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Come for the wine, stay for the history and architecture

Bem vindo ao Porto! – Welcome to Porto! As the name suggests, Portugal’s second-largest urban area is a port city, located in the north of the country along the Douro River estuary. A small Celtic hamlet until a Roman invasion in the 4th century, Portus Cale, as it became known, distinguished itself as a major trading port for not just the region but the entire country. This distinction even led some to believe that Porto is the origin of the name Portugal. Not only that, but fortified wine fans may recognize the name for different reasons. The Douro Valley has produced wine for centuries however, for a great part of their history, Portuguese wines were only consumed within Portugal. During the Nine Year War between France and England, French wine became so scarce that the English set their eyes on Portuguese wine cellars. They took over the production of the Port wine (stronger and sweeter than regular red wine) building warehouses in Vila Nova de Gaia in order to facilitate exportation to England. This continued for centuries to the point where the English owned most of the wineries in Porto.

Route for Porto tour

The old city center, Ribeira, has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996. It is an urban landscape with over 2,000 years of remarkably well-preserved history. Traversing the narrow streets, you can’t help but notice that the spirit of local life still remains despite the increasing number of tourists. Porto is also known for the multiple bridges that cross the Douro River (six in total). The most iconic is the Don Luis I bridge designed by a disciple of Gustave Eiffel, Théophile Seyrig. After crossing a bridge or two it would be a good idea to stop by the Mercado do Bolhão, a beautiful market that seems to contain the essence of the city. Like in many other countries, second city Porto has a long-standing rivalry with the capital, Lisbon. Porto FC are generally the victors in a footballing clash and the local citizens, Tripeiros, claim to be the hard workers while in Lisbon they are preguiçoso (lazy). You will have to visit Lisbon to get the other side of the story!

It can be next to impossible to sum up the vibe of a city but a local living legend, Rui Reininho of Porto band GNR, certainly tried: “The baroque surprises, the escarpments of Romanesque granite, the almost obscene sincerity of the people, the impetuously golden river, the swooning camellias, the wild Atlantic filled with fish and seafood, the narrow streets awash with soap suds”.

Popular Tour Itineraries Featuring Porto

Spend some time in Porto on a tour that takes in other cities in Portugal and neighboring countries. Our vacation packages including Porto and other destinations throughout Portugal and Europe hassle-free. We take care of getting you from place to place, accommodation, excursions and activities.

* Starting price is based on double occupancy in 3 star accommodation, in the most affordable month an itinerary is offered. Airfare to Europe is not included.

Click on your choice of itinerary, select number of travelers in your party, month of travel, and desired star level of accommodation to get an approximate price. Submit the enquiry form with any additional details and we can start planning your customized trip.

Where to stay in Porto

For those looking to enjoy the city on foot or wishing to join any of the cruises that leave from that shore, we suggest a boutique hotel facing the Douro River. If you want to avoid the busy Cais da Ribeira, we suggest the Batalha area, near shops, restaurants, and highlights to appreciate the local ambiance. Wherever you chose to stay during your time in Algarve, our hand-picked selection of small hotels and medium-sized resorts will be sure to please. Once we start preparing your customized itinerary, we will present our recommended options for you to select from.
Boutique Spa Hotel in Porto
Boutique Spa Hotel
Great access to the city, excellent breakfast and a rooftop garden with an amazing view.
Historical Design Hotel in Porto
Historical Design Hotel
A beautiful building inside and outside, with lovely staff, good location, and legendary cafe.
Historic building, classic interiors in Porto
Historic building, classic interiors
Located in the historic city centre, in the middle of Santa Catarina Street. Enjoy panoramic views from the rooftop terrace.

