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10 reasons to visit Porto, a bustling and beautiful city in northern Portugal.
For a relatively small European country, Portugal is packed with diverse natural scenery and a thriving sense of culture.
From the busy capital of Lisbon, to the stunning beaches of the Algarve, to the vast countrysides of the northern wine regions, Portugal never fails to attract travelers from every corner of the globe.
Porto, the second-largest city after Lisbon, represents a true gem of this wonderful country.
Despite its large size and population, the pace of life in Porto remains relaxed and unhurried.
This allows travelers to slowly absorb the vibrant Portuguese culture with ease.
Here are 10 reasons to visit Porto, Portugal.
10 Reasons To Visit Porto, Portugal
Basic necessities like food, toiletries, and transportation are extremely cheap.
You can also find amazing, centrally located hostels for less than 20 Euros a night. (Check Hostelworld for the best deals!)
To get an idea of how cheap Porto really is, and what things cost, check out my article:
2. Easy Day Trips from Porto
For those who like to venture outside of the city, Porto is surrounded by many other gorgeous destinations that are perfect for day trips.
Most local train tickets only cost about 7-Euros round trip.
Travelers can visit quaint coastal towns like Aveiro or Viana Do Castelo, as well as exciting cities like Braga.
3. Enticing Music
One of the most accessible expressions of Portuguese culture is Fado.
This is a genre of music where locals belt out their emotions and memories through soulful, heart-wrenching songs.
In restaurants and cafes all over the city, Fado singers draw crowds with their music. These performances are truly unforgettable.
The local Fado performances tend to fill up super quickly.
Unless you have a local friend that knows the best time and place to catch the Fado, I suggest booking a ticket in advance. (You can do so here on Get Your Guide!)
In addition to Fado, street performers often fill the alleyways and public squares with captivating music.
So there is never a dull moment in the streets of Porto!
4. Scenic Views
Many travelers visit new cities in search of a perfect photo opportunity. Luckily Porto has many of them.
Visit the upper walkway of the iconic Ponte Luiz Bridge at dusk to see the golden hues of sunset melt into the Duoro River.
Or walk along the Ribiera and admire the tightly packed rows of colorful houses.
You can also pay 4 Euros to climb the Torre Dos Clerigos and enjoy a panoramic view of the city.
5. Cheap Shopping
Porto overflows with stores selling nice shoes, fashionable clothing, and attractive souvenirs for cheap prices.
Rua de Santa Catarina is a centrally located avenue full of well-known shops.
Another option is Rua de Cedofeita, a street packed with trendy vintage shops.
Rua de Miguel Bombarda is home to numerous fascinating art galleries selling creative works.
6. Exercise Opportunities
Take advantage of Porto’s warm, sunny weather by spending as much time outside as possible.
The wide walkway alongside the Duoro River is perfect for walking, running, or biking.
You can also visit the largest urban park in Portugal, Parque da Cidade.
This park is full of sports fields and open, grassy spaces where people can further enjoy an active lifestyle.
7. Impressive Architecture
With countless cathedrals, museums, and public squares, Porto has no shortage of amazing sights.
Some notable churches are Igreja do Carmo and Igreja Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso.
Both of these are plastered with azulejos, the traditional, delicate blue and white Portuguese tiles.
Also, the main square known as Praca de Liberdade is lined with magnificent buildings exuding architectural greatness.
Aside from these popular places, every street in Porto is decorated with either colorful tiles, unique street art, or photogenic buildings.
So spend an afternoon wandering aimlessly and you are sure to find hidden beauty.
8. Green Spaces
Another one of the best reasons to visit Porto is all the parks and gardens.
Porto’s Jardim da Cordoaria and Jardim do Infante Dom Henrique are two small, centrally located gardens perfect for reading or having a picnic.
For a more immersive afternoon in nature, visit the Jardins do Palacio de Cristal.
This large, peaceful park is full of flower gardens, statues, ponds, and towering trees.
9. Delectable Food
Porto has a rich local cuisine, full of hearty dishes and fresh seafood.
You have to try Bacalhao, a tasty salted codfish often prepared in casseroles or in savory breaded cakes.
Another must-try in Portugal is Pastel De Nata, a thick, sweet egg custard encased in a flaky pastry crust.
Portuguese cuisine also includes lots of high-quality meats and cheeses, though Porto is home to an incredible vegetarian buffet called DaTerra.
Also, be sure to pick up some delicious roasted chestnuts from the sweet old lady who sits at her cart outside São Bento Train Station every day.
10. Port Wine Tours
In addition to the food, Porto possesses a special wine culture that draws connoisseurs from all over the world.
Right across the river from Porto is Vila Nova de Gaia, the town most known for storing Port Wine.
I recommend booking an informational tour that brings you through famous wine cellars and allows you to sample various Port Wines.
There are endless tour companies in Porto offering wine tours.
This Get Your Guide 3-hour walking tour includes 10 wine tastings and is very highly rated by travelers, book tickets here!
If you’re a true wine fanatic, you can even take a day trip outside Porto into the Duoro Valley to see the vineyard where the grapes are grown.
This Duoro Valley day trip includes wine tastings, lunch, and a river cruise and has over 2,000 great reviews. Book your ticket here!
Those are my top 10 reasons to visit Porto, Portugal!
This list could continue on and on, as the Porto attractions are endless.
Porto also has welcoming energy. The people are so hospitable and willing to help foreigners embrace the local culture.
Though English is a widely known language, people will appreciate if you stumble through some Portuguese when asking for directions or suggestions.
Porto is one of those cities that makes you feel right at home, even if you are just stopping by.
If you’re traveling to Portugal, visit iVisa.com to find out if you need a visa.
Also, be sure to buy travel insurance before your trip abroad! I recommend Squaremouth Insurance because of their wide variety of different plans and they helpful online chat service.
Looking for more travel inspiration in Europe? Check out these articles!