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!
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 15/20min), 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! But, of course, I’ll try to help you to avoid the queues to one of the best things to do in Porto! 😉
How to avoid the queue to Torre dos Clérigos:
Unfortunately there is no way to avoid the queue 🙁 You can buy the online ticket here, but I must warn you that it will not save you no time, as you still need to go to the queue and show the online ticket at the ticket office (I know, it doesn’t make much sense…).
Nonetheless, if you buy Porto Card you’ll get a 50% discount on the price of the ticket! The Porto Card gives you access to discounts on price tickets to most monuments in Porto.
You can buy a Porto Card for 1, 2, 3 or 4 days:
– with transport (bus + subway). It’s a good deal if you’re planning to use public transports a lot. You can buy it here.
– without transport – it’s much cheaper and ideal for those of you who don’t mind walking. You can buy it here.
One of the best things to do in Porto when it is sunny is to take the 6 bridges cruise, the famous 1h boat ride in Douro river. It is a nice way to get to see not only Porto’s ribeira, the Unesco protected neighborhood, but also all the beautiful bridges of Porto.
How to avoid the queue to the 6 bridges cruise in Porto:
It is easy – just get the online ticket to the 6 bridges cruise.
You can also buy the combined ticket to the Hop On Hop off bus tour + 6 bridges cruise + Port wine cellar. If you make the math it’s actually a really good deal, as if you bought the tickets for the three activities separately you’d spend around 42€.
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. Therefore, I suggest you to pay a visit to Serralves’ contemporary Museum and then go wonder in its park 😉
How to avoid the queue to Serralves’ contemporary museum:
1 – The best way is to get an online ticket here for 10€, which gives you access to the museum plus the park. It’s pretty convenient – you don’t need to print the voucher, just show it on your mobile!
Don’t forget that children [13-18] and adults >65 years old get 50% discount on the online ticket to Serralves 😉
2 – If you buy Porto Card, you’ll get a discount of 20%. This doesn’t avoid the queue but it saves you money. You can buy Porto Card with transportation here and Porto Card Walker (without transportation) here.
3 – If you’re a patient person, you can visit Serralves for free on the first Sunday morning of each month. Keep in mind that the museum will be packed so I advise you to go at the opening hour (10am).
Fado is not traditional from Porto, but from Lisbon and from Coimbra. However, if you are not Portuguese then one of the best things to do in Porto is to attend a Fado show, which although it is not from Porto, is definitely Portuguese!
Usually the Fado shows run during dinner, and I’ve already written about the best Fado houses in Porto. As it usually includes dinner it ends up being an expensive activity (about 30/40€ per person). However, if you are only interested in listening to Fado, I recommend that you to buy the online ticket for the Fado show at Casa da Guitarra, which is very economical – only 14€/person.
Another great option is to buy a combo ticket for a Fado show at a Port wine cellar. It allows you not only to visit one of the best Port wine cellars in Porto but also to enjoy the wine tasting while listening to fado played in front of the wine barrels. How does that sound?! 🙂
This is a good deal because a visit and wine tasting at a Port wine cellar costs around 15€/18€, and if you go to a traditional Fado show (in a restaurant) you will never pay less than 30€. Therefore, by getting combo ticket you are saving a lot of money since it only costs 21€.
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 email@example.com 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 bookstore, where people believe that J. K. Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter book (it’s a lie!). 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…
Important remarks regarding the online tickets to Lello bookstore:
1 – Unlike the other monuments, the online ticket to Lello bookstore is actually more expensive – it costs 5,5€ instead of 5€ if you buy it on the spot.
2 – Unfortunately even if you buy the tickets, you will not be able to skip the queue to enter the bookstore. You only skip one of the queues (the one to buy the ticket).
3 – When you buy the online tickets you’ll need to fill in a field called “VAT”. You can just insert the value 999999990.
Visit St Francis church
Besides the Clérigos church, St Francis church is clearly my favourite church 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 above.
How to avoid the queues to St Francis church in Porto:
Actually, there is no need to avoid any queue since I have never seen one there 😛 What I truly recommend you is to book a guided visit on the inside because it is a game changer to visit this particular church with someone who actually knows what they are talking about. You simply have to send them an email to book the tour, as they do not have specific hours for the tours.
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 extensively written about the best Port wine cellars in Porto so if you are a real Port wine lover you should read that article to discover what is the most adequate wine experience for you. You can also simply head to Cais de Gaia, where the cellars are located, and try your luck at one of them. But I would recommend you to book your visit in advance because this is one of the most touristy activities in Porto and tours run out fast. Moreover, in many cellars the language of the tour is chosen accordingly to the first people that book a certain time slot (I know, it does not make sense) so if you do not book you might end up waiting a long time for a tour guide that you might actually understand.
Visit MMIPO – Misericórdia do Porto Museum and Church
MMIPO is the most underrated monument in Porto but it shouldn’t be as it’s simply gorgeous! It tells the story of Santa Casa da Misericórdia do Porto, the most important religious organisation in Portugal, and it’s charity work throughout the centuries.
Even though the museum is about the story of this religious organisation, it has a very clean and modern design that appeals to everyone, which is why I included on this list of things to do in Porto.
How to avoid the queue to MMIPO:
Usually the queues to this monument are not as horribly long as to the others. Nonetheless, I recommend you to buy the tickets online, especially if you’re coming to Porto from July to September.
1 – You can buy the online ticket. This helps you save time but you’ll pay exactly the same price as you would pay if you buy it at the box office, so another option is to
2 – Buy Porto Card, you’ll get a discount of 50% on the price of the ticket to MMIPO, so you’ll save 2.5€/person. This option doesn’t save you time, but it saves your money. You can buy Porto Card with transportation here and Porto Card Walker (without transportation) here.
- Adults >65 years old have a 50% discount. You can buy the ticket on the same link I mentioned above.
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 8 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…). Therefore, even though it’s one of the best things to do in Porto for families with kids, I think it’s wise to buy the online ticket.
Prices of the World of Discoveries:
Children [4-8]: 8€
Adult >65: 11€
You can buy an online ticket for the World of Discoveries’, so that the price of the ticket is 11€/adult and 6€/children. With this ticket you save 3€/adult + 2€/kid.
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Monuments with queues you can’t avoid, but with great discounts with Porto Card:
There are three monuments in Porto where you can’t avoid the queues because they don’t sell tickets online.
Still, if you have the Porto Card and you present it at the box office, you get pretty good discounts! You can buy Porto Card with transportation here and Porto Card Walker (without transportation) here. My top 3 monuments in Porto with discounts are:
1 – Casa da Música, the amazing House of Music designed by Rem Koolhaas. It has guided tours at 11am and 4pm, both in English and in Portuguese. The ticket costs 7,5€.
If you have the Porto Card you get 50% discount on the price of the ticket to Casa da Música, so you save 3.75€/person.
2 – Palácio da Bolsa, the famous Stock Exchange Palace with the stunning Arab room. The queue to this monument is really, really huge. They let you book the tour online but it’s pretty useless because you can’t pay it, so you need to face the queue nonetheless!
There is no way to escape the queue and the tour takes place in the language of the first person who books the tour (either in PT/EN/FR/ES). Therefore, if you have a friend in Porto this is the right time to ask him/her a big favour 😀 if you’re not that lucky, then go early. Really early!
The ticket costs 8.5€/adult and 5€/student or adult >65 years old. If you have the Porto Card you get 50% discount on the price of the ticket to Palácio da Bolsa, so you save 4.25€/adult.
3 – St. Francis Church, a Unesco World Heritage. The ticket to this beautiful gothic church + catacombs costs 4.5€/adult.