Cais de Gaia
Cais de Gaia is a true place to peep into the historical city of Oporto (or Porto), a UNESCO World Heritage site. Some of the most inspiring views of Oporto are found from the tourist area at the left bank of the Douro River. The city's stunning skyline is a site to behold, further impacted by the magnanimous double-decker Dom Luis Bridge and picturesque boats floating down the river. There are several bars, cafes and restaurants at the riverfront. Later, visit the Port Wine warehouses where most of the world's supply of Port is stored. The Yellow City Cruises ticket would be an excellent choice to get to know the best of Oporto City. It provides 2-day access to Yellow Bus tours, a cruise on the Douro River and visit to the Caves Calém port wine cellars.
Location: Walk across Dom Luis Bridge, Gaia riverfront, Oporto, Portugal
Photo Credit: Creative Commons/Barao78
Casa da Musica ( Visit Site )
Casa da Musica is a twelve storied concert hall in Oporto exclusively designed by world-renowned architect Rem Koolhaas as a part of Oporto's project for European Culture Capital. The design of the building makes a striking architectural statement and is well worth a reason to visit Oporto on its own. Three orchestras, namely Orquestra Nacional do Porto, Orquestra Barroca and Remix Ensemble is headquartered in Casa da Musica. Inside the hall is a 1,300-seat auditorium, VIP rooms with blue hand painted tiles, baroque organ fastened to the wall and a gold leaf wood grain pattern on the large auditorium.
Address: Avenida da Boavista, 4149-071 Oporto, Portugal
Tel.: +351 220 120 220
Photo Credit: Creative Commons/Marinhopaiva
The San Francisco Church in Oporto of the Franciscan Order is a religious monument of exemplary beauty, noted for its 14th century Gothic and Baroque decoration. Every detail on the church drips with opulence and extravagance, especially the 17th and 18th baroque decoration. There is said to be 400 kg worth of gold used on the gilt woodcarvings, pillars and columns and the remaining devoid of the yellow metal, is made of marble. A museum housed in the catacombs displays artifacts found in the former monastery. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the church is definitely worth a visit!
Address: Rua do Infante D. Henrique, 4050-297 Oporto, Portugal
Tel.: +351 222 006 493
The rich loam of Cais da Ribeira district holds many alluring secrets to medieval era and pure history. Its alleyways ending at a riverfront square (Praça da Ribeira) is a fast fading place yet enticing at the same time. In 1996, UNESCO named 'Cais da Ribeira' a World Heritage site for its quaint houses, traditional boats and the beautiful old worlds feel that the place is yet able to afford. The place is a romantic spot amidst rhythmic vibes sent by the bars and cafes. Be there for Saint John's Day to enjoy a must-see fireworks display and a massive street party.
Location: Walk down to the riverfront from city centre, Oporto, Portugal
The Oporto Cathedral is one of the oldest monuments in Portugal whose Romanesque architectural style dates to Medieval Europe. Present features of the cathedral are said to originate in the 12th century but it has gone under many structural renovations. The Gothic rose window is only what links the church to its roots as the remaining monument falls under Baroque style. Oporto's largest church highlights many extraordinary features such as the Gothic cloisters covered with glorious blue and white tiles.
Address: Terrier da Sé, 4050-573 Oporto, Portugal
Tel.: +351 222 059 028
Photo Credit: Creative Commons/Nuno Tavares
The Clérigos church tower (Torre dos Clérigos), Oporto's famous landmark was the tallest structure in Portugal when completed in 1763. Ships used it as a landmark while anchoring near the Cais da Ribeira riverbank. The bell tower, designed by Italian architect Nasoni can be seen from various points of the city. It is well known for the beautiful, panoramic views of the city from the top after a sharp flight of 240 steps. Some of the attractions visible from the tower are Cordoaria Gardens - the city's former prison and Santo Antonio Hospital.
Address: Rua de São Filipe de Nery, 4050-546 Oporto, Portugal
Tel.: +351 222 001 729
Photo Credit: Creative Commons/Lacobrigo
Palacio da Bolsa, a Word Heritage designated site could be easily mistaken for a royal palace. However, it is a former stock exchange built by the Commercial Association (Associação Comercial) to attract European investors. Oporto architect Joaquim da Costa Lima Júnior, designed the palace to reflect the neoclassical style of Palladian influence. The rooms inside the grand building are equally opulent, particularly the ornate Arab room that was designed to replicate Granada's Alhambra Palace. Today, this oval chamber is a reception room, which welcomes state luminaries on their visit to Oporto. Another notable highlight is Pátio das Nações, a central courtyard covered by a large metallic dome and glass panels. Designed by Tomás Soler, flags of countries that have traded with Oporto are represented here.
Address: Rua Ferreira Borges s/n, 4050-253 Oporto, Portugal
Tel.: +351 223 399 000
The Dom Luis Bridge spanning the Douro River was engineered by a Téophile Seyrig, a working partner of Gustave Eiffel. When it opened in 1886, it held the record for the longest iron arch in the world. The upper part of the bridge connects cities of Oporto and Vila Nova de Gaia with a metro system while the lower part of the bridge is used by cars and pedestrians to cross over the river.
There are similar other bridges in Oporto designed by Gustave Eiffel before he built the famous Eiffel tower. One of them is the Dona Maria Pia Bridge, an iron railway bridge named after the wife of King Luis I. Although it is not used today, the bridge has been designated an "International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark" by the American Society of Civil Engineers).
Address: 4440-452 Oporto, Portugal
Photo Credit: Creative Commons/Lacobrigo
Casa do Infante, also known as Alfândega Velha was built on the bank of the Douro River in the 14th century. It is said to be the birthplace of Henry the Navigator. Even today, Prince Henry the Navigator's birth records dating to 1394 and other historical records are still on display in the museum archive.
In the past, the medieval structure was used as customs and mint house for nearly 500 years. Built under the guidance of King Afonso IV, this historical house has been remodelled many times over the centuries. Today, it operates as the city archives as well as a museum with temporary exhibitions of historic artifacts, excavated remains held from time to time.
Address: Rua Alfândega 10, 4050-151 Oporto, Portugal
Opening Hours - Museum: Weekdays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm (last admission 12.30 pm)
and from 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm (last admission 5:00 pm)
Tel.: +351 222 060 400
Photo Credit: Creative Commons/Dafema
One of the most honoured buildings in Oporto, Livraria Lello & Irmão is a renowned bookstore built in 1906. It has been awarded the classification of World Patrimony by UNESCO for its glorious neo gothic facade. In 2011, Lonely Planet classified Livraria Lello as the third best bookstore in the world.
The ambience of the bookstore offers a sense of comfort and spaciousness. The decorative elements featuring great arches along with large stained glass windows in the ceiling and an ornamented stairway enrich the visitor's experience. Whether you buy books or not, this place by itself is worth a visit.
Address: Rua das Carmelitas 144, 4050-161 Oporto, Portugal
Tel.: +351 222 002 037
Photo Credit: Creative Commons/Alegna13