Popular things to do in Porto
More about Porto here. And a post about views over Porto will follow.
Port wine tasting tour at Ramos Pinto
South of the river from Porto lies the city called Gaia. In this area there are many wineries where you can do a Port wine tour and tasting.
Of all the places I chose to go to Ramos Pinto and take a tour. The tour was 10 euro and takes about an hour. It starts in the museum where the guide talks about the history of Port wine and Ramos Pinto. After the museum the guided tour continues to the wine cellar. At the end of the tour you get two glasses of Port wine, one red and one white, to enjoy in the entry hall.
6 bridges boat tour
On both sides of the river there are many boat companies that offers the popular 6 bridges boat tour. Just as the name suggests you take a boat tour and visit the 6 bridges closest to Porto. It takes about an hour and you get to sit down and watch Porto and Gaia from the water. In many of the tours a small port wine tasting on land is included.
There are other boat tours as well, and if I had another day in Porto I would definitely spend it on a full day trip to the beautiful Douro valley where the wine is made.
When I first read about Porto I got to know about Livraria Lello, one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal. I looked at some photos of it and was really looking forward to go. Turns out it is a really famous bookstore, one of the reasons being that J.K. Rowling used to spend time here while she lived in Porto and got inspired by it for her books about Harry Potter.
To get in to the bookstore you have to buy a ticket for 4 euro and then wait in line to get in. The bookstore is much smaller than the pictures show so there’s only room for a limited amount of people in the same time. And as you can see from my pictures, people everywhere! I was a bit disappointed since I don’t like crowded places like this. If you buy a book you get a 4 euro discount when you show your ticket, in other words, you get the entrance fee back.
Sao Bento railway station
The São Bento train station is located right in the city centre and is pretty hard to miss. From here you can catch the metro to the airport or the train to surrounding cities. You will pass it more than one time while you stroll the streets of Porto. Step inside and take a look at the walls that are decorated with beautiful Portugese azulejo tiles that tells a story about Portugese history.
Mercado do Bolhão
The Bolhão market is a very popular tourist attraction. Everywhere I looked before I went to Porto there were recommendations on going there. Because of that I thought it would be fun to visit it and see a local market. But, it was much smaller than I expected and the buildings were falling apart and were in a big need of renovations. There were stands that sold fruits, wine and souvenirs, some small restaurants and a pretty wine bar. Nothing special really, I was very disappointed…
Palácio da Bolsa
Palacia da Bolsa is nowadays the Stock Exchange Palace but was built to be the centre of trade of Porto. It is located on the Infante D. Henrique square and was built in the 19th century. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
It is the main conference and exhibition centre of Porto and there are many rooms to explore. It’s only possible to visit on a guided tour though. The most popular room is the Arabian Hall which is decorated in Moorish style with 18 kg of gold.