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7 Hidden Gems in Porto You Need to Know About

Aerial view of city for article about hidden gems in porto

Table of Contents

Portugal is a country currently on the rise and Porto is one of its top travel destinations today. We know that many of you enjoy finding non-touristy things to do so that’s why after a month living here I’ve put together this list of hidden gems in Porto. 

I do believe that wine tasting and visiting at least one of the lodges in Gaia is a must if you’re in Porto. There are also some interesting sites like Porto Cathedral and Palácio Da Bolsa that offer more insight into the city’s history for small entrance fees. However, if you’re spending longer than a few days here, you might also be interested in some of the city’s less touristy spots.

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1. Parque de Serralves (Parque e Jardim da Fundação Serralves)

Pastel colored building in Parque de Serralves, one of the best hidden gems in Porto

We came across Parque de Serralves thanks to a tip from our Uber driver (which is excellent value for money in Porto by the way — more on that later) who recommended we visit before we left. I had no idea this place even existed as nothing I’d read previously made any mention of it. It’s also about 10 minutes in an Uber or taxi from the center so it’s not in Porto’s most touristic areas.

Anyway, we really enjoyed our afternoon there. Here are some highlights:

  • Art deco architecture: If you’re familiar with Wes Anderson movies, you’ll immediately see the resemblance in certain parts of the park. There’s a lot of architecture here with the the kind of pastel colors Anderson likes to use in his films. It’s a great location to take some arty pictures with family or friends.
  • Treetop walk: One of the park’s best highlights is undoubtedly its treetop walk. As you walk through the treetops you get magnificent views of the gardens and countryside too — just don’t look down.

The gardens in particular are excellent for individual or group pictures but as it goes with most places, the earlier you get there the better. It never seems to get that busy but it was difficult at times to get a picture of the gardens without others in the shot.

How to get there

It’s not the easiest place to get to unless you’re traveling by car. The good news is that an Uber will get you there from the center for a whopping total of 4.50€. During the car ride up the Douro River you’ll see a stunning area in the city that most tourists never do.


Access to all spaces: 20€

Museum: 13€

Garden with Treetop Walk: 13€

A 50% Discount for Ages: 12-17 and 65+

Free: Children under 12

 Get your tickets ahead of time and skip the queues 🎟️

Book all access ticket for 20€ (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Book park and treetop walk ticket for 13€ (⭐⭐⭐⭐)

2. Jardines do Palacio de Cristal

Girl posing in Jardines do Palacio de Cristal in Porto

Great for anyone on a budget, these gardens are completely free to visit and a nice addition to Parque de Serralves.

The story here goes that there was once an actual “palace” in the gardens but it was knocked down and replaced by what is today known as the Super Bock Arena, a now very popular venue in Porto for concerts and other music events. While the arena isn’t Porto’s most impressive piece of architecture, the surrounding gardens are a treat to walk around. When we visited there was also a book fair and some live music too.

I’ve chosen this for my list of hidden gems in Porto as it’s another destination that manages to fly under the radar of most tourists despite its obvious appeal for nature and wildlife lovers. It also doesn’t have a dedicated metro stop and rarely features in most other lists of things to do in Porto. Jardines do Palacio de Cristal, however, is absolutely worth the visit and is home to hundreds of friendly peacocks too. I recommend visiting before or after you’ve been to Parque de Serralves for a truly memorable afternoon.

How to get there

Unfortunately there’s no metro that goes directly to the gardens but the closest stop would probably be Casa Da Musica. Regardless, I recommend you pay for an Uber as it’s quite far up the hill.



💡 Recommended article: Hidden gems in Seville  

3. Minigolf Porto

Woman playing golf in MiniGolf Porto

Thanks again to a less central location, Minigolf Porto isn’t usually too busy despite a fun and vibrant atmosphere inside. It’s certainly up there as one of the best hidden gems in Porto and somewhere you can enjoy romantic date nights or things to do in Porto with friends.

There are 18 holes on the course and you can get around it at a good pace as long as you’re not completely hopeless. But if you’re used to playing lots of mini golf at top quality locations, you might be a little disappointed. The course is great fun but it’s probably not big enough to make pro mini golfers’ jaws drop. However, if you’re just looking for somewhere to enjoy a beer and have fun with friends, Minigolf Porto won’t disappoint.

Upstairs they also have TV screens, two pool tables, and many more games.

How to get there

  • Get on the metro and head to Trindade metro stop
  • From here you can arrive at Minigolf Porto by exiting, turning right, and walking up the hill
  • Walk for 100 meters up the hill and you’ll find it on the right-hand side of the road


For three runs of the course: 14€ per person — the course has just under 20 holes and you usually get to go round three times.

 Get your MiniGolf Porto tickets here 🎟️

Book ticket for 14€ (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

4. Senhora Da Hora Driving Range

Man hitting ball at CityGolf Porto, one of the best places to play golf in Porto in Senhora da Hora

One drawback of Minigolf Porto is that it’s all indoors. But if you want to get out in the open instead you should definitely visit Senhora Da Hora Diving Range. I played here with some friends and family on a Saturday in September and we practically had the whole place to ourselves — hidden gems in Porto like these are a treat when you’re looking for non-touristy things to do.

