In the heart of Porto, the 250-meter-long Avenida dos Aliados connects the historic center and the modern districts of the city. It is a focal point pf Porto’s cultural life: great crowds regularly gather on the Avenida dos Aliados to celebrate major events (New Year’s Eve, Saint John’s Eve, the victories of FC Porto ⚽…).
In sunny weather, you’ll be able to sit for a nice refreshing drink at one of the many terraces which cover the Avenida dos Aliados, in the shade of the tall trees.
Follow the guide!
💡 The Captain’s tip 💡
Want to know more about the history of Porto? Captain Ulysses warmly recommends this free guided tour of the city. It’s up to you to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide!
Brief history of the Avenida dos Aliados in Porto
While the city of Porto had long thought of building a grand avenue, the construction project of the Avenida dos Aliados (named after the Allies of the First World War) did not until 1916.
At the time, a tangle of small streets, the lavadouros (“laundries” in English) occupied the current location of the Avenida back Aliados. They were destroyed to make way for the brand new avenue. Large companies invested to build opulent buildings with flamboyant Art Nouveau facades along the Avenida.
Today, the majority of banks and insurance companies which were first housed in the Avenida’s sumptuous buildings have been replaced by luxury hotels, boutiques and restaurants.
Visiting the Avenida dos Aliados
Right in the center of Porto, the Avenida dos Aliados connects the Praça da Liberdade (Liberdade Square), a stone’s throw from Sao Bento Station, and the Praça do General Humberto Delgado, where the City Hall is located.
In the centre, a paved promenade (laid out by the Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza Vieira when the avenue was remodelled to make way for the the Aliados metro station) invite pedestrians to stroll quietly and admire the emblematic monuments that mark out this majestic avenue.
The most iconic monuments of the Avenida dos Aliados
Among the many buildings lining the Avenida dos Aliados, seven stand out:
- The Palácio das Cardosas, located on the Praça da Liberdade, a former 18th century convent converted into a luxury hotel ( the InterContinental Porto )
- The Banco do Minho, now owned by the New Bank
- The former headquarters of the Caixa Geral de Depósitos (“Deposit und”), which now house the cultural foundation Culturgest
- The former headquarters of the newspaper O Comércio do Porto
- The former headquarters of the insurance company A Nacional, built by Portuguese architect Marques da Silva
- The former Café Imperial which is now home to the Imperial McDonald’s, considered by many to be one of the finest in the world
Before leaving, be sure to have look at the statues dotting the Avenida dos Aliados :
- The Monumento a D. Pedro IV , an equestrian statue of King Peter IV of Portugal located in the Praça da freedom
- The Fonte da Juventude/Menina Nua (“Fountain of Youth/Naked young girl)
- A Juventude (“Youth”) and A Abundância (Os Meninos) (“Abundance (the Boys)”) designed by the sculptor Henrique Araújo Moreira
- The Monumento a Almeida Garrett , a modernist statue representing the Portuguese poet Almeida Garrett, located in front of the Town Hall
Porto City Hall
Built between 1920 and 1955 and designed by the architect Correia da Silva, the City Hall ( Camara Municipal do Porto in Portuguese) stands at the far north end of Avenida dos Aliados, on the Praça do General Humberto Delgado.
On the building’s granite facade, statues made by the Portuguese sculptors José Sousa, Caldas and Henrique Moreira represent typical scenes of northern Portugal (vine growing, shipping, industry, etc.)
The central tower of the City Hall, surmounted by a clock, stands 70 meters above the ground.
Getting to the Avenida dos Aliados
You’ll find on the Avenida a metro station (the Aliados station), served by line D, a tram stop (Aliados), as well as many bus lines.
The hop-on hop-off tourist buses also make a stop on the avenue.
Porto’s Hard Rock Café is located in a small street perpendicular to the Avenida dos Aliados, the Rua do Almada.
And if you want to treat yourself to an exclusive stay in Porto’s city center, you will find here two very beautiful hotels:
Looking for tips to plan your vacation in Porto? You might find these articles of interest:
👉 A Guide to Porto: the best things to do
👉 Day-tours around Porto
👉 Visiting Porto with children
👉 Where to eat in Porto? The Captain’s restaurant recommendations
You can also find all of the Captain’s articles on Porto’s must-see sites and monuments here.
👉 Skip the lines: book your tickets and visits in advance!
👉 Looking for tips and recommendations? Here are the Captain’s suggestions!
🛏️ Accommodation: to book your accommodation in Porto, Captain Ulysses warmly recommends Booking.com. From youth hostels to luxury boutique hotels: there’s plenty to choose from. The Captain particularly recommends:
– youth hostels: The Passenger Hostel and Urban Garden Porto Central Hostel
– budget and mid-range hotels: Decanting Porto House and Porto Charming Hotel
– high-end hotels: NH Porto Jardim and The Yeatman.
🎟️ Activities: museums, monuments, guided tours, boat tours, excursions… there’s plenty to do in Porto! To avoid wasting time in endless queues, especially during high season, the Captain strongly recommends that you opt for skip-the-line tickets and book your activities in advance. You can book all your tickets and tourist activities on GetYourGuide and Civitatis.
⛵ Cruises: Porto is undoubtedly synymous with Douro! It’d be a shame to leave the “Capital of the North” without embarking on a Douro river cruise. If you’re only staying in Porto for a long weekend, the Captain recommends the six bridges cruise. If you have more time, then he highly recommends the Douro Valley cruise with wine tasting & lunch.
🎫 Citypass: valid from 1 to 4 days, the Porto Card includes unlimited access to city transport (including to get to/from the airport), free entry to 6 museums and a selection of discounts in museums, attractions, Port wine cellars and shops.
🚐 Transfers: you can take the metro at the airport to get to the city center (1/2 hour). But if you’d rather avoid public transport, you can also book a private transfer at very reasonable prices.
🚌 Local transport: you’ll probably quickly tire of Porto’s steeply sloping streets and might be tempted to take local transport instead of walking. The public transport network is convenient and easy to navigate. You can buy your tickets directly at metro stations and bus stops (be careful, you will need to take 1 Andante card per person).
You should also know that access to public transport is included in the Porto Card. Otherwise, sightseeing bus tours are great options to explore the city. You can also opt for a pass including access to hop-on hop-off buses, the funicular as well as tramways.
When it comes to getting around Porto, you have plenty of other options: bikes, electric bikes, segway, tuk-tuk, train…
✈️ Flights: to book your flights to Porto, Captain Ulysses warmly recommends Skyscanner. You’ll be able to compare countless offers to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible.