Portugal: the perfect blend of culture and beauty in Porto
January 1, 1970
by Karolina Slimanaviciute
If you will be visiting Portugal soon, be prepared to dive into the cultural and architectural environment, with a spice of a local cuisine! Life in Portugal, in general, is peaceful and full of people who smile for no reason. But is it true that the happiness comes there without any explanation? From a personal point of view, there are many aspects that keep you smiling every day, for example, one of the reasons – sunny Porto city. So be ready to know more about ‘Must see‘ places there, because you never know when you will fall in love with this captivating country.
Top 3 ‘Must See’ places in Porto
Oh, lovely Porto! A city that amazes everyone with its own identity and locations for sightseeing. Here you will find some tips on what to do in Porto due to my experience of living here.
Small at the Ponte Luiz I bridge from where Cais Da Ribeira is seen / Photo: Karolina Slimanaviciute
This place is one of the most famous objects in Porto and contains from church, museum, and tower. First of all the church leaves everyone breathless with its own architectural style. It was the first church in Portugal that was with an ellipse-shaped plan and unique features. From inside it amazes everyone with variously built-in windows that allow the light to reach every praying heart. Moreover, it is decorated with wonderful carvings and marble that makes a perfect blend for the architecture lovers. For those who would like to get back to the past – a visit to the museum is a must. It has a dispatch room, safe room, registry and old infirmary. It basically tells a story about the life of clerics through the images and every collected piece. And now – to the most interesting part – the tower. It contains 225 stairs and is 75 meters in heights! Can you imagine? As soon as you will climb there, the wonderful panoramic view of Porto will be stuck in your head for a long time.
Rooftops of Porto and the iconic tower of Clerigos can be seen / Photo: Karolina Slimanaviciute
View from Ponte Luiz I bridge / Photo: Karolina Slimanaviciute
Palacio De Cristal Gardens
A magical place to have a break from the noisy parts of Porto. It is a gorgeous botanical garden with lawns, fountains and different types of plants that are placed on the shore of Douro River. There you can enjoy the views, especially sunset which can be seen clearly and brings romantic atmosphere. On Saturdays 10 am. there is always free yoga classes for those who want to blend in with nature. Doing yoga among pleasing flowers, plants, olive trees can be relaxing and even peacocks, which do not let an opportunity to get some snacks from you, can be entertaining as well!
Peacocks at the Palacio De Cristal / Photo: Karolina Slimanaviciute
Cais Da Ribeira
A chaotic, but definitely a fun place to visit. It is full of cafes and restaurants, and even local markets that perfectly represents the cultural living joy of Portugal. In addition, it is always full of performances by locals or either internationals (who actually sing or dance for a living!). The place mostly is crowded and by the end of the evening all cafes are full, but you definitely can bring some takeaway coffee and sit on the shore of the river enjoying the sound of water and music around. Moreover, the famous Ponte Luiz I bridge will definitely make the view even more stunning.
View from Ribeira to Ponte Luiz I bridge / Photo: Karolina Slimanaviciute
Top 3 Places in Porto for action lovers
Porto Bridge Climb
Don’t worry, you will be equipped with all the safety tools and it will be the same as to climb the mountain. You can do it alone or with the group of people, where professional instructors climb together with you to the top of the bridge. For the bravest ones, they offer an exclusive bungee jump from the bridge.
Ponte Luiz I bridge at night / Photo: Karolina Slimanaviciute
Funicular dos Guindais
It simply lets you fly over the Douro river in the funicular and gives a wonderful feeling of seeing the previously mentioned Ribeira from a different perspective. You can choose either to go one way and then walk all the way back, or you can buy a two-way ticket to enjoy the moment longer. In the ticket price, there is also included a glass of wine in one of the wine cellars! What can be better?
Surfing in Matosinhos Beach
This beach is located 25 minutes from the city center by metro, so it wouldn’t take much time to reach it. There is a surfing school where people actually can learn to surf. And if you would ask about the waves – trust me, the Atlantic ocean is rarely calm!
Sunset in Matosinhos Beach / Photo: Karolina Slimanaviciute
Simply what can be told – Porto city is on the hill, so it will be enough of action to climb the narrow streets and walk around. If it is hot, do not forget to be hydrated.
Places in Porto for wine and food fanatics
Also, let’s not forget to mention famous Porto wine cellars, which are rich in history. There is always an opportunity to have a guided tour which includes wine tasting. The recommended wine cellars are:
- Sandeman Cellars
Sunset and palm trees in Palacio De Cristal gardens / Photo: Karolina Slimanaviciute
What about food? For a good place to eat and try local dishes, I would highly recommend:
- Zenith (brunch restaurant)
- Taste Porto Food Tours (it gives tours to taste national dishes)
- Taberna Dos Mercadores
Talking about the national dishes – Francescinha will be something not only tasty but also be challenging due to its size. And don’t worry, if you are not a fan of local cuisine, Porto is full of cafes and restaurants, so it won’t let you starve.
The city of Porto is definitely not the only one place with ‘Must See‘ objects in Portugal, but it ideally represents the country within the architecture, art, cuisine, and culture. And that’s how you understand why people are smiling here. Let’s smile together.