Ce sa faci in Porto, Portugalia – top 5 obiective turistice

Porto is an effervescent city, which pleasantly combines classic and modern style: you will be amazed by the spectacular architecture of the buildings in the historical center, but you will also be surprised to learn that the city has a dynamic, youthful side, being a city with many restaurants and an active night life.

Porto is fascinating, it vibrates with the energy of tourists, being a perfect destination for a city break, or for an extended holiday in Portugal, in which you could combine the major tourist attractions of this country. 

For us, it was one of the locations we visited during our one week trip to Portugal, about which I invite you to read here: 7 Days In Portugal - How much does one week in Portugal cost.

About Porto

Porto is the second largest city in Portugal, after Lisbon, with a population of almost 300,000 inhabitants, respectively 2.4 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area.

Porto is located along the estuary of the Douro River, in the north of Portugal, and the western part of the city extends to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.


Porto is one of the oldest European cities, and its center has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage since 1996 and has been declared a National Monument of Portugal.

The settlement of the city dates back many centuries, since it was an outpost of the Roman Empire. Its combined Celtic-Latin name, Portus Cale, underlies the origin of the country's name Portugal.


Port wine is one of Portugal's most famous exports. The metropolitan area, and especially the wineries of Vila Nova de Gaia, the city south of the Douro River, are responsible for packaging, transporting and exporting this wine.

How to get to Porto

The easiest way to get to Porto is by plane. Another possibility is to fly to Lisbon, and from there take the train or bus to Porto.

By train from Lisbon

Trains depart from Lisbon from Oriente Station, and there are two types of train: 

Oriente Train Station, Lisbon
Oriente Train Station, Lisbon
  • AP (Alfa Pendular): these are Portugal's high-speed trains, and a journey takes around 2:45. They are also the most expensive, a travel ticket can cost 30 euros
  • IC (Intercity): these trains have more stops than an AP train, which makes a trip take over 3 hours. The ticket is cheaper, around 20 euros

If you choose to go by train, be prepared for possible strikes. We had bought the train ticket online, but when we were on the platform, waiting for the train, we accidentally found out that the train was canceled due to a strike. Unfortunately, we were not previously notified that the train was no longer leaving - neither online, by email, nor at the station was it posted that the train was cancelled. We bought bus tickets instead, and later recovered the money from the train tickets, making a request at the station counter.

By bus from Lisbon

Private buses, such as Flix Bus or Rede Expressos, run very often between Lisbon and Porto. A trip takes around 3 and a half hours, but the tickets are cheaper than the train, and start from 5 euros. Prices vary depending on when the ticket is bought, or how crowded the bus is.

Tickets cannot be bought from the driver, so it is mandatory to buy them beforehand online. All these buses leave from the Oriente bus station, near the train station.

Where to stay in Porto

In Porto, the best place to stay is in the central area. The city center is not very large, and can be walked on foot, so once you arrive in the center, you will no longer need other means of transport.

Bolt and Uber are quite cheap in Porto, you can easily get to the hotel in the center if you use one of these applications. For example, from the bus station (TIC Campanha), where the Lisbon-Porto bus left us, to the hotel we paid 4.5 euros.

The hotel we stayed at was this: Pao de Acucar Hotel.

Porto is one of the most colorful cities in Europe

What to do in Porto - Top 5 Tourist Attractions

1. Get lost on the streets

Porto has a superb historical center, with interesting, colorful buildings that radiate a lot of warmth and are very beautiful. It's a real pleasure to walk the animated streets of the city, everywhere you will find elements that make you take out your phone and quickly take a picture: impressive buildings, flowered balconies, interesting pedestrian streets or churches with beautiful facades made of ceramic tiles.

Centru Porto

You can walk on the streets of the city center, but pay attention to the distances between the sights. Porto is a city built on hills, so although on the map it may seem that two locations are very close in terms of distance, they may be at different altitudes, and so you will have a lot of climbing to get to from one point to another. And the streets are really quite steep.

Centru Porto

Below I will mention some of the sights that you should not miss if you arrive in downtown Porto.

Rua das Flores

Rua das Flores is the most famous street in Porto, an elegant, pedestrian street, which is full of tourists. It is the city's shopping street, where you will find many restaurants, terraces and shops.

Rua das Flores

Sao Bento Train Station

At the end of Rua das Flores is the Sao Bento train station, a symbol of the city of Porto, due to its unusual interior. The station was inaugurated at the beginning of the 20th century, and is a tourist attraction precisely because of its walls covered with painted ceramic tiles. Even if you will not travel by train in Porto, Sao Bento Station is a place you should not miss!

The interior of the Sao Bento train station
The interior of the Sao Bento train station

Livraria Lello (Lello Bookstore)

The Lello Bookstore is a bookstore of extraordinary architectural and historical value. What you will find in the bookstore will instantly fascinate you, thanks to the way the interior is designed, and the red staircase inside is one of the most Instagrammable locations in Porto. The bookstore seems to be straight out of the Harry Potter books! In fact, it is said that the author of the book J.K.Rowling was inspired by this bookstore when she wrote the famous Harry Potter series.

