Jardins do Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace Gardens)

#3 in Best Things To Do in Porto
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Key Info

Rua D. Manuel II

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Free, Parks and Gardens Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

The Crystal Palace Gardens boast green shrubbery, winding walkways, bright flora and bubbling fountains. Bring your camera along because you'll find plenty of photo opportunities here: Everything from the flower varieties to the expansive views of the Douro River beckons for your attention. (And if you're lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the peacocks that roam the gardens.) The park's name comes from the Crystal Palace that once stood here, though it was torn down in 1956 and replaced with a domed pavilion that houses a sporting arena and a multi-purpose events center, which was refurbished in 2019.

Visitors routinely rave about the panoramic views afforded from this hilltop park.

The best way to get to the Crystal Palace Gardens is via metro to the Aliados stop on the D (yellow) line or the Carolina Michaelis stop, which services the A, B, C, E and F (blue, red, green, purple and orange) lines. However, it is a bit of a walk (about 15 to 20 minutes) from either metro station. You could reach the attraction by bus: Bus lines 3, 20, 35, 37, 52, 78, 200 and 207 service the area. The gardens are open daily beginning at 8 a.m. and until 9 p.m. from April through September and until 7 p.m. from October through March. They are free to explore.

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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 Luis 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, travelers consistently attest. 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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