese-inspired.
Rua Mouzinho da Silveira, 166, 4050-416 Porto
This is an emblematic restaurant in Porto. It serves Portuguese traditional dishes and the ambience is exquisite. It is definitely one of the best restaurants serving ‘tripas à moda do Porto’ (an extremely typical dish).
Alameda Eça de Queirós 120/130, 4200-272 Porto
Where to Go For a Drink
Probably you already know Vogue Café from around the world. Now you can enjoy a delicious coffee in a stylish and cosmopolitan space like Vogue Café in Porto. Here you can enjoy a delicious cocktail or a light meal, always in a sophisticated, modern and relaxed atmosphere.
Rua de Avis 10, 4050-075 Porto
The name means “uncommon chapel” and the bar is indeed peculiar since it’s located… in a chapel. This ancient 16th century chapel was turned into an ideal wine bar for couples or small groups of friends to enjoy a quiet night out. Here you’ll be able to discover and taste a wide range of Portuguese wines.
Travessa do Carregal 77-79-81, 4050-167 Porto
The most luxurious café in the city. The pinnacle of Art Nouveau with carved wood detailing, antique mirrors and sculptures decorate the dining room. Founded in the 20’s, it was a meeting point for Porto’s artists and intellectuals, thought to encompass the Belle Époque era.
Rua de Santa Catarina 112, 4000-442 Porto
Where to Shop
The most authentic and historical market in Porto. It has beautiful Neo-classical style and it was built in 1850. Here you can find all sorts of fresh products, but also meet the sellers who hold the true spirit of Porto’s locals.
Rua Formosa, 4000-214 Porto
It has been voted as one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. Dating from 1906, the building has an Art Nouveau façade and Neo-gothic details. The magic place that inspired J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter saga.
Rua das Carmelitas 144, 4050-161 Porto
A Vida Portuguesa
This shop preserves Portuguese manufactured products and the brands have been passed on through several generations. The building itself also preserves the old original furniture, giving you the impression of going back in time.
Rua das Galerias de Paris 20, 4050-182 Porto
Miguel Bombarda Art Block
It’s a must-see for all the art and design lovers. Very well-known for its art galleries and new commercial trends from bookshops, retro alternative clothes or innovative design. There are always new exhibitions turning the street into a dynamic and attractive place.
Rua Miguel Bombarda, 4050-522 Porto