Porto boasts a vibrant calendar of annual events and festivals that celebrate its rich culture and traditions. One of the most iconic events is São João, held on June 23rd, where the city comes alive with music, dancing, and fireworks, and - bizarrely - people hit each other with plastic hammers.
The Porto International Film Festival, or Fantasporto, gathers film enthusiasts every February, showcasing a diverse range of international films. Or, in September, the Wine Fest takes centre stage, offering wine tastings, vineyard tours, and local gastronomy.
For music lovers, NOS Primavera Sound in June features top-notch international and local artists. Traditional religious festivals like Corpus Christi and Festa de São Bento da Vitória also draw crowds. Throughout the year, visitors can immerse themselves in the charm of Porto, experiencing its warm hospitality and cultural treasures at these lively and unforgettable gatherings.
Porto, Portugal's second-largest city, is a captivating destination brimming with a myriad of exciting things to do. Here are some of the best activities to experience in this enchanting city.
Wander along Porto's UNESCO-listed historic waterfront, the Ribeira, and get lost in its charming narrow streets. Admire the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge, visit the Porto Cathedral, and soak in the old-world ambience as you explore centuries-old buildings and colourful houses.
No trip to Porto is complete without indulging in its famous port wine. Cross the river to Vila Nova de Gaia, where historic cellars offer delightful tours and tastings of this sweet fortified wine. Learn about the winemaking process and savour the distinct flavours while enjoying breathtaking views of Porto's skyline.
Livraria Lello is a world-famous bookstore, often considered one of the most beautiful in the world. Situated in the heart of the city, the bookstore's striking neo-gothic facade and stunning Art Nouveau interior captivate visitors with its intricate wooden staircases, stained glass, and ornate bookshelves. Opened in 1906, Livraria Lello has a rich history and has welcomed literary figures such as J.K. Rowling, who drew inspiration from its enchanting ambience while writing the Harry Potter series.
Take the time to ascend the Clérigos Tower for panoramic views of the city's rooftops and the Douro River. The climb might be a bit steep, but the breathtaking vistas make it worthwhile.
The magnificent frontage and stained-glass skylight of Livraria Lello
Food enthusiasts will be in heaven, as Porto boasts a diverse culinary scene.
Renowned for its seafood, Porto offers delectable dishes like bacalhau (salted cod), grilled sardines, and caldeirada (fish stew). Meat lovers can indulge in succulent dishes such as francesinha, a hearty sandwich stuffed with various meats and covered in melted cheese and a spicy tomato sauce.
Porto's cuisine also highlights the exceptional quality of its local produce. Olive oil, cheeses, and cured meats are among the top delicacies enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. The city's proximity to the Douro Valley, a famous wine-producing region, means wine flows abundantly, including the world-famous port wine, which can be savoured in countless wine cellars throughout the city.
Don't miss out on vibrant food markets like Mercado do Bolhão, offering an array of fresh fruits, vegetables, and traditional products. For a genuine culinary experience, cosy tascas (taverns) serve authentic dishes in an inviting atmosphere.
Delicious bacalhau (or cod croquettes) lined up in a tasca (taverna).