10 Things to Do in Porto When it Rains
So you finally got on your trip to Portugal and arrived to the magical city of Porto, but it does not stop pouring? well, Porto has those moments sometimes... but you know what? don't worry too much, because we just collected those fantastic 10 (!!!) Top Tips for travelling in Portugal in those stormy days and survive with wonderful memories!
So pack up your coat, get a strong umbrella, cause you ain't going to waste your day in the hotel crying! lets do it, shall we?!
1. Wine Tasting
When you visit Portugal and the temperatures are low outside, the best way to warm up is with a good wine tasting. It works even better when the winery you choose has a nice view to the outside, and the big windows reflect the rain, while you are seated in the warm interior, taking some bites of fine chocolate. Our Top priority is Graham’s Port Lodge for the fine wine, the jewel like chocolates, and the beautiful views from the windows and the restaurant. You can also book a tour there and learn a bit more about the story behind the brand.
- Graham’s Port Lodge opens everyday between 9:30-17:30
- Rua do Agro 141, 4400-281 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
2. Food Tour
In the rain or under the sun, there’s no better way to get to discover Porto than to eat your way to its history. This tour is a perfect addition to your vacation in Portugal with kids and the best way to get addicted to it’s most marvelous city- Porto. In just about 4 hours you will see everything you need to see and know about this place, and your taste buds will make sure you will keep it in your memories forever. An historical food tour will reveal to you secrets hidden in the colorful tiled streets, walk you through those fumes of wine floating in the air, and get you familiar with Porto’s most famous sites.
The Eat & Tell Porto’s Tale by Get-Portugal.com does it in a funny way tailored to your needs and combines the food and history with aspects of art, music and architecture.
How to book the tour?
- Price: €50 per person (including food)
3. Fado Performance
The Portuguese culture is one that you need to feel, rather to just read about. And its music- the Fado- is no doubt the best way to get it done. According to the ‘ Queen of Fado’, Amália Rodrigues, “Fado is not sung, it happens. It can not be explained, only felt”. Porto offers few options for fado performances. We highly recommend the one-hour long acoustic and intimate performance at Casa da Guitarra - Sé, the concert room of Casa da Guitarra store. In the concert you will receive a glass of Port wine and be provided with the essence of this musical genre, introduce you to the sounds, the instruments, and dramatic atmosphere of this long tradition from the 19th century.
Another option is to visit Porto Cálem winery at Vila Nova de Gaia where they have Fado performance and you can combine it with wine tasting and a tour in the cellars.
- Casa da Guitarra - Sé, the concert room of Casa da Guitarra store:
- Duration 1 hour, at 18:00 or 19:30. Price: 14€
- Av. Vimara Peres 46-72, 4000-404 Porto, Portugal
- Porto Cálem winery
- English tour, Wine tasting and Fado performance: daily at 18:00, Price: 21€
- Av. de Diogo Leite 344, 4400-111 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
4. Visit Casa da Música
One of Porto’s leading cultural venues, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas to mark the year 2001 in which the city was designated European Capital of Culture. The innovative structure in the Rotunda da Boavista roundabout, is sure to catch anyone’s eye and to claim its place as the first building in Portugal that is exclusively dedicated to music. It is the home of the Porto National Orchestra and a beating heart of the city’s cultural scene that hosts all music genres- from classical to electronic, Jazz and Fado, international acclaimed artists as well as experimental projects. The program is dynamic, surprising and luxurious similarly to its cubic design that conceals a shoebox-style concert hall which is praised for having one of the world’s best acoustics. The daily tour of the building is fascinating and while you’re at it, don’t forget to check their program and you might be lucky to attend its free entree concerts at the cafe downstairs.
- English tour: 11AM and 16PM (conditioned to the programming of Casa da Música. 10€ per person
- Av. Da Boavista 604-610, 4149-071 Porto, Portugal
5. Ice Skating
During the winter days and around Christmass time, the municipality places an ice-skating surface in the center of the city. Although it might be a challenge to skate elegantly and crushing down is quite inevitable for some, the entire experience is fun and gets your body warmed up. The place is also protected from the rain, so if you’re too scared, you can also just sit outside the ring and watch your friends make their swing, or crush..
- Praça de Dom João I, Porto, Portugal
6. Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
Inaugurated in 1999 and designed by the accomplished Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza, the Serralves is a renowned cultural institution that promotes Portuguese and International Contemporary Art in Cutting-edge exhibitions,as well as in a permanent collection with art from the 1960s until today.
Circling the museum are lush gardens in which some of the artworks are placed alongside charming trees avenues, Lily ponds, rose gardens, formal fountains, a tea house and more fairytale-like spots that in the summer host concerts and numerous festivals. So although we are here to speak about those rainy days, you can try to explore the gardens with an umbrella or keep it for another day.
