In the northeast of Porto, Rio Tinto is a parish connected to the city by the Porto Metro (Orange Line). Nearby are traditional churches, specialized museums, a zoo and a gorgeous park on the ruins of ancient Kunta.
In Porto’s eastern and northern suburbs, you’ll find cool stuff that most visitors miss, such as the world-class Museum of Pharmacy and the stately sculptures of Prado do Ropouso.
Meanwhile, the city of Maia is not far from the road and has its own attractions, including the tallest building outside of Lisbon.
Let’s explore the best activities in Rio Tinto:
1. Igreja Matriz de Rio Tinto
Over the Rio Tinto Valley, steps from the metro station is the local church, which contrasts with the new developments surrounding it.
This is from the 1770s, replacing a medieval abbey church.
On the façade are six tiled panels representing various saints important to Rio.
It’s hard to ignore the rich decoration inside, especially on the altar, where the figures of the saints are surrounded by massive gilded woodwork.
The church is also very rare in Portugal, as it has the Tabernacle (to house the Eucharist); like the rest of the church, it is very ornate, with a Good Friday scene on the door.
2. Museu Mineiro de São Pedro da Cova
In the 18th century, coal was discovered outside the northeastern border of Porto, and where the parish of San Pedro da Cova once had farms, mining soon took over.
This particular mine had been in operation for 200 years before closing in 1970. The museum is located in Casa da Malta, which was once the residence of miners who traveled here from other parts of the country to work.
Those interested in the old industry can look at the remains of the old mine. The museum is divided into two parts: the first part introduces the types of ores mined here, and the second part introduces a person’s life and daily life in depth. Worker.
3. Estádio do Dragão
Four stops on the F line of the Porto Metro is one of Europe’s football cathedrals.
This is the home ground of FC Porto, members of the Portuguese Big Three.
Along with Sporting Lisbon and Benfica, Porto have been in contention for the La Liga title.
They also have continental ancestry and have won the European Cup/Champions League and UEFA Cup/Europa League twice.
The museum documents this prestigious history and you can combine a visit to this UEFA 4-star stadium.
Games other than the local derby and the Big Three are almost never sold out, so you can easily buy tickets at the office on game day between August and May.
The parishes around Rio Tinto have plenty to keep you busy, but you can reach Porto city centre in just 15 minutes by metro.
Like any great European city, there is something for people of all walks of life and ages.
If you want to feel the hustle and bustle of the old town, look no further than the Ribeira district; if you want to see the blockbuster sights, there is the Dom Luís I bridge, the most photographed, the Palácio da Bolsa and a series of gilded woods Artifacts and glazed churches.
Those who prefer spirits can cross the Douro River into Gaia, where there are numerous port huts where you can taste and buy this esteemed drink.
5. Porto Military Museum
In the parish of Bonfim, west of Porto, is the city’s military museum.
You can get there in about ten minutes using the Heroísmo station on the metro.
This is an impressive building built in the 19th century as a palatial residence and later used as the headquarters of the secret police during the Salazar regime.
The collection features a large collection of antique swords, uniforms and firearms in various sizes from the 1400s to the 1900s.
However, the piece had to be a group of miniature figures, numbering 16,000, produced by a leading European manufacturer.
6. Quinta do Covelo
Just west of Estádio do Dragão is this charming 8-hectare park, in the middle of an old residential area on the northern outskirts of Porto.
The upper reaches of the mountain are lawns and forests of palm, stone pines and oaks.
Parents with younger children can visit the swings and slides, but what really gives the park its character are the ruins of the old manor that once contained this park.
You can still make out the baroque appearance of this stately house, which has been preserved as a hollow shell since the siege of Porto in 1832-1833.
7. Mayan Zoo
If your traffic is good, you will reach the zoo in about 15 minutes from Rio Tinto.
If you have children with you, it’s worth the effort, as the zoo has a strong educational orientation and is committed to conservation.
It can have the largest reptile exhibit in Portugal, with lizards, Burmese pythons, geckos, desert cobras, green vipers, iguanas and crocodiles.
There are many other creepy reptiles like scorpions and tarantulas.
Less terrifying are the raptor demonstrations 3 times a day, or a sea lion show as you watch the animals swim and feed.
