Visits are only available as part of a tour and tickets are bought within the shop at the entrance. The first chamber you'll come to is the central courtyard room Patio das Nações (The Hall of Nations) which has an impressive iron-framed glass-domed ceiling. The ceiling, as well as other elements of the Palácio da Bolsa, was designed by Tomás Soller. The light which pours through the roof illuminates the many frescoes, sculptures, and 20 coat-of-arms that represent the countries with which Portugal have friendly and commercial relations over time. In keeping with the Romanticism zeal at the time of construction the mosaic floor drew inspiration from the Greco-Roman floors found at Pompeii. The Patio das Nações wall fully restored between 2007 - 2008 with the addition of climate control systems.
The Escadaria Nobre or grand staircase lives up to it's name. Split over two flights the stairs lead up to the first floor rooms. Designed by Gustavo Adolpho Gonçalves e Sousa the staircase is carved from marble and festooned with garlands, Corinthian capitals and fluted pilasters. Hanging from either side of an oval skylight in the domed ceiling above are two large bronze chandeliers, the first lights in Porto to be powered by electricity.
The Sala do Tribunal (Tribunal Room) is where merchants and customers disputes were heard and resolved. In contrast to the other rooms, it was decorated in the French Renaissance style. Huge oil paintings cover the walls depict some of Porto's traders and guildsmen. Two sides of the room contain ornately carved seating for the jurors, contrast greatly with the more basic seating for the public. The ceiling is richly decorated with painted panels.
An ancient telegraph machine, encased in glass, can be found in the Sala do Telégrafo, a small room dedicated for its use. Messages were relayed from the docks on the Douro to the Porto Commercial Association regarding import and export.
The genius engineer Gustave Eiffel designed his most distinguished works in the room that bears his name. He was the creator of the Dona Maria Pia Bridge in Porto, as well as the dual bridge in Viana do Castelo, the railway bridge in Barçelos and the road bridge in Pinhão. The Gustave Eiffel Cabinet is a tribute to the great man who did so much to shape modern Portugal. Other rooms on the first floor are still used for gatherings for the Commercial Association of Porto, such as the President's Room whilst others are hired out for special functions and ceremonies.
The most impressive of all the rooms and the grand finale of the tour is the stupendously decorated Salão Arabe where every centimetre is richly decorated. At the time of construction (between 1862 and 1880), Moorish styling was enjoying a revival. It was part of the larger Romanticism movement (Monserrate Palace in Sintra being a prime example). The room was designed by Gustavo Adolfo Gonçalves de Sousa (1818-1899), who also designed the Grand Staircase. He may have been inspired by the Alhambra Palace in Granada.
The visitor enters through double doors intricately decorated with stained glass. Once through the entrance, the wow factor is instant. You could be forgiven for not noticing you're walking on the magnificent wood floor composed of mahogany, rosewood and maple inlaid with arabesque geometric patterns. The room was used as a reception room and was intended to impress its visitors and is still used for the most important official ceremonies of the city of Porto.
The Palácio da Bolsa is a privately owned working building, so visits are only allowed as part of an organised tour. Tours occur every half an hour and last for about 45 minutes. The guided tours are in Portuguese, Spanish, French, and English. The timing of which is determined on the day depending on numbers. It's advisable to arrive early and book your tour. You'll be instructed when the next guided tour in your language will commence. Tickets are sold at the entrance gift shop. If you need to wait for your tour, there's plenty of attractions nearby to fill the time.
November to March: Daily: 09h00 – 13h00/14h00 – 17:h00
April to October: Daily: 09h00 – 12h30/14h00 – 17:h30
Adult: €11.00, Concessionary: €7.50, Child Under 12: FREE, Porto Card: 50%
Bookings: +351 223 399 013 | email@example.com