Often overshadowed by the bright lights of Lisbon, Porto hasn’t seen anywhere near as many visitors as you’d expect for a city so beautiful. That said, tourism is on the rise and we think that hopping on a flight to Porto is an absolute must for anyone visiting Portugal. This 24 hours in Porto guide will help you plan out a big day in the city.
Spend your morning in Porto getting to know the city’s central district. One of the first places you should stop off at is Ribeira, the most lively and exciting district, filled with narrow streets and crumbling buildings covered in beautiful tiles. This is a good place to familiarise yourself with what Porto is all about – a rough-around-the-edges city that’s nevertheless charming.
Top sights to stop off at in Ribeira over the course of the morning are the Palacio da Bolsa, a beautiful 19th-century building with a jaw-dropping interior, São Francisco Church, which has an ornate, lavish design inside, and the Casa da Musica, a modern architectural delight that you have to lay your eyes on.
Also which in the area don’t miss heading up the Clerigos Tower, the iconic structure that looms over the city that’s home to panoramic views over Porto’s rooftops. For lunch, simply take a wander around Ribeira and down to the waterfront. There are many cafés and restaurants here when you can grab a bite and look out over the River Douro.
In the afternoon, explore the other side of the river. Instead of taking the underground metro, stroll across Dom Luís I Bridge, from which you can drink in incredible views over both sides of the Douro.
Once you’re over on the south side, hop on a tour of one of the port cellars. Places like Sandeman’s or Taylor’s are popular, and these both run tours frequently throughout the afternoon. These tours include lots of information about Porto’s favourite tipple, as well as tastings of the finished product itself. This drink is at the heart and soul of Porto, so this is an essential experience for anyone visiting.
Once finished, have a stroll along the waterfront here to catch the best views of the Ribeira district on the other side of the Douro. If you’re a keen photographer, this is one of the best places to get some good shots of the colourful buildings and watch the world go by – there are lots of cafés and bars here perfect for a late afternoon drink.
Your final top Porto sight of the day should be Livraria Lello & Irmão Bookshop, one of the oldest in Portugal and a gorgeous beauty to behold whether you’re an avid reader or not. The sweeping staircases and rows and rows of shelves filled with books here are enough to impress anyone, and coming later on in the day might give you a chance to dodge the crowds.
Just around the corner from this are two streets – Galeria de Paris and Rua de Cândido dos Reis – that are among the liveliest places to be at night in Porto. Lined with restaurants and bars, you’ll be spoilt for choice here when it comes to dinner and drinks. Relax and unwind into the wee hours, surrounded by locals and travellers alike.
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