Porto is one of Portugal's most captivating cities and can be visited for a low cost. There are plenty of budget-friendly places to eat and drink in the area. There are many activities in Porto that you can enjoy without spending a lot of money.
Porto has a lot of opportunities to experience a wide range of culture. Track down hidden street art by Porto-based artists or explore a 19th-century graveyard if you want to get off the beaten path. There are many things to do in Porto for free.Ready to start planning? Sign up for our weekly newsletter and get 20% off your next guidebook.
The blue-and-white tiles of Porto add a dash of flamboyance to the cityscape. Many heritage buildings have striking geometric designs or detailed murals that double as open-access history files.
There are 20,000 hand-painted tiles depicting scenes from Portugal's past at the entrance of the So Bento train station. The churches of Capela das Almas, Igreja do Carmo and Igreja de Santo Ildefonso are all covered in azulejo. The artist Jlio Resende created Ribeira Negra, which is located near the base of the Dom Lus I bridge at the entrance to the Ribeira tunnel. You can lose yourself for days if you start a journal.
There are some of Porto's best artwork that you won't have to pay to see. There are some jaw-dropping installations carved into cement walls. Hazul Luzah, Costah and MrDheo are Porto-based artists who create geometric works that defy convention.
The parking lot at Trindade has large-scale murals and should be on any list of high priorities. One of the hottest spots is Lapa, which is just one metro stop north. There is a cute little rabbit on a corner in Vila Nova de Gaia. Eime pays homage to Portugal's elders in a three story tall stencil at Largo de Artur Arcos. Vhils created his mural from chiseling directly into the building.
You can take a bus to the oceanfront district of Foz do Douro. There is a paved path for pedestrians and cyclists that will take you past sandy beaches and rocky shorelines all the way up to the beach. Along the way, you will pass grassy overlooks, an elegant pergola and some well- placed cafes for refreshment.
The golden sunsets of Porto have a magnetism. The sun makes its descent into the Atlantic in the late afternoon, and a lot of sun worshippers find a river-fronting patch of turf to watch it. You can get a craft beer from Catraio, a picnic blanket and some Serra da Estrela cheese, and follow the crowds to the slopes of Jardim do Morro, where you can see the romantic picture- perfect panorama of Porto. It is part of the fun to walk across the Ponte de Dom Lus I, take the metro, or ride the cable car that goes up from the river.
The Casa da Msica is one of Porto's top destinations for concerts. There are free concerts on the esplanade in the summer. Folk, jazz, classical and blues as well as eclectic sounds from Brazil and beyond take to the stage of the cafe terrace on Thursdays and Saturdays. The shows start at 9:30 or 10.
There are free exhibitions in the eerie enclave of an old prison at the Centro Portugus de Fotografia, a short walk from the Avenida dos Aliados. There are both permanent and temporary expositions that showcase works from both Portuguese and international photographers. The building was torn down in 1974 after the Portuguese revolution, but it came back to life in 2000 as a gallery.
The Jardins do Palcio de Cristal are located in the city. There are steps that lead to the south bank of Vila Nova de Gaia.
The "crystal palace" of the 19th century has been replaced by a domed facility that bears a resemblance to a flying saucer. If you want to find the garden entrance, use it as a beacon and set off across the eight hectares.
Taking the same route by foot can be just as rewarding and less crowded as clacking along the Douro River in a tram.
You can start from the Ribeira district and go west for 6 km. Pass tangles of fishing nets and boats that are bobbing with the tide to reach the point where the river splits into two. You can watch the ocean throw its weight against the lighthouse from the jetty or you can take a soaking from the waves.
The Cemitério do Prado Repouso is an unconventional attraction with an attractive calmative quality. The tombstones of everyday folk as well as former mayors, physicians, actors and writers are shaded by rows of magnolia and camellia trees. The people who died in Porto's 1891 revolution are honored in a monument.
King Pedro IV of Portugal and the first emperor of Brazil were both associated with Porto. Upon his death, he requested that his heart be given to the city and it landed in Igreja da Lapa in Porto's north. There is no science-lab jar of preserved remains to be found at the catholic church, but it is still a great place to visit off the main tourist trail. One of the largest pipes in Europe can be found here.
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