Porto is one of our favorite old cities, bursting with color and history. Hand painted blue & white azulejo tiles adorn the walls on everything from churches to the train station. Porto’s steep hills and bridges give beautiful sweeping views of orange terracotta roofs. Overall the city is picture perfect.
In this travel guide we share all our favorite sights in the city to help plan your perfect weekend away. Check out the interactive map at the end of this post with all our recommendations!
There is so much to see and do in Porto. As a suggested itinerary, start by sightseeing the many landmarks in the city. In the afternoon, enjoy the views and walk over the Dom Luis I Bridge to Gaia. The gondolas, Teleferico de Gaia, are definitely worth the ride down, even if you are a little scared of heights.
On this side of the river you can arrange tours to visit the cellars, or Port Lodges, where Port is aged. In our opinion, the best way to enjoy the evening is with some glasses of Port wine and cheese pairings along the waterfront. Muito Romantico!
Our Favorite Sights in Porto
Church of Santo Ildefonso | One of the most beautiful blue-tiled churches in Porto.
Lello Bookstore | Rumored to be a source of inspiration for Harry Potter, this bookstore is so famous you’ll need a ticket to get in.
Sao Bento Railway Station | This train station is worth a visit just to see the stories and history depicted on all the hand painted tiles.
Liberdade Square | Porto’s central square surrounded by beautiful buildings and close to many other sights in the city.
Capela de Santa Catarina | Another beautiful church featuring stunning tile work.
Torre dos Clérigos | Climb the steps for an unmatched 360 degree view of Porto from inside the tower.
Ribeira District | A riverside neighborhood across from Gaia with cobbled streets and colorful houses.
The Porto Cathedral | Fantastic views of the city from the cathedral walls.
Best Port Cellars to Visit
Once the Port wine is harvested and bottled in the Douro Valley, it’s brought to Porto to be aged in the cellars. Traditionally, the Port wine barrels were carried down the Douro River in Rabelo boats.
The Port Lodges are located in Vila Novo de Gaia. There are many to choose from, some offer a great cellar tour, while others feature the best riverfront patio for Port wine tasting and watching the world go by.
- Sandeman | Cellar tours & a beautiful riverside patio with delicious Port cocktails and cheese pairings.
- Grahams 1890 Lodge | An impressive, historic lodge with cellar tours & a tasting room. By reservation only.
- Churchill | A short and informative cellar tour & a garden patio overlooking the river.
- Ramos Pinto | Popular tour with tasting included, indoor seating only.
Since we were there to celebrate my birthday, we decided to sit on the sunny patio and order the 30 year old reserve Port and a cheese plate to share. Porto is a great place to visit for any special occasion!
Sails & Spices’ Favorite Places
Porto is one of Portugal’s most popular cities and it’s easy to see why. During our visit the city’s charm won us over and left us wanting more time to enjoy this beautiful place. We will be back! Is Porto on your wish list of cities to visit?
Portugal City Guides
We highly recommend visiting the Douro Valley from Porto, it makes a great day trip or you can even go for a few nights. In this post A Wine Lover’s Dream in the Douro Valley we share tips & photos of one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world!
If you are planning a trip around Portugal, check out the rest of Sails & Spices Portugal City Guides:
- Sipping Ginja in Obidos
- Lisbon City Guide
- Pena Palace in Sintra
- Pastries and Parapetes in Belem
- A Vegetarian Guide to Lagos