A JOURNEY BACK IN TIME
Along with Sé, Ribeira is one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Porto. Here, more than any other neighbourhood of Porto, you will have the sense that Porto is a city of layers. Crammed with cobbled streets and balconies adorned with flowerpots, an ideal day in Porto combines both the grandeur of its history and its very up-to-the-minute cool.
The Palácio da Bolsa, this opolent building from the 19th Century, with it’s beautiful arabic room, is one of the landmarks of the city. Inside the Palácio da Bolsa you have the Vini Portugal, which is a must if you are a wine lover. Unlike the wine tasting in the Port Wine Lodges, here you can try wines from all the regions of Portugal. And next to the Palácio da Bolsa, you also have the Institute of Port Wine. Don’t miss out also the São Francisco Church and São Nicolau Church.
Still by the waterfront, don’t miss out the Alfândega building, the old warehouse and customs house now converted into a Conference centre and Museum of Transport and Communications. Just across the street from Alfândega building, you must visit the Vintage Store Armazém. And next to it, on the right, you will see one of many street art pieces. This one in particular it was made by the artist Vhils, an awarded artist. The building itself is a gift shop and a 5D cinema. The 5D cinema is a movie about Porto, a ride in the back of a Dragon (the symbol of the Footbal team of Porto), through the main landmarks of the city.
Also across the street from the Alfândega building, you’ll find a thematic park dedicated to the Discoveries of Portugal – The World of Discoveries.
The Dom Luis Bridge was built by a student and collaborator of Gustav Eiffel, based on one of Eiffel’s designs for a rail bridge that exists just down the river. Before he rose to fame with the Eiffel Tower and other significant iron works, one of Eiffel’s earliest commissions was the Porto rail bridge – the D. Maria Bridge. The project was intensely scrutinized as local authorities were concerned the young and unproven engineer might not finish his work on time or on budget. He did, and of course, the rest is history.
Across the D. Luis bridge you’ll find the famous Port Wine Lodges.If you want to visit one or more, the best way is to cross the bridge on the lower level, but you can cross it on the upper level and then either walk down to the Ribeira of Vila Nova de Gaia, or use the Teleférico. The Port Wine Logdes that I usually recommend is Taylor’s, because of the astonishing view that they have from their terrace. But, if you’re not up to climbing that much to get to Taylor’s, you can also choose to visit the wine lodges down by the river. Porto Cruz is a great option if you want to try a Port Wine Cocktail on the rooftop.