The Porto Cathedral is one of the must-see when traveling to this city. Already in a previous post I recommended you to enter but I want to give you more reasons to do so. Besides I want to share some tips for your visit.
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A bit of history
The Cathedral dates from the 12th century but underwent several transformations over time. It’s located in an elevated part of the city, near what remains of the walls.
You can see that its facade is clearly Romanesque, presenting two towers and a rose window in the center. However, most of its style is Baroque, such as the side facade and some elements inside. The cloister presents a Gothic style.
It is one of the oldest buildings in Porto having witnessed the wedding of the king John I with English princess Philippa of Lancaster in 1387.
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Prices and opening time
The fee to enter the Cathedral of Porto is quite low. Only 3 euros per person gives you access to the Cathedral, the Cloister, the Chapter house and the Towers. If you only want to see the cathedral, admission is free, however I recommend you to visit it completely.
The cathedral opens from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The cloister can be visited until 6:30 p.m.
In winter season, from November to March, the closing is one hour before, at 6:00 p.m. and the cloister at 5:30 p.m. On Sundays and religious holidays it remains closed.
What to see in Porto Cathedral
Porto Cathedral is not very large, yet there are several areas that can be visited besides the central nave, which was honestly the least interesting for me
The Gothic cloister is very attractive. On the walls it has seven 18th century panels of tiles with scenes of the mystical dialogue between God and the Virgin.
In one of the corners you can see the tomb of João el Gordo, Knight of the order if St John of jerusalem.
The sacristy is a beautiful room highly decorated in baroque style. Its walls are colorful and they display sacred art as well as attractive furniture.
The Chapter House is an 18th century building. Some of its walls are also covered with tile panels, and here we can see various religious sculptures.
The Chapter House’s ceiling attracts the attention due to its paintings made by Giovani Battista Pachini. They represent 14 moral allegories around Saint Michael.
In some adjoining rooms the treasure of the cathedral is displayed in showcases. This consists of textiles, goldsmith, books and liturgical objects.
Saint Vincent chapel
Several bishops of Porto are buried in Saint Vincent chapel. Its construction dates from the end of the 16th century
Top level of the Cloister
Through a staircase completed in 1736 by Nicolau Nasoni we reached the second level of the cloister. Here there are also tile panels representing mythological and country scenes.
From here you can climb the towers where you can take photos of the fabulous views of Porto. An experience you should not miss.
Why you should visit Porto Cathedral
Some reasons to visit Porto Cathedral are:
- For its beauty and mix of architectural styles. One of my favorite parts is the Baroque loggia in the side of the Cathedral, but the Gothic cloister is also impressive.
- For the various artworks inside. For example, a famous silver altarpiece elaborated in successive phases beginning in the year 1632. There are also many pieces such as sculptures and antique furniture. And don’t forget the beautiful images embodied in their blue and white mosaics.
- Another reason to pay the ticket to Porto Cathedral is for climbing to the upper levels and have access to fabulous views of the Douro River and the city. I highly recommend it
- Being so close to the defensive walls of the city, the cathedral has a fortress look that makes it very peculiar and interesting.
- Something I love about Portugal and in particular of the Porto Cathedral is the moss on the walls. It gives a somewhat mystical and theatrical look to the buildings.
Tips and recommendations
When you buy your ticket they give a brochure where there’s a small map and description of the most important areas to visit. Check it out so you have an idea of what you are seeing.
Try to make the visit one day with good weather to access the tower and its stunning views.
If you want more information about the treasures and art of the cathedral, you will have to research on your own, as there is not much information about them.
Explore all corners of the cathedral as there is not much signaling (rather none) of how to do the tour. We found the stairs to the upper level and to the towers just by chance on our tour.
There were no indications that it was allowed to climb, but neither that it wasn’t, so we went up. There is almost no one to give you information nor any guided tours, so explore by yourself.
And don’t miss the view from the top by any means. The feeling up there is wonderful.
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Conclusions of my visit to Porto Cathedral
I really enjoyed my visit to the Porto Cathedral. It is a majestic building from the outside, but a fascinating discovery inside.
I didn’t expect that Gothic cloister in the style of Harry Potter 😁, nor the tiles on the walls (c’mon! It’s Portugal! Of course there are tiles!), Nor that look of a castle.
It is, undoubtedly, a must see and it deserved a separate blog post, especially so I can share with you all the photos of this beautiful place.
I hope you’ve liked the post and Porto Cathedral and that you don’t skip it in your trip to Portugal. If it has been useful, share this post with your friends.
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Till the next post! Bon voyage!