Move over Paris, Tulum and Moscow. Portugal’s second city is filled with photo opportunities that your Insta followers won’t be able to help but double-tap.
From its colourful buildings that adorn its riverfront and the winding streets of its medieval heart, all the way to its iconic tiled churches, Lisbon’s sleepier sister boasts some of the best backdrops for selfies and scenic shots.
Here are six sights in Porto worthy of real estate on your feed.
1. São Bento Train Station
Looks can be deceiving, especially when it comes to the São Bento train station.
From the outside, it blends into the surrounding sandstones facades, however, this 19th-century railway station is well worth a visit just to poke your head around. Incredible blue and white tiles illustrate scenes of former battles, while colourful azulejos on the upper frieze provide a history lesson in Portuguese transport in this historic station.
2. Livraria Lello
A fusion of Neo-Gothic, Art Deco and Art Nouveau, this decorative facade hints that there may be something magical about Livraria Lello. One of the most visited bookstores in the world, once you purchase your entry ticket (€5.50, redeemable with purchase), it’ll immediately have you under your spell.
Greeting you as you enter is JK Rowling’s favourite feature, the winding staircase that inspired the changing staircases at Hogwarts. But don’t stop there, look up at the kaleidoscopic stained glass skylight and the intricately carved bookshelves, and they’ll sweep you off your feet.
3. Mercado do Bolhão
This lively food market is where locals do their grocery shop, making it the perfect setting to capture the city’s hustle and bustle. Frequented by Jamie Oliver when in town, Mercado do Bolhão) is also one of the best places to stock up on fresh produce if you plan to cook up a storm at your Airbnb.
However, if you’d rather eat in, scattered around the perimeter of this foodie haunt are numerous hole-in-the-wall wine bars that serve €1 glasses of wine, chorizo bites and a variety of stinky but mouthwatering cheeses.
4. The Francesinha
The ultimate bro food, the francesinha is a local delicacy that can’t be missed. A cross between a croque monsieur and lasagna, it throws together sausage, ham, steak, melted cheese in a spicy tomato-and-beer sauce.
While not the most photogenic of dishes, it’s sure to spark curiosity among your followers as you cut through and let its unique sauce ooze out. It lands a spot on almost every the diner and restaurant in Porto, however, Regaleira claims to be the francesinha’s inventor.
5. Barrels of Port
Have you even been to Porto if you haven’t snapped the endless barrels at a port house? A visit to at least one of port producer is obligatory, so cross the bridge to Vila Nova de Gaia for your pick of one wine lodges.
Among the more established names are Churchill’s, Taylor’s, Sandeman and Graham’s, all of which you can indulge in tours and tastings. When it comes to downing your glass of port be sure to take your time figuring out whether the ruby or tawny is your choice of poison – port is best enjoyed sipped after all.
6. Dom Luís I Bridge
Connecting the two sides of Porto, Dom Luís I Bridge is a spectacle to see. Resembling the Sydney Harbour Bridge with its arched iron structure, crossing this double-tiered bridge is the best and most magnificent way to take views of Porto’s skyline, as well as its vineyards.
The waterfront promenade below is lined with colourful tiled houses, most of which have been converted in wine bars, cafes or restaurants. Although wonderfully picturesque by day, it swirls with romance by night.