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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Livraria Lello

More than just a bookstore, Livraria Lello is a historical and architectural masterpiece in downtown Porto. Opened in 1906, Livraria Lello & Irmão as it is also known combines elements of Neo-Gothic, Art Deco, and Art Nouveau styles that comprise intricate woodwork, a large stained glass window bearing the bookshop monogram with the motto "Decus in labore" (dignity at work, in Latin), and a remarkable red spiral staircase, which starts as one set of stairs and splits into two that join in a circular design. The latter is a huge attraction here since it resembles the Grand Staircase from the Harry Potter films, and considering J.K. Rowling was once a Porto resident, there is a high chance this place might have inspired her. Livraria Lello became so popular with tourists that in July 2015 the store started charging a 5 Euro entrance fee and queues can take over an hour. You can purchase tickets on their website.

Guindais Funicular

Porto is a very steep city, so one way to save your legs from doing all the climbing is by taking a funicular. The Guindais Funicular, in particular, connects you from the Ribeira neighbourhood, situated at the quayside, to Batalha, at the top of Porto. The journey takes about 3 minutes, and it costs around €2,50. Besides being a fun way to get from one part of the city to another, you will also get beautiful views over the Dom Luís I Bridge and the Douro River.

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.

Port Wine Caves at Vila Nova De Gaia

Across the Douro River, you can visit the port wine caves of Vila Nova de Gaia. There are over fifty wine companies found in this area, with wine lodges offering organised tours and tasting sessions.