Starting first on the driving range, we were able to hit 50 balls each before enjoying some 1 euro beers in their lovely seating area outside. Once we were ready again, we moved onto the putting green where we practiced our short game and soaked up the sunshine and good vibes.

How to get there

The quickest and most convenient way to get here is with Uber and from the center of Porto it’s just 10€.


To rent a club: 1€

For 50 balls on driving range: 4€

Putting on green: Free

💡 Recommended article: Discover where to stay in Porto: best areas and accommodations 

5. Praia de Espinho

Pink and Blue Umbrellas on Praia de Espinho, one of the best beaches near Porto

Another one of my favorite hidden gems in Porto is Praia de Espinho. The city beach Matosinhos is the closest to the city center but it leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion. If you’re looking for the best beaches in Porto, you’ll probably need to look a little further afield and Praia de Espinho was my go-to destination most weekends.

From the center of Porto you’re only a short train journey away from Espinho. When you first get off the train and arrive at the beach you’ll see people sunbathing, surfing, and generally enjoying themselves in the sunshine.

But if you’re more interested in having your own space and privacy, a brisk 15 minute walk will get you to a much less crowded area on the beach. When you come out of the train station; face the water, turn right, and walk straight down the beach in that direction for about 15 minutes. Eventually you’ll see a car park and then another walkway which will take you to an endless stretch of sand where you can settle down for the day.

How to get there

  • Go to Sao Bento Train Station and enter their ticket office on the right-hand side of the station
  • Ask for “Espinho: ida e volta por favor” which translates to: “a return ticket to Espinho please”
  • Find your platform and enjoy your journey down the coastline


Return ticket: 3.50€

💡 Recommended article: Hidden Gems in York 

6. Big Bad Bank Bar

Glass of wine on table in Big Bad Bank Bar in Porto

One of my favorite bars in Porto, Big Bad Bank Bar is a must-visit if you’re looking for somewhere with a cool, calm, and sophisticated atmosphere inside. The bar’s interior design seems to be modeled on a cozy 1920s type living room: expect vintage sofas and chairs that you and your friends can quite literally sink into. In addition to a swanky bar area and adjoining steak restaurant, this place also features an unmissable double bed covered in dollar bills in the entrance (hence the name).

The layout of sofas and chairs also seems to encourage interaction between customers so it’s a potentially great place to meet others if you’re interested in mingling.

One other bar I need to give a shoutout to is Club Port Rugby. This place was another hidden gem in Porto that we really enjoyed thanks to its vibrant atmosphere and live music inside. It also has two full size pool tables where you can play while listening to live music in the next room. I highly recommend both but particularly Big Bad Bank Bar. Quite the mouthful, right?

How to get there

  • From Aliados Metro you can arrive in five minutes walking
  • Find it at 13 R. do Ateneu Comercial do Porto


Entry: Free

7. Piscina das Marés (Leça da Palmeira)

Who doesn’t love a good swimming pool when they go on vacation? This one is a little different though as you’ll be bathing in natural saltwater while watching some of the Atlantic’s biggest waves crash into the rocks around you. Don’t worry, the pool is protected from the waves so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a truly unique backdrop and one of the best hidden gems in Porto.

One of the most frustrating things about going to the beach in northern Portugal is the strong currents that often make it unsafe to swim. Situated in Leça da Palmeira, Piscina das Marés is a great place to come in summer as you’re guaranteed the chance to cool down in the water when it’s hot. Just bear in mind that the pool is filled with seawater from the Atlantic Ocean so you might need some time adjusting to the temperature of the water even if it is hot out.

How to get there

  • Head to Bolhao Metro and go from there to Mercado
  • From here you can walk 20 minutes to Piscina das Marés
  • Look out for a sign with directions on the sidewalk as the entrance is hard to find

You can also get a taxi or Uber there for about 10€ from Sao Bento Station in the center.


Entry: 10€ per person

Uber in Porto (Bonus)

Uber is by no means “hidden” but it’s absolutely essential if you’re in Porto. Not even in the south of Spain can you find this kind of value for money with Uber. If you’re traveling from one side of the city to another, you can usually get there for about 4€ max. Even when you’re heading out of the city, let’s say to the airport for example, you won’t be spending much more than 10€.

We were able to visit Parque de Serralves and Palacio do Cristal in under two hours just by ordering Ubers. Drivers come in abundance here and they’re always very well mannered and friendly too. The value for money is incredible and if you’re only here for a few days it’s probably not even worth using the metro considering the low cost and added comfort of an Uber.

On the other hand, normal taxis are double the price so I don’t recommend using them at all. Just order an Uber instead and enjoy massive savings during your trip in Porto.


During my time in Porto I chatted to a lot of locals about the city. One word they all used to describe it was “compact” and I couldn’t agree more. Compared to other popular European cities, you can get from one attraction to another without much hassle at all and that’s one of the reasons I actually prefer Porto to Lisbon.

There’s a lot to see and do in Porto and if you’re the adventurous type with more time on your hands, I recommend visiting every place on this list at least once. And if you know any hidden gems in Porto that you think readers would also appreciate, drop them in the comment section below. If not, visit Porto as soon as you can and do some exploring of your own; this really is one of Europe’s most impressive cities right now.

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