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Dom Luís I Bridge Walk – All You Need To Know

After living in Porto for a month, the Dom Luis Bridge walk became part of my daily routine.

Yep, I literally walked up there every single day to enjoy the views (they’re amazing) and I want to help you do it too.

This post includes everything you need to know about the Dom Luis I Bridge walk in Porto including how to get there, how long it takes and some other insider tips.

Can You Walk Across The Dom Luis Bridge In Porto?

Yes, it is possible to walk across the Dom Luis I Bridge in Porto. There’s actually two separate walking platforms for pedestrians located on different levels of the bridge that you can walk along.

Photo of Dom Luís I Bridge highlighting the upper and lower levels.
Photo of Dom Luís I Bridge highlighting the upper and lower levels.

As you can see, the Dom Luis I Bridge is a double-decker bridge so you can choose to walk on either the upper level or the lower level.

  • The upper level is open to pedestrians and the metro train.
  • The lower level is open to pedestrians and cars.

Personally I think the best way to walk across the bridge is on the upper platform as it’s much higher up so you get better views of Porto and the surrounding area.

The upper level is around 40 meters above the Douro River so it’s no wonder you get a good view.

View from the upper level of the Dom Luís I Bridge in Porto.
View from the upper level of the Dom Luís I Bridge in Porto.

You can also walk along the lower level of the bridge. Whilst the views aren’t quite as spectacular (they’re still pretty good), it’s quicker if you just want to cross the bridge to get to the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the river.

When I visited the Dom Luis I Bridge, they were doing some construction work on the ground level so it wasn’t quite as good as usual.

View from the lower level of the Dom Luís I Bridge in Porto.
View from the lower level of the Dom Luís I Bridge in Porto.

I do think that the ground level gives you the best opportunity to marvel at the architecture of the bridge. It definitely reminds me of a certain famous French landmark!

The bridge was designed by Théophile Seyrig who was actually a student of Gustave Eiffel (yep, that guy that designed the Eiffel Tower).

Photo of the architecture of the Dom Luís I Bridge taken from the lower level of the bridge.
Photo of the architecture of the Dom Luís I Bridge taken from the lower level of the bridge.

It’s definitely worth crossing the bridge and walking on the Gaia side of the river at some point. When I did, I saw a sailor’s parade, a huge store selling canned sardines, ate a tasty fish cake and listened to someone playing the organ!

Helpful Tip: If you’re limited on time and want to see the best that Porto has to offer then I recommend joining this 3-hour walking tour of the city.

Dom Luis Bridge Porto Walk

Ok so I’m assuming that you want to walk along the top of the Dom Luis I Bridge as that’s where you’ll get the best views.

The upper level of the bridge is basically a road as it features two walkways separated by a metro track in the middle. You can walk on either side and each side has a different view.

Photo of the Dom Luís Bridge taken from above.
Photo of the Dom Luís Bridge that I took from the Monastery

The View

On one side, you can see the Ribeira area of Porto with all of the colorful houses and historic buildings. 

View of Ribeira from the upper level of the Dom Luís I Bridge.
View of Ribeira from the upper level of the Dom Luís I Bridge.

You’ll also be able to overlook the riverfront of Vila Nova de Gaia (technically a different city to Porto).

View of Vila Nova de Gaia taken from the upper level of the Dom Luís I Bridge.
View of Vila Nova de Gaia taken from the upper level of the Dom Luís I Bridge.

Looking out onto the river, you’ll see boats sailing up and down the river, birds flying around looking for lunch and you can gaze at all the people walking up and down the riverfront.

(hint: you can get out onto the river yourself by joining this Porto boat tour! It gives you a truly unique perspective of the city and you’ll be able to sail beneath the famous bridge!)

And that’s all just on the right side of the bridge!

On the left hand side, you’ll look out onto the Ponte Infante Dom Henrique in the distance which is another one of Porto’s epic bridges.

You’ll also get a pretty good view of the colossal Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar which sits on a hill overlooking you on the bridge (more on this later).

View of the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar from the upper level of the Dom Luís I Bridge.
View of the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar from the upper level of the Dom Luís I Bridge.

You can also see some of the old city walls as you enter the bridge on the Porto side.

View of the old city walls taken from the upper level of the Dom Luís I Bridge.
View of the old city walls taken from the upper level of the Dom Luís I Bridge.

As you can see, the views from the Dom Luis I Bridge are absolutely mesmerizing. Although Porto has lots of impressive viewpoints, this one has to be my favorite.

You can use these fun Porto Instagram captions that I created when you post all your best pics on the gram.

💡 Helpful Tip: The best time to cross the bridge is between the hours of 4PM & 7PM as the sunlight is less harsh. In particular sunset is the best time, trust me!

The Train

Whilst walking along the bridge, you’ll find that the metro train does come every few minutes. It crosses over the bridge from both directions.

You do need to be careful that you don’t walk out onto the tracks when the train is coming.

It is absolutely fine to cross from one side of the bridge to the other. Just look both ways first and you’ll be fine.

When the train is coming, you can hear it from a long way off and you can see it coming. It also doesn’t move very fast at all so you have plenty of time to cross over to the other side.

Photo of the metro train on the Dom Luís I Bridge.
Photo of the metro train on the Dom Luís I Bridge.

How Long Does The Luis Bridge Porto Walk Take?

The walk across the Dom Luis I Bridge in Porto takes around 5 minutes to complete. You could easily spend 15 minutes here though if you stop to admire the view and take photos.

