Things To Do In Porto
Located on the banks of the Douro River, the city of Porto was historically one of the focal points for global commerce and trade as it’s name suggests. Today, the city is a thriving tourist destination and along with Lisbon, the most significant cultural and commercial city in Portugal. The city is home to some of the most diverse and unique structures in the world. Some of the best things to do in the city involve exploring these magnificent structures which include the Serravles Museum and Villa, Cais da Ribeira square, Luis I Bridge and Church of Sao Francisco to name a few. The Casa da Musica is a great place to catch some live classical music performances and Palacio da Bolsa offers some of the best food and cafes one can hope to find. There is truly something for everyone to do.
Explore Cais da Ribeira
One of the best things to do in Porto is to explore the Cais da Ribeira piazza, located on the banks of the Douro River. The area is brimming with energy and excitement and is filled with wonderful restaurants, cafes and shopping arcades. The buildings in the area are in light pastel colors and complement the Luis I Bridge in the background. This is a great way to spend the day relaxing and soaking in the atmosphere of the city.
Serralves Museum and Villa
Another highly recommended activity is to make a day trip to the Serralves Museum and Villa which was constructed way back in the 1930’s. The villa a shining example of the Art Deco style of architecture and the likes of Charles Siclis and Rene Lalique were recruited to work on the interiors. The museum was launched in 1999 and has houses world-class exhibitions from the foremost contemporary artists of the 20th century.
Luis I Bridge
A metallic bridge conceptualised by German engineer Théophile Seyrig who founded the Eiffel Company. Consisting of two levels, the bridge serves as a symbol of industry and progress for Porto. Exploring the bridge is one of the most popular things to do. It was opened to the public in 1886 and is a great place for photography as well. The top of the bridge offers stunning views of the Cais da Ribeira and surrounding Douro River.
Church of Sao Francisco
A dream for lovers of history and architecture, a trip to the Church of Sao Francisco is not to be missed. The last shining example of Gothic design in the city, the church was constructed in 1425 and the interiors of the structure were later upgraded in both the 1500s and 1700s. The structure is full of intricately carved birds and animals and displays amazing woodwork.
Palacio da Bolsa
Neighbouring the Sao Francisco Church is the Palacio da Bolsa. Exploring this structure is another must-do activity when visiting Porto. The exterior of the structure was completed in 1850 in the Neoclassical design-style the interiors are some of the most lavish in all of Porto with frescoes, paintings and intricate tiling all over. The other highlights include the Moorish inspired Salao Arabe and Patio das Nacoes.
Yet another outstanding work of Baroque architecture, a visit to this nearly 75-meter-high church is not to be missed and is one of the best things to do here. The structure is imposing and beautiful, with intricate carvings and clock at the very top of it. There are 240 steps inside the structure to get to the top, but visitors will be rewarded with outstanding panoramic views of the city from here.
Praca da Liberdade
A highly recommended activity is to explore this boulevard owing to its spacious design and numerous boutique stores, cafes and restaurants. It’s a great way to spend the day unwinding in the city. Considered to be a very classy part of town, this square was designed in the 18th century and one can find a statue of Pedro I of Brazil at its centre.
Casa da Musica
Casa da Musica is an absolute masterpiece of 20th century architecture is from the mind of Dutch designer Rem Koolhaas. This concert venue houses nearly 1300 people and watching the Porto Symphony Orchestra or any one of the several classical music soloists who visit this venue makes for one of the best things you can do in the city.