Many times we leave for a specific destination to visit without too many expectations, without too many programs, ready to live it a little bit by being amazed by every place where you may find yourself even by chance.
And so it was my weekend in Oporto. You arrive in Porto to spend two beautiful days discovering the city and then you realize that there are actually so many interesting things to do that you get blown away.
I wanted to summarize the 10 things you must necessarily do and see in Porto.
WILL YOU GO TO PORTO? YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN:
- Free city tour (with free cancellation)
- What to see in Oporto: two days of romantic decadence
- With Tram 1 from Porto to the lighthouse on the ocean
- Where to sleep in Porto - Solution 1 - Absolutely allOporto Boutique Guest House , I had a great time. Nice and clean place in an area close to the center.
- Where to sleep in Porto - Solution n.2 - Near the square a short distance from the train station in a very central position -> Click here to see the hotels
- Where to sleep in Porto - Solution 3 - On the Ribeira a stone's throw from the Duoro, an exceptional solution if you want to experience Porto to the fullest -> HERE you will find the hotels in the Ribeira area
- Do you want to visit Porto in one day? Here you will find a guided tour to discover the most interesting places in the city-> CLICK HERE (with free cancellation)
10 things to do and visit in Porto
1 - Get on the old tram 1 or 22
It is probably one of the first things to do in Porto. You cannot miss them. As you wander around Porto, you will occasionally see one of these fantastic ones old trams of Porto that will pass you by.
The first time I saw him I was able to pick up the camera and take a photo on the fly. They are beautiful and as far as I'm concerned I think they need to be preserved. A piece of history which remains unchanged and flows through a city that becomes more modern every day. The more time passes, the more the nostalgia for such simplicity will increase.
Il 22 does a tour inside the city, tram 1 instead it takes you to the mouth of the Duoro and then almost over the ocean.
The cost of the ticket is of 2,5 € per person. It is absolutely worth it.
Click here to buy a ticket and not having to queue before getting on, you can also buy tickets for the other historic trams: the 22 e the 18 that pass in different parts of the city.
2 - Visit the Lello and Irmao bookshop
They even shot some Harry Potter scenes there, it is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world: it is there Livraria di Lello and Irmao.
It is located not far from the Torre dos Clerigos in Rua Das Carmelitas. To access you need to buy a ticket for 3 € across the street from the entrance, there is a kiosk set up for the sale of tickets.
If you buy a book from the library, the cost incurred for the purchase of the ticket it is integrated into the cost of purchasing the book.
The feature of this library built around the end of the 1800s is the imposing central staircase with a very particular shape. Entering Lello and Irmao's bookshop is like doing A jump into the past.
Unfortunately, it has also become a very touristy place, so much so that to avoid overcrowding (and also earn a little something) they have set up the ticket and even the entrance porter who manages the flow of people.
It is certainly a place that you must visit if you go to Porto, you can also find some furnishing items for your desk, now even in this field marketing has been busy.
3 - Climb to the top of the Dos Clerigos Tower
I know, I know… it is certainly a slightly demanding thing but seeing the whole city from above has its reason. The entrance is economic, if I'm not mistaken 1 euro discounted with the Porto Card.
The stairs are initially quite wide. As you get to the top they get tighter and tighter. This is not a strenuous experience, even at the top it was full of old people; get on Dos Clerigos Tower allows you to see many views of Porto that you would not otherwise be able to see. You will see very well the Cathedral of Sé, the area of the cellars, the course of the Duoro river ...
4 - Eat the best Francesinha in Porto. What is it and where to eat it.
Whenever I want to eat something typical I always aim to try and go in the best place, in the place where they do the original recipe. I don't know why but on the food side I have this obsession. And so google google with words like “original”, “best”, “favorite” and then irremediably end up on TripAdvisor to scan the various reviews. This time I think I did a good job and really found the place to eat there best francesinha in Porto.
Why am I so convinced?
Simple, it's a bit like the legend that says that if there are many truck drivers at a restaurant for lunch then the place is undoubtedly valid. Well, in this case, if there is a queue outside and the majority of the patrons are locals, then maybe it means having played bingo. And in the case of the place that I recommend, the queue was there.
