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For centuries, boats have dropped anchor in the sleepy Douro River, as travellers tumbled forth into Porto’s lattice of sun drenched streets. Today, cellars stocked with sweet wine vie for your attention among studios, cafes, and baroque buildings strung with colourful criss-crossed washing lines.
Travellers might come to São Bento for its trains, but they’ll get a history lesson, too. This building was once a monastery, but it swapped clerics for conductors in 1900. During the revamp, artist Jorge Colaço painted the ornate interior with sky blue panels depicting major events from Portugal’s past. The Portuguese prints are pieced together from 200,000 blue tiles.Accommodations near Sao Bento train station
“Shall we go to the Galleries?”. In Porto, this is a common way of asking someone out for a drink. This street is piled high with trendy bars and groove-tastic discos. Out on the street, different strains of music thump out of clubs beckoning you in. Locals recommend Plano B, a funky bar with art exhibits and two separate dance floors. Night owls, fly this way.Accommodations near Paris Galleries Street
This ancient bookshop is a lit lover’s paradise. Inside, bookworms swoon at that treasured musty smell of worn paper and tattered tomes. It’s a sight to behold, too. Curving wooden staircases criss-cross in the middle of wall-to-wall shelves amassed with old copies of novels and plays. No wonder Lello’s always on top of “the world’s most beautiful bookshops” lists.Accommodations near Lello Bookshop
What’s a historical city without that quintessential tower sitting provocatively at its centre? Meet the Clerigos Tower, Porto’s very own baroque beacon. An indispensable piece of the city skyline, this tower is worth the trek up. When you’re at the top, piles of pastel buildings, terracotta rooftops, and forgotten city streets paint a pretty patchwork picture of Porto below.Accommodations near Clerigos Tower
It’s strictly historic of Palacio da Bolsa. This neoclassical palace was designed as part of the São Francisco Church, but was rebuilt as the headquarters for the Porto Commerce Association. Today, it’s used to house permanent art collections. Make sure to pass by the Arab Room, a gleaming gold chamber that dazzles with its decoration.Accommodations near Palacio da Bolsa
São Francisco Church is the epitome of opulence. You know you’re treading holy ground when you step into the warm, honeyed light of its interior. Look up in awe at its mass of gold, its intricate domed ceilings, and massive marble arches. You could spend a lifetime admiring the detail of the carved statues, banisters, and columns here.Accommodations near Sao Francisco Church
The Dom Luis Bridge is more than a convenient way to cross the Douro River. It’s a coveted city icon and arguably the best place to catch long-reaching views of Porto’s rooftops, Rabelo boats, and the Fernandine Wall. Amble over it at sunset and you’ll hear the call of seagulls, the ring of the metro, and the song of various languages melding together into one.Accommodations near D. Luis I Bridge
The tree-canopied lanes and verdant landscape of this park create a leafy haven for city dwellers. Make these gardens the next stop on your literary tour of Porto. Hidden within the lush greenery is a library. The adjoining garden also hosts Porto’s yearly book fair, Feira do Livro. The botanical garden's lawns and patches of grass make the perfect spots for impromptu picnics.Accommodations near Cristal Palace Gardens
Named after the city of Porto, port wine runs through the city’s veins like blood. Dozens of cellars and port wine merchants operate along the riverfront area of Vila Nova de Gaia. Take a tour of the darkened Sandeman cellars, where the city’s most famous export ferments in large barrels. Then head upstairs to the terrace overlooking the river, and relish the view as boats float past.Accommodations near Port Wine Cellars
Porto’s newest city symbol moves to its own beat. From the outside, the unique architectural lines of this all-white concert hall conjure descriptors like “futuristic” and “minimalist”. Each night, a range of music attracts attendees as diverse as jazz cats, classical connoisseurs, and disco divas. When after-dancing hunger hits, just head up to the top-floor.Accommodations near Music House
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The poster child for hip Porto. The Vida Portuguesa shop takes you back in time with its retro toothpaste and hair tonics. For a trendy place to imbibe, head to Champanheria da Baixa and toast with chalices of champagne sangria. The literati should take supper in Casa do Livro, a posh restaurant arranged inside a bookshop.Accommodations in Centro / Baixa
Porto’s historic centre. In Sé, slim streets wind past stone houses, some painted in effulgent yellows. The narrow roads and clandestine allies are best seen by foot. Heritage is writ large in Sé Cathedral, which is a threeway mashup of romantic, gothic and baroque. It’s the perfect place to finish your pilgrimage through these streets.Accommodations in Sé
Lively nights come to a quaint end on the Bonfim promenade. The waterfront kiosks are the perfect after-party outposts for relieving late-night hunger. Go there for snacks like “bifanas", the region's trademark steak sammy. Bonfim also keeps a candle burning for Porto customs like “bailinhos”, where the young and old dance together on the street.Accommodations in Bonfim
Comics, clothes, and a side of chocolate. These are the three things to tick off your list in Boavista. Visit Mundo Fantasma Comic Book Shop & Gallery, where Portugal’s cartoon culture draws an artful crowd. Head to Península for a hive of high-end boutiques and big brands, and then cut your sweet teeth on Arcádia’s confections.Accommodations in Boavista
