hen somebody mentions Porto, the first things that spring to mind are probably Port Wine, the charming character of the World Heritage Historic Centre of Porto

Port wines are unique, some of them among the best wines ever engineered! Check out this example of a perfect wine (Vintage Port receives rare 100-point score by Wine Spectator in 2010 and got a 99-point score in 2014). But in what wines are concerned, Porto and Douro Valley are also world class in table wines (4 Douro wines are in the Wine Spectator top 30 of the 2014 ranking). Worth also to mention the increasingly famous and unique Vinho Verde; like no other wine in the world!

Don’t get us wrong, we are proud of these icons, but the city of Porto has much more to offer and was selected the European Best Destination 2014 and again in 2017.

Porto - European Best Destination 2014 from Atmos Aerial Filming on Vimeo.

Inovative Architecture and Design

Casa da MúsicaVodafone HeadquartersAEFAUP Temporary BarPorto Cruise Terminal.

Porto is famous for architecture, design and modernity. The angular Casa da Música by Rem Koolhaas was considered one of the top 5 buildings of the decade by The Times. The Vodafone Headquarters by Barbosa & Guimaraes was named the Building of the Year in the Institutional Category by renowned Arch Daily in 2010. The Hotels & Restaurants award of the same year went to Diogo Aguiar & Teresa Otto for the temporary bar of the Architecture School in the city’s annual student’s party. The Porto Cruise Terminal was selected Building of the Year 2017 by ArchDaily, after being the the People's Choice for AZ Awards 2016. This might not be such a surprise when one realizes that Porto is the "alma mater" of the two portuguese Pritzker Awards (considered the Nobel Prize of Architecture): Siza Vieira (in 1992), and Souto Moura (in 2011): read the New York Times article on that.

The River side...

Clérigos TowerLivraria Lello & IrmãoCafé MajesticRibeira do Porto.

Besides having Cais da Ribeira as one of the most beautiful streets in the world (by Condé Nast Traveller in 2016), Porto has some other remarkable spots to visit near Douro River. On the World Heritage area of the Ribeira neighbourhood there is the medieval São Francisco Church featuring extraordinary lavish baroque interiors that shares a wall with the neoclassical Palácio da Bolsa (old Stock Exchange) with the exquisite Salão Árabe, are must-visit spots in the city. Moving up, Clerigos Tower has 200 challenging steps but provides an amazing 360º view of the old city area. In the area, São Bento Train Station was considered one of the World's Most Beautiful Train Stations by Fodor's Travel in 2015, and the Lello bookstore is open since 1881 and besides a comprehensive book collection offers impressive Art Nouveau decoration with Gothic Revival features including wood panels, stain glass and a notable swirling stair. No wonder it is considered as one of the most amazing bookstores in the world by The Guardian in 2008. Porto is famous by its Cafés, including Guarany, Confeitaria do Bolhão and so many others. Notably, Café Majestic is considered among the top 10 most beautiful cafés in the world. But there are also noteworthy spots on the south bank of Douro River: besides the famous Port Wine Cellars, there is the The Yeatman wine hotel & spa, featuring gastronomic restaurant with 2 Michelin stars award in the 2017 Guide.

... and the Sea side

Parque da CidadeCasa de SerralvesMuseu de Arte Contemporânea de SerralvesCastelo do Queijo.

Porto is famous for the Douro River, but a big share of Porto is on the sea side. The elegant Foz area includes beautiful seaside walkways, promenades and bicycle tracks stretching for various kilometres, plentiful of beach esplanades and fancy restaurants. Famous restaurants are Cafeína and Pedro Lemos (One Michelin Star). The area also features one of the most beautiful city parks in the world, Parque da Cidade , the city’s largest green area, with a tranquil set of lakes, trees, grass and foot paths connecting the city to the actual beach in the Atlantic ocean. Its tranquillity is stopped every 2 years with the Grand Prix of Boavista, which includes FIA World Tour Car Championship (WTCC). Boavista Circuit is one of the most impressive city (see this video from the 2009 edition) race circuits, and actually hosted F1 races in the 50s and 60s’! The nearby Serralves House, and its copious gardens, is an Art Déco extravaganza that is not to be missed. The Contemporary Art Museum (by Siza Vieira) shares the same property and includes the latest in art from all over the world.

Also on the Atlantic front, Matosinhos provides the World's Best Fish including a multitude of seafood restaurants and the Restaurante Casa de Chá da Boanova (building by Siza Vieira) with chef Rui Paula coordination provides a breathtaking view over the sea with a star in Michelin Guide.


Art, Design, Shopping and Nightlife

Rua Miguel BombardaRua Santa CatarinaRua Galerias de ParisMaus Hábitos.

Speaking of art, Rua Miguel Bombarda (check the New York Magazine article) is the workshop boutique heaven of the city from the latest designer crazes to the most traditional everyday life things. The street includes dozens of art galleries. Traditional shopping areas like Rua de Santa Catarina are now flourishing again with choices for every shopping spree. Downtown Porto also has a new flare of bars, cafes and restaurants. On weekends crowds gather right on the streets in downtown Clérigos area like Rua Galerias de Paris to enjoy the summer nights with a drink and music. The streets and squares on that area feature tens of bars and clubs.

The Surrounding Country Side

GuimarãesHistoric Steam TrainSé de BragaBraga.


Guimarães is one of the most important historical cities in Portugal and easy to reach from Porto by train World Heritage Site. It is mostly revered to as the “Cradle of the Portuguese Nation”. Alfonso I, the first king of Portugal, has been born there. Travel time: 1h15 from Porto Campanha: train timetable search.

Travel up the Douro with a Steam Engine: every Saturday of the summer, a black 1924 steam locomotive thrums along from Régua to Pinhão and Tua and back again. The popular trip takes an hour and 20 minutes each way, and it's a fabulous ride. On board the gleaming wooden carriages, passengers are entertained with Portuguese folk music, and refreshed with port wine and a delicious meat cake. Whole day event. Price: around 45 Euros

As the third largest city of Portugal, Braga has always been an important centre for culture, commerce and religion. In the 12th century, it became the seat of Portugal's archbishops, and the country's religious capital. Visit the Oldest Cathedral in Portugal  and in contrast to it the relicts of the Romans unearthed.

Near by is the religious Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, located high on a forested slope 6 km east of Braga. At the top of the great pilgrims' stairway stands an impressive church, from where visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Travel time: little over an hour by train several times a day train timetable search

Moving Around Porto

MetroBusEléctricoUber / Cabify.

From the hilly sides of Douro river and the intricate street plan of the Ribeira area, to the relaxing parks and seaside, there is a lot to see just by walking around in the city. And to make things easier, you can use the modern light metro in conjunction with the efficient bus system (with the Andante ticketing system), or the more touristic-focused traditional trams, known locally as "Eléctricos", and sight-seeing buses. Besides the traditional taxi service, the city is also covered by ride app services like Uber and Cabify, and has public transport options on Google Maps and Here WeGo.

Other Tips

For more suggestions you can also visit the official tourism website, and the Oporto Cool blog (in Portuguese, click here for the automatic translation to English).

Also check out the amazing Porto street views from José Paulo Andrade, or the impressive GigaPix Panorama by António Chaves.