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January 26th, 2021 | By: Taylor Randolph
Visiting Porto should be at the top of anyone’s list who is visiting Portugal. Porto is a medieval city with beautiful historic buildings, Old World charm, and terrific wine. There are many things to do in Porto that are definitely worth your time. If you have space to fit them all, I would highly recommend these 8 things to do in Porto:
The views from the top level of the bridge are stunning. Enjoy a sunset evening walk and admire the lights of the city and the beautiful river. The bridge was built by Gustave Eiffel, the same architect who designed the Eiffel Tower.
If you are looking for a real insight into the history, culture and life in Porto, then you need to explore the city with a local guide. Porto Walkers is a great option, offering a 5 star service with passionate, knowledgable guides who really bring Porto and its stories to life! They offer free walking tours of the city, which will show you the city's main sights over 3 hours with stories about Porto's history and famous products. You can also opt for port wine tours with 7 tastings and a live Fado performance and learn all about the history, the process, and the wine itself while you are here. If that wasn't enough there are also tapas and vinho verde tours and private group and couples tours. Whichever you choose, you will come away knowing so muc more about this fascinating city.
If you are visiting Porto with kids, then the World of Discoveries is a great spot to check out. The World of Discoveries shares about Portugal’s exploration history and it does a great job of creating an interactive adventure for kids. There are cool pirate ship exhibits, large touch screen displays, and a 20-minute boat ride at the end! Plug the headphones in to hear all about the different continents and countries that Portugal discovered.
While J.K. Rowling was writing the first Harry Potter book in Porto, she naturally frequented the Livraria Lello bookstore. When you step inside, you can clearly see how the winding staircases and grand architecture inspired Flourish & Botts. Harry Potter fans will love the tributes to the series around the store and the different editions of the books that are available here. Even if you are not a Harry Potter fan, Livraria Lello is still worth a visit because it is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal and consistently ranked as one of the top bookstores in the world. It does cost 5 euros to visit, but the cost can be applied to the purchase of a book. Plan to visit when the shop isn’t so busy, which is at the end of the day.
The waterfront area along the Douro River has amazing views of the city and the Luis I Bridge. There are also wonderful, family-friendly restaurants and lots of street performers. This area is really vibrant and exciting, especially for kids.
Take a boat tour down the Douro River to relax from walking around the city and see the city from a different perspective. Soak in the beautiful sun, learn about the historical buildings on the river banks, and admire the six magnificent bridges that cross the Douro River.
Porto has a vibrant and exciting nightlife scene. Once the sun sets, make your way to Guindalense for a drink and rooftop views over the Dom Luis I Bridge. Then, walk over to the Capela Incomum, a wine bar nestled into a converted 16th-century chapel. For a fun evening bar crawl, head to the Rua Galeria de Paris to experience Porto’s nightlife hub.
Matosinhos beach is just 15 minutes from Porto’s city center by public transportation. It’s a large beach located on the Atlantic Ocean, so it’s waves are great for surfing. The beach overlooks a container port on one end and the Castelo de Queijo (cheese castle) on the other end. I would have to say it’s not the most attractive beach in Portugal, but the proximity to Porto makes it easy to reach if you are short on time.
A better option if you are up for a bit of surfing is to transfer to nearby Azurara beach with the fantastic I Surf Portugal team. This beach is located in a stunning nature reserve and is one of the best spots in the north for surfing the waves. You will be in good hands with Jorge and his ceritfied instructors as they provide lessons tailored to your ability and provide all the equipment you need. Whether you are a complete beginner or have some experience, the I Surf Portugal team will teach you some new skills and have you riding the waves in no time. You can choose from a one day of experience over 4 hours for €44, a 3 day course for €122 or a 5 day course for €190 to really find your feet. Transfer from Porto to the beach is included in the price. I Surf Portugal also provide glamping and family surf camps at a four star camping park right at the beach if you are looking for a full surfing holiday experience!
Visiting Porto in 2020 may be difficult depending on which country you are visiting from. Be sure to check the government website before booking any travel plans. If you plan to travel to Portugal soon, be sure to check out our guide on "What you need to know about traveling amidst the pandemic."Back to overview
We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest.