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.

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Fall in love with the colorful azulejos

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.

A couple walk up a set of stairs covered in street art depicting the sides of buildings and rooftops, creating an effect where it seems as though the couple is walking on roofs
There are street art murals and installations throughout Porto © Shootdiem / Getty Images

Hunt out the city's best street art

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.

Take a seaside stroll along the Foz do Douro promenade

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.

A senior couple stand together at the railings of a viewpoint looking down over a city with a river as the sun sets
There are panoramic views of Porto from Jardim do Morro © RS-74 / Shutterstock

Watch the sunset from Jardim do Morro

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.

Attend free concerts at the Casa da Música

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.

Four people look at various photo exhibits within a large white-washed room within an old prison; large stone columns and arches dominate the space; free things to do in Porto
An old prison hosts the temporary and permanent exhibitions of the Centro Português de Fotografia © Emily McAuliffe / Lonely Planet

Be transported at the Portuguese Center of Photography

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.

See the gardens at Jardins do Palácio de Cristal

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.

Felgueiras Lighthouse stands at the end of a concrete pier; in the distance the sun sets into a rough ocean, while in the foreground the sea rolls over a beach covered in large stones; free things to do in Porto
Take the less crowded route to Felgueiras lighthouse © Fotokon / Shutterstock

Trek to the lighthouse Farolim de Felgueiras

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.

Visit the monuments at Cemitério do Prado Repouso

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.

Get a history lesson at Igreja da Lapa

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.

The article was first published about six hours ago.