Views on Porto. Discover which city parks offer the most stunning views so you can fully appreciate them and take enviable photos

Where To Find The Best Views In Porto

With its prime position on the mouth of the river Douro and its huddle of colourful buildings, Porto is extremely photogenic. Here are my tips for where to find the best views in Porto so you can go home with enviable holiday snaps.

Clérigos Tower

You can see the 76-metre tower of the Clérigos church from many places in the city. Once you’ve admired the outside, go inside and pay the small fee to climb the 240 steps to the top of the 18th century baroque tower. From here, you get a 360° view of Porto which is well worth the effort.

View from Clérigos Tower in Porto on a misty morning.
View from Clérigos Tower on a misty morning.

Porto Cathedral square

Not far from the beautifully decorated São Bento train station you’ll find the (cathedral). Even if you don’t visit the cathedral, be sure to take a look over the walls around its square. From one side, you’ll be able to see the crumbling houses of the Ribeira district and the Clérigos Tower in the distance. Look down onto the street and you might catch the local women playing cards.

Ladies playing cards in the street below Porto cathedral.
Ladies playing cards in the street below Porto cathedral.

From the main wall, opposite the pillory, the view gets even better. The streets spread downhill past the impressive facade and bell towers of Igreja de São Lourenço.  It’s worth going down to the viewpoint on the level below for a closer look at the church and the glass rooftops of the Palácio da Bolsa.

View of Porto from near the cathedral.
View of Porto from near the cathedral.

Virtudes Promenade

This small park is a welcome respite from walking uphill from the narrow Ribeira streets. It’s understandably popular with tourists but locals have been coming here for a stroll with a view since the 19th century. If you can’t see it on your map, aim for the bottom end of Rua Azevedo de Alberquerque.

View of Porto from Virtudes
View of Porto from Virtudes

Dom Luís I Bridge

You can cross this bridge on two levels but you’ll get the best views of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia from the top. If you’re coming at it from São Bento station, just keep walking with the cathedral on your right.  If you’re crossing from the Porto side, look up to your left to see the white circular Monastery of Serra do Pilar on the hill opposite. The metro line goes along this level of the bridge so watch out for trains when you’re taking photos.

Walking over Dom Luís bridge, Porto.
Walking over Dom Luís bridge.

To your right, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the Ribeira, a view towards the ocean and across the river to the port wine lodges of Vila Nova de Gaia.

View of Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto
View of Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto from Dom Luís bridge.

Jardim do Morro

Once you’ve crossed the top of Dom Luís I bridge, just walk a little further up to the Jardim do Morro for spectacular views over the river and city before heading down to the river front again. After you’ve had your fill of port-tasting, you can wobble back over the lower level of the bridge to Porto.

View of Porto from Jardim dos Morros.
View of Porto from Jardim dos Morros.

Funicular dos Guindais

A great way to save your legs from having to walk back up to the city centre from the Ribeira riverside is the funicular, which is just behind the lower level of the Dom Luís I bridge. From here you’ll get great views of the bridge itself and across the river.

View from Funicular Guindais, Porto.
View from Funicular Guindais, Porto.

Jardins do Palácio Cristal

As well as being one of the city’s most attractive gardens, the views of Porto, the Douro River and Vila Nova de Gaia from the various terraces of Jardins do Palácio Cristal are well worth a visit. Don’t forget your camera!

Discover which city parks offer the most stunning views so you can fully appreciate them and take enviable photos
Discover which city parks offer the most stunning views so you can fully appreciate them and take enviable photos

Most of these sights are included as part of my 1-2 Day Flexible Porto Walking Itinerary.

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19 Comments

  1. Loved Porto on our first short visit 2016, just booked to go back when the festival of St John is taking place at the end of June….can’t wait ! Love your articles !

  2. What a great post ! I just come back from a 3 day trip to Porto, and I totally fell in love with the city. The culture is so vibrant and the food was amazing. Reading your article made me want to go back even more !

    I just posted an article on my blog about all my favorite food finds in Porto, you might like it. Bon appétit, or aproveite sua refeição!


  3. Hi!

    I like very much your article! Porto has many beautiful places to see.
    Did you eat a “frencesinha”?

    1. Author

      Hi António. Thanks for stopping by. Yes I have tried francesinha although I have to say it’s not my favourite Portuguese food! Thanks for the link to your blog – it looks good! Perhaps you’d like to link to one of my articles in your “Who wrote about Porto?” section? There are several to choose from in this archive: https://juliedawnfox.com/tag/porto/

      1. I just put the link for an article. But one of these days I’ll make a post dedicated to your site. It’s great!

        Thanks

        1. Author

          Thanks, António. I look forward to reading it 😉

  4. I work in the place with the best view of both Porto and Gaia! I do the guides tours in the old Monastery overlooking the city – Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar. It’s possible to climb to the balcony surrounding the dome of the round church.
    It’s a pitty you didn’t go there, since it’s right next to the bridge and Jardim do Morro.

    1. Author

      Hi there, thanks for adding this. I definitely want to go there, I just didn’t have time to fit it in to my last trip. These photos are from several years of visiting Porto and the Monastery wasn’t open when I went to Jardim do Morro. Next time, for sure!

  5. Lovely city. Thanks for sharing the beauty through your eyes. 🙂

  6. Great series – I especially like the “misty morning” one. (When I saw the title of the posting I was wondering if you’d spashed out on a heli tour!)

    1. I wish! Sounds like a great idea though 🙂

  7. Some lovely photos which bring back many happy memories – we lived in Porto for 4 years back in the late 70’s early 80’s

    1. Hi Keith, thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m happy to be prompting fond memories 🙂

    1. Thanks, Barb. It’s cheating a little, I know, but there are a couple of shots from directly above 😉

  8. Beautiful photos Julie. I love the ones taken from the bridge and of the Dom Luis Bridge, I always thought it was a beautiful bridge.

    1. You’re right, Sami, it’s lovely, and a great place to get even better views.

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