Top Tip: the museum has a restaurant on the top floor with a beautiful terrace overlooking the gardens and at lunch they serve a buffet of wonderful food for 12.50€
- Opening hours: Monday-Friday 10:00-18:00 Saturday-Sunday 10:00-19:00
- Rua Dom João de Castro 210, 4150-417 Porto, Portugal
7. Play Board Games or Go for a Bingo Night!
If the storms are steady, your mind needs to cheer up, and you’re into board games- we have the thing for you! Get some people around and head to the Porto Arena for some Monopoly or Risk marathons. Porto Arena is a game shop in Santa Catarina shopping street (so you can just combine shopping with some gaming afterwards).
Prefer something else? How about Bingo in a traditional Portuguese setting? Beware- you might not win, and maybe lose some change, but for a night of fun with your friends this place totally worth it.
Top Tip: Try to visit it on Wednesday when they serve the ‘seafood festival’ and an open bar. Don’t assume it to be gourmet, but still, this place is for the atmosphere and the out-of-the-box experience.
- Porto Arena:
- Check online their opening hours (they differ)
- Rua de Santa Catarina 801, 4000-454 Porto, Portugal
- Bingo da Trinidade:
- Opens everyday between 15:00-3:00, Wednesday there is seafood festival
- Rua do Dr. Ricardo Jorge 52, Porto, Portugal
8. Porto’s ‘Arty’ Local Movie Cinemas
When the rain keeps bugging you, it is a good idea to catch a movie in one of Porto’s cosy and independent theaters that seem as though they remain in a different era with an interior design and feel that wouldn’t shame any David Lynch movie. In the same building of the Bingo hall mentioned earlier, the historic Cinema Trinidade reopened in 2017 since it closed in 2000, and is considered by many as one of the gems of the city. With its only 2 screens and four sessions per day, Trinidade offers rare movies from around the world, often with a live introduction by the makers. It also organizes film festivals focused on specific themes or made in certain zones of the world. The only thing missing here is a food counter, but the area is packed with those and you can take whatever you want inside.
Another historic Cinema, with a bit more ‘David Lynchy’ atmosphere and an Art Nouveau setting, is Passos Manuel which was renovated to serve also as bar and disco. Aside from the cinema, dance floors and a bar that makes you feel like you are in a movie yourself (especially considering the fact that its still allowed to smoke inside), there are VIP cabins if you and your gang to chat in privacy. The music is always ambient and at times relates to the movie screened. The place offers an incredible variety of interesting events- from concerts and conferences, film and shortcuts festivals, as well as exhibitions and parties- that you just ought to check them out regularly.
Top Tip: the three arty cinemas - Cinema Trinidade, Passos Manuel and The Municipal Theater Rivoli- offer a card called “Tripass” for €10 that entitles you for a 25% discount on every ticket and grants you the first ticket for free. Keep in mind that each ticket cost €6, so basically it’s a very good bargain for all you hipsters, art lovers.
- Cinema Trinidade:
- Rua do Almada 412, 4000-235 Porto, Portugal
- Passos Manuel
- Rua de Passos Manuel 137, Porto 4000-385, Portugal
9. Visit the Palacio da Bolsa
The Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange), built in the 19th century in a Neoclassical style, is one of the most important historic monuments in Porto and its remarkable architecture reflects the importance of commerce in the city. The visit in this splendid building starts from the main courtyard (Pátio das Nações) enclosed by a glass structure from which natural light washes the entire palace, then continues to the Golden Room covered with gold leaf and several other very impressive rooms that just get better and better deeper inside, until you reach the highlight - the Arabian Hall. This Neo-Moorish styled room, gilded with some 18kg of gold, was inspired by the Alhambra and is where the most important ceremonies of the city were once held. We recommend to join the 30 minutes guided tours that set off every 30 minutes and will include fascinating information about the Palace and its historical significance.
- Opens everyday between 9:00-18:30 (hours may change in different seasons)
- Price: Adult 10€, Student/Senior 6.5€, children (0-12) free
- Rua de Ferreira Borges, 4050-253 Porto, Portugal
10. Guided Shopping Stroll
Always a good option for a rainy day! Porto has many options for this great activity, from shopping streets, through small shopping malls like Via Catarina Shopping to gigantic centers like El Corte Inglés in Vila Nova de Gaia, Norte Shopping, Mar Shopping or the very grand outlet of Vila do Conde about 30 minutes drive by car or 50 minutes by metro (B EXPRESSO Line ‘red line’). But if you wish to spot more authentic treasures of Portugal and get the fine boutiques only known by locals, you might wanna consider a private shopping tour which will take you to all those hidden shops and well-hidden designers’ spots. If that’s the case, you should contact www.get-portugal.com for those details, and they will tailor a private tour just for you!