Porto, also known as Oporto, is a stunning coastal city in the northwest of Portugal, known for its historic center, vibrant nightlife, and world-famous port wine.
While most people know about the city’s famous attractions, there are many interesting facts and secrets about Porto that remain unknown to the wider world.
Here are 10 things you didn't know about Porto.
- The city is home to the world’s oldest bookshop
Porto is home to Livraria Lello & Irmão, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world.
It was established in 1906 and has been serving the people of Porto ever since.
However, what makes Livraria Lello & Irmão so special is that it is considered to be the world’s oldest bookshop, having opened its doors in 1869.
The bookshop is known for its beautiful Art Nouveau-style interior and stained glass skylight, which has inspired writers such as J.K. Rowling, who allegedly used the bookshop as inspiration for the Hogwarts Library in her Harry Potter series.
- Porto was once an important Roman settlement
Porto was once an important Roman settlement, which was known as Portus Cale.
It was a major port in the Roman Empire and played a crucial role in the trade of goods between Portugal and the rest of the world.
In fact, the name Porto means “port” in Portuguese and is a testament to the city’s importance as a trading center during the Roman era.
- The city has its own version of the Eiffel Tower
The Torre dos Clérigos, also known as the Clérigos Tower, is a famous landmark in Porto.
The tower, which was completed in 1763, is considered to be the city’s answer to the Eiffel Tower, as it is one of the most recognizable structures in Porto.
The tower is 76 meters tall and offers stunning views of the city from its viewing platform.
- Porto has a secret underground network of tunnels
Beneath the streets of Porto lies a secret underground network of tunnels, which were once used to transport goods from the Douro River to the city’s warehouses.
Today, these tunnels are known as the Porto Wine Caves and are a popular tourist attraction.
Visitors can explore the tunnels and learn about the history of port wine, as well as sample some of the city’s finest port wines.
- Porto was once home to a royal palace
Porto was once home to a royal palace, which was built in the 16th century.
The palace, known as the Palácio da Bolsa, was once the residence of Portugal’s wealthy merchant class and was used as a trading center for the city’s merchants.
Today, the palace is a museum, which showcases the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.
- The city has a secret garden
The Jardim do Morro is a secret garden in Porto, which is tucked away from the city’s busy streets.
The garden is known for its beautiful gardens and stunning views of the city, and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
Visitors to the garden can enjoy a picnic or simply relax and take in the views of Porto from a different perspective.
- Porto is Home to the World’s Largest Tile Murals
Porto is home to the world’s largest tile murals, which are located at the São Bento train station.
The murals were created in the early 20th century and depict scenes from Portuguese history, including battles and important events.
The murals are a stunning example of Portuguese tile work and are considered one of the most important cultural attractions in Porto.
- The Porto Music Scene is Thriving
The Porto music scene is thriving, with a number of vibrant music venues and a thriving nightlife.
The city is home to a number of music festivals, including the Porto Music Festival and the Porto Jazz Festival.
The city is also home to a number of music clubs and bars, including the Hard Club, which is one of the most popular amongst locals.
9. Porto is a city of bridges.
There are six bridges spanning the Douro River in Porto, including the iconic Ponte de Dom Luis I, a double-deck metal bridge that was completed in 1886.
10. Porto is home to the oldest soccer club in Portugal.
Futebol Clube do Porto. This soccer club, which was established in 1893, has a long and proud history, and has won numerous national and international titles.
Its major rivals are Sport Lisboa e Benfica and Sporting Club de Portugal, both headed in Lisbon.
In conclusion, Porto is a city that is full of surprises, with a rich history and a vibrant cultural scene.
Whether you're interested in art, music, soccer, or simply exploring a new city, Porto has something to offer everyone.