The second edition of my Porto Exploring adventures takes us to Clérigos Tower, the Porto Cathedral and some of the most beautiful churches you can imagine! Get ready for some stunning views, gorgeous architecture and tiles galore!
One of my favourite things to do when visiting new places is climbing up to get a spectacular view of the city. This is always particularly excellent when visiting old cities because the view over the buildings is always spectacular. As a result, a visit to the Clérigos Tower was very high on my to-do list!
It is a 75-metre tall bell tower and is unsurprisingly visible from all over Porto. It was opened back in 1763 and is an incredibly beautiful building that is worth visiting in its own right, not just for the views!
The views however are as brilliant as advertised, with a 360 degree perspective over the city and river. It’s a pretty steep 200+ steps up to the top, so bring water and wear comfy shoes.
There can also be pretty long wait times during peak season as they limit the number of people in the tower at any time. I went early which was an excellent idea as I didn’t have to wait at all! Definitely worth a visit.
The Porto Cathedral is an imposing looking building, perched at a high point of the city in the oldest part of Porto. It was built in the 12th and 13th centuries, although parts of the interior got a redesign in the 17th century in a more opulent Baroque style. The interior is beautiful, with frescoes and sculptures lining the walls, but it was the courtyard that I particularly loved. Lined with incredible tiled murals, it was a quiet spot to take in the amazing architecture of the building.
The area surrounding the Cathedral was also well worth exploring. Not only are there some amazing views back across towards the Clérigos Tower and across the rooftops, but the local streets are full of medieval walls, cute little shops and beautiful buildings. Take the time to go for a wander and who knows what you’ll come across!
Porto is full of incredible churches, most of which are covered in incredible azulejo art. As I was wandering through different neighbourhoods (my favourite way to explore a city!) I would stumble across another beautiful church and have to pop in and have a look around. Some of my favourites were the Church of Sao Francisco which was completed in 1425 and is full of Gothic features included carvings and vaults, as well as some stunning gilded woodwork that was introduced in later centuries. It’s elaborate and breathtaking, and definitely worth a wander through.
The Church of Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso was another favourite, covered on the front façade in the most amazing blue and white tiles. Similarly, the Church of Carmo is a stunning baroque building, with an amazing side completely covered in tiles forming one intricate picture. Seriously, I loved the tiles as much as they obviously did!
The Church of Santa Clara is another beautiful example of architecture from the 1400s, although it underwent a pretty extravagant update in the 18th century. The inside is full of red marble, intricate mouldings, and incredibly detailed wooden carvings. Basically I recommend popping in to any church you come across because they all had something impressive to see! I tend to rarely take photos inside churches, so to see all this amazingness for yourself I highly recommend a visit!