This is my second blog post giving you an idea of a route to follow to explore Porto. You could easily fill your day in following this route and spend no money, (well maybe stop off for lunch somewhere).
Just walking around looking at all the places I am listing here will give you lots of photo opportunities and it costs nothing to enjoy the outside of these beautiful buildings. Many of these are FREE however there are also several where you may choose to pay an entrance fee to see inside. I don’t, I am an extreme budget traveller so I have seldom paid to go in anywhere, or up anywhere, or be driven anywhere.
If you follow this route you will walk a total distance of approx 3.25km. It is all reasonably level, compared to many parts of Porto. I had intended to cover more ground but on my day of exploration I discovered that I had included some very steep climbs and steps. I will, in my next post give a route that includes those if you are up for a challenge.
To the best of my knowledge everything is correct at the time of writing but may be subject to change. I accept no responsibility for any changes that may occur or any links to external websites that malfunction.
I started at Sao Bento METRO station
Although I started from the Metro station the map that I have included starts from Porto Cathedral, it is only possible to include 10 destinations on a saved map but there are a lot of other places I will mention. If you follow the route shown you will pass all the places I am going to point out to you, I have made them bold in this article so you can find them easily. As you walk around look up, I always find the upward view can be very interesting especially if I am down some of the narrow side streets.
Exit the metro station by the exit that points you in the direction of the Historic Centre. Or, if you need an elevator (lift) there is one at the Praca Almeida Garret/Rua Mouzinho da Silveira exit. Whichever exit you use there is not a huge difference in the distance to the Cathedral.
If you arrive by train at the Sao Bento Train Station it is also very close by and is one of the places recommended to see so that kills two birds with one stone.
This is the map plotted out for you on Google maps
So, what are you going to see?
Porto Cathedral & The Episcopal Palace
The Cathedral and the Episcopal Palace (Bishops Palace) are side by side so I have only marked the Cathedral on the map. This area is a major tourist attraction and offers some wonderful views across Porto in several directions. Whatever direction you come from there is a bit of a climb, it’s a steady ascent from the Metro station. I have included photos of the prices if you wish to go inside and take a tour.
Some of the views
The is also a Tourist Information Office in a Mediaeval Tower, you should find it easily enough, it is signposted.
While you are here you may wish to visit the Musea Arte Sacra Arqueologia housed in Igreja dos Grilos however, it is down some quite steep and slippery steps. Also some great views from the street above. Official website HERE
Musea Arte Sacra Arqueologia
São Bento Train Station – FREE
Sorry to make you backtrack, it’s something I usually avoid but can’t be helped in this instance. Head back towards the metro station and just past it you will find the São Bento TRAIN Station.
On the way there, if it is a Saturday you might want to check in the Praca das Cardosas to see if the Urban Market is there. (On wet days they have a different venue). The day I walked this route I couldn’t find the market in either location but that may have been because it was the first Saturday in January, there’s no harm in checking.
The Praca das Cardosas is difficult to find, it took a lot of walking up and down the street to find it. Walk on the left side of the street and look for a narrow entry, there is an ATM machine at the entrance.
When you arrive at the São Bento Train Station, there is a delightful display of tiling on the walls in the entrance hall, this is seriously not to be missed. There are also a few stalls inside, there was one selling fruit and flowers which looked very fresh. Also walk through to the platform and look up, you can see some of the tall houses on the hills that surround the station.
São Bento Train Station
Igreja do Clerigos and Torre do Clerigos
Following the route on the map you then head for Igreja do Clerigos.
On the way there take a moment to look for Igreja de Santo António dos Congregados, you may have noticed this church when you were at the Cathedral for if the sun is shining on the blue and white tiled facade it is easily seen from a distance. It is just across the road from the Train Station
As you walk along Praca da Liberdade look to your right and you have a view up Av. dos Aliados to Câmara Municipal do Porto (the City Hall). There is lots to explore along this avenue but I would suggest you continue on the tour and come back to this later. It will most likely be included in another tour that I put together.
You eventually arrive at Igreja do Clerigos and Torre do Clerigos which is attached, it is all the one attraction and the tower is one that you may have heard of, you can climb to the top of it for the sum of €6.00 but that also includes entrance to the museum. For an extra 50 cents you can have a guided tour of the church as well. Official website HERE
Igreja do Clerigos and Torre do Clerigos
Possibly the most famous bookshop in the world. There is a charge of €5.00 to go inside and I have written a blog about it which I suggest you read HERE before you part with any money. You can also see photos in the blog.
I also mention, in the blog that the shop Fernandes, Mattos & Ca., Lda which is well worth a visit and is free to enter, just as all shops should be. It is on the corner of R. da Galeria de Paris, just before you arrive at Lavraria Lello.
Another market you may like
If you are taking this walk on the second, or that last Saturday of the month you can stop off at Rua de Cândido dos Reis where you will find the Clérigos market.
If you are ready for lunch visit Galeria De Paris
On the map you will be directed to Galeria De Paris. This is where I stopped and had lunch the day I was out checking this all out for you. I was attracted by the board outside advertising the menu of the day for €5.40. The lunch included soup, bread, salad, fruit, main course and coffee. As well as an excellent value lunch it is another one of the really interesting building you will find all over Porto and houses a multitude of interesting collections. As I was leaving a group arrived and were listening to their guide tell them about the building, you will see them in one of the photos.
After lunch head to Praça de Carlos Alberto
In this attractive plaza you will find a Saturday market and a monument – Monumento aos Mortos da Grande Guerra. If you are doing this walk on a day other than a Saturday save your legs and just skip to the next point, Igreja do Carmo.
Igreja do Carmo & Igreja do Carmelites
These two baroque churches are connected by a metre wide ‘hidden house’. The Igreja do Carmo has a stunning tiled side facade. You can have a tour for €3.50 which includes the Hidden House (narrowest house of Oporto), church, catacombs, sacristy and three other rooms with ancient paintings and vestments. The house alone is €2.00 and you can go into the church without a fee but are asked not to interrupt the masses. The only official website I have found is on Facebook HERE
The next point on the map is
O Rapto de Ganimedes,
but before you get there you have a lot to see.
You will be walking through Praça de Gomes Teixeira which is front of the Univesidade do Porto. In the Praça you will see a lovely fountain and monument, the Fonte dos Leões. Within the university building you will find Museu de História Natural e da Ciência da U.Porto Official website HERE
The day I was there I also discovered there were some market stalls to one side of the university building, I don’t know if this was because it was a Saturday or if it is there every day.
The University Building
The map I have plotted will then lead you around a park, the Jardim da Cordoaria and just opposite the point of the park there is another interesting looking museum attached to the hospital, Museu do Centro Hospitalar do Porto. It is a small museum and there is an entrance charge, but only €1.00. Official website HERE. If that doesn’t interest you just cut across the park and look for the sculpture O Rapto de Ganimedes, it is really lovely.
The Portuguese Centre of Photography – FREE
Just across the road from this park you will find The Portuguese Centre of Photography. This centre host various exhibitions – for details and opening time see the official website HERE
Portuguese Centre of Photography
This the final stop before you head back to Sao Bento Metro Station. The route I have plotted on the map takes you through some smaller streets to allow you to see some of the smaller buildings but you may wish to return by a different route or go on somewhere entirely different.
Please leave me some feedback
I am sure you can appreciate the amount of work it takes to put together a post of this sort. I would love some feedback. Is it something you have found helpful? Is it a route that you might choose to follow if you ever visit Porto? How might I improve on this when I do the next one?
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