La french it's a maxi-toast stuffed with cheese, sausage, meat. Everything is covered with melted cheese and drenched in a delicious beer sauce.
La best francesinha you can find it at the Cafè Santiago, in Rua de Passos Manuel. There are several versions. It starts from the 9 euro base and goes up to the one with egg and fries at 11 euro I think.
At this point I wonder: did they first invent the francesinha and then built the city uphill to dispose of this juicy dish, or did they build the city and then invent something that would allow them to have the energy to go up and down all over Porto?
The fact is that this is definitely a dish to try.
5 - Take a guided tour of the Port Wine cellars
This is a stage unmissable.
Port wine is very famous. The whole course of the river Duoro it is carpeted with vines of different varieties grown on the terraces, the slopes are steep and difficult to cultivate.
The Duoro was a very important element not only for cultivation but also for wine transport for which i Barcos Rabelos, of the particular boats on which the various barrels were placed.
Among other things, these boats are still used for tourism today and there are some agencies that sell cruises for about an hour.
The area of the cellars is that of the municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia, practically the opposite bank of the river from the Ribeira.
For reach Vila Nova de Gaia you have several possibilities:
- Walk to the bottom of the bridge and then go directly to the cellar area.
- Walk to the top of the bridge so you also have a fantastic view with the only flaw that you then have to take the expensive cable car (4 euros) which takes you up the river.
In the area of the Port wine cellars you will have a lot of choice, from the most renowned to the less renowned ones with a more familiar management. Personally I recommend that you choose a less touristy winery, some even have a guided tour in Spanish.
In my case I have chosen the Càlem which is not exactly little renowned but allows a more particular experience than the other wineries. At the Càlem you can combine the Port tasting with a splendid one Fado show. A normal guitar and one Portuguese guitar accompany the two singers, a man and a woman.
You might be interested in these tours with free cancellation:
- Evening tour with dinner and Fado show
- City tour with visit to the cellars
- Fado show at Cantine Calem
The music is engaging, the Port wine does the rest. It creates a very pleasant situation that instills a good mood. The singers themselves always have a smile on their face and convey a lot of joy.
This tasting with final Fado is done from Tuesday to Sunday from 18.00. Attention that the visit of the cellar starts at 18.00, lasts about half an hour and the show starts at 18.30 and lasts about 40/50 minutes.
The wines tasted are a white port and a 10 year old port.
The cost is equal to 17,50 € full price. .
Absolutely recommended -> click here to book a visit to the cellar
6 - Visit the Palàcio da Bolsa in Porto
What about this building except that it impressed me a lot and impressed me for its elegance. Usually historic buildings don't appeal to me much, but in this case it was different. The structure is very well kept and is certainly one of the 10 things I recommend you see.
7 - Stock up on food at the Confeitaria do Bolhao
Opposite the southern exit of the Mercado do Bolhao is the Confeitaria do Bolhao, a historic pastry / bakery full of anything to eat sweet and savory. Most of the products are part of the Portuguese culture and are really over the top. Stop for some shopping or even for a quick lunch.
8 - Stop for a (expensive) coffee at Café Majestic
I had already told you about it in the post "What to see in Oporto: two days of romantic decadence". The Majestic Cafe it is an institution in Porto and is absolutely one of those things to see on your visit to the city. Drink a coffee immersed in years of history.
9 - Take a walk on the Luis bridge at nightfall
Porto is particular, and even more particular is the bridge that crosses it. Built in the 1831 it's about a huge iron arch which connects the two banks of the Duoro. With the evening and the soft lights it is a very important component to the romantic aspect of the city. Crossing the bridge at sunset is certainly very fascinating.
And participate in a cruise on the Duoro in Porto what do you think? HERE
find the possibility to buy the cruise.
10 - Go to the lighthouse in the middle of the ocean
Surely this was an experience that touched me during my trip to Porto.
You don't have to miss the ocean ride and all this you have to do using the old tram 1 which starts in front of the Church of San Francesco. A very very interesting alternative is to get to the ocean by discovering I take a bike, why not ... just rent one and enjoy the beautiful stretch along the river.