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Porto Cathedral picture in Porto
karnizz / Shutterstock

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  • Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.5
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  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

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Perched on a hilltop standing watch over the city, the Porto Cathedral (known as the Sé) was originally built between the 12th and 13th centuries, and features a variety of architectural styles, including Romanesque, baroque and gothic. The fortress-like church is the largest in the city and one of Porto's oldest monuments; it's flanked by twin towers and has a rather plain stone facade. But inside the Sé you'll find a beautiful stained-glass rose window, a collection of centuries-old sculptures and a silver altarpiece that was once used as the bishop's study. Meanwhile, the cloister boasts cobalt and white ceramic tiles that depict different scenes from religious history. Most travelers say visiting the church and cloister is absolutely worth an hour or two, noting that the exterior is remarkable but the interior is exquisite.

This particular attraction is also popular with visitors thanks to its vantage point. You can meander along the terrace outside the church and admire the views (and take photos) of Porto's terra cotta-colored rooftops below.

The Sé is located on Terreiro da Sé in central Porto and can be reached most easily via the São Bento stop on Porto's D (yellow) metro line. The cathedral is open daily from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2:30 to 7 p.m. from April through October, and closes at 6 p.m. between November and March. While you don't have to pay to walk around the cathedral, it costs €3 EUR (about $4 USD) to explore the cloister area.

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Hotels Nearby

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The House Ribeira Porto Hotel

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#1 Dom Luis 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 ... Read more » Enrique Aznar De Pedro / EyeEm / Getty Images

#2 Se do Porto (Porto Cathedral) Perched on a hilltop standing watch over the city, the Porto Cathedral (known as the Sé) was originally built between the 12th and 13th centuries, and features a variety of ... Read more » karnizz / Shutterstock

#3 Jardins do Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace Gardens) 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 ... Read more » Anastasia Petrova / Shutterstock

#4 Avenida dos Aliados (Avenue of the Allies) Porto's main thoroughfare, Avenida dos Aliados, features a smattering of cafes, hotels, banks and boutiques all housed in architecturally impressive buildings. Located in the heart of Porto, just southeast ... Read more » A wandering minstrel / Flickr

#5 Port Wine Tastings & Tours A visit to Porto wouldn't be complete without a stop to sample the city's most notable export — port wine. You'll find dozens of wine cellars scattered throughout ... Read more » Anastasia Petrova / Shutterstock

#6 Estacao de Sao Bento (Sao Bento Railway Station) Built on the former site of a Benedictine monastery, the São Bento Railway Station was inaugurated in 1916; today, trains pass through here carrying travelers between Porto and many of ... Read more » Yellow.Cat / Flickr

#7 Mercado do Bolhao (Bolhao Market) Scents of sweet fruit, freshly baked bread and aromatic cheeses greet visitors as soon as they enter the Mercado do Bolhão. This open-air market is reminiscent of many you'll ... Read more » Sunny Ripert / Flickr

#8 Beaches Porto's location along Portugal's northwestern coast grants the city access to some prime beachfront. If you find yourself experiencing a sunny day, visiting Portugal's northwest coast is ... Read more » Ângela Antunes / Flickr

#9 Igreja de Sao Francisco (Church of Saint Francis) Everyone knows the old adage, "don't judge a book by its cover" — the notion couldn't be truer in the case of the Igreja de São Francisco. This church ... Read more » Martin Lehmann / Shutterstock

#10 Livraria Lello & Irmao (Lello Bookstore) A bookstore may not seem like one of the most necessary things to see in a new city, but when it's consistently named one of the world's most ... Read more » Ângela Antunes / Flickr

#11 Palacio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace) 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 ... Read more » Hugo Cadavez / Flickr

#12 Fundacao de Serralves (Serralves Foundation Complex) 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 ... Read more » Visual Cortex / Shutterstock

#13 Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis (National Museum Soares dos Reis) Founded in 1833, the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis was Portugal's first public art museum. Art lovers will appreciate the expansive collection housed here, as well as the ... Read more » Angelo Romano / Flickr

#14 Dragao Stadium While Portugal may not be as well-known for having avid soccer fans as Spain or England, the Portuguese still love their futebol. Porto's home team, F.C. Porto, is ... Read more » Edgar Jiménez / Flickr

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The exquisite bridge is the handiwork of Gustave Eiffel's best student, Théophile Seyrig, and connects Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. Pedestrians can walk on both the top and bottom levels of the bridge. Enrique Aznar De Pedro / EyeEm / Getty Images

Built between the 12th and 13th centuries, the Sé do Porto, or Porto Cathedral, is characterized by twin towers and its outward stone facade. Inside, you can see an elaborate stained-glass window and the silver altar. The terrace in front of the church also offers great views of the city. karnizz / Shutterstock

The Jardins do Palácio de Cristal feature flowers, fountains and fauna, and make for a nice stroll. You'll find plenty of photo opportunities, whether you're snapping pics of the garden or the Douro River. Anastasia Petrova / Shutterstock

Porto's main thoroughfare, Avenida dos Aliados, is lined with cafes, shops and banks. Standing tall at the tip of the avenue is city hall, characterized by its regal granite and marble elements. A wandering minstrel / Flickr

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The detailed azulejos tiles in the São Bento Railway Station are the reason many travelers visit this top site in Porto. Bring your camera along to snap a photo for yourself. Yellow.Cat / Flickr

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Livraria Lello & Irmão is known for its intricate exterior and ruby red staircase. Plus, you'll find plenty of nonfiction and fiction books at this store — some are even available in English. Ângela Antunes / Flickr

The Stock Exchange Palace was once Porto's financial hub. Today, it's worth a visit to admire its architectural prowess. You'll likely be wowed by the striking golden Arab Hall. Hugo Cadavez / Flickr

The Serralves complex comprises a villa, a park and a contemporary art museum, all three of which sit on nearly 45 acres of land. Its art deco architecture is some of the most notable in Portugal, according to experts, and visitors describe the gardens and art within the museum as beautiful. Visual Cortex / Shutterstock

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