Sé do Porto (Porto Cathedral)

#2 in Best Things To Do in Porto
Sé do Porto (Porto Cathedral) picture
karnizz/Shutterstock

Key Info

Terreiro da Sé

Price & Hours

Free

Details

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

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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Type
Time to Spend
#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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