Porto Things to Do Tips by pabertra
Porto Things to Do: 456 reviews and 869 photos
The Portuguese flag is although seemingly simple very complex with every color and detail some representation of the country's history and culture. You can't walk more than a few blocks without seeing it hung by clothespins off of balconies. The Portuguese have an immense pride in their country, but in reality these flags are still left over from the once anticipated win at Euro 2004. Even in the face of defeat they still are displayed proudly.
The Plaza of Liberty has a very regal statue of Dom Pedro IV, who was one of Portugal's former kings. This pic gives you another view of the Plaza and is an opportuity to see some of the other lovely buildings that surround it.
Plaza of Liberty
Plaza of Liberty is the spectacular center of the city with historic old buildings that are reminiscent of the elegance of Prague or Paris. This is the heart of the city which teems with life all day long.
Palacio Cristal Gardens
The Crystal Palace Gardens are absolutely beautiful and are complete with geese, ducks, and even peacocks. The gardens also offer a splendid view of Vila Nova de Gaia and the Douro River. This is a great place to sit, relax, and soak up the views.
Address: Rua Dom Manuel II
Directions: Open daily until dark
Just wanted to offer another shot of those quaint old trams. I just loved clattering alongside pedestrians and motorists. It felt so authentic.
Old Stock Exchange
The elegant Palacio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange) was built from 1842 to 1910 over the ruins of the Sao Francisco convent. At the entrance is the Patio das Nacoes (Hall of Nations) which served as the trading floor until 1991 when the Porto exchange officially closed. The domed ceiling is decorated with the coat of arms of 20 countries friendly with Portugal. Leading up to the top floor is the Escadaria Noble (Noble Staircase) decorated with carved granite and topped with two giant bronze chandeliers weighing in at more than one and a half tons each!
My favorite room of all was the court room that served to adjudicate all commercial disputes between traders. The room had several paintings two of Commerce and Industry and one included barrels of port wine that men were loading on a boat, a tribute to their precious export. The room is used now only to hold the welcome ceremony to new admittees to the prestigious port wine industry. Their were several other impressive rooms, most notably one that looked looked it was covered in wood paneling, but was actually made almost entirely out of plaster, because the artists wanted to prove that they could use plaster to imitate anything and were it not for the little chipped bits of white peeking through I doubt one would be able to distinguish by sight alone.
The most famous room is the Sala Arabe (Arabian Room), which was built simply to impress as he Arabian style was viewed as the most exotic in those days. It was extremely intricate and imitated true Arabian architecture down to the most minute details. This room is also made completely of plaster. The door is set slightly off center, as is done in nearly all Arabian architecture to demonstrate that only Allah is perfect. The room was spectacular with the little green crests on the ceiling proclaiming “Allah above all” and the gold and silver walls covered with oddly juxtaposed inscriptions that read “Glory to Allah” and “Allah protect Dona Maria II.”
This is a definite MUST SEE in Porto.
Address: Rua Ferreira Borges
Directions: Open daily Apr-Oct. 9am-7pm
Nov-Mar 9am-1pm and 2-6pm
Multilingual tours every 30 minutes
As you walk through the Ribiera stop and check out some of the doors. The knockers are commonly a metal hand and their are even old brass letter slots marked "Cartas." The old chipped paint really makes these doors quite unique.
Museu Nacional de Soares Dos Reis
This museum was a formal royal residence built in the 18th century. It now houses an extensive collection of 19th century Portuguese paintings and sculptures, much of it by Soares dos Reis, often called Portugal's Michelangelo. Also, their is an extensive photography collection as well, which can clue you in on Portugal's beauty.
Local Feeding Pigeons
I was sitting in the Placa Liberdade soaking in the stunning architecture, when along came this old man with a big bag of corn kernels. He scattered it about for all the pigeons to have a hayday over.
Azulejo Covered Church
The inside of this church, Ingreja dos Congregados, is your run of the mill Catholic Cathedral, but the outside is definitely worth a look. The facade is covered in pretty blue and white tiles (azulejos) with a splash of yellow set against gray makes a very nice contrast. Portugal is famous for azulejos and they can be seen throughout Porto..
Address: Near the train Station
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