Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace)#11 in Best Things To Do in Porto
One of the most-visited sites in Porto, the Palácio da Bolsa is renowned for its exquisite neoclassical facade and ornate gilded Arabian Hall. This massive building — located in the historic center of Porto — once acted as the city's stock exchange, wooing European bankers and investors alike. Today, you can tour the interior with a guide and see the glass-domed Pátio das Nações (Hall of Nations) and the magnificently golden Salão Árabe (Arabian Hall, which was designed to mimic the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain), as well as the numerous portraits that adorn the walls.
Travel experts and publications consistently laud the Palácio da Bolsa as a must-see stop in Porto, but recent visitors offer mixed reviews. Some travelers say the tour price is a little high and not being able to take photos is discouraging. But others note the sheer splendor of the interior and learning the history behind the building is worth the price.
While you can admire the palace's exterior for free, the only way in is through the guided, half-hour tours, which are offered in Portuguese, English, French and Spanish. Tickets cost €7 EUR (or about $9.50 USD) per adult and €4 EUR (about $5.50 USD) for students and seniors; children younger than 12 can enter for free. The Palácio da Bolsa is open from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. every day from April to October, and from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day (with a brief mid-day closure between 12:30 and 2 p.m.) from November through March. The Palácio da Bolsa is located on Rua Ferreira Borges and can be accessed via the São Bento stop on the D (yellow) metro line; the Palácio is about a half a mile walk southwest of the metro. For more information on the Palácio da Bolsa, visit the 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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