The viewpoint Miradouro da Vitoria is actually only a gravel place, but offers a magnificent view over the Douro and the roofs of the city. And: It’s free! From here you can also see the Cathedral Sé do Porto which characterizes the entire cityscape due to its elevated location. It was built in the 12th century as a Romanesque fortified church, then changed in the Gothic style and completely rebuilt in the 17th and 18th century. Despite these modifications, its original character of a fortress remained. Like the entire old town, the cathedral is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1996.
On the way, however, we first passed the church Igreja de São Lourenço, also known as Igreja dos Grilos, from whose squares you also have a beautiful view over Porto. From there leads a stair to the Terreiro da Sé, the forecourt of the cathedral, from which you also have a good view. Right next to the cathedral is the Bishop’s Palace. To the east of the cathedral is preserved a part of the original Roman city wall.
The Avenida Vimara Peres already leads to Porto’s next highlight, namely the two-story arched bridge Ponte Luís I, designed by Eiffel student Théophile Seyrig. The bridge was inaugurated in 1886 by King Louis I of Portugal (Dom Luís), whose name it bears. It belongs to the area of the historic center of Porto and therefore also to the UNESCO World Heritage since 1996. It connects Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia on a length of 385 meters. The upper level road is traveled on two tracks by the light rail trains of the Metro do Porto. The lower level is a road bridge, it connects the arc endpoints and is attached to the railway bridge. Both levels are accessible to pedestrians.
Arrived on the other side of Ponte Luís I in Vila Nova de Gaia, it is worth the climb to Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, not necessarily for the monastery, but rather to enjoy the perfect view of the bridge, the Douro, Porto and the two river banks. Also from the Antigo Casino da Ponte you can shoot beautiful photos with the bridge and Porto especially at sunset.
Vila Nova de Gaia is the center of port wine production. The bars and restaurants at the Cais de Gaia (the promenade of Vila Nova de Gaia, to the west of Ponte Luís I and opposite the old town of Porto) are the most important tourist destination in the city. The Rabelo boats formerly used for port wine transport today have only a tourist function though.
The especially in the evening very busy Praça da Ribeira, with the illuminated Ponte Luís I in the background, is particularly beautiful on the northern river bank of the Douro. To the east of Ponte Luís I is the funicular railway line Funicular dos Guindais and the Muralha Fernandina, a part of the medieval city wall. Not far from here is the Praça da Batalha with the Teatro Nacional São João, built in 1794, and the Igreja de Santo Ildefonso, built in the 18th century, whose exterior façade is decorated with azulejos.
This is where the Rua de Santa Catarina, a shopping boulevard, starts, parallel to Avenida dos Aliados, about 300 meters east. With the house number 112 is just a few steps from Igreja de Santo Ildefonso the probably most famous café of Porto, the Café Majestic. It is an Art Nouveau coffee house with original interior decoration from the 1920s and has been a protected monument since 1983. Joanne K. Rowling wrote the first chapters of the first Harry Potter book here during her time in Porto in the early 1990s.
Just 500 meters away is the purely vegan restaurant Árvore do Mundo. It has two entrances: one to the street and another to the terrace on a quiet and green square. Pets are also welcome here. In addition to an art gallery, many books and toys for children, there is of course food here: the daily changing menus are complemented by burgers and plenty of desserts. The meals are prepared with love and taste just as good as they look.
Address: Rua Duque de Loulé 228, Porto