Things to do in Porto

They say that the colors of Porto are the first thing to grab the attention and eye of every visitor. The azulejos tiles adorning the walls of the city depict memorable battles or heavenly ascensions. Classic reds and greens, an ode to the flag perhaps, adorn the houses and buildings of Ribeira. A sea of terracotta orange awaits those who venture high enough, which suggests the Baroque Clerigos Tower. This emblem of this city is regarded as the best vista but be prepared to sacrifice your legs with 225 steps standing between you and the view. For the azulejos, or to immerse yourself in the customs and culture of Ribeira, a walking tour of the city is a must. Cross the river in a Rabelo boat; go wobbly looking at the Luíz I, D. Maria II and Arrábida bridges (great backgrounds for dramatic photos); visit the Bacalhoeiros Wall, the Casa do Infante museum, the Rua da Reboleira, Cubo square, São Nicolau Church and the ‘Alminhas da Ponte’, a sculpture by artist Teixeira da Lopes.

For any history buff out there, with the lobby of the Saint Bento train station, you will find the entire history of Portugal, hand-painted on 20,000 of the aforementioned azulejos tiles! If you somehow find the time to experience all that Porto has to offer, why not step outside of the city center and visit the beautiful Serralves Foundation in a rather surprising pink Art Deco building, surrounded by 18 hectares of meticulously landscaped gardens designed by one of Portugals most highly regarded modern architects, Álvaro Siza Vieira. Venturing beyond the city a visit to the Duoro Valley is a must for any wine lover and the nearby city of Braga, with the oldest cathedral in Portugal is a historical delight. As usual, there is far too much to write when suggesting what to do in Porto. Instead, why not let JayWay Travel show you?

Frequently Asked Questions about travel to Porto

How many days should I spend in Porto?
We recommend staying at least 2 nights in Porto. It is a relatively small city but has a rather confusing street system. This means you can reach your destination within 10 or within 30 minutes. Enjoy your stroll among the curving, narrow and steep streets, walk along the ocean, eat well, see a soccer game, follow locals to a restaurant for the best choice of food and find a bar to call your temporary local.
I've heard it rains a lot in Porto. Is that true?
Porto, due to its location, is a rainy city all year round. We recommend packing a waterproof jacket even in summer.
What souvenirs should I bring back from Porto?
Strolling the streets of Porto will make you want to peek into every store. There are various shops offering adorable pottery, design accessories, quality shoes, smart fashion, gourmet products. The city has something to offer at every corner.
Where's best, easiest and safest to get some local currency in Porto?
The easiest way to get local currency, which is Euro in Portugal, is an ATM. Please be aware that banking fees occur when withdrawing cash abroad. Consult your bank about these in advance. Using your credit card in Portugal is convenient. Always ask to get charged in the local currency, as this saves you money. Please note that in Europe, chip and pin technology is in use. EuroPay, Mastercard, and Visa cards are generally accepted. In case you have a different payment card, please contact your card issuer before traveling abroad to find out about being able to use it in Portugal.
How much should I expect to spend person per day in Porto?
Plan to spend at least 30 EUR (38 USD) on food and another 10-15 EUR (20 USD) on admissions. The cost of public transportation is incidental and low, especially if you prefer walking. Otherwise, it is a one-time cost for a one- or two-day ticket.
How do I get around Porto?
Do not let the slightly steeper, cobble-stoned streets of Porto stop you from walking around, as it is the best way of exploring the city. The historical trams depart from different locations of the city center and will take you to other points of interest within town. Buses and regular trams also work effectively. A single journey costs 2 EUR.
What are Porto's options for people with dietary restrictions and intolerances?
Portuguese cuisine is rich in vegetables, fish & seafood, meat, and potatoes. People on a gluten-free diet should not struggle with choosing their food at any restaurant and pescatarians will indeed feel spoiled. Vegetarians and vegans might need to ask for options when dining at a traditional restaurant. There also are numerous vegetarian and vegan specialized eateries. Milk is not a typical ingredient in Portuguese main dishes but is used in sweets and desserts. Lactose and gluten-free baked goods and desserts are available at vegan restaurants and bakeries.
What kind of cultural venues will I find in Porto?
The diversity of Porto's culture lies in the city's openness to creative industries. It is a lively place with a young spirit. You can run into street performances and spontaneous workshops all year round. Music and art play an important role in local life.
Is Porto safe?
Porto is a safe destination. Visitors should of course be aware of some common scams that may occur in every large city such as getting short-changed or menus without prices. These are no crimes, but we want to make your trip flawless, therefore draw your attention to the odd peculiarities of any country.
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