Is It Busy?

From personal experience, I can say that the Dom Luis Bridge doesn’t get too busy.

I did the Dom Luis Bridge walk in January which is Porto’s off-season and I found that it wasn’t too crowded up there. 

There were many other people on the bridge at the same time but it didn’t feel crowded at all and I could easily stop, enjoy the view and take some photos.

I did have to move out of people’s way and stand to the side every now and again to let people pass.

I imagine that in the peak summer months (June to September) it may be a bit busier up here meaning you may have to battle the crowds a bit more but, in general, there’s plenty of room for everyone.

Here’s a photo I took that shows exactly how busy the Dom Luis Bridge was when I walked across it:

Photo showing how busy the upper level of the Dom Luís I Bridge is.
Photo showing how busy the upper level of the Dom Luís I Bridge is.

How To Get To The Dom Luis Bridge In Porto

The Dom Luis Bridge is situated right in the heart of Porto’s historical center. It crosses the Douro River connecting Porto to its neighboring city, Vila Nova de Gaia.

Here’s exactly where it’s located:

Map showing the location of the Dom Luís I Bridge in Porto.
Map showing the location of the Dom Luís I Bridge in Porto.

In Portuguese, it’s known as the Ponte Dom Luís I so look out for this name on signs and maps.

How Do You Get To The Top Level Of The Dom Luis Bridge?

If you’re wanting to get to the top level of the Dom Luis Bridge in Porto then there’s a few different ways.

If you’re at the base of the bridge on the riverfront at Ribeira then you can either walk up via the stairs located nearby or you can take the funicular.

I personally opted to walk up. You’ll notice a stone staircase near to the entrance of the bridge on the lower level.

Here’s what it looks like:

Photo of the staircase leading up to the top level of the bridge.
Photo of the staircase leading up to the top level of the bridge.

This staircase leads all the way to the top of the bridge. Personally, I found that it was doable but tiring (for reference, I’m a 26-year-old, fairly fit person).

The walk is very steep and long so if you’re not in good physical condition, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Here’s exactly what the staircase looks like when you’re walking up it:

Photo of the staircase leading to the upper level of the bridge.
Photo of the staircase leading to the upper level of the bridge.

You’ll be climbing this staircase for a while and from personal experience I can tell you it makes you feel very achy afterwards so only attempt it if you’re fit enough.

The Funicular

If climbing that staircase doesn’t sound like your idea of fun (I don’t blame you) then you can take the funicular instead.

Right next to the base of the staircase (at the entrance to the lower level of the bridge) is the funicular station which is officially called the Funicular Dos Guindais. 

The funicular takes you up a steep hill which connects the Ribeira riverfront with the Batalha area of Porto which is much higher up. 

You can take the funicular by entering the station if you want to go to the top level of the Dom Luis Bridge. The exit at the top is right next to the entrance to the bridge.

This option is much easier and not tiring at all. You’ll also get some pretty good views of the Dom Luis Bridge and the Riberia riverfront during the ride.

The funicular only takes 2 minutes to go up the hill and it currently costs €4 one-way each.

Photo of the funicular.
Photo of the funicular.

What To Do When You Finish The Walk

After you’ve finished the Dom Luís I Bridge walk, there’s a couple of other top Porto attractions located literally just steps away.

Porto is a walkable city so you don’t need to take any transport to get to the other sites.

Jardim do Morro

Once you reach the end of the walkway, you’ll notice the Jardim do Morro on your right, literally just steps away. This hilltop garden overlooks the city.

You’ll get similar impressive views from the garden which has a long wall running around the edge where you get a great view of the Douro River and Riberia area below.

There’s plenty of benches and grassy areas in the park so you can take a seat and relax.

The view from Jardim do Morro.
The view from Jardim do Morro.

This is a great place to come if it was busy on the bridge as you get a very similar view from here and it’s much more spacious than the bridge (& you don’t have to worry about the metro train).

Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar

As you exit the Dom Luis Bridge, to your left, you’ll notice the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar. 

It’s basically the large white building sat on top of a hill. It actually used to be a monastery.

Photo of the Mosteiro da Serra do Pillar.
Photo of the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar.

If you head around the backside, there’s a pathway that leads up to the top of the hill so you’re able to stand right in front of the monastery.

Here you’ll find another amazing viewpoint of the Douro River and Riberia which is Porto’s historical center. You’ll also get a pretty cool view of the Dom Luis I Bridge from above.

In fact, this one might be my favorite viewpoint in the whole of Porto (I feel like I say that about every viewpoint though).

It’s not super busy here and often there’s someone playing music. 

When I visited the monastery recently, there was a man playing the violin which made the whole experience feel really dreamy. He was really good!!

View from the Mosteiro da Serra do Pillar.
View from the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar.

FAQs

Below I’ve answered some frequently asked questions about the Dom Luís I Bridge in Porto.

How High Is The Dom Luis Bridge In Porto?

The Dom Luis I Bridge in Porto is 45 meters high (148 ft).

How Long Is The Dom Luis Bridge?

The Dom Luis I Bridge is 395.25 meters long (1,296.8 ft).

Which Two Cities Does Portugal’s Dom Luís I Bridge Connect?

The Dom Luis I Bridge in Porto connects Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia which is located on the other side of the river.


And that’s it!

Thanks for reading this post all about the Dom Luis I Bridge walk in Porto, Portugal.

As I said, I did this walk every day when I lived in Porto so I know pretty much all there is to know about it.

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