Porto has long been a hot destination for wine lovers – it’s the go-to place to find the best of that sweet, tasty port wine. But this city by the sea has more to offer than vinho. Porto (or Oporto, as it’s sometimes called) is an attractive European mini-metropolis on Portugal’s northwestern coast where travelers can get their fill of culture and the outdoors. Travelers can visit the city’s wealth of museums, admire its varied architecture and, of course, hit the beach.
The city earns its nickname Cidade das Pontes, or “City of Bridges“, from the six arches spanning the Rio Douro (Douro River), which runs along Porto’s southern edge. Views of the Douro River are best enjoyed from the Dom Luís I Bridge, the most iconic of Porto’s six structures. From here you can get a sense of Porto’s unique charm, from its colorful UNESCO World Heritage historic district to the north to the neighboring town of Vila Nova de Gaia just south, where you’ll find the region’s infamous wineries. You could spend a long weekend or a week here strolling the city, discovering the contemporary art in the Serralves Foundation complex and appreciating the history behind Porto’s old churches like the Sé and Igreja de São Francisco. No matter what you choose to see and do in this captivating city, you’ll leave with an appreciation of Porto’s diverse offerings, some great photos and, hopefully, a bottle or two of its best wine.
Best Things To Do in Porto
The charms of Porto are plentiful and this city’s laid-back vibe gives travelers to Europe a much-needed respite from the faster-paced, museum packed cities nearby. In Porto, you can take in the arresting views of the Rio Douro from a stroll across the Dom Luís I Bridge, admire the beach landscape on the city’s western coast and drink in the liveliness of the UNESCO World Heritage Ribeira District. Speaking of drinking, get ready to sip and saunter through Vila Nova de Gaia to taste the region’s famed port at its finest wine lodges. Those looking to enrich their minds with a little history and culture will enjoy visits to the Porto Cathedral, the São Bento Railway Station and the Stock Exchange Palace. Meanwhile, artsy types can see paintings, sculptures and more at the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis or the Serralves Foundation’s contemporary art museum. How we rank Things to Do.
The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions.
Porto is ranked as:
#1 in Best Wine Vacations
#1 in Best Places to Visit in July
#2 in Best Places to Visit in Europe
#2 in Best Affordable Vacations in Europe
#2 in Best Destination Wedding Spots in Europe
#3 in World’s Best Places to Visit
#12 in Best Affordable European Honeymoon Destinations
#15 in Best Summer Vacations
Best Things to Do in Porto
#1 Dom Luís I Bridge
#2 Sé do Porto (Porto Cathedral)
#3 Jardins do Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace Gardens)
#4 Avenida dos Aliados (Avenue of the Allies)
#5 Port Wine Tastings & Tours