It is one of the oldest parts of town and has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its unique architecture and culture. It’s a must-visit for anyone looking to experience some of Portugal’s most beautiful sights and sounds.
The area dates back to Roman times, when it was known as Cale (or Calle), meaning “river port”. Over time, it became an important trading centre for merchants from all over Europe, who would come here to buy wine and other goods from Portugal’s southern coast. As such, many old buildings have survived throughout the centuries including churches, palaces, towers, and mansions that are now part of this picturesque neighbourhood.
One can get lost wandering through its narrow cobbled streets lined with colourful houses adorned with flowery balconies while admiring Baroque facades or discovering hidden gems like traditional restaurants serving up delicious local cuisine. The waterfront area is also worth exploring, where you can take boat rides down the Douro River or visit one of the small bars along Cais da Ribeira, which offer stunning views across Vila Nova de Gaia on the opposite side of the riverbank.
For those interested in history there are plenty of monuments scattered around Porto Ribeira such as São Francisco Church built between 1383-1410 which boasts Gothic interiors filled with golden details; Torre dos Clérigos – an impressive baroque tower standing at 75 meters tall; Palácio das Artes – former palace home to several art galleries today; Igreja de Santo Ildefonso – 18th century church featuring Rococo style décor; Fundação Serralves – modern museum showcasing contemporary art exhibitions and much more.