It might not be the biggest city in Europe – it’s not even the biggest in Portugal – however, the colorful, culture-centric, wine-loving and colorful place that is Porto is rising fast. in the ranks of the world of tourism.
Aesthetically, nothing compares to this coastal town, with its narrow cobbled streets, colorful and formidable buildings, medieval bridges, Porto is finally starting to be recognized for what it really is – a beautiful and welcoming destination.
Compared to Paris and London, Porto is already as cheap as it gets. That said, there are still a number of activities on offer which are completely free if you know where to look!
ten Venture across the Dom Luís I bridge
Let’s start our economical journey through one of the most promising cities in Europe with a stop at the iconic and photogenic iron bridge – the Dom Luís I bridge. As a link between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, the symbol of Porto has been solid since 1886, welcoming locals and tourists alike to soak up the breathtaking views that its center offers.
The unique structure has two levels and turns out to be a formidable piece of architecture – given that it was designed by a pupil of Gustave Eiffel, it makes perfect sense.
9 Admire the beauty of the Crystal Palace Gardens
While the homeland of Port wine has no shortage of awe-inspiring and picturesque locations, for an immersive experience ready to offer countless photo opportunities, head to the gardens of the Crystal Palace. Here, wandering visitors welcome a breath of fresh air amidst bright natural greenery, winding alleys, bubbling fountains, and, if you’re lucky, even a few peacocks. When it comes to Porto’s parks, it’s hard to get around Crystal Palace as a favorite.
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There are several ways to access the Crystal Palace Gardens from the city center – either by taking one of the metro lines or by taking the 200 bus to Bolhão.
8 Taste local specialties at the Mercado do Bolhão (Bolhão Market)
It would be a crime to avoid sampling the endless (and incredibly inexpensive) Portuguese delicacies in Porto. For all foodies, or even those who want to learn a little more about the local culture, an open-air Mercado do Bolhão (Bolhão Market) walk is a must. Since opening its metaphorical doors in 1850, the market has never been short of energy, constantly welcoming locals and tourists alike in search of delicious treats and quick snacks.
Entrance to the market is completely free, however, if you plan to bring home fruit, bread, and cheese, bring change.
7 Porto tasting, of course!
In the same vein as Champagne and Bordeaux, when a city shares a nickname with a type of wine, it can’t be argued that aromatic blends are worth at least a few sample glasses.
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In Porto, the inhabitants live and breathe Port wine. Across the city, on the outskirts and further out in regional areas, a number of Port wineries offer guided tours and wine tastings – some of which are free! Taylor’s and Croft are some of the more popular wineries, each offering free tours and samples – meaning there’s money left over to take a few bottles home, of course.
6 Get your Sunday morning dose of culture
Assuming we haven’t had too many glasses of Port the night before, if you’re eager to explore the art and history of Porto on a Sunday morning, the majority of its museums open their doors to the public, for free. The catch is, they’re only free until 2pm, so there’s no time for a lazy Sunday if you’re looking to maximize your time and money.
Choose between the Port Wine Museum, the Tram Museum, the Photography Museum, or the Serralves Contemporary Art Foundation – each offers intriguing exhibits to suit whatever appeals to you.
5 Party the night away in Piolho
Compared to the big neighboring cities like Barcelona, Paris and London, a night on the town in Porto is as inexpensive as it gets. Thirsty travelers can wet their whistles with a beer or go for something a little louder, usually for no more than a euro, while popular cocktails like caipirinhas hover around the 3 euro mark.
While it costs a few dollars to drink, obviously the atmosphere in Piolho (a popular square next to the University of Porto building) is completely free. If you’re looking to take your night to the next level, most clubs don’t have an entrance fee.
4 Meet at the Serra do Pilar viewpoint
For travel photographers or just anyone who can appreciate a stunning view, there is arguably no view of the colorful city more impressive than that offered from the Serra do Pilar viewpoint. Kill two birds with one stone and soak up the impressive monastery while you’re there, too.
While it is possible (and free) to reach the top on foot, for those who may have indulged in a little too much Alheira (Portuguese sausages) and couldn’t imagine anything worse than a difficult hike, it there is also a cable car which can take you effortlessly to and from the river
3 Head to the local beach
If time is your friend and a bit of a city break is what you are looking for, then Praia de Matosinhos is looking forward to you. While it cannot boast of the same breathtaking scenes as some of the other beaches along the stunning Portuguese coast, the fact is, this is an easily accessible, enjoyable and relaxed opportunity to bask in the sun. in the sun and admire the crashing waves.
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Of course, there are plenty of opportunities for relaxation, however, for those looking for a thrilling adrenaline rush, surfing and water sports are also available.
2 Admire the flora of the Porto Botanical Garden
If a visit to the Crystal Palace Gardens has failed to quench your thirst for nature, this next place is sure to do the trick. It might not be the largest botanical garden in Europe, but don’t let that take away from its beauty.
Spread over 10 acres of land, the Porto Botanical Garden features hundreds of different plant species, imported from all over the world. It presents itself as an excellent opportunity for relaxation and, above all, completely free to spend a few hours outdoors.
1 Just take a walk!
As long as you’ve brought a comfortable pair of shoes (because with the endless hills you’ll need them) then one of the best ways to explore this fascinating city (and most cities, for that matter) is to simply to walk on foot. Compared to the giant metropolises of Europe, Porto is relatively small, which means that it is very accessible on foot, and around every corner there are hidden gems waiting to be discovered by those who wish to s to venture.
If you need a little more of the incentive to explore on foot, this whole exercise justifies the copious amounts of mouth-watering Portuguese food you are forced to devour.
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