On a brief visit to Porto, there are some places that cannot be missed. In the words of many visitors, this city has something mystical that are difficult to describe and which varies according to the place, time of day and light.
Whatever it is, it certainly has to do with its people, known to be generous and easy-going, as well as the River Douro and its heritage on both banks, with its bridges and monuments, the tiles, the flowering balconies and the shopping streets. The historic centre of Porto and the River Douro on the Gaia side, where the Port Wine lodges are located, are classified as World Heritage.
S. Bento Station, with its atrium lined with tiles, is an ideal starting point. Just ahead is the Cathedral, not to be missed, whose precinct offers the first view of the river, the cascading houses and the opposite bank. From there you descend by steps and mediaeval streets to Ribeira, with its café terraces and picturesque corners. It's worth staying a little to get a flavour of the atmosphere and take in the river with the D. Luís Bridge and the opposite bank, before going on a cruise under Porto’s six bridges. Once you’ve seen the outline of the cascading houses and church towers, you will want to see the gilt interior of the Church of S. Francisco. Nearby, you can see more tile-fronted churches and monuments, and visit the Palácio da Bolsa (former Stock Exchange palace). The tram leaves from next to the river for a trip that goes to Foz (the mouth of the Douro), where you can take a stroll and fill your lungs with the sea air. Avenida da Boavista starts here, and not far away is Serralves, with its gardens to stroll or rest in and its contemporary art exhibitions. The museum is the work of Álvaro Siza Vieira, one of the foremost architects of the Porto School of Architecture, and winner of the Pritzker Prize.
- visit Casa do Infante, by Ribeira
- admire the old houses of Miragaia, very close to the Ribeira quay
- by day or by night, stroll through the Galeria de Paris and the adjacent streets, close to the Torre dos Clérigos
- pop up to Rua Miguel Bombarda for a taste of contemporary art and design
- stroll through the Parque da Cidade, down to the sea front
- enjoy the great beaches and café terraces at the mouth of the river Douro
- try a francesinha (a sandwich with cured ham, sausage, and steak covered in molten cheese and a hot tomato and beer sauce), one of Porto’s specialities
- try some fresh fish or seafood, or some cod fishcakes
- get to know a little of the coast to the north or south of Porto
- explore Porto by night
- participate in the São João Festival
(adapted from: https://www.visitportugal.com)