In the heart of Porto, the Clerigos Tower (Torre dos Clérigos in Portuguese) is undoubtedly one of the city’s top tourist attractions!
💡 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 Clerigos Church & the Clerigos Tower
In the 18th century, the religious brotherhood of the “poor clerics” (“Clérigos pobres” in Portuguese) received the donation of a vast plot of land in the center of Porto and entrusted Italian architect Niccoló Nasoni with the construction of a church In the city center.
Construction work on the Clerigos Church (Igreja dos Clérigos) began in 1735 and ended in 1748. But the brotherhood’s projects did not end there. Two years later, in 1750, the clerics asked Niccoló Nasoni to build two monumental towers adjoining the church, modeled on Tuscan bell towers.
Only one of the two towers was ultimately erected. Completed in 1763, the 75.60-meter-high Clerigos Tower (Torre dos Clerigos) is the highest tower in Portugal. It even guided the ships returning to the port of Porto, much like a lighthouse.
Visiting the Clerigos Church & the Clerigos Tower in Porto
Classified as a “national monument” since 1910, the Clérigos Church is a vast religious complex built in the Italian Baroque style comprising:
- the Clerigos Church
- the Clerigos Tower
- the House of the Brotherhood Clérigos Pobres (Poor Clerics), which now houses the Clerigos Museum
Museu dos Clérigos (Clérigos Museum)
Nestled in the former House of the Brotherhood (which housed the living quarters of the clerics), the Clérigos Museum exhibits a small collection of sacred art and liturgical objects dating from the 13th to the 20th century.
The museum is quite small (3 rooms only) but well worth the visit. Be sure to have a look at the interior of the Clérigos Church.
Climbing to the top of the Torre dos Clérigos
You’d better put on your good shoes: you’ll have to climb 225 steps to reach the top of the Clérigos Tower, which culminates 75.60 meters above the ground. On the way up, you will pass 49 bells in total. All these bells make up the great carillon of the Clerigos Tower.
At the top, the panorama over Porto is simply stunning! You will have a breathtaking view of the cathedral, the Dom Luís I Bridge, the Ribeira and the Douro.
Igreja dos Clérigos (Clerigos Church)
The Clerigos Church is a Baroque masterpiece one of Captain Ulysses’ favorites in Porto!
It is the first church in Portugal which was built following an elliptical layout. A gallery runs around the nave, allowing visitors to have an overview of the building.
The church is also well worth a visit for its delicate ornaments made of marble, granite and gilded wood, as well as for its large stained glass windows. Before leaving, be sure to have a look at the two Portuguese organs, which you’ll find in the main chapel.
Getting to the Clerigos Church and the Clerigos Tower
The Clérigos Tower is located in the historic center of Porto, Rua de São Filipe de Nery, a stone’s throw from the Livraria Lello and the university and a 10-minute walk from the Palacio da Bolsa .
The nearest public transports are:
- metro: Aliados stop (line D)
- tram: Carmo stop (line 22)
- bus: lines 6, 20, 35, 37, 52 and 78
Opening hours of the Clerigos Tower
The Torre dos Clerigos is open every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Please note that the opening hours vary:
- on December 24: 9am-2pm
- on December 25: 11am-7pm
- on December 31: 9am-2pm
- on January 1st: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
A mass takes place in the Clerigos Church every Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
Admission to the Clerigos Church is free, but you will need pay a 5 euro entrance fee to access the Clerigos Tower and the the Museum.
Be warned, the Clérigos Tower is one of the most touristic monuments in Porto and the queue at the entrance to the monument can be quite long. To avoid wasting time, Captain Ulysses recommends booking your tickets online .
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 top tourist attractions here.
👉 Skip the lines: book your tickets and visits in advance!
Looking for tips and recommendations? Here are all the Captain’s recommendations!
🛏️ 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
– luxurious 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 shared or private transfer at very reasonable prices.
🚌 Local transport: you’ll propably 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, the hop-on hop-off bus tours are a great option to explore the city. You can also opt fora pass including access to hop-on hop-off buses, the funicular as well as tramways.
Among other means of transport, you can also try the bicycle, the electric bicycle, the segway, the tuk-tuk, the small 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.
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