Whether you have the great opportunity to study in this city or visit it for a few days, Porto is becoming one of the preferred destinations for travellers who are visiting Portugal. It is a city known for its wonderful and world-renowned Port wine and historic architecture. In Porto, you can enjoy the extraordinary Douro River and visit Luís I Bridge, both incredible places to take some photos.
Moreover, and in case you are studying in Portugal, it is the ideal city for a 2-day visit. It is a city relatively smaller than Lisbon, so 2 days is the ideal time to visit it. If you are studying in Lisbon, you can take a train and, in a flash, you are in Porto. This is because Portugal is a small country, so travelling from north to south, is a quick and economic adventure.
Portugal is an european destination that welcomes many foreign students. Whether it’s the temperature, the landscape or the low living cost, it is ideal for those who are looking for the best place to study abroad in Europe.
However, and despite Portugal being a budget-friendly destination for students, studying abroad brings some costs. It can become challenging to balance students’ budget, with the desire to explore what the destination has to offer.
As always, Uniplaces is here to help you and to share with you 10 amazing places to visit in Porto for FREE!
1) Cais da Ribeira
Cais da Ribeira is one of the most famous neighbourhoods in Porto, due to its colourful and unique buildings. It is located in the lower part of the city, by the river, as the name indicates.
By itself, this is already a very pleasant place to walk around or to take some pictures to update your social media.
However, there are also other alternatives to do around here. In this sense, you can enjoy a delicious meal, in one of the existing restaurants, while you have a privileged view over the Douro River. Or you can also take the opportunity to take a boat trip along this beautiful river.
And while you are here, take the chance to see Luís I Bridge, our next free place to visit in Porto.
2) Luís I Bridge
Does this bridge remind you of any other world-famous monument? If you thought of Eiffel Tower, you’ve guessed it right!
Luís I Bridge in Porto was designed by the same engineer who built the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel. Hence the resemblance.
There’s not much to see in this place other than the the beauty of the bridge, which itself is an unique beauty. If you’re a photographer and you’ d like to take a few clicks with the bridge empty, the best time is at 6 AM. You can believe me, you’ll take unique pictures with no one around.
And for another photographic and free place to visit in the city of Porto, go to the next location.
3) Serra do Pilar Viewpoint
Who doesn’t like viewpoints? They are the best places in the city, to get a privileged view over it.
In this case, at the Serra do Pilar viewpoint, we get a privileged view over Gaia and the Ribeira do Porto.
This viewpoint is from the 16th century and is located in an old convent. Completely free and unforgettable, it is possible to observe several monuments of Porto, namely the Porto Cathedral, the Luís I Bridge or the Clérigos Tower. It is worth stopping by. 😉
4) Church Santo Ildefonso
I dare to say this is one of the most beautiful churches in Porto. It’s located in Batalha Square, two minutes from Avenida dos Aliados.
It was built in the 18th century, in the Baroque style, and its greatest highlight are the blue tiles, very present in the architecture of some monuments in the city of Porto.
It is open every day, so you can photograph not only its exterior, but also visit its interior.
5) Bolhão Market
Doesn’t this market remind you of the Mercado da Boqueria in Barcelona?
The Bolhão Market was built in the middle of World War I and was an irreverent project for its time. It’s a place full of history… It’s simply magic, the smell and the atmosphere of this place.
If you’re studying in Porto, this is the place to do your shopping for essential goods. Here you can find fresh fruit and vegetables. However, if you are just visiting Porto, come and visit it anyway, and take the opportunity to get to know the space and eat in one of the market’s restaurants.
After you visit the Bolhão Market, stop by our next free place to visit in Porto: São Bento station.
6) São Bento Station
If you are studying in Lisbon and you decide to come to Porto, by train, for a few days, this is the station where you will arrive. And what a beautiful station this is!
The São Bento station is a 20th century railway terminal and presents us with the wonderful traditional Portuguese blue tiles, as the main element of its decoration.
It’s one of the most popular free places to visit in Porto, that you can’t miss! You can freely enter the station and take some photos.
But let me warn you: there are a lot of people with the same idea as you, so it can be difficult to catch the station empty. However, it’s worth it because the station is beautiful.
7) Avenida dos Aliados
It was named Avenida dos Aliados (eng: Allied Avenue) in honor of the Allies of the First World War. Curious, isn’t it?
Avenida dos Aliados is the main avenue and represents the center of Porto city. At the top of it, you can find the Porto City Hall building and, in the middle, a very curious and unexpected place.
And what is this place? Well, it’s actually a McDonald’s restaurant, but it’s not just any place. Well, it turns out this is considered the most beautiful McDonald’s restaurant in the world 🌍 .
Even if you’re not a consumer of the brand, it’s worth visiting the restaurant just for the beauty of the space. The restaurant has preserved the historical heritage of the building, that operated as the Café Imperial in 1930.
8) Santa Catarina’s Street
If you want to go shopping, this is the place. Santa Catarina’s street is considered the most important shopping area in the city of Porto and where you will find your favourite stores.
However, it’s not only stores that you can find. In this street, you can also find one of the most famous cafes in Porto: Majestic Café. This café opened in 1921 with the purpose of serving the finest members of the society and is still open today.
9) Porto Cathedral Church
The Porto Cathedral is a Roman construction, located in the city centre, and represents one of the oldest monuments in the city. It’s amazing how these historic buildings last until know, isn’t it?
If you want to visit this monument, the entrance to the church is totally free. However, if you want to visit the cloister and the museum you will have to pay a fee of €3.
In this place, you can also have a privileged view of the city of Porto. But not as privileged as the last free place to visit in Porto. Come check it out ⤵️
10) Vitoria Viewpoint
Last but not least: the Vitoria’s viewpoint. What a unique place to have a complete view over the city of Porto.
In this place, you can see some of the places I suggested in this article, such as the Luís I Bridge or Porto Cathedral. You also have a view of the Douro River and some other beautiful buildings in this city.
The most amazing thing about all of this is that it’s free. The Clérigos Tower is another place with an amazing view of the city, but it’s not free.
So, take advantage of this place to take many photos and to enjoy the sunset. I guarantee you won’t regret it!
Porto is a very old city with a lot of history, so the free places to visit in this city, had to meet this requirement.
And remember: if you need student accommodation in Porto, you’ll find the perfect student home on Uniplaces.