Watching over the city from its hilltop spot, the imposing fort-like Porto Cathedral is a reminder of Porto’s diverse history. Featuring Romanesque, Gothic, and baroque architecture, this is Porto’s oldest and largest church, a must-visit for architecture and history aficionados.
A visit to Porto Cathedral is essential to understand the history of Porto, one of Europe’s oldest populated centers. The church dates back to the 12th century and work continued into the 16th century (not counting later baroque and 20th-century additions), accounting for the varied architectural influences. Travelers can take a half-day river cruise tour stopping at the cathedral and many other main city monuments. A tuk tuk tour of Porto is another way to avoid uphill walks.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Porto Cathedral is a must-visit attraction for history and art lovers.
- Set aside an hour or two to explore the cathedral’s façade and remarkable interior.
- It is free to visit the cathedral, but an entry ticket is required to visit the cloisters and the small Sacred Art museum.
- The cathedral is one of the departure points for the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage in Spain.
How to Get There
Situated in the heart of the city, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed cathedral is in a great location near the Douro river. Porto Cathedral is in Terreiro da Sé, the oldest district in central Porto, which is a short walk to Sao Bento station. Using the city's metro system, take Porto’s D (yellow) line and disembark at the Sao Bento stop.
When to Get There
From April to October, the cathedral is open from 9am to 12:30pm and from 2:30 to 7pm (the cloister is open 9am to 6:30pm). Between November and March, the cathedral closes at 6pm and the cloister closes at 5:30pm. The cloister is only open in the afternoon on Sundays and religious holidays, and it is closed to the public on Christmas and Easter.
Where to Find the Best Panoramic Views of Porto
Situated at the highest point of the city, the cathedral is famous for its stunning views and is a must for photographers. For the best vistas of the city, head to the terraces on the north and west sides of the church to capture panoramic scenes of Porto’s ancient labyrinthine streets and the red-roofed dwellings below.