Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, is a bustling port city. The name of this city, where people have lived since ancient Roman times, comes from this feature: “Portus Calle”, the name given to the city by the Romans, means “Port Road” in Latin.
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Things to Know About Porto
Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city after Lisbon, the capital of the southwestern European country, and is located in the north of the country. In English sources, the name of the city is also referred to as Oporto. The world-famous Port wine owes its fame to grapes collected from the Douro region in northern Portugal.
Wine has been made from Douro grapes since the 13th century. Two structures that have become symbols of Porto are steel bridges. These are the Dom Luis I Bridge built by the Belgian engineer Seyrig and the French engineer Gustave Eiffel, and the Maria Pia Bridge, which crosses the railway. Porto Stock Exchange, one of the world’s first stock exchanges, was opened in 1834.
The foundation of Porto coincides with the Roman Empire period in the 4th century. Since then, Porto has been used as a commercial port. The Iberian Peninsula, where today’s Portugal and Spain are located, was captured by Muslim North Africans, that is, Moros, in 711.
However, unlike the rest of the peninsula, the occupation in northern Portugal does not last long and Vimara Peres, appointed by Alfonso, saves the periphery of the Douro River, hence Porto, from Muslim rule in 868. The name of the city at that time was Portus Cale. The Reconquista of the entire Iberian Peninsula by Catholics (Reconquista) will continue until 1492.
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The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Porto
In our article on places to visit in Porto, Soares dos Reis National Art Museum, Porto Wine Museum, Romanticism Museum built with the Romanticism movement that influenced every branch of art in the 19th century, Serra do Pilar Monastery, Guindais Funicular, Bolhao Bazaar, Clerigos Tower and many more You will find detailed information about more.
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1. Soares Dos Reis National Museum
Soares Dos Reis National Museum is Portugal’s first and most important art museum. Opened in 1833, the museum takes its name from the Portuguese artist António Soares dos Reis and is home to a wide range of works of art, from oil paintings to sculptures, from ceramic decorations to antique pieces. The most important works of art exhibited in the museum are the pieces that have survived from the 19th century.
The museum, which was moved from its old place, welcomes its visitors in Carrancas Palace built with Neo-Classical architecture since 1940. The museum can be visited between 10.00-18.00 every day of the week except Monday. The entrance fee is 5 € for adults and 2 € for students. Entry to the museum is free for everyone on the first Sunday of every month.
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2. Porto Wine Museum
Porto’s history cannot be separated from the history of Port wine. Therefore, we recommend you to visit this museum while in Porto. The Wine Museum, which opened its doors in 2004, is a museum where you will witness the history of the famous Port wine. Thanks to wine exports, Porto’s rise in other sectors has strengthened its history as well as the city itself. As the city gets richer, art and cultural life also rise.
The Wine Museum welcomes visitors in an 18th-century warehouse building on the banks of the Douro River. In the museum, you can buy books and watch videos describing the making of Port wine. You can go to the museum, which is closed on Mondays, between 10.00-17.30 on Tuesday-Saturday and 12.30-17.30 on Sundays. Entry to the museum is free on the weekends, on other days the entrance fee is € 2.20 for everyone.
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3. Museum of Romance
Quinta da Macieirinha Romanticism Museum, by its long name, is one of the most interesting museums in Porto and welcomes visitors to a mansion within the Crystal Palace Gardens, Porto’s most spectacular park. The museum is located very close to the Soras Dos Reis National Art Museum. The palace was built under the influence of Romanticism in the 19th century when Porto’s prosperity was at its highest.
The most interesting rooms in the palace are those used by the kings once. Apart from the dining room where English porcelain dinnerware and crystal goblets and silver cutlery are exhibited, the ballroom and dressing room are the other most popular parts of the palace. You can reach the palace by buses 200, 201, 207 and 208. It can be visited every day of the week between 10.00-17.30. The entrance fee is € 2.20.
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4. Serra Do Pilar Monastery
The Serra do Pilar Monastery is a place of worship that has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List of Porto since 1996. When you go to the monastery, you will also enjoy the outside. Because the view of Porto and the Douro River will enchant you. The place of worship, which was built in the 16th century, was the St.
It was used by the Augustine sect. Inspired by the architecture of the Santa Maria Redonda Church in Rome and completed in 72 years. The monastery, which has been owned by the Portuguese army since the war between 1807-1814, can only be visited with a 40-minute guided tour. The entrance fee is 3 € for adults and 1 € for children. The monastery can be visited every day between 10.30-12.30 and 14.30-17.30.
