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Portugal's second-largest city might be most well-known for its internationally famous export, port wine, but that's not the only reason to visit this easy-going European city sprinkled with ancient edifices and 2 Michelin-starred restaurants. Porto is one of the region's top vacation destinations, and it's easy to see why. Cobblestone streets wind their way down to the twinkling Douro River, while the influence of the Atlantic Ocean is ever present. Whether you're a history buff who wants to explore the city's UNESCO-listed center or a foodie looking to fill up on Porto's delectable
(small plates), there's something here to attract every type of traveler.
A walkable city center and a seaside district to delight the senses help explain Porto's everlasting appeal. Those who want to soak up some sun head to the upscale Foz do Douro neighborhood, while the Historic Center of Porto pays homage to the origins of the city with its exquisite old churches and plazas like Ribeira Square.
Foz do Douro
At the mouth of the Douro River, Foz do Douro beckons with sun-drenched parks and sprawling beaches. Where the Douro meets the sea, locals come to surf and catch some rays at the region's seaside bistros. Upscale homes abound, while sightseeing destinations include the Felgueiras Lighthouse and the Jardim do Passeio Alegre.
Historic Center of Porto
Situated around a series of city parishes, Porto's hilly Historic Center enchants visitors with 14 th -century scenery. Romanesque cathedrals like the Sé do Porto provide a look at the Porto of long ago, while the crumbling Fernandina Wall imbues the district with undeniable romance. Can't-miss sights include the Fonte dos Leões, the Jardim da Cordoaria, and the Fonte das Virtudes.
Nestled into the Historic Center of Porto, the Praça Ribeira is flanked by pastel-colored houses at the site of a former manufacturing district once known for its fish, bread, and meat sellers. Today, it's a favorite among strolling tourists who come here to enjoy the buskers along the banks of the Douro River.
From its skyscraping church spires to its winding medieval lanes, there are endless things to see in Porto. After familiarizing yourself with the city's main sights, head to the Old Jewish Quarter for the chance to drink in the vistas along the Rue de Santana and the Passeio das Virtudes while hearing about Portugal's Jewish history. Likewise, you can cross the Douro River to take in a live Fado show while sipping delicious port wine. Want to ensure you don't miss a single thing? Consider booking a full-day city tour that leads you across Porto's bridges and allows you to cross additional landmarks off your sightseeing bucket list, including the Bolhão Market, Batalha Square, and São Francisco Xavier Fort.
From treating yourself to the local tipple to day trips to soak up the unbelievable natural scenery, there are endless things to do in Porto. Those willing to let their taste buds take the lead will be richly rewarded during a small-group gastronomy tour, which invites travelers to feast on local treats like the city's signature Francesinha sandwich and Eduardinho liquor. Likewise, you can climb aboard a hybrid bike and pedal your way to an appetizer lunch and winetasting tour in an 18 th -century port wine cellar. Searching for more active adventures? Consider renting a stand-up paddleboard and propelling yourself down the Douro River with the wind at your back. Finally, there's no need to restrict your travel plans to the Porto city limits. Immerse yourself in the rich tradition of port wine production during a full-day getaway in the Douro Valley, or venture to Portugal's only national park during a guided excursion to Peneda-Gerês National Park.
There are lots of amazing experiences in Porto that the whole gang will love. Here are a few of the best family friendly experiences around.
There's no need to max out your credit card in Porto. The following won't cost a red cent.
Portuguese Photography Center - Find out if there are any special exhibits, displays or tours on at this fascinating museum.
Gaia Cable Car - Make this your first choice for a little fun during your escape.
Piscina das Mares - Drop by for a leisurely dip and let the water baby in you swim free.
Ponte Infante D. Henrique - This local landmark is a terrific backdrop for that vacation profile pic.
Antiga Cadeia da Relacao - If you'd like to explore the region's history through its landmarks, include this one on your to-do list.
Infante Square - Find out why both locals and tourists love the character and charm of this place.
Bolhao Market - Pay a visit and learn about the significance of this place to the locals.
Holy Trinity Church - Incorporate a bit of spirituality into your getaway by stopping by this religious attraction.
Carneiro Beach - Dive into an amazing novel or listen to a top podcast while you're catching those rays.
Miradouro da Vitoria - You're sure to feel connected with Mother Earth at this beautiful attraction.
Jardim da Cordoaria - Rejuvenate your mind and body by spending a little time with Mother Nature.
Noted for its beaches and river views, there's plenty to explore in Aldoar Foz do Douro e Nevogilde. Top attractions like Matosinhos Beach and Sea Life Porto are major draws, and you can hop on the metro at Passeio Alegre Stop or Cantareira Stop to see more of the city.
If you're chasing a little fun under the sun, you'll be interested in these outdoor adventures:
Throw yourself into one or two of these inviting indoor activities and turn a dull, rainy day into something memorable:
Pose for a happy snap at Sandeman Cellars — it's a well-known local attraction.
To fully savor this destination's vibe, try to drop by all of these unmissable sights:
If you're traveling on a smaller budget, consider adding these bargain experiences to your to-do list:
Your break in Porto needn't cost a bundle with free attractions like these to explore: