You notice that, right? It’s the Porto weather getting warmer and the terraces filling up the streets. If you happen to find yourself in the Invicta over the next few months, check out our list of 15 things students should do in Porto in the spring:
1. Have a beer in the Ribeira
Ditch the umbrella and the winter coat (not the raincoat; it’s still spring!) and go and enjoy a good glass of Super Bock (the city’s preferred beer brand) on the terraces (or esplanadas) along the Ribeira. You can’t beat the riverside view of the D. Luís I bridge!
2. Take a stroll in the Palácio de Cristal gardens
The “Crystal Palace’s” (demolished in 1951 and no longer in existence) 8-hectare romantic gardens are right in the middle of the city and perfect for a stroll. The farther you go in, the closer you get to a gorgeous view over Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia, and the Douro River.
3. Drink a cimbalino in Miradouro Ignez
Start your day off with a cimbalino, Porto’s word for an espresso, while gazing at one more view of the Douro River.
4. Chill at Praça de Lisboa
Watched over by the Clérigos Tower, there’s the (ironically called) “Lisbon Square”. The ground floor offers a Costa Coffee and a few clothing shops. However, the best part about it is the green upper floor: a small outdoor kiosk surrounded by a few olive trees, comfortable sofas, and hammocks. It’ll be packed in the Spring and Summer and the perfect place to watch the sun go down while dancing to one of the many free gigs.
5. Cross the bridge to Vila Nova de Gaia
Cross the D. Luís I bridge and boom, you’re in Gaia. It’s worth the walk to truly understand the beauty of the city you’re in. Fill up on a glass of wine before climbing all the way up to Tappas Caffé Madalena to have a francesinha.
You’ll be so full that rolling back down will be a piece of cake!
6. Visit the Serra do Pilar Monastery
This is one of the best views of Porto you’ll get to marvel at. Right on top of the Serra do Pilar, on Gaia’s side of the bridge, this unique white circular church is still used by the Portuguese army as barracks for the Serra da Pilar Artillery Regiment. They’re the ones who’ll lead you up the tight spiral staircase to the platform right at the top. Perfect for clear, sunny days!
7. Ride the Gaia Cable Car or float on the Douro
First of all, cable cars are the best. Take the short 6-minute trip along the river, between the D. Luis I bridge and the Port Wine cellars — it’ll be one of the best views to get your phone out and ready to shoot some boomerangs. #millennial
As an alternative, you can ride one of the rabelo boats through the Douro River.
8. Visit a Port Wine cellar
If you’re a wine aficionado, take a tour of the Sandeman Port Wine cellar as soon as you hop back down on the ground. Starting at €10, get to know the secrets of this wonderful drink and its traditional ageing process. End your visit in a state-of-the-art tasting room and enjoy Ruby and Tawny port wines.
9. Look confused while looking at Miró
In the Serralves Museum you’ll have the chance to gaze at 84 of Joan Miró’s surrealist artworks. The best part about this place is the gorgeous Serralves Gardens that surround the museum. It’s well worth the trip! To get there, take any metro line and exit at the Casa da Música Station. At the Boavista roundabout, take the 201, 203, 502 or 504 bus until you reach the gardens.
10. Have a picnic in Parque da Cidade
The “City Park” is the perfect place for a run, a bike ride, and a picnic. It’s a few minutes from the city centre and the biggest urban park in Portugal: 83 hectares stretching out until the Atlantic Ocean! Carry a picnic basket on your bike and set your checkered towel on a small patch of the gigantic green scenery — or skip to #14 to know what else to do here.
11. Watch the sunset by the Atlantic
On bike or on foot, walk 20 minutes along Matosinhos’s promenade. When you reach the end, stick your feet in the sand and enjoy a wonderful sunset with a view of the Atlantic!
12. Travel to Miramar Beach in Arcozelo
It may not be beach weather yet, but spring in Porto is the perfect excuse to take a walk and enjoy the vastness of the Atlantic. Catching the Aveiro Line train to Miramar is a 35-minute ride and worth it to get to Miramar Beach in Arcozelo. Visit the Chapel of Senhor da Pedra while you’re there. Just awesome!
13. Eat fresh fish in Vila Chã
This fishing village hasn’t yet bent to tourism and still has very tricky access, but it’s well worth the 1-hour train ride from the city centre (with the metro’s B line). If you want to eat excellent fresh fish (if you’re not a fan, there’s no harm in just trying!), head to Vila Chã.
14. Party at Queima das Fitas in May
May is Queima das Fitas month, or “burning of the ribbons”. Throughout the entire country, hundreds of thousands of graduating students celebrate, and Porto is no exception. These parties are held before exam period and celebrate the end of the school year. Expect a week filled with parades, concerts, lots of dancing and serenades — and a whole lot of drinking.
15. Welcome summer at the Primavera Sound Festival
Party at Porto’s biggest festival in Parque da Cidade. It’ll be the perfect way to enjoy the last days of spring on June 8, 9 and 10.
Thanks for reading this post!
Can you think of any other things you can do in Porto during the spring? Let us know in the comments. And remember: if you need student accommodation, you’ll find the perfect student home on Uniplaces.