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Are you and your friends coming to Porto? These are the places you can’t afford to miss

Rui Ribeiro CC BY-NC-ND

Get a group of friends together and come and visit Porto! Here you will find places that surprise you, day and night. The “Unvanquished City” is synonymous with history and tradition, but also with joy and night time fun which will surprise you.

During the day, discover Porto’s history... 

As one of the oldest cities in the country, Porto’s past is varied and picturesque. Walk the streets and feel the city’s pulse or take a tram ride to the Douro river estuary and take the opportunity to discover beautiful beaches and esplanades.

There are places you can’t miss, especially if this is your first time in Porto. 

Casa da Música (Music House) 

The Casa da Música or Music House is the first building to be constructed in Portugal exclusively dedicated to music and, despite only having been opened in 2005, is the daughter of the Porto 2001 – European Capital of Culture festival.

There are free shows which you can enjoy during your visit to the venue. And, once a month, there is an event which you should definitely make the most of if you have the opportunity: Clubbing is a party with live band performances and a DJ, normally from more alternative musical scenes, and which has earned a guaranteed place in the city’s nightlife listings.

Historic Centre and Praça da Ribeira

The Historic Centre has been classified as a World Cultural Heritage Site since 1996; here you will find a wealth of monuments and sights where buildings from the medieval era sit alongside others from the modern era.

The Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis), the Hard Club and the Ribeira Square are must-see attractions. Discover the narrow streets of the area, the narrow and vivid buildings, with their black granite, contrasting with the clean clothes drying in the sun.

Lello Bookshop 

After recharging your batteries, you will be up to a visit to the Lello Bookshop. Located on the Rua das Carmelitas, the British newspaper The Guardian described it the third most beautiful bookshop in the world. Its iconic staircases are regarded as the first example of the use of reinforced concrete in Portugal.

As a rule, the owners do not allow tourists to take photographs of the inside of the shop, but they do make some exceptions. Prepare a reason that’s impossible to refuse! 

Café Majestic

In the mid-afternoon, rest your legs and let yourself be delighted by the Café Majestic’s rabanadas (delicacy similar to French toast), in Porto’s most historical café. It is situated in the busy Rua de Santa Catarina (where the main fashion and accessory shops are to be found) and is one of the most emblematic places in the city of Porto. The building where it is located dates from 1916 and is one of the best examples of art nouveau in the city.

Port wine lodges

On the riverbank, you can visit Sandeman lodge (Largo Miguel Bombarda, 3). On Ramos Pinto Avenue, you can find Ramos Pinto lodge (number 380) and Ferreira lodge (number 70). In neighbouring streets, you will find other Port wine lodges. This is the case of Graham’s lodge, in Rua do Agro 141, where as well as a guided tour through the corridors of barrels and vats, you can visit an interesting museum and taste the best Port wines in modern tasting rooms. From the area of the lodges, you can also go on a cable car trip up to the Jardim do Morro (Hilltop Garden), the Serra do Pilar Monastery or take a Metro trip back to the Baixa (City Centre) area of Porto. 

Serralves

The Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, through its entrance on Rua D. João de Castro, 210, is the most important museum in Porto and one of the best in the country. Lose yourself in the beautiful gardens and in the park. On Sundays, admission is free until 1pm and gives access to the museum and this immense green space. 

São Bento Station

The station was built at the beginning of the 20th century in the exact location of the São Bento de Avé-Maria Convent, covered with glass and cast iron, and designed by the architect Marques da Silva. The atrium of São Bento Station is covered with twenty thousand elaborated tiles, made by the painter Jorge Colaço, and which illustrate the evolution of modes of transport and scenes from the history of Portugal and Portuguese life.

Torre dos Clérigos (Cleric’s Tower)

One of Porto’s bookplates, the Torre dos Clérigos was constructed between 1754 and 1763. The project was started by Nicolau Nasoni and the idea to build it came about in 1731, with the Brotherhood of Poor Clerics decided to construct a building for religious meetings. It has six floors and is 76 metres high. To get to the top, visitors have to climb 255 steps, but the view makes it all worthwhile. The price? Just 2 Euros.

In 2014, the Church reopened to the public, after restoration works. Just another reason to not leave it out of your visit!

... and at night get to know Porto’s more cosmopolitan side

As well as history and culture, Porto is also leisure, fun and nightlife. At night the famous streets around Galeria de Paris Street, the cafes and esplanades, and during the day the area of Miguel Bombarda and the commercial Santa Catarina Street are reference points for leisure, art, culture but also shopping.

Baixa (City Centre) is also the centre of a revolution with respect to restaurants and night life, offering venues and atmospheres for all tastes and budgets. In five years the number of bars in Porto, essentially in this area of the city, has doubled in number.

There are different bars in the centre of Porto which offer an urban atmosphere and one of literary meeting. They are spaces in which you can chat, standing up, in the middle of a nice square or on an elegant and picturesque esplanade. In these places the habit has been acquired of having a break at the end of the day for drinking a glass of wine or a beer after work. In the evening, there is alternative and indie rock music. 

Wine bars are fashionable, but the offerings are eclectic and range from fashionable champagne bars to the cafés which are emblematic of the centre, such as the Âncora D’Ouro, including venues that attract a younger crown due to their cheaper prices, as well as nightclubs and venues that host live music performances. So that you can move between these venues and also to get discounted or free entry in some of them, Porto Card is the ideal companion. If you want to plan your trip in an easy and convenient way, contact us! We will make your trip to Porto a unique experience.

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