Porto is the second largest city in Portugal known for it’s port wine production. To me, the city felt like a more mature, more conservative older sibling to Lisbon. There’s plenty of things to keep you occupied here and these are my personal top 10 things to do in Porto.
1. Visit SerralvesSerralves is the beautiful art gallery in the suburbs of Porto, just a short bus ride away from Casa da Musica. As well as the gallery and sculpture garden, Serralves is home to the gorgeous art deco pink villa with the blue fountains which look stunning under the summer’s sky.2. Visit Livraria LelloLivraria Lello is one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world and is well known as it is where JK Rowling wrote the first few chapters of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ when she was living in Portugal in the early 90s. It’s worth a visit, but unfortunately you do have to pay roughly €3 to enter, although this price gets knocked off any book you buy.3. Climb the Clérigos TowerClérigos is a Church in the centre of Porto and has a tower that looks out over the city and with over 240 steps to the top, this is no short journey. There’s plenty of opportunities to stop and look out at the view along the way with various windows and viewpoints and two platforms to stop and stand at when you reach the top.4. Visit the RibeiraPorto is famous for the riberia which is the medieval district with views overlooking the river and the crumbling houses, boats and cable cars. On a sunny day, you could sit and watch the river from the bank (with no handrail, but that’s the way it is with most places in Portugal) and people watch or soak up the sun.5. Visit the Church of São Francisco and the CatacombsThe Church of São Francisco has a magnificent interior with gorgeous gold statues, beams and ceilings. There’s no photos inside so don’t try to sneakily take one – you’ll ruin it for everyone else. However, there’s no rules against snapping photos inside the creepy catacombs.6. Visit Casa Da MusicaCasa Da Musica is the largest music house in Porto and often hosts theatre productions and plays. It is a beautiful, strange building a couple of metro stops away from downtown with plenty of parks and shopping oportunities nearby.7. Visit the Crystal Palace Gardens(Picture taken from Wikicommons) The Crystal Palace is a landscaped park with a domed pavilion which replaced the original 19th century crystal palace. There are plenty of beautiful gardens to see here including the garden of feelings.(Picture taken from Wikicommons)
8. Wander around the streets and enjoy the tiled buildingsPorto has magnificent tiled buildings, a trademark famous for Portugal, and it’s nice to wander around if the sun is out, taking in the gorgeous streets with their intriguing architecture.9. Visit the most beautiful cafe in EuropeCafé Majestic is an art nouveau restaurant in Porto with hanging chandeliers and beautiful decorations. It is rumoured that JK Rowling spent a lot of time here writing the first Harry Potter book. Unfortunately, the menu has no vegan options (you’ll struggle to find vegetarian options too) so for a fancy meal, I’d recommend Em Carne Viva or you could check out my Vegan’s Guide to Eating Out in Porto.(Picture taken from Wikicommons)
10. Visit Palácio Da Bolsa(Picture taken from Wikicommons) Otherwise known as the Stock Exchange Palace, Palácio Da Bolsa is a gorgeous building which shows off the countries and cultures that Porto had a trading relationship with. You can wander around this beautiful building and take in the interesting decor in each room.(Picture taken from Wikicommons)