Porto is a stunning city that lies on the northwest coast of Portugal and it’s a very pretty city. You might have seen some of the pictures of Porto with the iconic image of the amazing bridges that cross the great Douro River that flows through the heart of the city.
In the medieval riverside district Ribeira, you’ll find pretty cobblestone streets that run past classic Portuguese cafes, houses, and taverns which are lovely to take a stroll down. Architecturally, Porto is also home to the São Francisco Church which is full of stunning baroque era decor, and the Palácio de Bolsa from the 1800s which was built as a stock market for European investors.
As you might have guessed by now, Porto is a stunning place to visit and one excellent way to look around the city is by seeing the best views in Porto which we’ll look at now.
If you want to see Porto from an almost birds-eye view with a 360-degree look of the city and the surroundings, then there is just one place in the city you should go to, Clerigos Tower.
Clerigos Tower is a part of Celrigo’s church and is a 76-meter high bell tower that was built during the baroque period. It’s well worth checking out the church and its stunning architecture while you’re there and then it’s time to climb the 240 steps to the top Celrigos Tower.
Once you’re at the top, you’ll see a stunning 360 view of Porto that includes the old town and the Douro river. It does get quite busy at Clerigos Tower but there are ways to avoid the queues. If you buy your ticket to enter online and arrive early in the morning you’re likely to have the tower to yourself or with just a few people.
It’s also a great time to take some pictures when the morning light is in full force and you might also have some sea mist to make the view quite dramatic.
Sé do Porto is the Porto Cathedral which you’ll find just down the road from Clerigo Church and it’s not far from the stunning train station of São Bento. Visiting the cathedral is probably something you’re already planning to do while in Porto as it’s stunning with its roman style and gothic cloisters plus a rose window.
If you’re not visiting the cathedral, for one of the best views in Porto you should head to the square and look over the walls. You’ll be able to see amazing views down the hill and across the river into the old Ribeira district with Clerigos Tower behind.
If you walk to another side of the square particularly next to the pillory you’ll be able to see beautiful streets that feature the stunning Igreja de São Lourenço bell towers and if you drop down a level you can see the Palácio da Bolsa amazing glass roofs and the church too.
Close to the cathedral, you’ll also find Grilos Church which is a place most people forget to visit. If you head down Calçada Dom Pedro Pitões from the cathedral, you’ll arrive there within a few minutes and get to see the stunning Convento dos Grilos.
From Rua das Aldas just next to the Convento dos Grilos you’ll be able to see a stunning view of Porto which includes the Douro river and the city center. One thing that makes this view so special is that you’re likely to have the place to yourself which isn’t so easy at most of the places with great views of Porto.
Another excellent view of Porto is at the Largo do Colégio, just next to the São Lourenço Church where you’ll find a place called the Cricket viewpoint. From the Cricket viewpoint, you will get a very unique view of Porto that not many other places offer.
To the left, you’ll get a stunning view of the Porto wine cellars and to the right a view of the Old Jewish quarter. It’s a great place to take photos of the city and it’s not far from the cathedral either, so it’s no extra time to visit.
While you’re there you should also take a look at the 18th-century church you’ll be standing next to. It’s home to one of the old fireboxes of Porto which you’ll find on the facade plus the neoclassical and baroque architectural style is fantastic to see.
Inside the church, you’ll find a small museum that is full of ancient pieces of artwork that are worth seeing if you enjoy those kinds of things.
When your legs are tired from exploring the city and you’re looking for somewhere to take a rest, wander over to Jardim do Morro, a stunning little park on a hill that is just next to the Douro River.
The park is the perfect place to have a picnic, sit back, and watch the river flow through the center of Port with stunning views of the Cathedral and the Palácio da Bolsa.
If you want to see a great view of Porto with the river Douro at its heart then you should walk across the Ponte Luís I Bridge and pause to take a look up to the west (downriver) and the east (upriver).
You can also walk across the bridge on two levels, up and down, so it’s recommended to walk across it on one side on the top level and the other side on the bottom level to get the best views in every direction.
From the bridge, you’ll see views right down the river with Porto all around it and the port wine lodges of Vila Nova de Gaia. You’ll see the ancient district of Ribeira with a birds-eye view too and you’re not far from the cathedral or the Jardim do Morro.
Once you have walked across the Ponte Luís I Bridge on the upper deck, walking from the cathedral and towards the Jardim do Morro, you will see a street on your left that will take you way up to an ancient monastery called Serra do Pilar which has a stunning panoramic view over Porto and to the west which includes the river.
If you are looking for a view in Porto to watch the sunset from then this is it. You’ll see the sun drop into the Atlantic on clear days as all the light reflects across the river and it’s a great place to start your night with your partner and enjoy a glass of wine, plus you can get some amazing photos of Porto under a sunset.
This might seem a little bit like cheating but there isn’t a better way to get awesome views of Porto than by hopping on a river cruise and seeing the city from the water. You’ll get amazing views and photo opportunities as you come up to and around every big meander the river takes through the beautiful town. You’ll go past and up close the 6 famous bridges in Porto too.
You can book river cruises for less than 20 euros a person and it’s also a great way to entertain the kids as it’s always nice to be on a boat and on the water. You can also book a river cruise that includes a visit to a port wine lodge where you can enjoy some port tasting too.
The Jardins do Palácio Cristal are on the northern side of the Douro River and these stunning gardens offer one of the most well-rounded views of Porto in my eyes. When you arrive at the Jardins do Palácio Cristal, walk to the top of them and then look back towards the river.
You’ll see one of the main bridges crossing the Douro River, the city of Porto around it, the great Douro River, and the estuary where the Douro meets the Atlantic. Along with these classic views, you’ll also see Vila Nova de Gaia.
The Jardins do Palácio Cristal are terraced and are also some of the most stunning gardens in the city of Porto, so they are well worth walking around. This is also a fantastic place to go to for sunset as the views of the Douro going into the sea while the sun goes down into the Atlantic and Porto surrounds it is quite breathtaking.
The gardens of Miradouro das Virtudes are a great place to hang out in the summertime as it catches a cool breeze from the river and has lots of shady areas to hang out in. It’s a very popular place with locals and you’ll always see friends meeting and hanging out in the gardens.
From the gardens, you’ll find a stunning view down the Douro and of Arrábida bridge and one of the greenest views in Porto since the Vila Nova de Gaia is on the other side of the river.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!