8. Santa Catarina Street
Porto’s main shopping streets are also within easy reach, from Levada to Bolhão station in about 15 minutes.
It’s a long passage that starts in the north with relatively obscure offices and housing and goes down a slope that becomes more touristy.
The lively section starts south of Bolhão station and features shops and boutiques selling one-off local produce, as well as more familiar international chains like Zara and Bershka, all housed in refined 19th-century buildings.
Mercado do Bolhão is worth a visit, and the turn-of-the-century architecture around the courtyard is as important as its offerings.
9. Torre Lidador
The fifth tallest building in Portugal, and the tallest outside Lisbon, is a 15-minute drive from Maia.
If this piques your curiosity, you can sign up for a tour that will take you to the top of this 92-meter tower for panoramic views of the Porto metropolitan area.
On the roof, your guide will point out visible landmarks and give you a background on Maia and its history.
In front of the building is a statue of the 12th-century commander Gonzalo Mendez da Maya.
He was born in this area and went down in history in 1170, when he appeared at the age of 91 in the vanguard against the Moors (hence the name “Lidador”).
10. Pharmacy Museum
Worth every minute of driving to the coast is this superb medical museum, which has a collection of instruments and vessels from many civilizations and periods.
Here are objects from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Rome, Greece, China, Japan, Russia, as well as the Inca and Aztecs.
But the best part is the two reconstructed pharmacy interiors with crock pots and shelves.
One is the former Estácio Pharmacy, which used to be located on Rua Sá da Bandeira in Porto.
The other goes further, starting from a 19th-century Ottoman palace in Damascus.
11. Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Ó de Águas Santas
This Romanesque church in the Maya is very old, even predating Portugal as a country.
It originated in the 10th century when it was attached to a monastery and was rebuilt in its present form in the 1120s.
Things get pretty atmospheric in the churchyard, where there are five monolithic sarcophagi dating back to the early Middle Ages.
On one of them you can make out the circular cross and coat of arms of Malta.
In the two naves are capitals carved with animal and plant motifs.
12. Prado do Repouso Cemetery
A short walk from Heroísmo metro station is another interesting place that not many tourists get to.
Opened in 1839, Prado do Repouso was the city’s first public cemetery, and today it is more of an open-air museum.
If you can get over the fact that it’s a cemetery, you’ll appreciate the richest collection of art in Porto, sculpted by António Soares dos Reis and others.
There are ornate mausoleums and mausoleums, beautiful cemetery churches and stately cemeteries of former monasteries.
13. Mosteiro de Leça do Balio
The monastery, preserved as a national monument, is located on the banks of the Lesa River, near the ancient Roman road connecting Porto and Braga.
It’s been around since the 900’s, but the current design is from the 1300’s.
What you’ll notice right away is the tough defensive look.
It was built for defense and worship, so with pointed mellons and rings of arrows, there were hardly any openings in the main façade except for the portal and rose window, itself guarded by serrations.
Inside is a fusion of Romanesque and Gothic, without the bustling decorations of Porto churches.
There is a wooden ceiling and bare walls and columns that have a light, airy quality from their stone pallor.
14. Shopping Park Nascente
Porto’s fashion shoppers visit this mall in Rio Tinto, which houses a variety of clothing stores and fills up early on weekends.
Think classic high street brands like Primark, Sephora and Zara, and all the usual stores you’ll find in Portugal and Spain like Oysho, Bershka, Pull & Bear and Springfield.
If you’re staying in self-catering accommodation in Rio Tinto, there are several supermarkets here, or you can grab a bite to eat at the food court, which has both health-conscious restaurants and fast food chains like Subway.
Your easiest option for a day by the sea is Praia de Matosinhos.
It’s also the best spot for surfing in the area, with ideal conditions from October to May, and there’s no shortage of schools for you to ride in these tubular waves.
On the water Matosinhos should also be your first port of call for fish and seafood.
The Harbour District has affordable, simple restaurants serving cod, snapper, grilled squid and classic sardines.
Match it with vinho verde (literally “young wine”), which often has a slight sheen and lightness that complements seafood.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Rio Tinto, Portugal
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