Once considered the edge of the known world in the Middle Ages, the industrious town of Porto clung to the side of Portugal looking out across the endless Atlantic Ocean, before adventurers risked it all to head to the new world. Half a millennium has passed since then, but Porto has retained much of that rugged adventurous and determined spirit. The cliché that Lisbon shows off and Porto works is a well-worn metaphor that fails to fully do justice to its real charms. With images of a past way of life hidden down every bustling alley, Porto is a place determined to hold on to its own distinct identity.
Euro (EUR) €1 = 100 cents
Jornal de Noticias – Porto based newspaper
Shops are usually open from Mon-Fri 10 am to 7 pm. Most shops close at 1 pm on Saturdays. Shopping centres tend to be open from 10 am to 11 pm or midnight all week.
Central Tourist Information Office
Rua Clube dos Fenianos, 25, Porto
June 21st-September 21st: Daily, 9am-8pm
September 22nd-June 20th: Daily, 9am-7pm
+351 223 393472
Time has seemingly failed to touch some of the hidden corners of Porto, with many of its winding alleys full of shops and restaurants looking like a scene straight out of a medieval history book. The city is so soaked in the past that the historic area of Ribeira has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Add to this a backdrop of wrought-iron balconies full of flowers and the daily washing and an array of fresh white and blue ‘azulejos’ tiles and you have the perfect city for aimless wandering. However, the city does have a few key landmarks that are worth—in any tour, including the elaborately decorated Palacio da Bolsa or Stock Exchange Palace building and the medieval Cathedral and Clérigos Tower.
The other big draw for tourists is the tour of the Porto wine cellars at Vila Nova de Gaia on the other side of the Douro River.
The surrounding suburbs of the city also have something to offer visitors. Matosinhos is great for its array of seafood eateries and its small beaches stretching down the coastline. Amarante is another gorgeous colourful nearby town worth a day trip and the wealthier area of Foz do Douro, with its nightclubs and restaurants, is found just 5 kilometres northwest of Porto.
In Porto there are so much to see and do and its beautiful surroundings are spectacular. Below you will find tips on where to go and visit the port wine caves, markets and museums.
Torre Dos Clerigos
Port Wine Caves at Vila Nova De Gaia
Soares dos Reis National Museum
Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
Pedro Pitões Tower
Nova Sintra Park
Yellow City Cruises
Stock Exchange Palace
Estádio do Dragão
Sao Francisco Church
Ponte D. Luis I
Church of Santa Clara
Rail Station Sao Bento
Funicular dos Guindais
The people of Porto managed to acquire the name ‘tripeiros’ or tripe eaters after they shipped all their fine cuts of meat to feed their armies and traders adventuring across the seas in the 15th-century. However, nowadays there is a lot more on the menus than just offal, and much port to wash it down with.
Being on the coast, seafood restaurants are both ubiquitous and delicious. The city also has a good array of Brazilian inspired restaurants, reflecting its former colonial links with the South American country. The ‘Rodizios’ or Brazilian barbecues are a carnivore’s heaven!
ODE Porto Wine House
Praia da Luz
Al Forno Baixa
Lagosta da Mauritânia
There are many pleasant cafés in Porto where you can get a refreshing drink or coffee. Snack-wise, most cafés will serve you a ‘francesinha,’ which is a cholesterol-full delicacy made from meat, bread and cheese finished off with some spicy sauce.
Praia Da Luz
Lais de Guia
In central Porto the liveliest place to head for drinks is Ribeira, the vibrant historic heart of the city, also a popular haunt for students. For a flavour of traditional Portugal, head to a Fado bar where you can hear a form of Portuguese blues, with melancholic artists singing of lost loves and regrets.
The distinction between bar and nightclub in Porto is slightly blurred with most bars being open to the early hours of the morning. But if you want to dance the hours away, Porto definitely has enough to cater for all tastes, from traditional ‘Fado’ evenings to dance clubs in converted warehouses.
Pipa Velha Petisqueira
The Wall Bar
Hot Five Jazz & Blues Club
OPO Club & Lounge
O meu mercedes e maior que o teu
The Gin House
Porto’s main shopping street is the pedestrianized Rua de Santa Catarina in the city centre. Usual international brands are found here along with the large Centro Comercial Via Caterina shopping centre. However, the small streets off the main streets are also worth a visit, brimming with independent shops selling fresh bread, cheese or cakes, interspersed with bookstores and traditional shoe stores.
Porto’s open-air markets are also worth a visit to get a taste of daily Portuguese life. The most well-known market, the Mercado do Bolhao runs from Monday to Saturday, selling fresh food, spices and flowers in Rua Fernandes Tomas. To pick up local delicacies such as chocolates and sugar almonds, the Arcadia patisserie on Rua do Almada, 63, is worth a look, as could A Perola do Bolhao on Rua Formosa, 279.
Gold jewellery is also another speciality of Portugal, a reflection of its colonial past and its conquests of gold-rich lands of South America. Recommended jewellers are David Rosas, on Avenida de Boavista, and Elysee Joias on Praca Mouzinho de Albuquerque. Pedro A Baptista is also a good option for its collection of antique and modern jewellery.
Rua de Santa Catarina
Centro Comercial Via Catarina
A Perola do Bolhao
A Vida Portuguesa
Casa Da Guitarra
O Arco Da Ribeira Gourmet
Garrafeira do Carmo
Mercado Bom Sucesso
The Porto Airport is called Aeroporto Francisco Sa Carneiro and is situated 11 kilometres north of the city. To reach the airport you can use the lightrail. It departs every 30 minutes.
From here you can also take buses number 601, 602, 604 and 3M into the city centre.
There are also shuttle buses and taxis available at the airport.
+351 22 5353350
Address: Porto Airport, Porto
Phone: +351 22 943 24 00
Porto has a good bus and tram network with routes serving all the key tourist spots and is operated by STCP.
The city also has a Metro system that is still clean and efficient. A metro ticket can be bought at the station and in other sale spots.
You can buy tourist cards that allow you to get around Porto on all means of transportation. There are also daily ticket and a 3-day ticket.
More Information: www.metrodoporto.pt
Taxis in Porto are very convenient and also great for airport transfer.
+351 22 507 64 00
Phone: +351 22 507 39 00
To find a post office in Porto, look for the red sign saying CTT. Letter boxes are also red.
Address: Rua da Boavista 34, Porto
Phone: +351 22 207 3290
Chemists are normally open from 9 am-1 pm and from 3 pm-7 pm. All areas have one chemist open all night or on Sunday. A white cross on a green background marks out the chemists.
Farmácia Sá da Bandeira:
Address: Rua Sá da Bandeira, Porto
Phone: +351 22 207 4040
Country Code: +351
Area Code: (0)22
230/400 V/50 Hertz. European standard sockets.