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One-Day Tour in Porto: The Best of the City on Foot

26 de March, 2024

One-Day Tour in Porto: The Best of the City on Foot

Check out our suggestion for a 1-day mini-route through the main points of the city of Porto. A tour that you can do on foot!
Reading: 8 min

If you are planning to visit Portugal’s second largest city, check out our one-day tour in Porto, a mini-route through the main points of the city. A tour that you can can do on foot ! That’s right: get to know the best of Porto by walking!

Why Visit OPorto?

In recent years, Porto (or OPorto) has stood out in numerous tourism awards, including the World Travel Awards the most important of its kind. In 2022, it received a record number of visitors, with almost 70 million overnight stays, according to official statistics. Known worldwide for its Port wine, the city has much to offer: its architecture, rich in baroque monuments, iron bridges over the beautiful Douro River, cobblestone streets, narrow houses decorated with colorful tiles, a diverse diverse gastronomy e and very tasty… All this without mentioning the the friendliness of its residents (yes, the northerners are much kinder than the Lisboners)!

One day in Porto: Walking tour itinerary

Let’s start with Bolhão area, a high point of the city that can easily be reached by subway. After all, you don’t want to go uphill, do you? From here on, you will always go down.

1. Capela das Almas and Bolhão Market

The stop of Bolhão Metro stop is in front of the Capela das Almas (Chapel of Souls), a beautiful 18th century church with a stunning facade, covered with about 16,000 blue tiles depicting the lives of St. Catherine and St. Francis.

If you want to explore the region, be sure to visit Bolhão Market a centennial space where you will find a variety of Portuguese flavors. Upon entering Bolhão, you are enveloped by the fresh aromas of fruits, vegetables, fish and flowers as you explore the colorful stalls filled with local and handmade products. It is a place where local producers meet locals and tourists for fresh ingredients.

Would you like to get to know Porto on board a Tuk Tuk? Learn how the tour is.

Capela das Almas and its tiled facade

2. Santa Catarina Street

Next to it we find the pedestrian street of Santa Catarina. With about 1.5 km long, this is the most famous commercial artery of Porto. It is home to dozens of stores, mainly fashion stores, including the first branch of Zara in Portugal. Also situated here is the historic Café Majestic founded in 1921 and decorated in Art Nouveau. It is the most luxurious café in the city, which has been frequented by illustrious figures such as Harry Potter author J K Rowling, who lived in Porto.

3. Porto Cathedral

When you get to the end of Rua Santa Catarina, look at the end of the street, on a slope that descends to the right: you can see the façade of the Igreja dos Clérigos, with its tall tower in the background.

Keep walking until you reach Batalha Square where you will see the statue of King Pedro V and the São João National Theater a 20th century construction, painted in red. A little further on you will see a section of the old Fernandina Wall from the 14th century.

The Porto cathedral will be further ahead, imposing like a fortress. A visit is recommended. Originally built in the 12th century in Romanesque style, it has undergone numerous changes over the centuries and today boasts different architectural styles, including Gothic, present from its famous cloister. Inside, be sure to visit the altar covered with about 600kg of silver.

Do you know where to stay? Check out our recommendations!

4.Luís I Bridge and Serra do Pilar Monastery

Built in 1886, this is one of the six bridges that connect the cities of Porto and Gaia, being the second oldest (of those that exist today) and also the most photographed bridge in Porto. Crossing its upper deck is an unforgettable experience, especially at the end of a summer day when the city takes on an orange color. When you get to the other side, we strongly recommend going up to the Serra do Pilar Monastery to enjoy a breathtaking view.

At this point, you can take the cable car (located in the Jardim do Morro, in front of the Serra do Pilar) directly down to Cais de Gaia, or you can return by the path suggested here, as we will explain later.

Luis I Bridge and Serra do Pilar: day or night, an unforgettable sight

5. São Bento Station

Returning through the same Luís I Bridge, and walking straight, always going downhill, you will arrive at São Bento Station, considered by the British newspaper The Guardian one of the 10 most beautiful train stations in the world. You have to enter the station to see its greatest beauty: about 20,000 hand-painted blue tiles depicting historical scenes from Portugal.

6.Avenida dos Aliados

Walk a little further in the direction of the Congregation Church. You will identify it by the blue tiled facade. Enter the street on the left to have a look at Avenida dos Aliados, the most beautiful avenue in Porto. Take the opportunity to visit the Imperial McDonnalds, installed inside an old café from the beginning of the 20th century and still decorated in art nouveau, with stained glass windows and statues.

