Discover the best things to do in Porto on this list of the top monuments in the city. It includes all my tips and tricks to avoid the excruciating queues to these amazing places – enjoy it! 🙂
If you want to read my other suggestions about fun things to do in Porto just check out my guest post at Miss Tourist, the amazing travel blog by Yulia Safutdinova!
These are the best things to do in Porto:
Visit Torre dos Clérigos
Torre dos Clérigos, the beautiful 76m tower of Porto was, for many years, the “best seller” of the things to do in Porto, due to its unusual shape.
But I reckon that visiting the Torre dos Clérigos is a test to your patience! You need to wait in line to buy the ticket (around 15min), then you have the queue to the tower itself (around the same waiting time). When you’re finally inside, the queue moves slowly because there are people going up and down on the same narrow stairs.
You shouldn’t demotivate though – when you reach the top and see the superb 360º view of Porto, you’ll feel it was totally worth the waiting!
You should also take the opportunity to visit the Clºerigos church (it is free of charge) and watch a live concert of pipe organ at noon.
Do the 6 bridges cruise
One of the best things to do in Porto is to take the 6 bridges cruise, a leisurely 1h boat ride in Douro river.
It allows you not only to see Ribeira, the Unesco’s protected neighborhood, but also to check the magnificent bridges of Porto.
Go for a walk at the Serralves’ contemporary art museum
Serralves’ contemporary art museum is by far my favourite monument in this list of things to do in Porto.
Besides its stunning museum, designed by the famous architect Siza Vieira, it has a wonderful park with giant trees from all around the world. It was designed in such a way that there are different trees blossoming all throughout the year.
Therefore, I suggest you to pay a visit to Serralves’ contemporary museum and then go wonder in its park.
Fado is not traditional from Porto, but from Lisbon and Coimbra.
However, one of the best things to do in Porto is to watch a Fado show, because even if it is not “local” it is certainly very Portuguese!
It might sound strange that I am recommending my own private tours as one of the best things to do in Porto. But I wouldn’t be making them if I didn’t believe them to be very good, and you can read the reviews on our TripAdvisor and see the wonderful things that people are writing about us.
Our tours are always private, which means that we will tailor make an itinerary that matches your travel expectations and your rhythm. We can include whatever monuments and activities that you like.
If you are interested, check our tour page or simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your preferred date for the tour, and a bit of information about your group. We will take it from there!
Get amazed at the Lello bookstore
I have already told you the story behind the stunning Lello bookshop, where people believe that J. K. Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter book. Nonetheless, visiting this neo – gothic bookshop is definitely one of the top things to do in Porto.
However, let me tell you that the queue to Lello bookstore is excruciating and highly unpredictable. But, of course, I am here to help you figure a way in…
Visit St Francis church
Besides the Clérigos church, St Francis church is one of my favourite churches in Porto. This gothic building – one of the very few of this kind – is marvellously decorated with Portuguese baroque golden leaf, as you can see on the picture below.
Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa)
Palácio da Bolsa aka the famous Stock Exchange Palace with the stunning Arab room. It was built on the ruins of the former convent of St Francis after the Civil war at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
This is an all time favourite of tourists and one of the best things to do in Porto if you are found of taking pictures that will make your friends turn green with envy.
However, I am not very found of the tours there and they always feel a bit rushed.
Go for wine tasting at one of the best Port wine cellars
You cannot come here and not do one of the best things in Porto, which is to go tasting wine at one of the best Port wine cellars!
I have already written about the best Port wine cellars in Porto so if you are a real Port wine lover read that article to discover what is the most adequate wine experience for you.
People tend to neglect Casa da Música because it is not in the city centre, even though it is one of the few examples of contemporary architecture in Porto. It was designed by Rem Koolhaas and it is well worth the visit.
The guided tours are simply phenomenal and they go into detail to explain you the acoustics of the building. But you can also simply enjoy the building by attending a concert as it is one of the best things to do in Porto.
Have a coffee at Café Majestic
Café Majestic is by far the most famous cafe in Porto. It is a magnificent example of post WWI period in Europe and having a coffee there is one of the best things to do in Porto.
However, it is always – ALWAYS – packed with tourists and it is very noisy.
Cathedral of Porto
The cathedral of Porto marks the foundation of the city nearly a thousand years ago and for that reason alone I consider visiting it one of the best things to do in Porto. This building is located at the top of the hill and from there you have a pretty view (albeit not the best one) towards the city.
It is worth visiting the cathedral of Porto due to its gothic cloister and the baroque altarpiece. And since you there, take the time to visit the Episcopal Palace (where the bishop of Porto lives) as it is a great example of the opulent lives that the higher members of the Catholic church still enjoy these days.
Especially for families with kids: World of Discoveries
I already told you about the World of Discoveries, an interactive museum dedicated to the Portuguese Discoveries, on my guide of fun activities in Porto for families with kids.
This museum is one of the few in Porto dedicated to kids, hence the long queues (and we all know how frustrating it can be when our little ones start to get bored…).
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Capela das Almas (Chapel of the Souls)
This chapel is an extraordinary example of blue tiles azulejos in Porto. It sits next to Bolhão subway station which was designed by the famous Porto architect Souto de Moura, so you take the time to admire two of the best things to do in Porto.
The interior of the chapel is not nearly as pretty as its exterior unfortunately. You can check it out but please be respective of the people that are praying there and this chapel is very cherished by our population.