Porto is the second largest and most important city in Portugal. With its own charisma, it is a city that combines tradition and modernity, with many places and sights. So we have compiled 5 key tips for those planning a visit to Porto.
Stay in the historic center
Porto’s historic center, a UNESCO . World Heritage Site, is home to the city’s main tourist attractions. And, most importantly, it is not very vast, allowing you to visit the main points on foot. São Bento train station is the main gateway to the city (including those arriving by plane, as the metro leaves the airport and very close by) and is soon one of the great business cards of Porto. It is here that are some of the most amazing panels of the national tiles From here it is just a few minutes’ walk to Aliados Avenue, the city’s main artery, topped by the imposing City Hall building. And from here are a few more steps to the Clérigos Tower, the city’s most iconic building – and the tallest tower in the country – that definitely marks the Porto skyline. Right next to the Clérigos Tower is the famous Lello Bookstore. One of the oldest and most beautiful bookstores in the world, it has become even more visited as it has been said it inspired the magical world of Harry Potter by its author JK Rowling, the acclaimed British writer who lived in Porto during some years of her life – however, this fact might be nothing more than magic trick 😉
Visit the Ribeira
From Porto city center to Ribeira district it is only a few minutes walk, but don’t miss it too late, as this part of the city is more beautiful during the day. Ribeira is the most picturesque of Porto neighborhoods, where tourists live with the locals in the most genuine way possible. In addition to the narrow streets and several alleys to get lost, Ribeira is still the place to eat good fish. Next to the Douro River, it is a fishing district, with incredible views of the river and, of course, the imposing D. Luís bridge, one of the most amazing examples of iron engineering and architecture. Just across you can see the famous Port Wine cellars.
Taste a Francesinha
Going to Porto and not eating a francesinha is like going to the Vatican and not seeing the Pope. This kind of sandwich with various types of meat, served on the plate accompanied by chips and a secret sauce, is one of the most obligatory icons of Porto. You will find several restaurants in town that serve it, each with its own recipe. Obviously there are better restaurants than others, however they all serve great francesinhas in Porto. However, remember that after this meal you will not be able to go very long walks.
Go out at Paris Galleries and drink a glass of wine from Porto
The mandatory destination for Porto nightlife is the Galleries of Paris. Situated right in the heart of the historic center, this is where the city’s many bars, restaurants and pubs meet. There are houses for all tastes, with music of various genres or different types of food. Here is the perfect time to try the famous Port Wine, one of the most famous aperitifs in the world. There are many brands to try and this sweet wine is a great way to start the evening.