7. Clerigos Tower

With the works of the new pink line of the metro occupying part of the center, you will have to take a shortcut through Rua Conde de Vizela or Rua de Trás following Rua Nicolau Nasoni to find the Church of Clérigos . Going up a little bit you will see Clérigos Tower and, above that, the Jardim das Oliveiras also called Praça Lisboa. Take advantage of the view for a stop and enjoy a codfish cake or a custard tart.

Torre dos Clérigos

8. Lello Bookstore

The next stop is the historic Lello Bookstore which with its neo-Gothic facade will not go unnoticed by you. Even more so because of the long line of tourists who usually crowd in front of the shop window. This is a must-see destination for book lovers and architecture admirers. The space receives more than a million visitors a year. If you want to get in, we recommend purchasing tickets online in advance. Inside, we are transported to a magical world, thanks to its impressive red staircase, its colorful stained glass windows, stucco-decorated walls, and bookshelves filled with books.

9. Carmo’s Church

When leaving the Lello Bookstore turn right towards the Gomes Teixeira square, where you will find the Leões Fountain and the Rectory of the University of Porto. Nearby you will also see another church with a facade of blue tiles. Get closer to contemplate the Church of Carmo (the one with the azulejos) and to your left the Carmelite Church . Also observe two little white windows that are between the two churches. They belong to the famous Hidden House. Yes, there in the middle is a narrow 3-story house that was once used, in different times, as a secret hiding place for dissident groups, citizens who gathered to conspire against the ruling political regime.

Get to know the typical dishes of Portugal

10. Cordoaria

Walk back through Jardim da Cordoaria and observe the strange trees that decorate the garden. They suffered a disease in the past and became deformed, giving the space a very different look.

From there, walk in front of the old Cadeia da Relação the old prison where the Oporto writer Camilo Castelo Branco, who committed the “crime” of getting involved with a married woman, was imprisoned. Yes, infidelity was a crime! Have you ever thought about that nowadays?

Then, walk down Rua dos Caldeireiros, until the charming Flowers Street.

11. Rua das Flores -> Palácio da Bolsa -> São Francisco Church -> Muro dos Bacalhoeiros and Ribeira

Rua das Flores, opened in the 16th century during the reign of D. Manuel, is an old and charming place that has become a mandatory passage for those who want to go down to the Douro River bank, the Ribeira. Besides its colorful and flowery balconies, the street has a variety of establishments, such as jewelry stores, cafes, restaurants, boutique hotels, and stores with century-old facades. The constant presence of street artists and their graffiti paintings make Flower Street an even more enchanting place. From this street, go to Largo de São Domingos passing by the Ferreira Borges Market until you reach Praça do Infante, where you can see the Stock Exchange Palace and the and São Francisco Church. It is worth visiting this church and continue walking along Rua de São Nicolau until you reach the Muro dos Bacalhoeiros and then follow the Ribeira towards the lower deck of the Luís I Luís I Bridge. This is the second oldest bridge in the city today (dating from 1886), and the most famous of them.

12. Cais de Gaia and Port Wine

One of the most unmissable experiences in Porto is to visit a Port wine cellar in the Cais de Gaia (Gaia Quay). Most of them offer guided tours, providing their visitors an immersion in the history of Port wine, its relevance to the city, as well as learning about the entire manufacturing process. At the end of the tour, wine lovers will have the opportunity to try the different varieties available, such as white, ruby or tawny. Definitely, a unique and memorable sensory experience.

Taste the wines you desire, and if you’re already tired, return to the hotel by taxi. Otherwise…

13.Cable Car and Sardines at Guindais Staircase

If you want to make the most of your visit, you can always take the cable car up to Praça da Batalha, where you can see the remnants of the Fernandina Wall. Next to the wall, there is a staircase that will take you down to the riverside. At this location, there is a charming residential restaurant on the corner, where sardines are grilled. In the summer, they are fresh and delicious. During the rest of the year, you may find the thawed version. The view from the staircase is also interesting for taking good photos. If the restaurant is closed, there is still the famous Clube dos Guindais, a bar a few steps below, which also has an exceptional view.
If the day is rainy, or if you don’t want to eat or drink, you can continue walking towards the Church of Santa Clara, an impressive example of Gothic architecture, known for its ornate facade and richly decorated interior in gold. The space was recently renovated and looks very beautiful!

Be sure to visit Porto and enjoy all that this captivating city has to offer. You will surely return home with unforgettable memories and the desire to return soon. And if you want to come back permanently, know that Portugal has different residence visas to make your stay here legal and much more relaxed. Our consultants are ready to help you!

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Author:

Atlantic Bridge

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