With its mighty river, high bridges, and animated streets, in the last few years, Porto has been a bee-hive of activity in Portugal. The best part is that even if broke, you can still enjoy the city. There are plenty of activities you can do at no cost in Porto, saving your change for a glass of Port wine once you get tired of action. So here are five things you can do in Porto for free.
There are several beautiful parks and gardens that you can visit in Porto. Check out your options, and pick between the romantic "Jardim do Palácio do Cristal" with its unforgettable view over Douro river, and the iconic City Park by the ocean. Instead of spending a lot of money in a restaurant, shop in a nearby supermarket and have a picnic while watching the sunset.
One of the best things you can do in Porto completely free of charge is a simple bridge crossing to enjoy the most spectacular panoramic views. I recommend going up the "Ponte D. Luis" bridge on the side of the city, crossing it on its high upper level (where trams pass) and ending up on the side to another town, Gaia, from where you have priceless views of Porto. If you still have a few coins to spare, hit a supermarket, and get a bottle of Port wine to make it perfect.
Situated in the historical center of the city (close to the train station S. Bento), this is one of the most important churches in the country. It was first built in the 12th century, but then several times reconstructed, to get its final look in the eighteenth century. The building is impressive outside-inside, with its high arches made of stone, fourteenth-century Gothic cloister, and the seventeenth-century silver altar.
If you like walking, there's a perfect 10-kilometer hiking challenge you can do in Porto, going from the downtown Ribeira to the City Park by the Atlantic ocean. You start at the colorful Ribeira square and just follow the River Douro. You will be passing by different historical buildings and small gardens to arrive at the point where the Douro meets the Atlantic Ocean (Felgueiras Lighthouse). This is a place of hypnotizing beauty where one could spend hours just observing the power of the ocean. Still, there's more. If you continue walking for a few kilometers more by the sandy beaches, you will finally arrive at the City Park of Porto where you can rest.
In the very city center of Porto, there's an old, authentic green market where locals still buy their veggies, and that shouldn't be missed - Bolhão Market. It's noisy, colorful, and full of life, which makes it a perfect real-life Portuguese experience. This is the market where tomatoes are thrown at the politicians by the sellers if they don't like them, but also where you can get to taste a yummy piece of fruit if you are lucky.
Hopefully, these tips help you have some fun even if with no money in Porto. There's still plenty of things to be done. However, it is recommended to have at least a few spare euros to try the main specialty of the city - the famous Francesinha sandwich.
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