Porto holidays 2020
A holiday in Porto will transport you straight into a historical haven, with a unique culture and a vibrant way of life that mixes old and new. Sat beside the expansive Douro River, the city is a traditional but colourful place with lots of extravagant churches, imposing bell towers and old storefronts, displaying some of the wonderful character of Portugal in a way you won’t find anywhere else in the country. The historic centre is a maze of grand landmarks and pretty plazas, and every public space has a lively and welcoming atmosphere. Downtown you’ll find a bustling market where locals mix with visitors to buy and sell traditional produce, and relax in the surrounding bars and cafés. Modern developments meet with old traditions in a way that works beautifully and it all adds up to make the ideal holiday destination of Porto.
Porto at a glance
Cultural hotspot not to miss
Start with popular Ribeira: colourful, picture-perfect & filled with sunset-facing cafés
Must-visit historical sites
The Gothic Church of São Francisco, the Baroque Clérigos Church, glorious Palácio da Bolsa
Top attractions to visit
See Luís I Bridge, visit Casa da Música, go up the wooden staircase of Livraria Lello (a gorgeous Art Nouveau bookshop)
Praça da Liberdade doubles up as your top spot for designer shopping
Try the local wine
You can’t miss out on this! Tour Porto’s port cellars for a true taste of local history
How about a romantic dinner in the trendy Foz do Douro district?
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Things to do in Porto
Not all the history and highlights are necessarily bound to the Ribeira area, and you’ll find countless more intriguing attractions spread across the city during your holiday in Porto. In Serralves you’ll encounter the sensational Modern Art Museum, in Boavista you should check out the House of Music concert hall, while in downtown you have to fight your way through the vibrant Mercado do Bolhao, picking up fresh produce as you go. If you’re a wine lover, a visit to Cais de Gaia should be on the cards, and you won’t want to miss the extravagant Sao Francisco Church which is decorated entirely with gold inside. Don’t miss the World Heritage medieval area of Cais da Ribeira, or the monumental Dom Luis Bridge. There are family-friendly attractions all over Porto and in the surrounding areas, and the many beautiful beaches are just one of the reasons people come back to this region again and again.
With so many lovely beaches to choose from in and around Porto, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Each beach has its own individual benefits, so explore as many of them as you can until you find your perfect fit. The main beach in Porto is Matosinhos, where there are lots of apartments, cafés and shops, so it’s great if you want to be in the centre of things. Alternatively, Miramar is a seafront town with a beach, and lots of historical buildings to look at, including a 17th Century chapel. Praia dos Ingleses is a large and relatively busy beach with lots of facilities nearby along the promenade and in the Foz do Douro area. Praia do Molho has a café and rough sand with lots of rocks, and there’s also Praia da Granja, Praia de Fuzelhas, Praia do Carneiro, Praia Castelo do Queijo and Leca da Palmeira which are all ripe for exploring, and have their own individual charms.
What our local experts say
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The Dom Luis I Bridge is one of the most striking features of Porto. It spans the Douro River from the historic Ribeira neighbourhood of the city to Vila Nova de Gaia, where you will find the majority of the famous port wine cellars. The bridge is a stunning two-tier ...
Your Porto questions answered
Porto is a lot smaller and more compact than Lisbon, so it’s easily explored on foot. If you only have a few days to spare, you might be better off heading to Porto. It makes for a picturesque city break packed full of gorgeous views.
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