These Pictures Will Make You Want to Book a Trip to Porto Right Now

Portos pretty riverside Ribeira district is the citys touristic centre
Porto's pretty riverside Ribeira district is the city's touristic centre | Photo by Svetlana Gumerova on Unsplash
Nina Santos

Just like one of the region’s fine wines, Porto is a city that improves with each passing year. It’s slightly timeworn and weathered, but the grey skies and dated buildings add character, while the twinkling lights along the Douro River reflect off the water and illuminate the charming old city. Pair these features with the reserved yet friendly locals, the charming trams, beautifully adorned architecture and, of course, the wine – and Porto’s charm could bring anyone under its spell. How could anyone not want to visit a city this beautiful?

Want to visit? Let our local insider show you the best of Porto on our specially curated nine-day Northern Portugal adventure.

Bridges

Dom Luis I Steel Bridge on the Douro River in Porto

Like Lisbon, Porto lies along the river and is home to a few iconic bridges that connect it to nearby municipalities.

The Dom Luis I bridge is just one of the renowned bridges in Porto
Porto’s most iconic bridge connects it to adjacent Vila Nova de Gaia

Most of these bridges (known as pontes in Portuguese) were constructed in the 19th century. An exception is the Arrábida Bridge, which was built between 1957-1963.

Arrabida bridge over Douro river in Porto, north of Portugal

Architecture

Porto’s architecture is a combination of Baroque, Roman, Gothic and Neoclassical styles. Some of the buildings date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, while plenty of others were built much more recently.

The ornate interior of the Palacio da Bolsa, Porto
Stairs in the Stock Exchange Palace (Palacio da Bolsa) of Porto, Portugal

One bookstore, the Livraria Lello & Irmão, is known as one of the most beautiful in the world, although its more common claim to fame is serving as inspiration for Harry Potter’s JK Rowling.

Livraria Lello, Porto, Portugal

São Bento railway station

São Bento railway station showcases the region’s unique tilework

All across Portugal, visitors will notice painted tiles called azulejos adorning churches, houses, restaurants, and even train stations. The São Bento station is as much a tourist stop as a means for travel.

A tourist takes a photograph of azulejo tiles in the railway station

Churches and Cathedrals

As a Catholic country, Portugal has no shortage of churches or cathedrals – and Porto’s may be among the most beautiful. Don’t miss the traditional azulejos and stained glass windows.

Cloisters in Porto Cathedral
Church of Saint Ildefonso features an ornate exterior decorated with tiles

The Church of Saint Ildefonso is covered in around 11,000 tiles. They were added in the 1930s.

The Church of Saint Francisco is built in the Gothic style although the western portal of the church is distinctly Baroque

Anyone can see the importance that these churches hold in the Portuguese culture by appreciating the décor. The delicate woodwork, carvings and statues speak for themselves.

Church of Clerigos and the iconic Clerigos Tower, one of the landmarks and symbols of Porto

Coast

Praia de Matosinhos Beach on a sunny blue sky day

Porto may not have any beaches within the city, but there are plenty nearby. The Pérgola at Foz do Douro is one beautiful destination nearby where ocean-lovers can enjoy a stroll and listen to the whispering waves.

The Pergola do Foz on the seafront at Matosinhos near Porto

Streets

Avenida dos Aliados is one of the city’s trendier areas; a central spot where locals and tourists alike go shopping or sip a coffee while admiring the grand architecture.

Avenida dos Aliados on a summer day

Other parts of the city are older and the trams are an excellent way to explore different areas.

Porto has tramlines heading from the centre out into the suburbs
Porto’s iconic trams are a symbol of the city

Douro River

Porto is built around the mighty Douro river

Nothing screams Porto’s name louder than the Douro River and its associated Ribeira district. Plenty of cafés and restaurants offer outdoor seating from where to soak up the view.

The historic old town Ribeira district in the centre of Porto at sunrise
Porto and the Douro River have a deep connection

Wine

Vineyard near Pinhao village as seen from Casal de Loivos

The only exception to Ribeira being the most iconic piece of Porto is its namesake wine. Porto is most famous for its world-renowned port wine and the neighbouring Douro Valley, where it originates.

Taylor’s offers extensive tours of its cellars in Porto

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