Porto is a perfect destination for those travelers who want to relax and explore a beautiful city that combines traditional Portuguese culture with innovations and latest trends. I spent almost two weeks in Porto looking for the best attractions and here is my list with some of them!
Ponte de Dom Luis I/ Ribeira
This double-decker metal arch bridge is one of the oldest bridges in Porto (1886) and links the Ribeira side of Porto to the Villa Nova de Gaia. It is just stunning: it has two layers – the upper and the lower one. You can walk on both levels, but I’d recommend walking on the upper one: you can make some great photos from there!
Fun fact: the bridge was built by Théophile Seyrig, colleague and friend of Gustav Eiffel (yes, that one who designed the Eiffel Tower) and you definitely can see some “Eiffel features” here.
Going to this bridge from the Ribeira side, you’ll see these stunning views you might have seen on every postcard from Porto, however they are definitely worth seeing with your own eyes.
Cais da Ribeira is listed as the World Heritage protected by UNESCO and some people call it the “Heart of Porto”.
Teleferico de Gaia
Teleferico de Gaia is a cableway that goes from the riverfront area up to Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar and the south end of the top deck of the famous Ponte Luis I bridge.
This is a great chance for you if you want to combine admiring the views from the cable car and some wine tasting because the ticket price includes 3 glasses of port wine in a wine cellar next to the cable car depot. You will enjoy the breathtaking views, make some great photos, and wine tasting will help you forget about the fear of heights if you have one :)
Must visit if you travel to Porto!
Casa da Música
When in Porto, do not miss visiting Casa da Música – “House of Music”! It was conceived to mark 2001, the year when Porto was the Cultural Capital of Europe. Casa da Música is entirely dedicated to music – to the presentation and public enjoyment of music, to music education and to the creation of music. The building itself is a true masterpiece of modern architecture – it was designed by Rem Koolhaas, one of the greatest architects of the 20th century. You’re lucky if you get to a concert there, because of the excellent acoustics. On the roof of Casa da Música, there is a nice restaurant that has a great view from above.
Estádio do Dragão
Estádio do Dragão, or a “Dragon Stadium” is well known among many football lovers because it’s made to host UEFA games and is a home ground of FC Porto. But for me as an architecture admirer, it is primarily interesting in terms of its design: the stadium is characterized by an elegant frame of 21 000 meters squared of azulejos, which are the typical white and sky-blue Portuguese ceramic tiles. The first azulejo can be found at the entrance and looks like a big dragon that gives the name to the stadium.
If you get a bit tired of old buildings and paving stones of the old town Porto, I’d recommend taking a walk in Estádio do Dragão neighborhood: this area is rich in modern interesting buildings, for example, Alameda shopping mall, that is completely made of colored glass. Looks spectacular!
Anemona, or “She Changes”
When I saw it from afar, it seemed to me like it was some kind of huge futuristic antenna. But when I came closer it turned out that this was an installation Anemona, or “She Changes”, created by the North American artist Janet Echelman. This sculpture is characterized as never being static. In fact, the wind constantly changes the arrangement of the large fishing net, that it’s made of, which can explain the installation’s name “She Changes”. This sculpture is a tribute to the brave fishermen who fish in the Atlantic.
I’m sorry I didn’t see it illuminated at night, but according to eyewitnesses, it’s breathtaking! It is located near the Matosinhos beach, so if you’re going there you won’t miss it.