Looking for hidden gems in Porto? Want to do something non-touristy in Porto Portugal? From an eerie crypt full of tombs and a museum dedicated to Portuguese tram, here are 9 offbeat Porto attractions that you totally need to check out.

9 Best Hidden Gems Of Porto, Portugal

Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Soumya

Tired of tourists and looking for non-touristy things to do in Porto, Portugal? I get it.

Porto is a beautiful Portuguese city, but it can get really crowded, especially during peak season.

That’s why I have this practical Porto offbeat guide with the best hidden gems in the city.

While Porto landmarks like the Ribeira district and Dom Luís I Bridge attract crowds of visitors, the city is also home to numerous secret spots like the eerie catacombs of Sao Francisco and a nostalgic Tram Museum waiting to be discovered.

If you want to venture off the beaten path, here are the best hidden gems in Porto.

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Best Secret Spots in Porto, Portugal

Sao Francisco Catacombs

Sao Francisco Catacombs in Porto
The Catacombs of Sao Francisco are one of the best hidden gems in Porto.

You must have heard of Igreja de Sao Francisco or the Church of Saint Francis in Porto, one of the city’s most impressive baroque monuments dating to the 13th century.

The church is known for its breathtaking baroque interiors, adorned with gold leaf, earning it the moniker “Gold Church.”

However, few visitors venture beyond the church’s elaborate baroque displays into the House of the Dispatch in front, where Porto’s eerie catacombs lie.

In the crypt of the Dispatch House, a labyrinth of burial chambers houses the remains of Franciscan monks. Tombs line up to the ceiling. There’s also an ossuary of human bones, which you can peek at from a glass floor.

Visiting the Sao Francisco Catacombs can be a scary experience, but it is definitely an offbeat activity in Porto.

Pro Tip: Visiting Porto? Be sure to check out the 12 things that you need to know before visiting Porto.

Porto’s Tram Museum

Porto Tram Museum

Any train/tram enthusiasts here? I have good news for you. Porto has its own Tram Museum, or Museu do Carro Electrico.

For those fascinated by transportation history, Porto’s Tram Museum offers a delightful journey through time.

Housed in a former thermoelectric power station, the Tram Museum showcases a collection of beautifully preserved trams and trolleybuses that once traversed the streets of Porto. You will also find machines that once propelled the Porto trams and got them where they wanted to be.

Step inside vintage trams, ring antique bells and imagine life in early 20th-century Porto. It is an excellent place for transportation enthusiasts and families with kids who would like to understand the evolution of urban transport in the city.

Pro Tip: If you have a Porto Card, you can get a 50% discount on your tickets to the Tram Museum.

Clerigos Tower Views

View from the Clerigos Tower in Porto
Views from the top of Clerigos Tower in Porto. Clerigos Tower is not a hidden gem, but the views are!

Torre dos Clerigos, or Porto’s Clerigos Tower, may not be the most hidden of gems, but I believe its real beauty lies on the top of the tower, which provides unparalleled panoramic views of Porto.

Tourists often use Clerigos Tower only as a photo op, and few climb to the top. This means the terrace is mostly empty. Therefore, it is the best (and least noisy) place to enjoy a 360-degree view of the city.

As you ascend the 240 steps, appreciate the baroque architecture and the historical significance of this 18th-century bell tower.

Pro Tip: Get your Clerigos Tower tickets here. The Porto Card offers a 25% discount on the entrance fee but you will have to purchase the ticket on site.

Casa do Infante

Infante Square and Garden in Porto
The Infante Square and Garden in Porto.

Located right next to the famous Bolsa Palace, Casa do Infante, or the House of the Prince is a secret spot in Porto that attracts fewer tourists.

Casa do Infante is one of the oldest buildings in Porto, dating to the 14th century. It is known as the birthplace of Prince Henry the Navigator, who propelled Portugal towards the Age of Discoveries. The house was originally built as a customs office and mint.

Today, the building is a museum featuring exhibits that chronicle Porto’s history. There are displays of the royal mint and descriptions of Portuguese explorations in the Middle Ages.

It is also home to an ancient archeological site featuring a Roman mosaic floor.

📖 See Also: The best 3-day Porto itinerary

Bank of Materials

Lisbon has its own Tile Museum, whereas Porto has its own Tile Bank. You heard me right: a bank for Portuguese tiles or azulejos.

