From its ageless bridges to its historic Douro port wine vineries, Porto is a hotbed of culture, heritage and intrigue. Here, we showcase but a handful of Porto’s must-see attractions.
PALÁCIO DA BOLSA
While Porto is lacking in the sort of grand civic buildings found in other European capitals, the city’s former stock exchange, Palácio da Bolsa, more than makes up for it. Featuring wonderfully ornate interior design elements, Palácio da Bolsa could rival any state building on sheer grandeur and opulence alone. One of the most exquisite rooms within the neoclassical building is the Arab Room, whose entire surface area is covered in exotic wood carvings and masses of gold leaf inlays.
VILA NOVA DE GAIA
Separated from the primary bulk of Porto by the Douro River, Vila Nova De Gaia is the city’s charming port district, and is dominated by lodges historically used to age Porto world-renowned port wine. Take a walk in this distinct neighbourhood, and you’ll notice the entranceways to each lodge emblazoned with the name of the original port families. Many of the lodges are still in operation today, and it’s possible to take a tour among the barrels and sample some of the delicious product held within
Not so much a single attraction, but an entire neighbourhood; Ribeira is Porto’s oldest enclave, and was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1997 on account of its stunning architectural gems. Take a walk among the ancient buildings and passageways, and you’ll feel you’ve taken a step back in time. Amid the countless antique buildings, you’ll find many of the city’s most charming restaurants and cafes — and what better place to sit and enjoy an authentic Portuguese meal.