Walking Tour: Porto by Foot

  • Start Torre dos Clérigos
  • Finish Vila Nova de Gaia riverfront
  • Length 2km; two to three hours

Begin at the baroque Torre dos Clérigos, which offers unrivalled views over Porto from its 76m-high tower. Next, head down Rua dos Clérigos, passing the foot of grand Avenida dos Aliados and pausing to admire the avenue’s beaux arts splendour. Just ahead, you’ll see the French-inspired São Bento Train Station. Check out the astounding azulejos (hand-painted tiles) in its main hall. Now cross over to Rua das Flores, a lovely street dotted with second-hand booksellers, old-fashioned stationers and some enticing cafes.

Near the end of the street is Nicolau Nasoni’s baroque masterpiece, the Igreja da Misericórdia, part of the stunning new Museu da Misericórdia do Porto. Cross Largo São Domingos to Rua Ferreira Borges, where you will pass the neoclassical Palácio da Bolsa. You can check out its main courtyard – once Porto’s stock exchange – for free or stay on for a tour of its elaborate interior, including its spectacular gilded ballroom. Just next door is the Igreja de São Francisco, with a severe Gothic facade hiding a jaw-dropping golden interior.

Head back up Rua Infante Dom Henrique and turn right on Rua da Alfândega, where you’ll find the medieval Casa do Infante, the birthplace of Henry the Navigator and the site of some remarkable Roman ruins. Continue into the shadowy Ribeira district, following narrow, medieval Rua de Fonte Taurina as it opens onto the lovely Praça da Ribeira. From here, take a stroll along the Rio Douro, admiring Vila Nova de Gaia’s port-wine lodges across the river. Next, walk across the Eiffel-inspired Ponte de Dom Luís I to Gaia’s waterfront esplanade. Grab an outdoor table at one of the waterfront cafes and enjoy the splendid city views across the Douro over a well-deserved drink and some belly-filling petiscos (tapas).