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Porto walking tour:
A self-guided 1 day tour on foot and image tour
Porto is a charismatic city that is packed with wondrous monuments, outstanding tourist attractions and endless Portuguese charm. The historic centre is relatively compact, and the main highlights can be squeezed into a single day of sightseeing. Generally, we recommend that you plan two days to explore Porto, but this walking tour will cover the main sights, and provides the perfect introduction to the city.
The following 1-day tour is ideal if you are constraint by time, either as a passenger from a cruise ship or with a long connection between flights.
Starting the tour, as either a Cruise ship passenger or from a flight
The tour starts from the Avenida dos Aliados (GPS: 41.14622, -8.61143), which is in central Porto. This plaza is conveniently connected to the metro, the suggested means to travel from the airport. If you are arriving by cruise liner, the Avenida dos Aliados is the final stop of the 500 bus route, which connects Matosinhos, (and the cruise terminal) to Porto.
Warning: always allow sufficient time to travel back to the airport or cruise terminal.
1-day walking tour of Porto
Below is our recommended 1day walking route, as show on google maps. After the map, are details and images of the main tourist sights along the route.
• The tour begins at the Avenida dos Aliados, the main plaza of Porto, and is the perfect location to start a tour of Porto. The imposing 1920s architecture, constructed in sombre granite, reflect the importance of Porto’s financial and commercial sector to the city. At the top of the Avenida dos Aliados is the Câmara Municipal, with its distinctive clock tower.
• The Igreja dos Clérigos (GPS: 41.14574, -8.61448) is a unique oval church designed by the celebrated Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni, but most visitors are drawn by the adjacent Torre dos Clérigos. This tower is the highest structure in the historic centre, and after the demanding 200 steps to the top, you will be rewarded with some of the finest views of central Porto.
• Behind the church is the Praca De Lisboa and the imposing Antiga Cadeia da Relação (GPS: 41.14468, -8.61575), which was Porto’s original prison. Today the complex houses the Fotografia Museum.
• Continuing around the edge of the Jardim da Cordoaria leads is the Tribunal da Relação do Porto (GPS: 41.14545, -8.61765) and the expansive Santo António Hospital.
• On the northern side of the park is the main University of Porto campus and the Praça de Parada Leitão student bar area.
• The combined churches of Igreja do Carmo, and Igreja dos Carmelitas (GPS: 41.14731, -8.61674) are much photographed, as the eastern wall is adorned with beautiful tile paintings A quirky ancient law prevented two churches sharing the same wall so separating the churches is Portugal’s narrowest house (now a museum leading to the Igreja do Carmo).
• Departing from the Praça de Parada Leitão is the number 22 tram, which provides a scenic loop of central Porto. This tram route (45min €3) is a great way to see the city, but it can be very popular and difficult to get a seat. For a guide to Porto’s trams, please see this article.
• Heading back on the northern side of the Praca De Lisboa is the Livraria Lello bookshop, (GPS: 41.14684, -8.61481. If you are a fan of Harry Potter this should not be missed, as it was the inspiration for Hogwarts grand staircase, and where JK Rowling wrote the initial chapters of the series.
• Walking downhill past the Igreja dos Clérigos leads to the São Bento train station (GPS: 41.14547, -8.61048). The main concourse has some of the finest Azulejo tiles in Porto, and the two styles (blue and coloured) reflect the transition from a monarchy to republic that occurred during its construction, in 1910.
• Uphill from the station is the Se cathedral (GPS: 41.14281, -8.61139), the ancient and heavily fortified religious centre of Porto. The Gothic cloisters, Romanesque origins and Baroque exterior may excite historians, but for most visitors it appears stark and bleak, especially when compared to the extravagance of other churches in Porto.
• The pedristrianised Avenida Vimara Peres leads from the rear of the Se cathedral to the upper deck of the Luís I Bridge (GPS: 41.14136, -8.60981). From the vantage point on the bridge are wonderful views over the city and up river, just be careful with the metro which crosses the same level!
• The Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar (GPS: 41.13821, -8.60814) is at the top of the cliffs on the southern side of the Douro River and is the finest viewpoint in Porto, but it is yet another uphill walk.
• There Jardim do Morro (GPS: 41.13767, -8.60933) is a popular park for Porto’s residents to hang out during the summer, and is location for the cable car down to the water front.
• Either ride the cable car or Wind down the steep streets from the park down to the waterfront and the Avenue de Diogo Leite, which is at the base of the bridge. (GPS: 41.13901, -8.60937)
• Join a tour of one of the Port cellars (referred to as Porto lodges),
• Porto is a See the rabbit modern art – named Half Rabbit (GPS: 41.13693, -8.614981)
• Igreja Paroquial de Santa Marinha (GPS: 41.13628, -8.61510)
• Port tasting and tour at Ferreira – the only whole owned Portuguese Port producer (GPS: 41.13701, -8.61944)
• At the far end of the Vila Nova de Gaia promenade is the Estaleiro do Rabelo Shipyard (GPS: 41.13783, -8.62007). Here traditional Rabelo obats are repaired and built using classical methods.
• Stroll back along the water front to the Luís I Bridge – taking lots of photos of the bridge and Porto on the opposite side of the river
• Return back to Porto by crossing the lower level of the Luís I Bridge (GPS: 41.14068, -8.60997). This leads into the Ribeira district.
• Pilares da Antiga Ponte Pênsilold bridge
• Praça da Ribeira Porto (GPS: 41.14051, -8.61294). The main square of the Ribeira district lots of open air cafes
• Casa do Infante (GPS: 41.14071, -8.61449), this unassuming house was the birth place for Henry the navigator, Portugal’s most influential explorer (and more important financier) who heralded in the 14th Century Age of Discovery
• Across the street is the departure location for the Linha 1 tram (GPS: 41.14064, -8.61586). This quaint tram dates from the 1930s and follows the scenic route along the banks of the Douro river to the Foz district. In the 1 day tour there probably is not enough time ride the tram bit a guide to all of the stops can be found here.
• Igreja Monumento de São Francisco (GPS: 41.14093, -8.61610)
• Feitoria Inglesa (GPS: 41.14141, -8.61368)
• Palácio da Bolsa (GPS: 41.14147, -8.61546), to view the stunning interior tours needs to be booked
• The Rua das Flores (GPS: 41.14320, -8.61468) is a popular shopping street
• Museu da Misericórdia (GPS: 41.14356, -8.614423) and the beautiful Fons Vitae painting
• Continue along Rua das Flores to Sao Bento station for the end of the tour