These are the best things to do in Porto

Discover the best things to do in Porto on this article. It includes all my tips and tricks to avoid…

Sara Riobom
25 de February de 2024

Discover the best things to do in Porto on this article. It includes all my tips and tricks to avoid the excruciating queues to these amazing places – I hope you enjoy it, but if, by the end of the article, you feel like taking your trip to the next level, make sure to check my Porto bucket list.

Here is the index to help you navigate this article, because it is quite long:

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1 These are the best things to do in Porto:

These are the best things to do in Porto:

Taste wine at one of the best Port wine cellars

port wine cellars
You cannot come here and not do one of the best things in Porto, which is to go wine tasting 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 one for you.
You can definitely show up unannounced at a random Port wine cellar, but there is a risk that a) the lodge is full for that day or b) the tour in the language that you want is not taking place in your available time frame.

Best Port wine lodges in a snapshot

How to avoid the queues to the Port wine cellars

The best way is definitely to book your visit in advance, as mentioned before. Currently, there are three Port wine cellars selling online tickets that you can buy in advance: Graham’s (my favourite), Calém and Poças (the smallest one).

Watch a Fado show

live fado show porto
Fado is the traditional Portuguese music style immortalised by Amália Rodrigues, Mariza and Ana Moura, among others. Unlike what people think, Fado doesn’t only tell stories of pain and saudade, it can also be incredibly fun, cheerful and inspiring.
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!

How to save money on a Fado show in Porto

Usually a Fado shows runs during dinner, and I’ve already written about the best Fado houses in Porto. Therefore, it ends up being an expensive activity (about 40 / 50€ / 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 Ideal Clube de Fado because those guys are BRILLIANT. I know the owner personally, and how seriously he takes his mission to show the real fado to his clients.
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 a wine tasting while listening to fado.
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 25€.

Visit the Clérigos tower

clerigos tower porto

clerigos tower best view porto

Torre dos Clérigos is 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 Clérigos tower is a test to your patience! You need to wait in line to buy the ticket (around 15 minutes), 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 give up though – when you reach the top and see the superb 360º view of Porto, you’ll feel it was totally worth the waiting!
Expert tip: You should also take the opportunity to visit the Clérigos church (it is free of charge) and watch a live concert of pipe organ at noon.

Prices & Tickets of the Clérigos tower (2024)

How to avoid the queue to Torre dos Clérigos

The best way is to buy the online ticket to the Clérigos tower. I recommend you to get this ticket as it ensures your entrance to one of the most popular monuments in Porto.
Another option is to buy Porto Card, a card that gives you free access to public transports AND discounts on the tickets to most monuments in Porto, you’ll get a 50% discount on the price of the Clérigos tower, so you’ll be saving 4€ on this specific activity.

You can buy a Porto Card for 1, 2, 3 or 4 days:
with transport (bus + subway + train). It’s a good deal if you’re planning to use public transports a lot.
without transport – it’s much cheaper and ideal for those of you who don’t mind walking.

Get amazed at the Lello bookstore

lello bookstore facade
I already told you the story behind the stunning Lello bookshop, where people believe that J. K. Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter book. (Not true, by the way). 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…

How to avoid the queue to Lello bookshop

  • To avoid the line to buy the tickets, you can simply buy the online ticket to Lello bookstore. It costs 8€. When you buy it there is a field to include your VAT Number, and you should introduce this number: 999999990 (this is legit information, I called Lello bookstore to know how to go around this VAT issue). No prints needed, just show it on your smartphone. However, many times the Lello’s bookstore website isn’t working.
  • To avoid both the line to enter the building, you can buy the skip the line ticket to Lello bookstore for 15,90€. It is suuuuuper expensive because it already includes a book (at the moment, you can choose one of 4 available books).

Prices & Tickets to the Lello bookshop (2024)

  • Regular ticket: 8€
  • Skip the line ticket (they call it “gold”): 15,90€

Warning: Lello is constantly changing the logistics around their tickets so if the info written above is not the correct one when you get to read this article, don’t get mad! It is hard to keep up with so many changes!!!

Take the 6 bridges cruise

6 bridges cruise porto
© Porto Moments

One of the best things to do in Porto is to take the famous 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.
It is perfect if you need to relax, if you are traveling with kids or if you have some time to kill in between other activities.

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 combo ticket to the Hop On Hop off bus tour + 6 bridges cruise + Port wine cellar. If you make the math it’s a pretty good deal, because if you buy the tickets for the three activities separately you’ll spend around 50€.
You can also get the combo ticket to the city train tour + 6 bridges cruise + Port wine cellar which is quite similar. It is a great combo if you want to get the most of a single day and it’s very cheap – only 29€.

Another option is to simply skip the 6 bridges cruise and simply do a private river cruise – make sure to check my article about the best river cruises in Porto to discover the best options for you!

Prices & Tickets to the 6 bridges cruise (2024)

Visit the Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa)

stock exchange palace porto
Palácio da Bolsa is the famous Stock Exchange Palace with the stunning Arab room. It was built on the ruins of the former convent of St Francis, which was donated to the Commercial association of the city after our 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 Instagram followers turn green with envy.

How to avoid the queues to the Stock Exchange Palace

The queue to the Stock Exchange Palace is huge and unfortunately they are stuck in the eighteenth century, since this monument does not sell online tickets 😛 But at least, if you have the Porto Card with transportation you get 25% discount on the ticket to the palace.
Another important information is that 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 favour 😀 if you’re not that lucky, then go early. Really early!

Prices & Tickets to the Stock Exchange Palace (2024)

  • Adult: 12€
  • Seniors > 65 yo: 7,50€
  • Students: 7,50€
  • Children < 11 yo: free of charge

Discover your type of wine at WoW – The World of Wine Museum

harvest season wine museum porto
portuguese wine regions
world of wine porto wine tasting

There is a new fantastic wine museum in town called WoW – Wine Museum. I was a little bit sceptic at first – I mean, there are already so many Port wine lodges in town, most of them with guided visits, so what could possibly a new Wine Museum add up? But the truth is that WoW – Wine Museum is a fantastic place for those of you that really want to learn not only about general wine production processes but also the different Portuguese wine regions.

Moreover, WoW – Wine Museum is a very interactive museum, where you’ll be able to take a few tests to discover what is your style of wine, what is the grape variety that best suits you, etc. It’s SO COOL.

At the end, a wine tasting that includes a red, a white and a 2018 LBV Port wine.

Ticket to the WoW – Wine Museum (2024)

How to get there: the subway station General Torres is a 15 minutes walking distance, and so is the train station with the same name.

Visit the St Francis church

st francis church porto golden leaf
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 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 😛
However, if you have the Porto Card you get a 25% discount on the ticket.

Prices of St Francis church in Porto (2024)

Have a coffee at Café Majestic

famous cafe majestic porto decor
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, albeit very expensive.
However, it is always – ALWAYS – packed with tourists and it is very noisy. For these reasons, don’t expect to find Portuguese people on the inside.

How to avoid the queues at Café Majestic

I am afraid it is not possible to avoid this queue! There is always a lot of people waiting to enter the Cafe Majestic, even on rainy days.
However, I have a secret to share with you: just head to Café Guarany, which belongs to the same owners, and have coffee there. This café dates from the 30s and has an exquisite decoration without having the absurd prices of Café Majestic and its disturbing amount of people.

Join a private tour with us

portoalities best private tours porto
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, you can:

Go for a walk at Serralves contemporary art museum

serralves contemporary art museum porto
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.
You can also have lunch at Serralves’ buffet – style restaurant, it is a really nice restaurant with a view towards the park.

How to avoid the queue to Serralves’ contemporary museum

1 – You can buy the online ticket to Serralves for 22€, which gives you access to the museum, the treetop walk (it’s sop cool!) and to the park. It’s convenient – you don’t need to print the voucher, just show it on your mobile.
However, when you arrive in Serralves you need to go to the ticket office and exchange your mobile ticket to a paper one. It is a bit of a ridiculous process but at least you don’t need to wait in line – you can head straight to the staff at the ticket office and tell them that you have an online ticket. All in all, and to be perfectly honest, I am not sure it is worth to do it.
2 – If you buy the Porto Card with transportation you’ll get a 20% discount. This doesn’t avoid the queue but it saves you money.
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 (especially with families with young kids), so I advise you to go at the opening hour (10h).

Prices and Tickets to the Serralves Foundation (2024)

  • Adult: 22€ (it gives you access to ALL the spaces of the Serralves Foundation)
  • Just the museum: 15€
  • Just the gardens: 15€

Casa da Música

casa musica music venue porto facade
© Wojtek Gurak

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. Otherwise, you can simply enjoy the building by attending a concert as it is one of the best things to do in Porto.

How to avoid the queues at Casa da Música

There is never a queue for the tours at Casa da Música, don’t worry 🙂
However, if you want to watch a concert there I recommend you to buy the tickets online, as they run out fast.

Prices and Tickets to Casa da Música (2024)

  • Guided visits:
    • Adult: 12€
    • Teenagers [13-18] yo – 5€
    • Kid < 12 yo: free of charge
  • Concert: it depends on the concert – make sure to check Casa da Música’s agenda 🙂

Especially for families with kids: World of Discoveries

world discoveries porto

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…).

How to save money on the World of Discoveries

These are the current prices for the World of Discoveries:
Adults: 16€
Children [4-8] yo: 10€
Adult > 65 yo: 13€
In order to save money, you can buy the online ticket to the World of Discoveries, as it costs less 1€ per person, regardless of your age.

Walk on the Crystal Palace gardens

crystal palace gardens porto

I rarely mention the Crystal Palace gardens because I genuinely prefer the Serralves Foundation’s, but indeed walking at the Crystal Palace gardens are also one of the best things to do in Porto because a) they are in the city centre b) they are free of charge c) they are full of peacocks =´) and d) it is where one of my favourite events of the year, the book fair of Porto, takes place. They are indeed, worth being visited particularly by couples on a romantic trip in Porto or by families with kids.

Walk on the upper deck of Luiz I bridge

upper deck iron bridge porto
luis famous iron bridge porto

I saved this activity for last because I have mixed feelings about it. Indeed, the view from the upper deck of the Luiz I bridge in Porto is STUNNING – there is no way around it. However, these days Porto is such a popular destination that unfortunately the bridge is always packed with people, which is very annoying for introverts like me 😛

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