Attractions in Ermesinde cater to the entire family. Take the kids to this zoological park for close encounters with caimans, snakes and a variety of lizards.
For sports fans, a visit to the 50,000-seat Estadio do Dragao gives a glimpse of Porto’s most famous trophy collection. The stadium also hosts FC Porto matches, so plan a trip around a game if you can.
For kids (and adults who are still kids at heart) the best things to do in Ermesinde include an indoor glow-in-the-dark mini golf and a soft play park. For a more unique experience, hop aboard the Porto Magic Train to explore the city’s historic center in an immersive way.
Designed by Gustav Eiffel, the iconic Luiz I Bridge is one of the most famous in town, offering a bird’s-eye view of the city below. Pair your stroll across the bridge with a traditional Fado show—a melancholy Portuguese music style that aims to evoke ‘saudade’, a sense of longing—for a night of romance and nostalgia.
Step back in time on a tour of the old-fashioned trams—Porto’s other mode of transportation—or take part in an enigmatic scavenger hunt through the city’s historic neighborhoods. Or if beer is more your thing, try a social beer-tasting session.
The residential community of Valongo is within easy reach of everything Porto has to offer, but with a handful of attractions all its own. It hosts one of Portugal’s most unique traditional celebrations in June and stages a magic festival in autumn that draws scores of illusionists from across Europe, including FISM Grand Prix winners.
Around Valongo the urban sprawl of Porto’s metropolitan area thins out, with the Santa Justa and Pias mountain ranges ensconced in natural woodland and eucalyptus plantations, and coursed by a tributary of the Douro. Before venturing into this wild landscape drop by the local interpretation centre that gets you up to speed on the flora and fauna that thrive in this rugged terrain.
For a sweet treat, sample the local baking tradition in the bakery windows that offer doces brancos and pudim de pao, where bread is blended with milk, eggs and sugar.
The city of Porto’s nearest beach has broad sands, scenic promenades and fish restaurants. It’s a favorite with local families and also attracts surfers. The name of the enticing strand is Praia de Matosinhos (literally ‘The Cheese Castle’), though it actually comes from the shape of a nearby hill which resembles a piece of cheese.
Nearby, the former home of 20th century Portuguese artist and social thinker Abel Salazar now houses a museum that puts on short-term art exhibitions, with works by Joan Miro, Christoper Wool and Luc Tuymans among others.
Between the metro stations of Matosinhos Sul and Mercado, the streets are crammed with restaurants. Many of them specialize in seafood but there are other options for those who prefer not to eat fish and seaweed.
4. Soares dos Reis
The museum is located in the Carrancas Palace, an 18th century building, which has been adapted to its new function. It hosts a vast collection of ceramics, sculpture, furniture and jewelry from Portuguese artists.
Founded in 1833 by King Peter IV as the Museum Portuense, it originally displayed religious art confiscated from convents and works expropriated from supporters of Miguel I during the struggle between liberalism and absolutism. In 1911, it acquired a huge collection of sculptures by the artist Soares dos Reis and it took its current name in honor of him.
On June 23, the streets are filled with the sound of squeaks, caused by people hitting each other on the head with soft plastic mallets. This is a traditional part of the celebration known as “Feira de Santo Antonio”. This event is short but very enjoyable!
5. Funny City
Yes this little town may be touristy but that’s exactly why you should visit – its cobbled streets, gorgeous architecture and artsy vibes will leave you pinching yourself. Wander around the castle, snap that all-important insta and leave feeling utterly refreshed.
Explore this vast natural park and discover a fortress that’s more than 400 years old, positioned in the hills overlooking Setubal. With a mix of wild beaches, hidden hiking trails and far-reaching vantage points, it’s one of the best things to do in Portugal for nature lovers.
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