The Most Instagrammable Places in Porto
Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal, is a beautiful destination with a rich history and stunning viewpoints. From the colorful buildings to the beautiful riverfront, there are plenty of Instagrammable spots in Porto that are sure to impress. In this blog post, we’ll explore the most Instagrammable places in Porto, including links to their exact locations. So, grab your camera and get ready to capture the beauty of this charming city!
The Best Things To Do in Porto
Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia, or Gaia in short, is the town across the Douro River and offers some of the best views of Porto. We’d highly recommend walking to Gaia taking the Dom Luís I Bridge as you’re greeted with stunning views along the way. Once you’re in Gaia, take the path up to the Moseteiro da Serra do Pilar to get a little higher up. There’s a photo spot along this path where you can snap a photo of yourself and the view.
Head a little bit further up along the path until you reach the Miradouro da Serra do Pilar. There’s a little viewing platform with binoculars. The view of Porto and the Dom Luís I Bridge is simply amazing from here!
The next photo spot in Gaia is a bit tricky and involves some climbing. Do this at your own risk! If you don’t feel safe doing it, then don’t. A photo is never worth injuries or worse.
For this next photo spot, head back down the path and walk in the direction of the bridge until you reach a Vincci hotel on your right. To the right of the hotel, there’s a paved road going down and a dirt path. Take the dirt path.
After a short leisurely walk on the dirt path, you’ll reach some bushes with steps. Take the steps. Be aware of (cat and/or dog) poop.
After making your way through the bushes, you’ll reach a huge rock that you’ll have to climb to get to the viewpoint. The surface of the rock doesn’t have many places to hold on to, which doesn’t make it an easy rock to climb.
Once you reach the top of the rock you’re greeted with a gorgeous view of the Porto, the Douro River and the Dom Luís I Bridge. We think it’s worth the struggle but we can imagine it’s not for everyone.
The next photo spot in Gaia is much easier to reach. The pedestrian promenade along the river offers great views of Porto. You can basically pick any spot along the river, but we went with this spot close to the children’s playground.
We’re moving on from Gaia to the Ribeira District in Porto. This charming neighborhood is located along the river and is filled with colorful houses as well as a lot of stairs. We loved wandering around the narrow alleyways of this neighborhood and that’s how we discovered these photo spots.
When walking up the stairs from the riverside in Porto to Dom Luís I Bridge, you’ll pass these historical houses. We specifically loved the view of the Dom Luís I Bridge, creating a unique scene.
The small square Largo da Pena Ventosa is located in the heart of the Ribeira District and is surrounded by colorful houses. There’s a small souvenir shop and two cafés located on the square, all run by locals. We think this square is a must-visit and we’d recommend wandering the small streets in this area for authentic Porto vibes.
When we walked past this street, we noticed the view of the Porto Cathedral and had to take a photo here. This is one of our favorite photo spots that we discovered by simply walking around the city. Always keep your eyes peeled!
The end of Rua das Aldas has a small platform with a beautiful view of Igreja dos Grilos, the Douro River and the houses along the river. This photo spot is closely located to Porto Cathedral and Largo da Pena Ventosa, making it a great spot to check out along the way.
Passeio das Fontainhas
Passeio das Fontainhas is a street to the east of the city center offering amazing views of the Dom Luís I Bridge, the Douro River and the orange roofs of the houses in Porto. Even though the views from Passeio das Fontainhas are great from any spot, the best photo spots are from the inlets with the stairs that lead to the streets below. It’s definitely worth taking a detour from the city center to this photo spot.
Porto is home to many beautiful churches, most of them filled with the pretty blue and white tiles: Azulejos. Unlike many other churches, the Porto Cathedral or, Sé do Porto, doesn’t have these Azulejos on the exterior of the church. However, the cloister that’s connected to the cathedral has a beautiful courtyard with galleries and walls covered with Azulejos. It’s a pretty photo spot and definitely a reason to visit the cloister of the cathedral.
Opening hours of the Porto Cathedral
April - October: daily from 09:30 until 18:30
November - March: daily from 09:30 until 17:30
Visits to the cathedral are free of charge, but the entrance fee for the cloister is €3.
São Bento Station
São Bento Station is Porto’s train station and is definitely one of the most beautiful train stations in the world. The main hall of the train station is filled with Azulejos depicting important moments in Portugal’s history. It’s a perfect spot for photos, but the major downside is that it’s very crowded. The station isn’t only filled with travelers and commuters, but also with a lot of tourists that come to the station to admire the Azulejos. If you want to take photos here, we’d recommend getting there early in the morning to beat the tourists and tour groups. We went there in the middle of the afternoon and we were able to get some photos without any people in there, but we had to be extremely patient.