The Bank of Materials, locally known as Banco de Materials, is home to over 25,000 handpainted tiles featuring various patterns, colors, and designs spanning several centuries.

It is dedicated to Portugal’s longstanding tradition of azulejos, the decorative ceramic tiles that adorn many buildings in the city.

Why is it a bank and not a tile museum? Because locals can withdraw tiles from here.

If you’re restoring an old building with a damaged tile facade, you can look for matching tiles at the Bank of Materials. If you can find your missing pieces at the bank, you can withdraw them for free and use them to renovate the building.

Pro Tip: Love azulejos? Paint your own Portuguese azulejo tile alongside a glass of Port here.

Porto’s Silversmithing History

Did you know that you could learn about silversmithing in Porto?
Image courtesy: Arxina from Getty Images via Canva Pro

Unravel a unique side of Porto at this century-old silver factory.

Alcino Silversmith opened its first workshop in Porto in 1902. It creates its own jewelry collections and decorative pieces in sterling silver.

Join a guided tour of the Alcino Silversmith Workshop, learn about Porto’s silversmithing history and manufacturing techniques, and assist artisans in creating unique silver pieces. It is also a great place to pick some authentic silver souvenirs from Portugal.

Ethnic Cuisine in Porto

Grilled shrimps at Tia Orlanda in Porto
Grilled shrimps at Tia Orlanda in Porto.

If you have had enough of your Francesinha sandwiches, flaky custard tarts, and bacalhau balls, try some ethnic cuisine in Porto.

Portugal has a long colonial history, especially in Africa and South America. In Porto, you will find numerous African and Brazilian restaurants.

Tia Orlanda, a Mozambican restaurant, serves the best grilled prawns and vegetarian stew.

Other cool ethnic restaurants include Campo Alegre (Angolan food) and Salve Simpatia (Brazilian food).

Pro Tip: Lisbon also has several ethnic restaurants. Find more about them in our Offbeat Lisbon Guide.

Church of Saint Ildefonso

Church of Ildefonso in Porto Portugal
The Church of Ildefonso is one of the prettiest churches in Porto, yet less crowded than the others.

Often overshadowed by Porto’s more famous churches, the Igreja de Santo Ildefonso is a hidden gem that deserves attention.

Located near Batalha Square, this 18th-century church is adorned with stunning azulejo tilework depicting scenes from Saint Ildefonso’s life.

Unlike other azulejo-covered churches in Porto, the Saint Ildefonso Church is relatively less crowded and, hence, a great place to take pictures.

📖 See Also: 10 Best Places to See Azulejo Tiles in Porto

Foz do Douro

Lighthouse at Foz do Douro
The beautiful neighborhood of Foz do Douro is not very far from Porto.
Image courtesy: tane-mahuta from Getty Images via Canva Pro

Located where the Douro River meets the Atlantic Ocean, Foz do Douro is a charming and affluent neighborhood lined with boutique restaurants, cute cafes, and trendy bars.

Stroll along the promenade, enjoy a meal at a seaside restaurant, visit a 16th-century fort, or simply relax on the sandy beaches.

The Foz Pergola is beautiful and is one of the best places to watch a stunning Porto sunset.

Experience more of Porto and Nearby

Read our posts on
Perfect Porto Itineraries | From spending one busy day in Porto to enjoying a Porto trip of 3 days, our itineraries are definitely going to wow you.
Visiting Douro Valley | Plan the perfect Douro Valley day trip from Porto by train.
Best Azulejo Tiles in Porto
 | Grab this list of the best places to see Portuguese blue tiles in Porto.
Porto Day Trips | Spend some more time in Northern Portugal with these epic Porto day trips.

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Looking for hidden gems in Porto? Want to do something non-touristy in Porto Portugal? From an eerie crypt full of tombs and a museum dedicated to Portuguese tram, here are 9 offbeat Porto attractions that you totally need to check out.

Soumya is an acclaimed travel writer who has traveled to 30+ countries and lived in 8 while pursuing her passion for history and culture. Her writings have been published in BBC Travel, Architectural Digest, National Herald, and many more. She loves exploring world heritage sites and has a deep affinity for everything ancient, especially the lost civilizations of Mesoamerica!

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