Porto : Places To Visit
Located at the mouth of the Douro River, the city of Oporto stretches over the hills overlooking the river and forms an exceptional urban complex that bears witness to two millennia of history. We propose you to discover the monuments that make the fame of this destination.
Portugal's second most populous city after Lisbon, Porto is located in the north of the country at the mouth of the Douro River on the Atlantic coast.
From time immemorial, this city that the Romans had named 'Portus' (the port) owed its prosperity to an important maritime and commercial activity.
Although it gave its name to the famous Portuguese wine, its appeal is not limited to the fame of its wineries, which are still numerous in the city.
Its historical center, called 'Old Porto' or 'Ribeira', has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.
Monuments to visit
The old town of Porto or Ribeira is a must-see place.
The Torre dos Clérigos (Tower of the Clerics), located in the eponymous street, is the highest tower in Portugal. Built in the second half of the 18th century by the Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni, it stands 76 meters high and has 225 steps. From the top of this granite tower, you will have a panoramic view of the city, the Douro and the bridges that span it.
Another stop not to be missed is São Bento Station, famous for its interior decoration, especially the azulejos that cover its walls. Some of these ornaments offer traditional scenes of Portuguese life while others represent highlights from the city's past.
The Stock Exchange Palace which adjoins São Francisco Church is also worth a visit. This neoclassical building, built in 1834, can be visited for its Arabic lounge, decorated in the manner of the Alhambra palaces in Granada. As for the São Francicso Church, it is a building of flamboyant Gothic style, whose interior is richly decorated with carved and gilded wood.
To finish your visit, reach the Ribeira quay (Cais da Ribera) and its typical houses on the banks of the Douro. This lively place by night and day offers a breathtaking view of the Dom Luis I Bridge, built in 1886 by Theophile Seyrig an assistant of Gustave Eiffel.
Note: this Bridge that connects the old city to Vila Nova de Gaia is one of the symbols of Porto.
Other attractions of the city
The city of Porto also has the Serralves Foundation Museum of Contemporary Art and the Casa da Música, the concert hall with the best acoustics in the world.
Shopping enthusiasts will find themselves on the pedestrian street Rua Santa Catarina and stop by Café Majestic, the city's oldest and most chic café. The Rua do Almada is another shopping street to discover, as well as the great market of Porto: the Mercado do Bolhão.
Finally, the neighborhood of Vila Nova de Gaia gathers many port wine cellars and is a high place of production of this famous Portuguese wine.