Every city has its Top 10 tourist attractions, but in Porto we had a hard time narrowing it down. One of the things that makes Porto so interesting is its diversity: be it of spaces, scenery or themes. So, in no specific order, we have gathered the top 10 attractions that the city offers:
The Baixa, with its granite buildings in sepia tones, the volumetry of the churches, the tiled facades... is a current city inserted in an old setting that gives it all its charm. A walk along the Avenida dos Aliados, a shopping trip on the famous Rua de Santa Catarina, or an evening with friends on the Rua das Galerias de Paris, is something we never miss on a trip to Porto.
One of the most iconic bookstores, in its neo-Gothic style with Art Nouveau elements, it has beautiful stained glass windows and the famous staircase that make this space the entrance to the world of fantasy, and where choosing a book has never been so inspiring.
The impressive church and tower of Clérigos dates back to the 18th century and stands out among the many Baroque buildings and works that mark the city. The Clérigos tower is challenging for all those who like to struggle up its 240 steps, to finally contemplate the breathtaking views over the city.
It’s the Headquarters of the Commercial Association of Porto, and one of the most admirable buildings in the city. In neoclassical style, it dates from the XIX century. You can visit all the rooms, and in each one you can discover such interesting details as the telegraph room, the library, or the Golden room. But the Arab Room is undoubtedly the best kept secret: Moorish-inspired, its crafted details possess an elegance and brilliance that merit a longer appreciation; it is a visit well worth making.
5. São Bento train station
Arriving in Porto on a train trip and being welcomed at a station like São Bento does not disappoint and promises an unforgettable stay! The tile panels tell stories from History, closely linked to the city, as the arrival of the kings D. João and D. Filipa de Lencastre, who also celebrated their wedding there, in the Cathedral of Porto.
6. Ribeira area and D. Luís bridge
We arrive at Porto's most famous scenery, the cover picture of international guidebooks: the Ribeira wharf, the Douro River and the D. Luís bridge; with its rabelo boats, that recreate the bustle of river transport for the barrels of port wine, on its cruises on the Douro. With the people who stroll along the riverside or socialize on the esplanades, enjoying a "fino" or a "francesinha". With the wine cellars such as Cálem or Porto Cruz, which delight their visitors with stories of harvests, artisanal processes, and wine tastings. Whoever visits Porto always passes by Ribeira. And takes back good memories.
7. The Cristal Palace
Originally built in the 19th century and rebuilt in 1951, this building is a landmark for the city of Porto, as it has hosted many cultural, sports and music events here for over a hundred years. Today it has a very different configuration from the initial one, but has kept its name, and from the events on display to the outdoor activities in its romantic style gardens, it is one of the most appreciated and visited places in the city.
8. Virtudes viewpoint
Everyone in Porto knows this viewpoint: it is the chosen place to get the best views of the city and the Douro to its estuary. The vegetation of its garden is inviting for leisure activities, thanks to its cool shades, and brings together groups of friends and families in the restaurants and terraces, near the viewpoint. It is not only a tourist attraction, but one of the favorite places for people from Porto. Not to be missed!
9. Douro estuary
With about 850km, the Douro River stretches from the Urbión Mountains in Spain, to the estuary flanked by the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. It has always been a great means of communication, and known for the transport of Port wine from the wine-growing hillsides of the region to the cellars of Gaia. At the mouth of the Douro we find beaches, esplanades and fresh fish restaurants, boardwalks by the sea where we can see the lighthouses and forts, including the fort of São João Batista, and the fort of São Francisco Xavier, better known as the Castelo do Queijo (the cheese castle), which its shape resembles!
10. Serra do Pilar Monastery
When we look up to the top of D. Luís bridge, on the Gaia side, we see a set of white buildings, one of which is circular in shape; it is the Serra do Pilar monastery. It dates from the 16th century and has been restored over the centuries. Classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, it is a must visit to get to know one of the examples of the cultural and religious richness of the North of the country.
We are sure that there are many other tourist attractions left to discover, but we will not leave anything out on the Yellowbus tours. So take advantage of it and come with us, to live an unmissable experience in this amazing city.