Igreja Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso
The exterior of the Igreja Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso is covered by 11.000 Azulejos, portraying various scenes from the life of Saint Ildefonso and figurative images from the Gospels. The church is located on a square with a small market, which means that it gets pretty crowded during the day. If you want to take photos here with as few people as possible in the background, we’d recommend getting here as early as possible.
Igreja do Carmo
Igreja do Carmo, especially its side facade, is one of the most Instagrammable places in Porto. The Azulejos on the side facade represent scenes of the founding of the Carmelite Order, a catholic religious order that emerged in the 11th century in the region of Mount Carmel. The church was built in the late 18th century, but the Azulejos were placed in 1912. In our opinion, you can’t miss this pretty photo spot in Porto!
When you’re done taking photos of Igreja do Carmo, make sure to check out Praça de Gomes Teixeira, the square with the fountain that’s across the street of the church. We think this square with the fountain and Igreja do Carmo is a beautiful photo spot. Best of all is that this spot is never too crowded so you can take photos here at any time of the day.
Livraria Lello is considered the prettiest book store in the world and we think it’s also the most popular book store in the world. This uniquely-designed bookstore dates back to 1881 and its most attention-drawing features are the staircase in the middle of the store and the large stained glass ceiling window. The staircase looks very interesting with the curves and bright crimson-red color. When at the top floor, take a moment to appreciate the beautiful stained glass window. We’d recommend buying tickets for the bookstore in advance for the first time slot of the day and get there around 30 minutes before opening time. The lines at Livraria Lello get insanely long really quickly, as it’s such a popular tourist spot. Even if you already have time slotted tickets, you’ll still have to wait in line. When you’re one of the first to get in, you also have a better shot at taking photos.
Opening hours of Livraria Lello
Daily: from 09:30 until 19:00
An entrance ticket is €5. The ticket is also a discount voucher when you buy a book in the bookstore.
Capela das Almas
The small church Capela das Almas is located in the heart of Porto’s shopping center on Rua de Santa Catarina. The exterior of Capela das Almas is decorated with 15.497 Azulejos, covering around 360 square meters of wall. The side facade of this church is the most photogenic spot. However, the side facade is located along a road with lots of pedestrian and vehicle traffic. This makes it quite hard to take photos here. Therefore, we’d recommend getting there as early as possible and bringing enough patience with you as you have to wait for gaps in the traffic to take the photos. When we got there around 8 in the morning, it was already busy with people commuting to work.
LIFT Rooftop is a true hidden gem in Porto. This rooftop bar is a great place for drinks and snacks while enjoying amazing views of the city. The vibes are laid back with lounge music and bean bags (there are normal tables too). We’d highly recommend getting here for sunset to enjoy the most magical time of the day. LIFT Rooftop is located on the top floor of the Via Catarina shopping mall and getting there can be a little hard as there are no clear signs on how to get there. When in Via Catarina shopping mall, go to the 4th floor and look for McDonald’s. When in front of the McDonald’s, look for the elevators in the hallway to the right of McDonald’s. These elevators can take you all the way up to the 14th floor, where LIFT Rooftop is located.
If you’re into pretty cafés and specifically Art Nouveau cafés, Majestic Café is a must-visit. This café is over a century old and both the exterior and the interior are beautifully designed in Art Nouveau. We think having a coffee here is a great excuse to snap a photo of this beautiful place. Be aware that prices here are a lot higher than anywhere else in Porto, an espresso for instance is €5.
Confeitaria do Bolhão
If you don’t like to pay €5 for an espresso but you’d like to snap a photo at a pretty café, Confeitaria do Bolhão is the place for you. Confeitaria do Bolhão is a typical Portuguese bakery and the interior hasn’t changed since 1896. We love how pretty and traditional it is, and we also love their prices. An espresso here is only €0,75. It’s a great excuse to order a pastel de nata with your coffee.
Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
The public park Jardins do Palácio de Cristal is located just outside of Porto’s city center, approximately a 15-minute walk away from Igreja do Carmo. The park is located a little higher up and offers amazing views of the Douro River. Our favorite photo spot in the park is the viewpoint of the river in the Jardim do Roseiral (the rose garden). We bet you can find many more photo spots in this park, so we’d suggest to leisurely stroll around and keep your eyes peeled for those Instagram-worthy spots!
We hope this blog post with Porto’s most Instagram-worthy spots has inspired you to plan a trip to this charming city. Don’t forget to bring your camera with you and have a fantastic time exploring all that Porto has to offer!
Have you been to Porto or is it still on your travel bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!
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