Why Travel to Porto?
Porto, the vibrant capital of Northern Portugal, stands as the country's second-largest city and a flourishing industrial hub. Seamlessly blending commercial efficiency with an inviting ambience of authentic charm, this city has a rich history shaped by centuries of trade. Today, modern Porto has evolved into a cosmopolitan city while preserving its deep-rooted historical significance. Nestled majestically along the impressive gorge of the Douro River, where it meets the Atlantic Ocean, this city of granite is renowned for its iconic bridges and the world-famous Port wine, cherished by wine lovers worldwide.
Porto´s Historic District was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1996. The old Ribeira Riverside Area encapsulates Porto´s roots and essence with its labyrinth of narrow, twisting streets and picturesque archways. The ongoing revitalization of this lively quarter is drawing an increasing number of restaurants, bars, taverns, and nightlife venues.
Explore Porto´s Top Attractions
Porto offers a great number of significant landmarks, such as the 12th-century Se Cathedral, a Roman Catholic gem, and the marvellous Sao Francisco Church, renowned for its breathtaking golden interior. The neo-classical Palacio da Bolsa stands prominently in Infante D. Henrique Square, and don´t miss the opportunity to explore its renowned Arab room, reminiscent of Spain´s Alhambra. For a relaxed experience, step into the Igreja de San Francisco, also known as Saint Francis of Assisi´s golden church, and immerse yourself in its rejuvenating atmosphere.
Clerigos Church, a historical gem dating back to 1750, is renowned for its imposing bell tower, the iconic Torre dos Clerigos, visible from numerous vantage points across the city. Another must-visit cultural attraction is the Casa da Musica (the House of Music), a prestigious concert hall that houses the Fundação Casa da Musica and hosts performances by the Porto National Orchestra, Baroque Orchestra, and Remix Ensemble. Sao Joao National Theatre, tracing back to 1798, is a popular theatre that functions both as a theatre, and a concert venue.
Sip and Savor Porto´s Culinary and Wine Delights
Porto is also renowned for its food as well as its wines. Traditional dishes include tripe Porto style, salted cod and Francesinha, the most famous dish in Porto. It is a kind of sandwich with several meats covered with cheese and a special sauce made with beer and other ingredients. Porto is also a popular stopping-off place for pilgrims lying on the pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago which starts in Lisbon.
The fishing towns of Matosinhos and Leça da Palmeira to the north of Porto boast some of the best fish and seafood restaurants in Portugal.
Venture across the iconic two-tiered Dom Luis bridge, an important landmark dating back to 1881, and you will arrive at Vila Nova da Gaia, the authentic home of Port wine. Famous for its excellence, Port wine stands as the pinnacle of Portuguese winemaking and enjoys widespread popularity across Europe. Named after the bustling coastal city of Porto, this revered wine is actually produced with grapes grown in the mountainous interior of Alto Douro in the Douro Wine Region, the heart of the winemaking region. These are some of the wines that you can taste in Porto: Red wine - Ruby Port and Tawny Port Wine; Rose wine, White wine and Vintage Port
In Vila Nova da Gaia, travellers can embark on immersive tours visiting world-famous lodges, with well-known brands like Taylor´s, Grahams, Cockburns, and Sandeman. The highlight of the tour is the mandatory wine-tasting session at the end.
Best Nearby Locations for Day Trips
Porto is also the gateway for exploring Northern Portugal with plenty of options for day trips to Braga, Guimarães, Vila do Conde, Esposende, Viana do Castelo, Caminha, Vila Nova de Cerveira, Barcelos, Ponte de Lima, Valença do Minho and Peneda-Geres National Park. Travelling south and within easy reach of the city, visitors to Espinho are promised a relaxed beachside resort setting with hotels, discotheques and a first-class casino.
Our food experts have chosen the best tour operators offering tours with food, wine, and walking holidays in Porto. You can check our full list of things to do in Porto: top food tours to Porto and top boutique hotels in the sections of the travel to Porto destination guide.
Population: 237,591 (2023) inhabitants