This vibrant city considers itself to be the capital of Northern Portugal, a place where the beautiful River Douro pushes itself into the cold waters of the Atlantic. It is also, of course, the home of port wine. Steep alleys of terracotta-roofed houses lead down to the waterfront, while old palaces and churches sit in various stages of romantic disrepair. Everywhere you look you'll see the beautiful blue and white tiles or azulejos that have been a feature of the city for so many centuries. The Romans settled here enjoying the semi-Mediterranean climate before centuries of up and down fortunes stabilised when the British port-makers moved in.
Things to Do
The River Douro draws everyone in Porto to it, whether it's to sit on its banks with a glass of wine, enjoy a boat trip or marvel at Gustave Eiffel's feat of engineering that is the two-level Dom Luis I bridge. So, whether you arrive in town during the day or in the evening, start your visit at the waterside Cais da Ribeira.
The flowing heart of the city
At the Cais da Ribeira you'll find the port wine cellars, most of which do tours and tastings, or you can hop onto a traditional Rabelo or cargo boat for a river trip. The area really comes to life in the hazy glow of sunset as the restaurants and bars fill up.
A stately treasure house
The Palacio da Bolsa is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a grand building built on the ruins of the Saint Francis Convent. Its stately rooms filled with art and treasures welcome heads of state as well as tourists making it the most visited attraction in Northern Portugal.
Brush up on your football
Football is taken seriously in Portugal and the FC Porto Museum welcomes you to this world. Located in the iconic Estadio Dragão Stadium, it takes you a tour of 120 years of Porto's football history with interactive displays for all ages and a collection of over 200 trophies.
Calendar of Events
Visit Porto at any time of year and you'll probably find some event or festivity that will appeal, whether it's cultural or religious. Others have a sporting theme or even celebrate the world of puppeteering.
FIMP - International Puppet Festival. September is the time to discover the art of puppeteering with this internationally recognised festival. Traditional puppets and storylines meet contemporary productions either on the streets or in different venues across the city.
Serralves em Festa. This contemporary art festival takes place every May with circus performances happening alongside dance, theatre, film, music and art. The Serralves em Festa really celebrates Portuguese talent and, even better, everything is free.
Fantasporto. Held from mid-February to early March, this competitive film festival originally focused on home-grown science fiction and fantasy genres. In recent years, however, a wider selection of European and American films have been introduced to audiences of both locals and visitors.