Parque da Cidade do Porto (Porto City Park)

#6 in Best Things To Do in Porto
 picture
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Key Info

Avenida da Boavista

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Zoos and Aquariums, Free, Parks and Gardens, Sports Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Parque da Cidade do Porto, or Porto City Park, ranks as one of the largest parks in northern Portugal at more than 200 acres. It has more than 6 miles of trails for biking and walking, and it is a popular spot for picnics and other outdoor activities, particularly on weekends. In addition to lakes and lawns and diverse flora and fauna, the park contains the Sea Life Porto, a privately run aquarium with thousands of marine animals, and the Pavilhão da Água (Water Pavilion), which was originally part of Expo 98 in Lisbon, but was reconstructed in the park and emphasizes the importance of water to Portugal's history and culture.

The park extends to the Atlantic Ocean and affords access to the area's beaches, a much-appreciated feature. Parkgoers describe Parque da Cidade as well-organized and well-maintained. As would be expected, adults and children alike love the park.

Travelers can enter the park from the waterfront (western entrance), from Avenida da Boavista (southern entrance) or from Estrada Interior da Circunvalação (northern side). It opens at 10 a.m. daily. During peak season, from April through September, it remains open until midnight. From October through March, it closes at 10 p.m. (The pavilion and the aquarium have different hours; both open at 10 a.m. but close earlier than the park does. And while it is free to enter the park, that is not the case with these attractions.)

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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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