Ribiera district in Porto, Portugal, seen from an aerial perspective.

prettiest places in porto

(Last Updated On: April 21, 2021)

There’s no doubt about it – Porto is one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe! Be sure to check out the prettiest places in Porto, especially if you’re looking to up your IG-game!

And if you plan on spending extensive time in the country, this 10 day Portugal itinerary will cover all bases.

capela das almas

One of Porto’s most famous buildings, Chapel of Souls (or Capela das Almas) was originally a small wooden chapel.  

In the 1920’s, the chapel was covered with azuelos depicting scenes of the martyrdom of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Catherine of Alexandria.

I tried to get up early in the morning to take some photos with no one around, however, there’s a big bus stop right next door and a metro stop diagonally across the street – watch out for commuters trying to get on to work as you’re setting up your tripod, haha!

palácio da bolsa

Porto’s Stock Exchange Palace is a National Monument and – get ready to be shocked – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The Arab room is the highlight, featuring Moorish revivalist style.  

The reception hall at the Stock Exchange is often used for heads of state visiting Porto.

igreja do santo ildefonso

Located near Batalha Square, this church was completed in 1739.  The azuelos were added in 1923 – something like 11,000 tiles cover the church!

External facade of the Church of Saint Ildefonso in Portugal - one of the prettiest places in Portugal

livraria lello

Today, the library is probably most famous for its feature in the Harry Potter series.  It has been frequently listed as one of the top libraries in the world (last updated it was number 3 by Lonely Planet).

Buy tickets in advance online (€5) and get there 30 minutes before they open.  Seriously. Look at the video to see how long the line got. I arrived at 9:00 (they open at 9:30) and was probably 10th in line.  

The bookstore is surrounded by stores, and someone will come out (complete with headset, notepad, the works) and instruct everyone to move away from the buildings so that the stores can open.  It’s pretty wild.

The entrance fee is discounted if you buy a book! 

igreja do carmo & igreja dos carmelitas

Two Catholic churches adorned in the iconic blue azuelos that feature the best examples of Rococo architecture in the city.  The churches were built in the mid-1700’s, tha azuelos added in 1912.  

The two churches stand adjacent to one another, with a narrow passageway between.  A very narrow house was built in the middle so that the churches would not share a common wall.  This was to prevent the nuns from Igreja dos Carmelitas and the monks from Igreja do Carmo from having relations. 

ribiera

The lively riverbank of the Douro in Porto is one of the city’s most colorful areas.  A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is the best place to find your grilled sardines or fresh octopus.  

Be sure to check out the narrow, winding streets of the area (and try not to bust your ass on the uneven cobblestones).

winding streets

são bento

Named after St. Benedict, this train station is also (READY!?) a UNESCO World Heritage Site!  Seriously, Porto is packed with these gems.

The train station is located in the historic centre and is also a National Monument of Portugal.

The murals depicted by the azuelos represent moments in Portuguese history and rural scenes depicting people of various regions of the country.

street art

palácio de cristal

The landscaped gardens at the Crystal Palace were designed in the 19th century, and offer picturesque fountains, winding paths, and stunning river views.  Another epic sunset spot in Porto. Of course, I wasn’t here for sunset – I was here trying to take some yoga photos while simultaneously recovering from an epic hangover.  Maybe not the best combo.

If you’re here with Fido, the garden paths are a great spot to walk around and take in the fresh air.  Watch out for peacocks.

passeio das fontaínhas

Quiet area to soak in the sunset and the epic views of the Dom Luis I Bridge.  The few times I visited this spot, aka the Stairway to Heaven, there were maybe two other people around, tops. 

I’m the most awkward selfie taker, so the solitude was perfect for me. But, given its popularity on Instagram, I’d gather that the quiet here is a rarity.

Great spot to see the four bridges of Porto and look down the Douro river.

ponte dom luis I

The city’s most famous Double-Decker metal arch bridge, spanning the Douro river.

Upon completion in the 1880’s, it was the longest of its type in the world at 172 meters.

The top of the bridge is designated for a light railway and pedestrians – cars (and more pedestrians) use the bottom.

kittie’s rock

If you and your S.O. are looking for the perfect picnic spot, look no further than Kittie’s Rock.  Pack some food, a bottle of vinho verde, and sturdy shoes – the climb is a bitch, from what I’ve heard – I didn’t make it to Kittie’s Rock during my time in Porto.  If heights aren’t your thing, you don’t have to go all the way to the top for the views.

sé do porto

Aka Porto Cathedral, Sé do Porto is a Roman Catholic cathedral in the historical centre of the city.  

Groundbreaking was in 1110, the church was not completed until 1737.  

The cathedral is built on the highest point in the city, so expect some sore calves!

outside the city

foz do douro

If being by the sea is your thing, be sure to check out Foz do Douro.  A more affluent seaside area, known for its beaches, restaurants and gorgeous scenery.  Think beach bars, the iconic pergola, and lighthouses.

Only 5km away from the city, Foz do Douro is where the river meets the sea.

douro river valley

Take a Douro River Valley day trip from Porto for some stunning vistas!

Famous for its Port wine production, the Douro River Valley also produces non-fortified wines (commonly referred to as ‘Douro Wines’).  Vineyards focusing on Port wines are generally planted on schist, whereas the non-fortified grapes are planted in granite-based soil.

Surprise, surprise – the Douro River Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Terraced vineyards are the norm here, with the grapes sheltered from the coastal winds by mountains on every side.

peneda-gerês

Peneda-Gerês is the only National Park in Portugal, and was designated as such in 1971 due to national and international scientific interest in the area’s natural resources, flora, and fauna. I know it’s not in the city per se, but it is for SURE one of the prettiest places in Porto!

Named for the two extreme Serras where the park extends, between Serra da Peneda and Serra do Gerês.

We went with a guide in order to see the ‘secret spots’ and have the security of someone familiar with the terrain. Oporto Adventure Tours was great, and contribute a lot to the tourism sustainability and reforestation efforts in the park.

honorable mentions

teleférico de gaia

torre dos clérigos

avenida dos aliados

map

handy map of the prettiest places in porto <3

pin it

Heading to Portgual solo? First solo trip? Check out these insider tips for your first solo travel experience before you go!

11 thoughts on “prettiest places in porto”

  1. Wow, what a beautiful city. I hope to go back to Portugal just so I can see Porto and those beautiful tiles, and the library. Just absolutely stunning.

    1. I’d love to go back, and the cost of living is great! How are you liking Valencia? I’m moving back to Europe at the end of January (southern Italy), we should figure out a way to meet up! I’ll be with a little doggo, so will have to work with that, haha! It’d be great to get together, though! <3

  2. I’m planning to go to Porto later this year and this post is PERFECT!!! I’m definitely bookmarking and returning to it! Great post.

  3. wow so many great spots! I was in Porto a couple of years ago and really loved it! Enjoyed it more than Lisbon actually, so I wish we can go back again one day. Lovely inspirational pictures here, thanks for putting this post togetehr x

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