Libraria Lello
Lello Bookstore - the only tourist attraction in Porto where I encountered a waiting line

The Lello bookstore is very visited by tourists, and since the place is quite small and in order to organize the large number of tourists who cross its threshold, it was decided to introduce an entrance ticket. In fact, it is the only bookstore in the world where you have to pay an entrance ticket.

A ticket costs 5 euros, and can be purchased online from this website: https://www.livrarialello.pt/en/store/ticket-voucher. The good part is that, whatever you buy here, the money paid on the ticket will be returned to you (you will pay 5 euros less for the purchased product).

Libraria Lello
Libraria Lello
Lello Bookstore - such a souvenir book costs between 12-16 euros

We also bought some souvenirs from here, in form of books. Such a book cost us 12 euros, after the discount.

What was interesting about this bookstore is that it was the only place in Porto where we saw a waiting line at the entrance.

Clerigos Church Tower (Igreja dos Clérigos)

The Clérigos Church is a baroque church, whose 75-meter tower, Torre dos Clérigos, one of the symbols of the city of Porto, can be seen from different points of the city.

Clerigos Tower
Clerigos Tower
Clerigos Tower

Se Cathedral

Porto Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church located in the historic center of the city. Build in the 18th century, the cathedral is one of the oldest monuments in the city.

Capela das Almas (Chapel of Souls)

The chapel is famous for its blue and white ceramic tile exterior painted with scenes from the saints' lives.

Igreja do Carmo (Carmo Church)

Another church famous for its facades made of blue and white ceramic tiles is the Carmo church, built in the 18th century in Baroque style.

Igreja do Carmo

2. Walk along the banks of the Douro River – Cais da Ribeira


The most famous location in Porto is the famous promenade on the banks of the Douro river, near the Luis I bridge. It is the most representative image of the city, which you have surely already seen, reading or informing yourself about Porto.

Cais da Ribeira, with the Luis I Bridge behind

Cais da Ribeira is considered one of the liveliest areas of the city. During the day, it's an ideal place to see the beautifully placed houses in pastel colors, all facing the water. Many restaurants in the area have terraces from which you can enjoy views of the river, the town of Vila Nova de Gaia on the opposite bank, the boats on the water or the bridge.

Ribeira - view towards the city of Vila Nova de Gaia

You can also choose to take a boat ride on the Douro River. You can find such excursions directly on the spot, or you can also book them online, on GetYourGuide.

3. Cross the Luis I bridge

Ponte Luis I (Luis I Bridge)

Podul Luis I

You can cross the famous Luis I bridge on foot, crossing from one side of the Douro River to the other. You can go both on the lower level, where you will reach the promenade on the southern bank, and on the upper level, where you will have a superb view of the entire city and the river. Cars circulate on the lower level, while on the upper level you will find trams.

Podul Luis I
Cross the Luis I Bridge and arrive in the town of Vila Nova de Gaia

It should be mentioned that on the southern side of the river is the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, and Porto is located only on the northern side of the water.

Podul Luis I
View from the Luis I Bridge
Podul Luis I
Podul Luis I
Luis I Bridge - Night view, over Porto (right) and Vila Nova de Gaia (left)

Vila Nova de Gaia

Vila Nova de Gaia is a town on the southern bank of the Douro River, opposite Porto.

Pin&Trip din Gaia
Pin&Trip from Gaia - view of the Douro River and the cities of Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto

If you want to taste port wine in Portugal, this is the perfect place to go, as Vila Nova de Gaia is famous for its wineries.

There are also some fabulous panoramic points over the riverbank and Porto's old quarters. I will mention the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, a monastery whose platform offers a perfect panorama towards Porto, the Douro and the Luis I bridge. You can find this place right at the end of the bridge, if you choose to cross the Luis I bridge on top.

If you want an interesting experience, a cable car is available in Vila Nova de Gaia to reach the lower level of the promenade. A ticket costs 6 euros, or 9 euros round trip.

4. Enjoy a Port wine

Porto wine (or port, more simply) is a Portuguese fortified wine, produced exclusively in the Douro region of northern Portugal. It is usually a sweet, red, white or rosé wine, and is served as a dessert. They can also be dry and extra-dry port wines. Based on a European Union directive, only products from Portugal, respectively from the Douro region, can be labeled as "Port" or "Porto".

It is the most valuable product of this region, and if you come to Porto and you are a wine drinker, don't miss this wine. You can visit the wineries in Gaia, where you can take part in a tasting of such wines. Graham's Port Lodge, Porto Augusto's or Porto Calem would be some of these places.

5. Enjoy the local gastronomy

As in the rest of Portugal, the local cuisine is very tasty.

The most famous local food in Porto is the so-called Francesinha, the traditional Porto sandwich. The recipe uses slices of white bread, ham, roast beef, sausages and cheese. The sandwich is then covered with even more cheese and put in the oven to melt the cheese. It is served with a slightly spicy beer and tomato sauce and fried potatoes.

Beside this traditional recipe, you can't go to Portugal and not eat Bacalhau, the cod dish so specific to this country, or Pasteis de Nata, the representative dessert of Portugal.

Porto is an interesting city, for which you will need at least one day to discover all its beautiful parts. If you have more time, you can also take a trip to the Douro valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its wonderful views and vineyards, being the place where the famous Porto wines are born.