Ribeira Square

Perched on the banks of the River Douro, Ribeira Square is one of Porto’s oldest and most exciting districts.

Explore the colorful, winding streets of Ribeira Square and find galleries filled with local art, gift shops selling handmade crafts and cafés serving tasty local dishes. 

Ribeira Square translates as “River Square.” This area was the city’s commercial hub during the Middle Ages. Industries providing bread, meat and fish were centered here, but in 1491 a fire destroyed much of the district and the majority of the houses and shops had to be rebuilt. Visit the modern bars and stores that have been added in a way that maintains traditional charm.

Stroll along the Rua da Fonte Taurina and admire the colorful tiles displayed on the wall. This is one of Porto’s oldest streets, a great place to begin your exploration of this charming district. 

Enjoy art at galleries exhibiting works of some of the city’s best painters and sculptors. Buy crafted goods such as clothing and bags from local traders and relax with a cold drink at one of the area’s cafés. Explore the square and admire the fountain on the northern side. This sparkling water feature rises three stories high and displays a sculpture by local artist Jose Rodrigues.

Be sure to return during the evening to sip a cocktail and watch live music acts at some of the city’s best bars. Enjoy local delicacies, such as grilled fish, or international cuisine at an array of restaurants. Savor the taste of dark red port wine, named for the town of Porto.

If you visit during June, don’t miss the annual Festival de São João. Dance to the music of local bands and enjoy colorful firework displays and food from street vendors. Don’t miss one of the country’s more unusual traditions, in which locals hit each other over the head with plastic hammers. 

Several bus routes go past the square. Alternatively, take a boat tour which will drop you off here. Be alert for petty theft when the square is busy during the holidays.

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