Fervent. Vibrant. Irreverent. With soul. With an accent. With color. With people. Porto. This very noble and always loyal city that gave its name to Portugal, saw its Historic Center classified as Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO , in 1996.
The urban fabric that makes up the historic center extends between the oldest parishes of Porto and Gaia and is testimony to the medieval origins of the city, constituting a unique example of an urban landscape endowed with identity, character and aesthetics.
It is here that monuments of undeniable historical value are erected, in an act of stubbornness and resistance. It is here that the pulse of life in Porto happens, in a city that it's history and future, it's tradition and irreverence.
And it is from this Porto of departure that we create a brief route through the Historic Center, so that you can fall in love with the Invicta City as much as we do…
Carlos Alberto square
Just a few steps away from Moon & Sun Hotel Porto, you will find Praça Carlos Alberto – one of the ex-libris of the city.
The square owes its name to the homonymous Italian king, who, dethroned from the throne in 1849, chose Porto to live, precisely in the Palacete de Viscondes de Balsemão, in the middle of Praça Carlos Alberto.
Currently, Carlos Alberto has many cafes, restaurants and shops, making it the ideal place to gain energy for the adventure that follows.
Rectory of the University of Porto
Head towards Praça de Gomes Teixeira and here you will find the fantastic building of the Rectory of the University of Porto, which is also part of the Museum of Natural History.
The neoclassical rectangular building was designed by Carlos Amarante and dates from 1807. Magnificent, right?
This staircase does not fool anyone: classified as a monument of Public Interest – and in the process of becoming a National Monument – Livraria Lello is one of the oldest bookstores in Porto.
The neo-Gothic façade, the emblematic stained glass window and the shelves full of books have attracted thousands of visitors. It's worth the visit!
Don't lose the rhythm and advance towards the Clérigos Tower. If you are full of energy and have enough breath, climb the steps and be amazed by the panoramic view of Porto. The perspective is slightly different from the Moon & Sun Rooftop view, so we think it's worth a try.
If you don't want to or can't go up, know that a multisensory perception station has been installed that simulates the experience of going up, being accessible and available to all visitors.
Avenida dos Aliados
Walk down Rua dos Clérigos towards Avenida dos Aliados and take a moment to appreciate the architectural beauty of Praça da Liberdade.
Considered by many to be the heart of the city, this is where you will find the Porto City Council building, the Banco de Portugal delegation, the Equestrian Statue of D. Pedro IV and the famous sculpture “Ardina”, by Manuel Dias.
The square also has several restaurants and luxury stores. If you want to buy a special gift, you can do it here.
São Bento Station
Point of departure and point of arrival, São Bento Station has established itself as one of the main monuments in Porto, being especially acclaimed for its tile panels. Of French influence, the railway station was designed by the Porto architect José Marques da Silva and was officially inaugurated on October 5th, 1916. A visit to its interior is a must!
The goal is to reach Ribeira do Porto to cross the D. Luís Bridge, so the ideal thing is to take one of the most beautiful pedestrian streets in the historic center: Rua das Flores. Parallel to the equally beautiful Rua Mouzinho Silveira, the renovated Rua das Flores has a wide range of shops, from bars, restaurants and traditional shops. Along this street you will find several street artists – musicians, painters or even photographers - so we advise you to enjoy the best that this area has to offer.
Stock Exchange Palace
Mandatory stop: even before reaching Ribeira, you will find the Palácio da Bolsa – National Monument, designed in 1842 so that the city's businessmen would have a place to meet. The famous Arab Room and Pátio das Nações are true works of art and deserve a visit. Absolutely magnificent!
If you still have enough energy, take advantage of the proximity and visit the Church of S. Francisco and the Ferreira Borges Market – they are historical monuments and are worth the visit.
D. Luís I Bridge
We are almost at the end of our route, but we still need to cross the D. Luís bridge. Shall we continue?
This magnificent metallic bridge that connects the cities of Porto and Gaia was built between 1881 and 1886, and aimed to replace the old suspension bridge that existed in the same place. It was designed by the Belgian engineer Théophile Sevring, who had previously collaborated with Gustave Eiffel, in the construction of the Bridge of D. Maria Pia.
Both decks that constitute it allow pedestrian crossing, so the path to follow to Jardim do Morro is your option... what we guarantee is that both views are wonderful.
Jardim do Morro
Now yes, we have reached the end of our script. Rest, sit on the lawn of Jardim do Morro and enjoy this breathtaking view to confirm what we said at the beginning of this journey: the historic center of Porto has an unparalleled urban landscape full of character and identity.
Jardim do Morro is located at the foot of Serra do Pilar, next to the upper deck of the D. Luís Bridge. It has a lake, a gazebo and a wide variety of plant species. An oasis with an unobstructed view of the magnificent city of Porto.