Porto’s unique charm is embedded within its historic cobbled streets, in the tile-covered facades of its buildings, and in the bridges that criss-cross the river Douro running through its centre. Perhaps best-known internationally for its namesake Port production, the city has much to offer those with an interest in history, gastronomy, and design, while its people are known for their laidback and approachable nature.
São Francisco Church
Originally built in 1245, the Church of São Francisco is one of Porto’s best examples of Gothic and Baroque architecture, with an ornately gilded interior.
Palácio da Bolsa
The former stock exchange is known for its 19th century Neoclassical architecture and its interiors collaboratively influenced by several prominent architects, designers, and artists.
One of Porto’s most visible landmarks, the Baroque Clérigos Church features a bell tower that stretches 75 metres high. Visitors can climb the tower’s 240 steps for panoramic views of the city.
Porto’s compact layout means it is a great city to travel around by foot. Tram, metro, and bus networks are available for reaching attractions that are in more remote corners of the city. The historic Tram 1 travels from the central Ribeira district to the upscale seaside neighbourhood of Foz along the banks of the Douro, for those wanting to take in the scenery. It’s easy to hail a cab using rideshare apps such as FREE NOW or Uber, and electric scooter hire is also available using operators like Bird, Hive, and Circ.
Vila Nova de Gaia Port Tasting
With its heritage-listed buildings lining the Douro, Vila Nova de Gaia is a beautiful example of Porto’s historic centre and provides some of the most privileged vistas of the city. The iconic Dom Luís Bridge arches over the river, connecting the colourful buildings and cobbled streets of Cais da Ribeira with the port lodges and terracotta-clad roofs of Gaia. Here, visit Porto’s storied Port lodges to sample from their cellars—try Ferreira, Taylor’s, Ramos Pinto, Cálem or Churchill’s.
Pastéis de Nata at Castro
Portugal’s famed custard pastry can be found in virtually any bakery or café in the city, but Castro’s sleek interiors and special recipe make it worth a visit. In downtown Rua Mouzinho da Silveira, the shop features a striking blue awning and Art Nouveau-inspired tiled façade. Inside, Portuguese marble and natural brass finishes create a sense of luxury, and patrons can watch as the pastry chefs create the moreish delicacies. Enjoy one (or two) with a sprinkle of cinnamon, accompanied by a coffee or Port wine
Established in 1887, Claus is a speciality fragrance boutique producing luxury soaps, perfumes, colognes, and bath & body products using scents inspired by the regions of Portugal. Visit this heritage boutique to peruse its beautiful soaps encased in colourful retro packaging, and venture upstairs to discover an exhibition showcasing the interesting history of the company.
This relatively new cultural district in Vila Nova de Gaia opened in 2020 and features 12 restaurants and bars created from the restoration of old port cellars, and seven museum experiences dedicated to a range of industries—from wine and chocolate to fashion and design. Its Wine School has recently been certified to teach globally recognised Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) courses and regularly holds workshops and tastings for those curious about wine.
ART AND CULTURE
Casa da Música
Music lovers might like to visit Porto’s distinctive concert hall designed by Dutch architect, Rem Koolhaas, which hosts a varied program of performances, from classical orchestra and jazz to traditional Portuguese Fado music.
One of Portugal’s oldest bookshops, Livraria Lello is also widely considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world, with cascading wooden staircases and stained-glass ceilings.
Nature and culture converge at this contemporary art museum set on 7.2ha of parklands in the city’s west. Wander through its formal gardens and woodlands designed in the 1930s by architect Jacques Gréber. Stop to marvel at its magnificent pink Art Deco villa and visit the onsite museum to see a range of contemporary art exhibitions.
WINE AND DINE
Acclaimed Chef Rui Paula presents bold, dynamic menus at this fine-dining spot with a renowned wine program.
This intimate dining concept from Chef Vasco Coelho Santos serves a 10-course degustation menu, with dishes created using Portuguese and seasonal ingredients.
Cantinho do Avillez
Chef Jose Avillez offers modern Portuguese cuisine with global influences, which are served in relaxed, welcoming surroundings.
In a restored industrial space that previously served as a mechanic’s workshop, Oficina is an homage to the confluence of art and gastronomy from Chef Marco Gomes.
Casa de Chá da Boa Nova
This architecturally acclaimed seaside restaurant in Leça da Palmeira combines spectacular ocean views with two-Michelin-starred menus by Chef Rui Paula.
Set on the hillside among port wine lodges in Porto’s historic centre, The Yeatman is a luxurious hotel and spa offering spectacular views over the Douro River. A member of the Relais & Chateaux portfolio, the property features a two-Michelin-starred restaurant led by Chef Ricardo Costa, and it has been recognised with a Green Key certification for its sustainability efforts.
Torel 1884 Suites & Apartments
In a former palace in the heart of Porto, Torel 1884 offers 12 luxurious rooms and suites and 11 apartments, each with a distinctive contemporary design. Its Bartolomeu restaurant and bar offers French bistro-inspired cuisine created using Portuguese ingredients, and an impressive wine cellar housed in a former bank vault.
Maison Albar Le Monumental Palace
This member of Leading Hotels of the World is set in a historic building in the centre of Porto. Its rooms and suites are decorated in a 1930s style, with lacquered woodwork, marble bathrooms, and antique furnishings. It features an elegant French-Portuguese restaurant as well as a Japanese fusion concept from Portuguese Chef Olivier Da Costa.