Porto Tourist Guide
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Porto is a captivating city, which perfectly blends history, traditions and modern Portuguese culture. Set on an undulating landscape, Porto provides architectural wonders, a quaint old town, stunning vistas and beautiful beaches. Throw in its famed Port producing industry and it is easy to see why this charming city is fast becoming a top rated holiday destination.
This guide will provide a flexible itinerary for a three-day tour of Porto, which includes; the best districts and sights in order to make the most of this captivating city.
To get a traditional taste of Porto, it is recommended to spend the first day exploring the historic city centre and the charming Ribeiara district. The main tourist office, based along Rua Clube dos Fenianos (on the west side of Porto City Hall), is a perfect spot to grab a map and start a day’s tour of Porto. Below is a list of the Porto’s main attractions to include on a self-guided tour:
The Câmara Municipal and the Avenida Dos Aliados
Avenue of the Allies (Avenida Dos Aliados): This impressive boulevard is the monumental heart of Porto, which leads up to the Câmara Municipal do Porto (City hall) with its distinctive70m bell tower. The grandeur of the marble and granite buildings that line the Avenida Dos Aliados portrays a history which doesn’t actually exist, as the entire plaza was constructed in 1916.
The view from the top of the Torre dos Clérigos tower
Clérigos Tower (Igreja E Torre Dos Clérigos): The quaint, baroque Clérigos Church and Tower is situated on the highest point of the old city and after climbing the 250 steps of the tower, visitors are rewarded with fantastic 360-degree panoramic view of the city. It is open daily 9:00-19:00 and has a €3 entrance fee.
Lello bookshop (Livraria Lello): This Lavish bookshop is one of the oldest in Portugal and walking around this art nouveau building it is clear to see why this could have prompted the inspiration for the Hogwarts library and staircases. The ornate interior has transformed the shop into a major tourist attraction, with few visitors purchasing books, so now there is an entrance fee of €3.
The Church of Saint Ildefonso
Saint Ildefonso Church: This uniquely beautiful church has exterior covered in over 11, 000 traditional painted blue azulejos tiles. For tourists interested in this architecture, it is also worth visiting Sao Bento Train Station; one of the most decorative stations in Europe
Porto Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace (Sé Do Porto): The highly fortified Porto Cathedral is the religious centre of Porto and the original church dates from 12th Century. The Cathedral is situated in the oldest district in Porto and the square surrounding it once served as the bustling trading centre. It is free to enter and open daily from 9:00-12:30 and then 14:30-18:00 in peak season (Off peak times may vary).
The Ribeira river front at early evening
Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa): The Neoclassical Palácio da Bolsa complex was built by Porto’s Commercial Association in 1830 to act as the city’s stock exchange and entice investors to the city. It is open from 9:00-18:30 in peak season (9:00-12:30 / 14:00- 17:30 in low season). Tours cost €7 per adult and €4 per child.
Evening: Dine in Ribeiara The evening of the first day should be spent in Ribeira; one of the oldest districts situated on the northern bank of the Douro River. This is a delightful area of narrow, winding streets lined with restaurants and is a perfect place for dinner and a glass of Port.