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5. Guindais Funicular
One of the most interesting things to see in Porto is the Guindais Funicular. Because this funicular serves in a neighborhood called Cedofeita, which is connected to the city of Porto and where a civilian group lives. The funicular opened in 1891 but has been serving uninterruptedly since 1993, and the one-time ticket fee is 2.5 €. You can ride the funicular between 08.00-22.00 from May to October, and between 08.00-20.00 between November and April.
The funicular consists of 2 vehicles of 25 people each. During the journey, which takes about 3 minutes, you pass through the historical city of Porto and you feel like you have entered a fairyland. You will be able to travel between the Ribeira and Batalha districts of Porto, which are 280 meters away. Starting from the Dom Luis Bridge, the journey ends in Bairro de Sé, the oldest neighborhood in the city.
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6. Bolhao Market
We can’t imagine a trip to Porto without stopping by the Bolhão Market. Local farmers sell their own organic produce at this market on Rua FernandesTomás Street in Porto. In this market, it is possible to find delicatessen products and souvenirs in addition to vegetables, fruits, and flowers. When you join the public and soak up the atmosphere of Bolhão Market, you will get to know Porto better and love it more.
After completing the market shopping, you can also take a breather in one of the cafes around the market. You can go to the market between 07.00-17.00 every day except Sundays. You will be able to easily reach the market by metro lines A, B, C, E. Even if you are not going to buy anything in this market, which has been in service since the 19th century, you should go even just to experience its nostalgia.
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7. Sao Bento Train Station
The Sao Bento (Saint Bento) structure in Porto is not only one of the most beautiful stations in Europe but also in the world. Therefore, apart from being a train station, it is also a tourist point of the visit. Especially the beauty of its interior fascinates tourists. Like many important buildings of Porto, the train station was built in the mid-1800s. However, the first train expedition took place in 1896 due to the Civil War.
The official opening was made in 1916. Blue-white ceramics known as ”Azulejos” and identified with Porto make this station unique. Even if you are not traveling by train, we recommend that you come to this station and take photos. If you want to travel by train, we would like to remind you that there are train services between 05.00-01.00 every day.
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8. Sao Francisco Church
It is the church opened in Porto in 1245 by the Francis sect, which is affiliated with the Catholic sect and founded in 1223. The church, which was a very small building in its first period, has become a big place of worship with the additions made over the years. In 1832, a large part of it was destroyed by a fire during the Civil War and the Porto Stock Exchange was built. Today, the stock market and the church are seen side by side.
The church, which is rumored to use 300 kilograms of gold for its interior architecture, is too glamorous for the people of Porto who suffered from poverty before they got prosperous with the wine trade. The more modest it looks with its Baroque and Gothic architecture from the outside, the more spectacular the interior is. In addition to religious marriages and baptism ceremonies, classical music concerts are also organized in the church. The church can be visited daily between 09.00-17.30 for touristic purposes.
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9. Clerigos Tower
The most striking tower of Porto is Clerigos Tower, built in Baroque style by the Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni in the middle of the 18th century. Indeed, this architect has his signature throughout northern Portugal. His masterpiece is this 76-meter tower. This tower is originally a church and is affiliated with the Clergy Fellowship in Porto.
Although it is a bit troublesome to climb the 225-step spiral stairs, we can guarantee that it is worth the view you will see. If you are afraid of confined spaces, it is not recommended to enter the tower and climb the stairs. However, with the motivation of the magnificent scenery, you can give yourself a chance to overcome your fear. You can enter the tower with an entrance fee of 3 € every day between 09.00-19.00.
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10. Palacio Da Bolsa
The Porto Stock Exchange Building, built right next to St. Francis Church in the second half of the 19th century, was built with Neo-Classical architecture. Since the Civil War continued at that time, the stock exchange could be opened in 1891. Since the day it was opened, not only is the heart of the Porto market beat here, it is also considered as one of the most important national buildings of Porto.
Besides the exterior of the Stock Exchange Building, it’s very flamboyant interior architecture will also impress you. We recommend you take a half-hour guided tour to get extensive information about the building. The entrance fee to the Stock Exchange Building is 8 € for adults and 4.5 € for students and visitors over 60. You can easily reach the stock exchange by buses 1, 23, 49, and 57.