Porto is a vibrant city in Portugal that is full of history, culture and activities. If you’re looking for a quick getaway and only have one day to spare, you can still experience the best of what Porto has to offer. From museums to stunning views, there are plenty of things to do in this beautiful city. Here is a guide on what to do in Porto in one day. So What to do in Porto in one day?
What to do in Porto in one day
The Ribeira District in Porto
We recommend starting your visit to Porto starting from ribeira, the district that stretches along the river Douro. Unesco inspectors didn’t have to think much about it when they decided to put ribeira on the List of World Heritage Sites.
A maze of cobbled streets on steep climbs, low houses with colorful facades, tree-lined squares, flowery balconies, clothes lying to dry, old ones outside the doors, bars, restaurants and craft shops contribute to creating a unique urban landscape. In the lower part of the Ribeira starts the iron bridge Dom Luis I.
Dom Luis I Bridge in Porto
The pupils of Gustave Eiffel, the author of the famous Tower of Paris and the equally famous Statue of Liberty, brought the master’s teachings to many parts of the world.
It was one of them, Téophile Seyrig, who designed the Dom Luis I, the iron bridge of Porto that connects the Ribeira district with the sister town of Vila Nova de Gaia. A few years earlier he had collaborated with Eiffel on the construction of the nearby Dona Maria Bridge.
He worked alone on the design of the Dom Luis I and judging by the result, Seyrig had learned early and well the teachings of the master: the scenic effect of the bridge, especially at sunset or at night is spectacular. Built in 1881 and opened in 1886, the bridge has always performed the task of disposing of car traffic. Today, in the upper floor, trains from porto’s new metro pass by while buses, trams and pedestrians pass downstairs. A walk along the more than 170 meters long overlooking the Douro are one of the things to do absolutely in Porto.
São Bento Station in Porto
It is not very often that you enter a station not to catch a train but just to admire its architecture. The anonymous façade of São Bento station (San Benedetto) does not reveal the beauty of the atrium leading to the tracks.
More than 20,000 Azulejos (tiles) painted in blue and white in the early 1900s by Jorge Colaco, Portugal’s most prominent decorator. Built in the place where in 1600 there was a Benedictine monastery that then fell into disrepair, the station is now one of Porto’s most visited tourist attractions.As soon as you enter you are invading by the blue/blue color of the tiles that reproduce the history of the means of transport in chronological order, from the beginnings to the appearance of the train. The large panels depict scenes from Portugal’s history including the solemn entrance of D. João I in Porto, with his betrothed, D. Filipa de Lencastre.
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The Lello and Irmao Bookstore in Porto
Considered by many to be the most beautiful bookstore in the world, the “Lello e Irmao” attracts tourists, most of them un interested in books and much to the extraordinary atmosphere and architecture of the place.
Considered a true “Cathedral of the Book” was built in the late 1800s to a design by the Portuguese engineer and politician Francisco Xavier Esteves. The magical atmosphere, the result of the fusion of Gothic and Liberty style of the place and a skilful use of wood, has not escaped the Harry Potter sets that have chosen the bookcase as the set for some shooting. Extraordinary is the massive 8-shaped wooden central staircase that leads to the upper floors where there is also a café to sit in to enjoy the show. No less interesting is the neo-Gothic exterior façade. Theoretically in the library it is forbidden to photograph but it seems that the managers are quite tolerant!