If you plan to be a student in Porto, you should know that this city is pure charm. Framed by a youthful atmosphere, a privileged location and many places to visit, Porto is one of the most popular university cities in Portugal.
In the city center, the traditional blends with the modern. Medieval buildings, baroque churches and monumental bridges stand out amidst busy restaurants, shops and cafés. Imagine all the walks you can take through these streets with an incredible view of the Douro River.
When you have some free time, take the opportunity to enjoy these 6 ideal walks for university students:
1. Visit to the old town
The best way to admire the way of life in Porto is to walk through the streets of the old town. During the tour, you will see the beauty in the architecture of the buildings, cobblestone alleys and several monuments such as the Stock Exchange Building and the Church of Santa Clara.
For its cultural and historical richness, Porto's old town was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Moreover, you will be surprised to know that some of the buildings that are still standing are more than 1,000 years old.
2. Discover the Serralves Foundation
If you are a lover of art and culture, you will love the Serralves Foundation. It is located in Foz, a few kilometers from the old town. The best thing about this Foundation is that it is one of the most recognised cultural institutions in the world.
It consists of the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Casa Serralve, an auditorium, the Casa do Cinema Manoel de Oliveira and a park of almost 20 hectares. After visiting the facilities, we invite you to take a stroll in the park to enjoy the botanical gardens and the sculptures that adorn it.
3. Douro river cruise tour
One of the experiences not to be missed as a student in Porto is a cruise on the Douro River. You can go alone, but you will surely enjoy it more if you go with friends. In the Ribeira, you will find several companies that do these tours for no more than 15€. The tour usually lasts about an hour and the experience is fantastic.
4. Panoramic view from the Torre dos Clérigos (Clerics' Tower)
From the top of the Clérigos Tower, you can enjoy the most beautiful panoramic view of Porto. This tower is more than 75 metres high and used to be one of the tallest buildings in the city. It was built between 1735 and 1748 as one of the strategic points for defence; but today, it is one of the major tourist attractions.
There are no elevators to go up, so you will have to climb 240 stairs on foot. It can be a bit strenuous, but the end of the walk is worth it. From the top, you will see the entire old town and in the distance, the Douro River. Make the most of it and take some photos of the spectacular view.
5. Visit the Lello Bookshop
If you are a student in Porto, definitely one of the first things you should do is visit the Lello bookshop. This library has been recognized as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. That is why it attracts many visitors and tourists who are passing through the city.
On the outside, the neo-gothic style blends with the colourful paintings of José Bielman. However, the beauty of this library is not limited to its façade. Its interior is majestic, especially the combination of Art Nouveau and eclectic styles. The ornaments and details extend from the stairs to the ceiling, so don't forget to look up during your visit.
In addition to the beautiful architecture, this bookshop is home to an extensive collection of books including international and Portuguese writers of the highest calibre.
6. Express trip with friends
Porto is close to several Portuguese cities that are great for a weekend getaway. You can visit the city of Braga, which is famous for being the oldest city in Portugal and for having belonged to the Roman Empire.
At that time, more than 2000 years ago, the city used to be called Bracara Augusta and today, it is still possible to admire the ancient buildings and churches that the Romans left in their wake. Braga is also the third largest city in Portugal. However, it is easy to take a walking tour to see its most emblematic spots.
Another city you can visit on a weekend getaway is Gerês. This town is close to the Spanish border and is home to the country's only national park: the Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês. You'll be surrounded by an incredible pine forest, hills, valleys, lagoons and unspoilt rivers. A perfect environment to disconnect from routine and take a breath of fresh air.
As a student in Porto, you will never be short of weekend plans. This is one of the most youthful and beautiful cities in Portugal, so studying here will be one of the best experiences of your life.