Many of Europe’s great cities have an "old quarter," the original part of town from which centuries of cosmopolitan evolution spread outward. In Porto, the old town is known as The Ribeira, as it looks out onto the River Douro. In days past, it was once the major entrepot for international shipments, but its modern waterfront is now lined with restaurants, bars and cafes, making it a popular leisure hub and nightlife destination. The main drag, Cais da Ribeira, leads to Praca da Ribeira, a square dominated by two large fountains (one is bronze cubist monument and popular with pigeons) and populated with revelers going between its myriad bars and restaurants.

If you are able to, visit Porto and the Ribeira on June 23 for the annual Festa de Sao Joao (Festival of St. John). While this festival is in memory of St. John, its celebration includes a peculiar tradition - hitting people in the head with plastic hammers. What this practice has to do with the patron saint of lovers is anyone’s guess, but the city turns into a raucous party of drinking, dancing and live music.

The Ribeira is also notable for its 14th century stone wall and the Barredo District, a still-occupied neighborhood that has remained the same for centuries.

Practical Info

Porto and the Ribeira once formed an important harbor port, but now the Rua de Sao Joao’s only traffic are boats mooring to take on tourists going on river cruises. Around the Ribeira is a warren of streets packed with colorful old houses now serving as galleries, boutiques and classy restaurants.

Tours & Tickets

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Day Trip to Douro

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 23 Reviews

See one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, where Man has overcome the slopes of the land, planting vines in what can be considered open air ...  Read more

Location: Porto, Portugal
Duration: 11 hours (approx.)

From USD $129.57

Porto Sightseeing Tour at Night with Fado Performance

4 star rating: Recommended 9 Reviews

Take a guided drive through Porto at night, and then enjoy dinner and a Fado show in a traditional Porto restaurant. See Porto’s avenues, churches and Douro ...  Read more

Location: Porto, Portugal
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $75.02

Porto Segway Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 5 Reviews

Explore Porto on a self-balancing electric Segway, and follow a guide through the city’s UNESCO-listed Ribeira neighborhood. Choose from a morning or afternoon ...  Read more

Location: Porto, Portugal
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $75.02

Panoramic Porto Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 22 Reviews

Porto is rich with well preserved treasures, including monuments in the Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Neo-classical style. See the major sights such as ...  Read more

Location: Porto, Portugal
Duration: 3 - 4 hours

From USD $43.65

Porto Bike Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

Cycle around Porto’s UNESCO-listed historic center on this 3-hour bike tour! Led by an expert guide, this leisurely paced tour takes in all the top Porto ...  Read more

Location: Porto, Portugal
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $27.28

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