Cast your line into this quaint fisher’s district. In sleepy Lordelo do Ouro, boats bob at the docks and suntanned men in galoshes unload their day’s catch. Cyclists take note – there’s a bike path that winds all the way from Matosinhos and cuts through here. Take a break from your ride with a fresh sardine snack at a seaside restaurant.Accommodations in Lordelo do Ouro e Massarelos
This affluent area is awash in colourful facades. It’s a postcard moment everywhere you turn. Wander through the area’s unique bars and cafes, some of which are inside docked boats. Or head over to Alfândega, which topped 2014’s charts for best conference space in Business Destinations Magazine. It's a prime place to peruse a rotating set of global exhibitions.Accommodations in Miragaia
In Portuguese, Foz means “the meeting of ocean and river”. It’s here that the gentle current of the Douro merges with the mighty Atlantic. Stroll along the ever-popular promenade, where salt thickens the breeze, and sun saturates the seaside walkway with ample auburn rays. Joggers and cyclists huff past, enjoying the city’s immaculate weather.Accommodations in Aldoar - Foz do Douro - Nevogilde
Take the scenic route. The best way to get up to Ribeira from downtown Porto is on the Guindais Funicular. As you climb, the River Douro glistens below, as sailboats glide its cobalt currents. Colourful buildings add an artsy touch to the shoreline. Come with an appetite - traditional "tascas" abound and little local markets brim with bounty.Accommodations in Ribeira
A fun-loving travel addict, Teresa gets a kick out of discovering secret corners of the Algarve.
Traditional handmade chocolates are a rare treat, especially when they’re as good as these. This lovely old-fashioned chocolate shop has a timeless atmosphere and produces some of the best bonbons, chocolate bars and beautifully wrapped gift packs you’ll ever find.Accommodations nearby
Pedro's calm demeanor hides his wild side, which comes out during his metal band's performances.
This multipurpose space within Porto’s iconic Ferreira Borges Market building features 2 stages, a recording studio, a book and record market and the top-floor n’O Mercado Restaurant. It’s a great place to catch a concert, with a packed schedule ranging from pop and dance to heavy metal.Accommodations nearby
Filipe is a Porto-born cooking enthusiast who loves spending time with his wife and baby son, Tomás.
Known locally as ‘Miguel Bombarda’ after its most famous street, this neighbourhood is filled with art galleries and quirky boutiques. Be sure to stop for tea on Rota do Chá’s peaceful Japanese garden terrace, or shop for rare vinyls in the trendy Artes em Partes design centre.Accommodations nearby
A whirlwind of good-natured fun, Cláudia fell in love with the Algarve during her university years.
What's a city break without some top-notch food and wine? This former market has been transformed into a vibrant gourmet food court, where you can indulge in meals, snacks and drinks from a vast range of different kiosks and restaurants.Accommodations nearby
Outgoing and fun-loving, Brazilian-born Manu lived in London before falling for Portugal's charms.
Porto's City Park is a wonderful place for a quiet walk, but my main reason for coming here is the annual Primavera Fest Music Festival. It usually has one of the best line-ups around, and it’s such a treat to watch your favourite bands accompanied by greenery and a cool ocean breeze.Accommodations nearby
Fashion-savvy Laura enjoys nothing more than a good chat, preferably over a nice glass of wine.
As an avid shopper, I'm a big fan of markets. One of my favourites starts in Carlos Alberto Square and runs along the Galerias de Paris, while the Cardosas Square market offers great designer bargains in a hidden square overlooked by traditional façades. Both are held on select weekends.Accommodations nearby
Rock chick Rita is passionate about watching good movies and discovering Portugal's best spots.
More than just a theatre, the Rivoli has a gorgeous old façade and a lovely, little-known bar with fantastic views. The real star of the place is the Understage, a subterranean concert area where you can catch up-and-coming bands presenting their new albums.Accommodations nearby
Half Turkish, half Dutch, multilingual Tuna lives life to the full on weekend trips with her family.
Easy to miss if you're not looking for it, the Soares dos Reis Museum was Portugal's first national museum and has a lovely neoclassical façade. It's near the Cristal Palace Gardens, so I enjoy making an afternoon of visiting the gardens and then checking out the exhibits at the museum.Accommodations nearby
A 6' 3" fitness fanatic, Carlos is always sharply dressed and loves travelling with his girlfriend.
Serralves is famous for its modern art museum, but among locals it’s just as well known for its gardens. During the week you have to pay but on Sunday mornings it’s free. The spacious grounds are perfect for long walks – you might even bump into the friendly farm animals that live on site!Accommodations nearby
Cycling fan Luís is constantly in a good mood, but is always happiest in his hometown of Porto.
This seaside bar in the trendy suburb of Foz do Douro is worth visiting for the view alone. Perched above Ingleses Beach, it serves up tasty cocktails and wonderful views over the beach and Atlantic Ocean. For me, it’s the best place in the city to watch the sun go down.Accommodations nearby
Rui is passionate about rock, good food and excellent wine, preferably accompanied by close friends.
