One of Porto’s most beautiful neighborhoods is Praça da Ribeira. As one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, the area is filled with winding medieval streets and small cobblestone alleyways. Ribeira is extremely scenic as it sits on the river front of the Rio Douro and comes complete with numerous cafes, restaurants, and bars. Check out the top things to do and see in this beautiful area.
The Rio Douro runs through the city of Porto and borders the south end of the Ribeira neighborhood; you can’t visit Ribeira and miss the River Douro. Take a stroll along the river’s banks and enjoy the views of Ribeira’s colorful Portuguese architecture, all while keeping an eye out for passing fishing boats on the water.
An impressive, wrought steel wonder that spans the width of the River Duro, the Ponte de D. Luís rarely fails to impress travelers making their way through this historic neighbourhood. With a total length of more than 300 meters, this breath-taking structure was once the longest of its kind on the planet. Today, trams can be heard clattering across the waters on the upper deck, where there’s also a pedestrian walkway with dramatic views of Vila Nova de Gaia.
Elevador da Ribeira is another great way to take in some of the neighborhood’s best views. While used as a means of public transportation for locals, the elevator serves as a leisurely activity for visitors. Riding the elevator costs a nominal fee and it connects Ribeira’s port to the middle slope of the neighborhood, known as Barredo. Take the elevator up, and walk down so that you can fully explore the Ribeira neighborhood in all its glory.
D. Tonho is a suave and sophisticated spot to eat in Ribeira. Boasting some of the finest riverside seating in the neighborhood (made possible by those sweeping floor-to-ceiling windows) this fine-dining retreat matches the views with a menu of meticulously prepared dishes which fuse innovation and the Portuguese tradition.
Touting a menu of classic Portuguese tapas, this excellent restaurant is a fine first port of call for any traveler eager to explore the unique cuisine of this northern city. Delve into platters of seafood and meat, all cooked up with an eye for the traditional Portuguese cuisine. The setting is just as fine as the food, with timber tables and some great views over the neighborhood’s cobblestone streets.
Alminhas da Ponte means the ‘shrines of the bridge’. Here, visitors can see multiple shrines made out of bronze. Created by Portuguese sculptor José Joaquim Teixeira Lopes in 1897, the Alminhas da Ponte is one of Ribeira’s most prominent heritage sites. The shrines were made in order to commemorate the falling of one of Ribeira’s bridges in 1809. To date, visitors often leave candles and flowers at the shrines in order to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the disaster.
Want to get some information on Ribeira or the city of Porto in general? Then it’s worth making a stop at the Porto Convention Bureau. Here, you can meet and talk to some of the most knowledgeable people about the neighborhood and the city. Centrally located on Ribeira’s main street, the convention bureau is easy to find. Often the bureau also holds large events, so make sure to check their schedule to see any upcoming happenings.
Almost hidden, Alminhas da Boa Fortuna is located in an alleyway just off the bustling Barredo Street. Meaning ‘the shrines of good fortune’, it is a small blue-painted shrine on an unassuming yellow wall. It’s easy to miss, but the inscription above the shrine reading Senhor da boa fortuna, meaning ‘lord of good fortune’ gives it away. Legend has it that visitors who stop by the monument will receive good fortune on their trip.
Capela da Lada is one of Porto’s many Catholic churches. Located on the eastern side of the Ribeira neighborhood, Capela da Lada is a small, unassuming church nestled in-between a couple of Ribeira’s local businesses. Its faded white façade of the late Baroque style reflects the old age of the building, while the inside of the Capela da Lada is also white but features ornate gold details and moldings. A great spot to explore architecture and religious heritage alike.
Coisas de Cá is a small craft store selling some of Ribeira’s best small trinkets and art. The store focuses on traditional Portuguese crafts, which makes for the perfect place to buy souvenirs from Ribeira. Choose from Portuguese-made jewellery, ceramics, authentic antique church tiles and artisan metal art pieces. Since each item sold at Coisas de Cá is handmade by regional artists, they reflect the people, traditions and the history of Portugal as a whole.