Fundação de Serralves (Serralves Foundation Complex)#12 in Best Things To Do in Porto
The Fundação de Serralves comprises a park, a villa and a contemporary art museum all set on nearly 45 acres of land in western Porto. Billed as a cultural institution, the foundation aims to "raise the general public's awareness concerning contemporary art and the environment." The villa and park were the first to open (in the 1930s); the villa is often touted by architecture experts and historians as the most noteworthy example of an art deco building in Portugal and it was declared a national monument in 2012. Inside, the villa is laid out like a private residence (as it was originally such) and hosts temporary art exhibits throughout the year. Situated on one of the highest points of the complex, the villa overlooks the park, which features lush gardens, exotic plants, winding pathways and even a farm. Permanent sculptures pepper the premises as well. Meanwhile, the Serralves Museum opened in 1999 and boasts 14 exhibition galleries across three floors. Today, the museum features rotating art exhibits, music and dance performances, and educational programs.
Although it's a bit removed from other top attractions around Porto, the Fundação de Serralves is well worth a visit for its beautiful gardens and interesting art, recent travelers say. Also, if you happen to be visiting in late May or early June, you can take part in the museum's annual Serralves em Festa festival, which offers a plethora of free contemporary art and cultural events and performances.
The Fundação de Serralves is situated about 3 miles west of downtown Porto, neighboring the beach area of Foz to the east. You can reach the complex by bus route No. 201 from Avenida dos Aliados or 502 along Avenida do Boavista to the Vodafone Serralves stop, or bus No. 203 from the Marqués metro station to the Serralves stop. From October through March, the museum and villa are open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., while the park is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. From April through September, the museum is open one hour later on weekends, while the villa closes an hour earlier. The park also offers extended weekend hours during the summer months and is open on Mondays (from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.) from July to September. Museum and park admission costs €8.50 EUR (about $11.75 USD) and park-only admission is €4 EUR (about $5.50 USD). Discounts are available for children and for adults with the Porto Card. For more information, visit the Serralves Foundation website.
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#1 Dom Luís I Bridge
This iconic arching iron bridge straddles the Douro River, connecting Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia. Though Porto is known for having quite a few bridges, the Dom Luís I Bridge is especially renowned because it was designed by a student of Gustave Eiffel, the mastermind behind the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Plus, at the time of its completion in 1886, this bridge was the longest iron arch in the world. The bridge accommodates cars on its lower level and Porto's metro on its upper level; pedestrians can walk along the bridge on both levels. Stroll along the upper deck of the bridge and you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of the edifices built into the hillside cliffs that line the river.
Admiring the bridge's composition and the views it offers is something all visitors to Porto must do, according to recent travelers. "This bridge has got to be one of the most amazing pieces of architecture," swooned one TripAdvisor user. "Be sure to walk both top and bottom levels if you can, views are excellent!" A visit here would pair well with a stop at some of Porto's nearby wineries across the bridge in Vila Nova de Gaia. Another option would be to hop on a Douro River cruise or boat tour, which would allow you to see all six bridges in one go.
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