porto

Hello, porto

Porto was once the last stop of adventurers on their way across the Atlantic to the New World. The cliché that Lisbon shows off and Porto just works is a well-worn metaphor that fails to do justice to the city's innumerate charms fully. History dwells around every corner, and more than ever, Porto is a place determined to hold on to its own distinct identity.

Best things to do in porto

Plenty of things to do and see

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Monument Church of St Francis

Near the Stock Palace and the Douro River is another UNESCO World Heritage site that is well worth visit while in Porto, the Monument Church of St Francis, or Igreja Monumento de São Francisco.This church built around the 14th century has one of Europe's most sumptuous and extravagant interiors. Here, all that glitter is, in fact, gold! Its interior is covered in gilded woodwork, and rumour has it that it was used around 400 to 600 kg of gold to decorate it. Hence why the St Francis Church is also known as "The Golden Church". Another highlight of this church is its impressive Tree of Jesse, a wooden sculpture carved by Filipe da Silva and António Gomes in 1718 depicting the ancestors of Jesus Christ, shown in a branching tree — considered to be one of the best in the world of its kind. Under the church, you will find the catacombs, where the Franciscan monks along with the members of Porto's noble families are buried.

Nova Sintra Park (Parque das Águas)

Currently the headquarters of the municipal company Águas do Porto, hence its second name Parque das Águas (Water Park), the Nova Sintra Park is one of the largest green spaces in Porto, boasting great botanical diversity, dense trees, as well as a peaceful atmosphere--a nice place to relax and take a break by one of its many fountains.

Aveiro

Known as the Venice of Portugal, Aveiro, located 57 km to the south of Porto, is a charming town surrounded by beaches, lagoons, and beautiful canals that run through it. It is easy to reach Aveiro: several trains leave Porto to Aveiro every day, and the journey takes about an hour.

Beaches

The city of Porto is advantageously located right on the Atlantic coast, meaning there is no shortage of beaches within easy walking distance of all the main attractions. For sunbathing or swimming, visit the sandy Praia dos Ingleses or Matosinhos. Watch the sunset while enjoying fine food and a few drinks on the promenade of Gondarem Beach, a rocky shoreline close to the city centre.