Galerias Lumière

New life has been given to this little Lumière mall. It was built in the 80 and was home of the Lumière cinema but left to rot for the past decade. Last year, the same people that have been transforming the city with urban markets, decided to get together and breathe new life into Lumière. The 15 shops are now full of life and it’s difficult to decide which one to visit first: the croissant place, the ceramic store, the vintage outlet or the Brazilian stand. Galerias Lumière is always trying to find reasons to bring people inside. You may find a Saturday brunch, DJ set, book talks or a pasta workshop – you name it.

Bolhão Market

You can’t visit Porto and not visit the Bolhão market. It’s no San Miguel market or a Boquería, but a place built in 1850 which has a decadent side. There is something fascinating about visiting a place which has stayed in tact for so many years and you tend to discover lots of little secrets from it, such as the very particular way francesinha is made. A good francesinha has to be made with steak, ham and two kinds of sausages. Most of the best places to eat francesinha in Porto buy their sausages from a butcher in Bolhão, called Leandro, who happens to be the king of sausages. Luisa, another butcher, maintains a tradition that is allowed only in Bolhão. She bases it on her homemade recipe of floured tripes – tripes filled with a mix of flour and spices and served fried as a snack. Stroll through the market for a little while, get to know the fishmongers yelling the daily price of sea bass, buy some flowers or some white bread and maybe have lunch at the charming little restaurant.

Foz

Fifty years ago, Foz was the French Riviera of Portugal. This place by the sea still has a beautiful cream-coloured pergolas to remind the inhabitants of its former glory days and remains a sunny, desirable place to be in Porto. Besides the sea, sand and promenades, you’ll find good restaurants, expensive shops and beautiful people. If you walk towards the river, the Foz reverts back to its ancient self. Similar to a village with alleys, people hang out their windows and jovially shout “good morning” to welcome you.

  • Rua de Sobreiras

Listen to Fado at Adega Rio Douro

If you’re in Porto on a Tuesday afternoon, the place to go is Adega Rio Douro, a little tavern down by the river where from 4PM to 7PM locals sing visceral fado songs documenting painful stories in rumbled voices. It’s a touching moment mixed with some excellent food. The place is pretty small and crowded, but you can always ask for food and wine at the counter, where you’ll find steaming pans of chicken gizzards, pork stomach salad, fried codfish and salted liver with onions. If offal isn’t your thing, just grab a beer and listen to the music.

  • +351 226 170 206
  • Rua do Ouro 223
    4150

Museu Serralves

This cultural institution combines a museum, a mansion and extensive gardens; in short, it’s a trifecta of good taste. Go between Museu Serralves’ cutting-edge exhibitions and the Museu de Arte Contemporânea’s permanent collection which features works dating from the late 60s to the present. One ticket permits entry into both museums. Follow with a stroll through its idyllic gardens.

Estação de São Bento

Take a day trip to… well anywhere really; the destination isn’t important when your launching off point is this beautiful. Adorned in classic blue-and-white azulejos, Estação de São Bento’s tilework tells the story of portugal. Seek out scenes of the Battle of Arcos de Valdevez and the Conquest of Ceuta.

  • Praça de Almeida Garrett
    4000-069

Vila Nova de Gaia

Referred to as “Gaia” by locals, this Porto municipality begs travellers to venture across the river Douro to tour barrel-lined cellars, indulge in port tastings and take in views of the historic centre. Ramos Pinto, Taylor’s and Graham’s are among the best port cellars along the tavern-laden bank.

Matosinhos

This Porto suburb by the sea is a must-do. Here, you’ll find a street teeming with grilled fish shacks; while it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing place, you will forget the setting the moment you see all the fish grills assembled in the street. You can also eat the best pizza in town at a Neapolitan pizzeria near the docks called La Pulcinella, while you must try sweet, broiche-style croissants at Mix Pão. Last but not least, take a sneak peek at the local market, a stunning 50s building hosting fishmongers, florists, street food, sushi corners and flea markets.

Livraria Lello

This is a bookshop that, bibliophile or not, you will want to spend numerous hours in. Why the appeal? Its interiors – the grandiose, twisting staircase in particular – inspired the Hogwarts staircases in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter – which she wrote in Porto while working here as an English teacher from 1991 to 1993.

Clérigos Church and Tower

This Baroque masterpiece, designed by Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni, is perhaps the most iconic landmark in Porto. A quick 225 steps will take you to the top where panoramic city views are your just desserts.

Palácio da Bolsa

Pass the entrance and aim for the glass-domed Pátio das Nações (Nations’ Courtyard), for an instant hit of regality. Impressed? Hang on. The rooms deeper inside are the real showstoppers – to view them, join one of the half-hour guided tours which run every 30 minutes.

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