With its charmingly ramshackle medieval centre, buzzing nightlife and heavenly food and wine, this Iberian hotspot boasts everything you’d hope to find on a city break. Throw in the surf-friendly beaches and welcoming locals, plus the fact it’s an eminently walkable city, and it’s easy to see why travellers from 174 countries voted Porto as the Best European Destination of 2017.

While spending 24 hours in this city is sure to be a stellar experience no matter what you get up to, we believe the secret to a truly unforgettable visit lies in checking out the as many of the hotspots listed below as possible. Enjoy.

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You’ll be torn between gazing at Majestic Café’s art nouveau décor and the delicious food. Porto. Credit: Getty Images/​Luis Davilla.

Have breakfast fit for a royal at the Majestic Café

A visit to the impressively grand Majestic Café on bustling Rua de Santa Catarina is the perfect way to kick off your day. This chic eatery is decorated in art nouveau style to evoke the grand café’ tradition of belle époque-era Paris, and has welcomed notable figures and bohemian types since opening its doors in 1921. Even J.K. Rowling has paid a visit. Sit in the opulent interior and soak up the heritage embedded in the elegant carved wood, mirrors and chandeliers. The coffee is pretty formidable as well.

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Run your hands across hundreds of books at Livreria Lello.

Shop for books at Livraria Lello

A leisurely ten-minute walk takes you from the Majestic Café to Livraria Lello on Rua das Carmelitas. Strolling amid the neo-gothic pillars decorated with bronze bas-reliefs of Portuguese literary figures, and gazing at the ornate floor-to ceiling-painted plaster, you might feel that you’ve wandered into a familiar dream. It’s little wonder that this incredible bookshop was used as a location in the Harry Potter films. The pièce de résistance is undoubtedly a winding art nouveau staircase which leads up to a spectacular stained-glass skylight engraved with a Latin inscription: vecus in labore’, meaning there is honour in work’.

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This old stock exchange market is both a national monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Credit: Getty Images/​Hans Georg Eiben.

Admire the grandeur of Palácio da Bolsa

Walk south from the library through winding streets towards the river. After around 15 minutes you’ll arrive at the Palácio da Bolsa, a building so magnificent it’s listed as both a national monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The internal architecture of this 19th-century former stock exchange is as bold as it is beautiful, with the famed parquet floors and spacious atrium looking just as fabulous as they appear on souvenir postcards. That being said, it’s the lush arabesques, magnificent woodwork and superb stained glass work of the celebrated Arabian Hall which really take your breath away.

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Savour some of Portugal’s finest dishes at Cafeína. Photo courtesy of Cafeína.

Grab dinner at Cafeína

When it comes to evening eats, we suggest making like the savvy locals and heading for the Atlantic views and fantastic restaurants around Gondarém beach. A block away from its rolling waves and slowly melting sunsets is Cafeína. This effortlessly stylish yet reassuringly laid-back restaurant takes traditional Portuguese cooking and fuses it with French and Italian influences, creating tapas-style treats of the very highest order. Ever-so-fresh fish and super-succulent steaks will make your 15-minute taxi ride entirely worthwhile.

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Let loose in Maus Hábitos. Credit: Pedro MKK.

Enjoy a nightcap in one of Porto’s vibrant bars

Walk a minute along the seafront from Cafeina and you’ll find Bonapartes, a friendly tavern proffering port wines and refreshingly cold beers. A few sundowners later and it’s time to head back to the city centre where La Boheme entre Amis on Galeria de Paris awaits. With resident DJs on several floors and an impressive cocktail menu, it’s the perfect place to ease into second gear. Make a beeline for Maus Hábitos when the time comes to round things off. As well as being home to one of the liveliest bars in the city, this artist-run venue on Rua de Passos puts on some seriously cool live music nights.

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