Self Guided Walking Tour (4) – Free Things To Do In Porto

This is my fourth blog post giving you an idea of a route to follow to explore Porto for FREE. This walk is a fairly casual one which allows you to see some of the majestic buildings and monuments on Avenida dos Aliados, takes you on a visit to Bolhão Market and walks you down the main shopping street, Rua de Santa Catarina. It finishes with the option of visiting one of two coffee shops and I’ll throw in a mention of a beer garden if you have a hot grumpy man with you who doesn’t want to look round the shops.

I started at Sao Bento METRO station

All my suggested walking routes start at the Sao Bento Metro station so they can easily be combined if you have more energy than I do. This walk is only 2.3 km, although if you are a shopper, which I am not, you will be able to spend many hours looking around the shops.

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 any of my other walking tours then take this opportunity to take a look around the train station before you start this walk.

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.

This is the map plotted out for you on Google maps

So, what are you going to see?

Igreja de Santo António dos Congregados

The first stop marked on the map is Igreja de Santo António dos Congregados. You may have seen this church already if you have done any of my other tours but it gets you started walking in the right direction.

This church is easy to spot 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 and if you haven’t visited São Bente Train Station this is your opportunity. It is on the right hand side of the road as you walk towards the church.

São Bento Train Station

This is the outside of the train station. You can find more photographs of it in “Self Guided Walking Tour Porto” (2)

Igreja da Santíssima Trindade

This is the next stop on the map but to get to it you will be walking up Avenida dos Aliados towards the City Hall. There are many buildings worthy of a pause in your walk. Take time to admire the architecture and stop at the many monuments for some photos.

You will also most likely see some of the Hop On Hop Off buses stopping to collect people and there are also a couple of tourist information kiosks for tours etc on the avenue.

Looking up Avenida dos Aliados towards the City Hall

A few places to watch out for

  • Sculpture Dom Pedro IV in the center of the avenue
  • Estátua O Porto and the Banco de Portugal behind it – on the left
  • Fountain of Youth / Naked Girl in the center of the avenue
  • Abundância / “Os Meninos” in the center of the avenue
  • Fonte dos Aliados in the center of the avenue
  • Letras do Porto on the steps in front of the City Hall
  • Monumento a Garrett in front of the City Hall
  • Câmara Municipal do Porto (the City Hall) – at the top of the avenue
Some of the monuments

Then you eventually come to Praça da Trindade, behind the City Hall where you will find a fountain and sculpture Chafariz do Laranjal, just in front of Igreja da Santíssima Trindade

Praça da Trindade

Chapel Almas de Santa Catarina

Next stop is Chapel Almas de Santa Catarina, a stunning building with intricate blue and white tile work. This also brings you to a wide shopping street Rua de Santa Catarina where you may wish to spend some time.

Chapel Almas de Santa Catarina

La Vie Porto Baixa (Shopping Centre) & Bolhão Market

I need to explain about these two places. I am attempting to direct you to the Bolhão Market but it is currently being rebuilt and the market has been moved to the lower floor of La Vie Shopping Centre. So, depending when you are following this route you may find the market still in the shopping centre or further down the street once the building work is complete.

La Vie Shopping Centre is the first of the two possible locations so check it out first.

La Vie Shopping Centre and the temporary market

The new market under construction

Majestic Café

You may have heard of this place as it is associated with J. K. Rowling, who reputedly spent a lot of time there while working on the first book of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”.

Apart from that it does have an interesting history, if you want to read about it this is the Majestic Café website. It is truly beautiful building internally but the prices are eye watering and in high season there may be a queue to get in. I was allowed in to take photographs and check out the menu but really, because my blog is all about budget travel, unless you want to add your visit to some sort of list, I would bypass it and continue on to Café A Brasileira.

Majestic Café

Café A Brasileira

The Café A Brasileira is in two halves, on one side there is a restaurant and on the other a coffee shop. I went in and had coffee, it’s not like me to spend money but there you go, I splashed out.

The coffee was excellent and served with hot milk which is always a big plus, I like my coffee hot. The decor, to my mind, beats the decor of the Majestic Café, it has that old world charm and elegance that makes you feel at peace with the world.
Just a little note – it was an early morning in January that I took the photos, hence no customers in view, although it was filling up when I left.

Café A Brasileira

A Comparison of Prices

Just to give you an idea of the difference in prices here are some examples

Majestic Café

Expresso €5.00
American Coffee €6.00
Coffee with milk €6.00

Café A Brasileira

Expresso €1.80
American Coffee €1.90
Coffee with milk €2.20

São Bento Station

São Bento Station is the final stop on the map and takes you full circle (it is right beside the Metro station) but I did promise to mention a Craft Beer Garden that might be welcome on a hot day. It is Letraria – Craft Beer Garden, Rua da Alegria 101. If you want to slot it into your tour it would fit in nicely after you have seen Chapel Almas de Santa Catarina and checked out La Vie Shopping Centre. It’s ideal if you are with other people and soome want to shop and some want to sit and relax for a while.

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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