Porto: Discovering the Historic Charm of Portugal Second City

May 15th 2024 in Day Trips
Porto: Discovering the Historic Charm of Portugal Second City

Porto, Portugal's second-largest city, is a destination rich in history, culture, and stunning architecture. While it is famed for its port wine, this vibrant city has much more to explore. From historical landmarks to charming neighbourhoods, uncover the many facets of Porto that make it a must-visit destination.

The Historic Centre of Porto

Ribeira District

Begin your journey in Ribeira, Porto's picturesque riverside district. This UNESCO World Heritage site is known for its narrow, winding streets, colourful buildings, and bustling atmosphere.

Stroll along the riverfront promenade, where you can enjoy stunning views of the Douro River and the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge. The vibrant cafes and restaurants lining the promenade are perfect for soaking up the local atmosphere and tasting traditional Portuguese cuisine.

Sé Cathedral

A short walk from Ribeira leads you to the Sé Cathedral, one of Porto's oldest and most significant landmarks. This Romanesque-stle cathedral, dating back to the 12th century, offers a glimpse into the city's rich history.

Explore its impressive interior, adorned with beautiful azulejos (ceramic tiles) and intricate carvings. Don't miss the panoramic views from the cathedral's terrace, offering a breathtaking perspective of Porto's skyline.

Cultural Landmarks

Livraria Lello

No visit to Porto is complete without a stop at Livraria Lello, often hailed as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Its stunning Art Nouveau design, featuring a grand wooden staircase and stained glass ceiling, creates an enchanting atmosphere.

This historic bookstore has inspired many, including J.K. Rowling during her time in Porto. Whether you're a book lover or not, Livraria Lello is a must-see cultural gem.

São Bento Railway Station

Step into São Bento Railway Station to witness one of Porto's most impressive displays of azulejos. The station's main hall is adorned with over 20,000 tiles depicting scenes from Portuguese history and daily life.

This artistic masterpiece provides a unique insight into the country's cultural heritage and is a testament to the intricate craftsmanship of the azulejo tradition.

Exploring Porto's Neighbourhoods

Clérigos and the Tower

Venture into the Clérigos neighbourhood, home to the iconic Clérigos Tower. This Baroque masterpiece, designed by Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni, offers panoramic views of the city from its top.

Climbing the 240 steps to the top is well worth the effort, as you'll be rewarded with stunning vistas of Porto's red-tiled rooftops and the Douro River.

Boavista and Casa da Música

Explore the modern side of Porto in the Boavista district, where you'll find the striking Casa da Música.

This contemporary concert hall, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, is an architectural marvel and a hub for cultural events. Take a guided tour to learn about its innovative design or attend a concert to experience its exceptional acoustics.

Culinary Delights of Porto


While in Porto, indulge in the city's famous dish, Francesinha. This hearty sandwich, filled with layers of meat, covered in melted cheese, and smothered in a rich tomato and beer sauce, is a culinary delight. Head to a local eatery to enjoy this traditional meal, often served with a side of crispy fries.

Mercado do Bolhão

For a taste of local life, visit Mercado do Bolhão, Porto's historic market. Here, you can browse stalls brimming with fresh produce, seafood, and regional specialities. The market's lively atmosphere and friendly vendors provide an authentic glimpse into Porto's culinary culture.

Enhance Your Porto Experience with Finalrentals

To make the most of your Porto adventure, consider renting a car in Portugal. With Finalrentals, you can easily explore not only the city but also its beautiful surroundings. Drive to the nearby Douro Valley to experience the stunning vineyards and taste the renowned wines, or visit the coastal town of Matosinhos for its pristine beaches and seafood restaurants. Our car Hire services offer the flexibility and convenience you need to enhance your journey.