Porto, Portugal is filled with so many fun things to do! From wine tasting to river cruising to indulging in the local cuisine, Portugal’s second largest city has a little something for every traveler’s taste.
Some people opt for the larger, more well-known city of Lisbon, but Porto is a city that should not be overlooked. The romantic streets, delicious food and fascinating culture will not only keep you busy, but will have you planning your next trip back in no time. Here are 10 fun things to do during your visit to Porto!
10 Fun Things to Do in Porto, Portugal
1. Tour the Port Wine Cellars
This is quite possibly the most notorious activity in Porto and for good reason. Port is a type of fortified wine that is only produced in certain areas of Portugal. After the grapes are harvested they are shipped off to Porto where they are aged in the wine cellars along the river. Luckily for us visitors, the cellars offer daily tours and tastings.
*Take note that most of the wineries close for lunch between 12:30pm-2:00pm and do not offer tastings or tours during that time.
2. Take a Walk Along the Douro River
The Douro River runs right through Porto and is absolutely beautiful! The wine cellars are located along the river, so you will inevitably find yourself here at one point or another. If you’re up to spending a few extra dollars, you can take a cruise up the river. Douro Azul offers one hour cruises while inDOURO offers one, two and three day excursions.
3. Wander Around Livraria Lello
If you’re a Harry Potter fan like myself, this is bound to be number one on your list! Apart from being one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, it is also said to be where J.K. Rowling got her inspiration for the famous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Make sure to get there early, especially if you plan to get pictures without 100 other tourists in the photo. Tickets can be purchased at the shop around the corner and cannot be purchased in line at the actual store. If you decide to buy a book, the cost of the ticket will be credited towards your total purchase.
4. Savor the Local Tapas
Tapas are a staple in Portuguese cuisine. In fact, they will be delivered to your table whether you request them or not! For a small cost, usually €1-3, they are totally worth it. Indulge in the flavorful olives, warm bread and creamy cheese. Just make sure to save room for the delicious dinner that follows. Aduela Taberna is a super affordable, cozy spot to enjoy a glass of wine and some lovely tapas.
5. Admire the Azulejo Tiles at Igreja do Carmo
Azulejo tiles are the remarkable blue tiles that are very significant in Portuguese history and culture. You will see them scattered through out the city, but the most magnificent spots to see them in their grandeur are at this church and also at the São Bento train station.
6. Take in the View at Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar
Once you cross over the Luis bridge (on the high-level), continue straight and head to this 15th century monastery for an exquisite view of the Douro River and the city of Porto. This is a great spot to watch the sunset!
There are many other scenic look out spots located through out the city as well. Look for the word, “Miradouro,” on your local map for some of the popular ones.
7. Treat Yourself to a Five Course Lunch
La Ricotta is a charming restaurant located in the heart of Porto. The regular dinner menu was well outside of my price range, but each day they offer a five-course lunch for €12.50. This includes wine, a starter, the main course, coffee and dessert. If you’re feeling adventurous, this is a great opportunity to try octopus, which is one of Porto’s most traditional dishes!
8. Explore the Historic Mercado do Bolhão
This open-air market is popular among locals and tourists alike. The smell of fresh bread, cheese, garlic, seafood and meat is bound to lure you up and down each aisle. This is also a great spot to grab some inexpensive-yet-valuable souvenirs.
9. Enjoy the Coffee Culture
Portugal is doing a lot of things right, and I have to say, coffee is at the top of the list! Around every corner you will find a coffee shop, complete with plenty of outdoor seating for ample people watching opportunities. I’d recommend ordering the café (which is a shot of espresso) or the café com leite (which is coffee with milk…essentially a cappuccino).
10. Get Lost in the Narrow Streets
Portugal is loaded with charming, narrow streets. You could spend hours wandering in and out of the narrow alleyways that are filled with enchanting shops, cafes and homes. Put down the map and allow yourself to get lost in the midst of one of the most beautiful cities in Europe!
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Did I miss any fun things to do in Porto, Portugal? Let me know in the comments below!
Hannah is the creator and author behind the travel and lifestyle blog, Window Seats & Wildflowers. Hannah’s love for travel, passion for people, and relentless appreciation for the little things in life shine through her writing and photography. She is originally from Upstate New York, but as a military spouse she is currently moving around the country every couple of years with her husband and puppy. Follow her adventures on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!