Francesinha sandwiches are a Porto institution, and I haven't tasted a better one than at this unassuming café opposite the Porto Coliseum. Their epic version has layers of bread, assorted meats, cheese and egg, and comes slathered in a rich golden sauce made with beer. Delicious!Accommodations nearby
Avid footballer Sérgio is an artist and actor at heart, and treads the boards in his spare time.
I love Porto's bustling theatre scene, with wonderful venues like the São João National Theatre, the Carlos Alberto Theatre and the Helena Sá e Costa Theatre. One of the most unique spots is the Teatro de Marionetas, which stages interpretations of classic works using traditional puppets.Accommodations nearby
Ever the life and soul of the party, Tiago enjoys nights out eating tapas and drinking with friends.
This beautiful old shopping street still has some historic businesses, but is now best known for its revamped pedestrian area full of cafés, designer shops and fancy hotels. My favourite spot is Mercearia das Flores, a charming throwback grocery store selling traditional wine and food.Accommodations nearby
A proud Porto native, Tiago can't resist good films, sushi and making people laugh with corny jokes.
This annual international festival is a treat for all horror film fans, with screenings of classic movies, exclusive premieres of little-known gems and signings by cinema royalty like David Lynch. It closes with the Vampire's Ball, a giant masquerade which is an experience unto itself.Accommodations nearby
Booking.com asked travelers...How was the wine culture different than what you'd experience at home?
Porto is just a fantastic destination for port wine and wine from the Douro valley. You can easily have a great day just visiting the storage houses on the other side over the river. Make sure to try a 40 year old port.See all 26 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Why is the atmosphere in Porto something people rave about?
The people, the history and the overall architecture on the port making it a nostalgic and romantic heaven.See all 6 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What's the best way to make the most of Porto by foot?
Walk along the river streets from City centre towards sea and walking in old town.See all 10 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What makes the people from Porto so friendly? Tell us your story.
They are very kind, always with a smile. I never encountered grouchy peopleSee all 7 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What makes Porto one of those classic city-trip experiences?
Sights, good food and wine, ideal base to explore regionSee all 10 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you enjoy the sights in Porto while avoiding the crowds?
Jardins do Palácio de Cristal, Luís I BridgeSee all 16 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you get the most authentic cultural experience in Porto?
Visiting the Oporto Wine Cellars in Gaia.See all 5 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What is it in Porto that makes history come to life?
old preserve historical building.See all 7 answers
Porto’s Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport is easily accessible by metro. The 45-minute journey costs EUR 0.85 (plus EUR 0.60 if you want an Andante top-up card, which can be used on other forms of transport). Many public buses and private shuttles also stop outside Arrivals and run to the city centre. Prices and timetables are provided at the main Arrivals information desk. Alternatively, a taxi should take around 15 minutes and cost about EUR 15, depending on traffic.
Porto's modern metro has 6 colour-coded lines which run through the city and suburbs. All lines converge at the central Trindade Metro Station. Tickets are available from vending machines in stations and must be validated before boarding and when changing lines. Andante cards can be used on the metro and most bus and tram lines. Cards can be topped up at vending machines or STCP vendors, with single ticket and day pass prices varying according to the zones covered.
The CP train network connects Porto with most of Portugal, including Lisbon and Faro, as well as with Spanish cities such as Vigo and Madrid. The city’s main train stations, São Bento and Campanhã, offer both regional and high-speed national services. Tickets can be bought either online, at the station, or on the train after boarding. Booking ahead of time offers the best value, with various discounts available for advance purchase tickets.
Porto's STCP bus network covers the whole city and suburbs. Bus stops are clearly marked with route details: expect regular buses from 06:00 to around 21:00, then a reduced service until 01:00. Buses are included in the Andante top-up card, which you can use across various means of transport. A single ticket costs EUR 1.20–EUR 3.80, depending on the zones covered, while day passes cost EUR 4.15–EUR 13.10. Tickets are available on the bus or from STCP booths.
Taxis in Porto are a relatively cheap and hassle-free way to get around. You can hail one in the street, but it’s a safer bet to look for a taxi rank or call ahead and book. Cabs don't have to be any specific colour, but most seem to be fairly modern brown or black cars. Drivers tend to be chatty and may even speak English. Fares are metered, with higher rates from 21:00–06:00 and at weekends. Be aware that the final price can vary wildly depending on traffic.
Motorists in Porto tend to drive quickly but are generally respectful, and the city is relatively easy to navigate by car. However, patience is needed at weekends and in weekday rush hours (07:30–09:30 and 17:30–19:30), when traffic builds up in the one-way streets of Aliados and along the riverfront. On-street parking is scarce but there are many car parks around the historic centre. Be warned that the closer you are to Aliados, the higher the price of parking.
Porto’s vintage yellow trams operate daily from 08:00–20:55. There are 3 lines, all starting at the Tram Museum and running along the riverside or towards the historic centre. Tickets are available on board the trams, at STCP booths or from the Tram Museum. A single ticket will set you back EUR 2.50, while a day pass is EUR 8 for adults / EUR 5 for children. Day passes also include entry to the Tram Museum.
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