Porto, Portugal, was recently named by the World Travel Awards the World's Leading City Destination for 2022. Check out 5 of our favorite things to do in this award-winning city.
Palacio da Bolsa
Explore the exquisite halls of the Palacio da Bolsa, a more than 180-year-old palace. Directly translated to “Stock Exchange Palace,” don’t let the name deceive you. This is definitely a must-visit during your Porto stay. Learn about the various master architectural works completed over three generations at this UNESCO World Heritage Site in the city's historical heart. This national landmark, built on the ruins of the Saint Francis Convent by the Porto Commercial Association, serves as the city of Porto's drawing room, entertaining the most renowned guests, including kings, presidents, and ministers from almost every country.
Dom Luís I Bridge
The Dom Luís I Bridge, constructed in 1886, is a famous city icon that you see in almost every picture of Porto. This double-decker cast iron bridge connects the Port houses of Vila Nova de Gaia to downtown Porto. The stunning monument crosses the River Douro and is considered an architectural marvel. When it was built, the bridge was the longest of its kind in the world. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Dom Luís I bridge is its two levels, one above the arch and the other hanging below it. Although both decks were initially intended to carry road traffic, the upper deck now transports metro trains and has a pedestrian promenade.
Douro River Valley
The picturesque Douro Valley, where port wine was first produced in Portugal, is a land covered in vines and stone walls with striking landscapes. Easily accessible by car, group tour, or boat from Porto, the scenic area surrounding the Douro River spans across 550 miles as it meanders across northern Portugal. The steep, rugged, winding valleys of the Douro River have been meticulously leveled to provide a thriving habitat for growing grape vines, olive groves, and almond trees.
The Douro Valley is worth visiting due to its breathtaking scenery, wine, food, people, and history. The Douro Valley's infrastructure has expanded rapidly to offer top restaurants, luxurious accommodations, and beautiful vineyards and estates where you can do local wine tastings. The vineyards are an essential part of any discussion of the Douro. Along with sampling the various vineyard flavors, visitors can stay and experience a variety of wine-related activities, such as picnics in the vineyards, balloon rides, spa treatments, grape picking (seasonally), wine producing (seasonally), and more.
Cais da Ribeira
Walking along the waterfront is one of the most casual things on our “favorite list” to do in Porto. The Cais da Ribeira street is a riverfront promenade surrounded by stacked, colorful buildings on one side and the tranquil yet busy Douro River on the other. When it comes to excellent food and drinks in Porto, Cais de Ribeira is widely regarded as the city's liveliest district. Numerous nearby restaurants offer terraces where you can eat traditional cuisine and enjoy the evening views of the bridge and river.
Sample Port Wine
With over 50 Port cellars in Porto, there is ample opportunity to sample the famous type of wine even if you don’t make the trip into the Douro Valley. Every cellar visit offers a unique experience in a tasting room, often including cheese sampling, incredible chocolate pairings, and on-site sommeliers. Located across the river from the old city center of Porto you’ll find a few dozen cellars offering guided tours, tastings, and varying history about their development and growth.
Thousands of visitors flock to Porto each year, eager to explore its historical center, beautiful riverbank with brightly painted homes, century-old streets, delectable cuisine, exquisite wines, and port wine cellars. With so much to do in Porto, book with an expert in customized travel itineraries: Quest Travel Adventures. Some of our most popular trips include Porto & the Azores, Lisbon & Porto Combo and Porto, the Algarve & Lisbon.