Self Guided Walking Tour Porto (3) – Free Things To Do in Porto

This is my third 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, however there are several plces 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.

Connect with Walking Tour (2)

This walk can easily be connected with “Self Guided Walking Tour Porto” (2). If you want to connect the two walks then start Walk 2 at São Bento Metro Station and leave the Cathedral and Episcopal Palace to the end of this tour. On Tour 2, when you reach the Portuguese Centre of Photography you can switch over to this tour.

Distance covered

If you follow this route you will walk a total distance of approx 3km. It includes a lot of steps between Miradouro da Vitoria and Bolsa Palace but you will be going in a downward direction. There are also some steps up to the Museu de Arte Sacra, and they can be a little slippery so caution is advised.

You can avoid the climb by using the Funicular dos Guindais. When we come to that part of the walk I will give instructions. From the top exit of the railway you can cut back across to the Cathedral and Episcopal Palace. However, if you wish to continue on foot you will have a walk through some of the older, more interesting streets so the choice is yours.

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

The walk starts at São Bento METRO station. 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 and look for them on Google maps, or whichever app you prefer to use. 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 Praca Almeida Garret/Rua Mouzinho da Silveira exit. If you need an elevator (lift) there is one at this exit but whichever exit you use they are very close together so it won’t make much difference to the length of your walk.

If you arrive by train at the São Bente Train Station it is also very close by and if you haven’t done my Walking Tour (2) then take this opportunity to take a look around the train station before you start this walk.

This is the map plotted out for you on Google maps

So, what are you going to see?

The Portuguese Centre of Photography – FREE

The Portuguese Centre of Photography hosts various exhibitions – for details and opening time see the official website HERE

Portuguese Centre of Photography

Miraduoro da Vitoria

The next stop marked on the map is Miraduoro da Vitória but there are several places to look at on the way. As you walk down R. de São Bente da Vitória you will pass, on your right, Igreja de São Bento da Vitória and Mosteiro de São Bento da Vitória. These are side by side and constitute the largest ecclesiastical building in Porto. If you do wish to take a tour you can find the opening times and prices HERE.

Igreja de São Bento da Vitória and Mosteiro de São Bento da Vitória

Further down the street, on your left, there is another church, Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Vitória. This website gives some background information and also lists the times for FREE visits.

Arriving at Miraduoro da Vitoria you can take in some panoramic views of Porto before tackling the many steps down to R de Belmonte where you cross over to R. de Ferreira Borges and continue towards Bolsa Palace.

Miraduoro da Vitoria

Just some of the steps going down

Bolsa Palace

Bolsa Palace is classed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it is also referred to as The Stock Exchange Palace. This is the official website where you can find information on tours and opening times if you do wish to see inside. It is compulsory to take a guided tour, the tours last for 45 minutes. There is a disabled entrance.

Bolsa Palace

Opposite the entrance to the palace there is a pleasant park, Jardim do Infante Dom Henrique if you want to sit and rest for a while. You will also see Mercado Ferreira Borges, where, in bad weather the Urban Market is held on Saturdays.

Mercado Ferreira Borges and Jardim do Infante Dom Henrique

Beside Bolsa Palace is the Monument Church Of St Francis, a gothic church with a remarkable interior and catacombs. You can find information regarding visiting HERE. The entrance is actually round the corner and as I didn’t feel like climbing all these steps I don’t have any photographs.

As you come to the corner, where you will be turning right you will see you Igreja Paroquial de São Nicolau straight ahead. You will recognise it by the lovely tiling on the facade and you can pop in here for FREE.

Igreja Paroquial de São Nicolau

Museu do Vinho do Porto

Continuing to follow the route towards Museu do Vinho do Porto

After making a sharp left turn on to R . da Reboleira look for Torre Medieval da Reboleira. According to Wikipedia it now serves as a nursing home and day care centre.

When I did this walk the Museu do Vinho do Porto was closed to allow for the setting up of a new exhibition and I was unable to get any information. My understanding was that it is a FREE museum but I am now not so sure. I had trouble finding information but finally came across this webpage which details opening times and prices, according to this it is FREE at weekends. The official website doesn’t translate into English but looking at it I do see entrance fees mentioned. The museum changed it’s location in recent times and maybe things changed at that point.

Google maps will take you to the entrance on the R. da Reboleira but there is also an entrance on the river side so it would be nice to exit at that side and enjoy the elevated views of the river. Just turn left when you come out and you will come back down to the river’s edge.

On the elevated river walk.

Pillars Of The Old Suspension Bridge

The Pillars Of The Old Suspension Bridge is the next point marked on the map but there is a great deal to see on the way. You arrive at the river’s edge, and all along the Praça Ribeira there are wonderful cafe/bars, restaurants, street entertainers, and market stalls. There are lots of archways through to smaller streets so it’s nice to explore those also. You will also have views across the river to the area that is famous for the port cellars, and views up the river to the Luís I Bridge.

Along the Praça Ribeira

You will definitely want to spend some time here and maybe even have lunch, but be warned, it’s not the cheapest area to eat in. The day I did the walk I did the whole of Walk 2, and this one, and I had a great lunch in Galeria De Paris for only €5.40. This was close to the Livraria Lello.

There are also lots of boat trips that you can go on if you feel like splashing your cash and unlike Lisbon you don’t have the option of public service ferries. I have never done a river tour so I cannot give you any advice regarding this.

As you walk towards the bridge watch out, on your left for Alminhas da Ponte. This bronze plaque commemorates the ‘Ponte das Barcas’ tragedy in 1809 when the bridge collapsed under the weight of people fleeing from French troops.

Alminhas da Ponte

If you look upwards at this point you can see the Lift Lada Ribeira, a free public escalator. This escalator is open Monday – Friday. 8.30am – 6.00pm

Keep walking towards the bridge and as you come to the top of an incline look out for Monumento ao Duque da Ribeira on your left. This small monument is in honour of Diocletian Monteiro , popularly known as the Duke of Ribeira who was a well known and charismatic boatsman. You can read about him on Wikipedia, it’s an interesting story.

So, eventually you will come to the Pillars of the Old Suspension Bridge and the Dom Luís I Bridge itself. If you take a walk along the bridge you will have great views of the river and the Ribeira area but the best views are to be found from the higher level of the bridge so that may be an activity for another day or another walking tour. If you want to read more about the history of the bridge there is a lot of information in Wikipedia.

Pillars of the Old Suspension Bridge

Dom Luís I Bridge (taken from across the river)

This is now where you make a choice.

If you wish to avoid any uphill climbing and/or steps walk past the bridge a little and you will find the Funicular dos Guindais. It only costs €2.50 and will take you up to Batalha station. From there it is an easy walk across to the Cathedral and Episcopal Palace.

Funicular dos Guindais

Follow one of the routes shown on this map.

Or, continue to follow the original route

You will now double back along the Ribeira towards Praça da Ribeira so this will give you a chance to spot things you may have missed before. Praça da Ribeira is a busy square with many cafes and a fountain and is surrounded by some lovely old houses.

Praça da Ribeira

Musea Arte Sacra Arqueologia

After a bit of a climb and having passed through some interesting old streets you come to Musea Arte Sacra Arqueologia housed in Igreja dos Grilos. Official website HERE.

Some the old streets you will walk through

Musea Arte Sacra Arqueologia

Porto Cathedral & The Episcopal Palace

As you approach the Cathedral there is a Tourist Information Office in a Mediaeval Tower, you should find it easily enough, it is signposted.

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. I have included photos of the prices if you wish to go inside and take a tour.

Some of the views

Well done you have now completed the tour!

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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