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Driving Through Porto: Tips for Renting a Car in Portugal
Porto, the vibrant and historic city located in northern Portugal, offers a multitude of attractions and scenic drives that are best explored with the freedom of your own rental car. From stunning coastal routes to charming countryside towns, renting a car in Porto allows you to experience the beauty of this region at your own pace. However, before embarking on your adventure, there are a few essential tips to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and hassle-free car rental experience.
Choosing the Right Car Rental Company
When it comes to renting a car in Porto, it is crucial to select a reputable car rental company that provides excellent customer service and reliable vehicles. Start by researching different companies online and reading reviews from previous customers. Look for companies with positive feedback regarding their vehicle quality, transparent pricing policies, and responsive support teams.
It is also important to compare prices from different rental agencies to ensure you are getting the best deal. Keep an eye out for any hidden fees or additional charges that may not be included in the initial price quote. Opting for a well-established international car rental brand can often provide peace of mind due to their standardized procedures and extensive network of locations.
Understanding Driving Regulations
Before hitting the road in Porto, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with Portugal’s driving regulations. The minimum age for driving is 18 years old; however, most rental companies require drivers to be at least 21 or 25 years old with a valid driver’s license held for at least one year.
In Portugal, driving is done on the right-hand side of the road. Ensure you are comfortable with this if you come from a country where driving is on the left-hand side. It is also important to note that seat belts are mandatory for all passengers, and children under 12 years old must be seated in appropriate child restraint systems.
Navigating Porto’s Roads
While driving in Porto can be an enjoyable experience, it is essential to be aware of the city’s unique road system. Porto’s narrow streets, particularly in the historic city center, can be challenging to navigate for those unfamiliar with the area. It is advisable to opt for a smaller car that is easier to maneuver through tight spaces and find parking.
To avoid any potential confusion or frustration, consider renting a GPS or using a navigation app on your smartphone. These tools will help you navigate the city’s intricate road network and find your way to popular attractions or nearby towns. Additionally, having a good understanding of Portuguese road signs and traffic rules will ensure a safe and stress-free driving experience.
Exploring Beyond Porto
One of the greatest advantages of renting a car in Porto is the opportunity to explore beyond the city limits. Portugal’s stunning coastline and picturesque countryside are easily accessible from Porto, offering breathtaking landscapes and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
Consider taking a scenic drive along the Douro River Valley, famous for its terraced vineyards and charming riverside villages. Visit nearby cities such as Aveiro, known as the “Venice of Portugal,” with its colorful moliceiro boats gliding along its canals.
Before embarking on any day trips from Porto, plan your route in advance and check for any toll roads or parking restrictions in your destination. It is also advisable to have cash on hand for tolls, as some roads may not accept credit cards.
In conclusion, renting a car in Porto provides an excellent opportunity to explore all that this beautiful region has to offer. By choosing a reputable rental company, understanding local driving regulations, navigating with care through the city streets, and venturing beyond Porto’s borders with proper planning, you can make your journey through Portugal an unforgettable one. So buckle up and get ready for an exciting adventure on Portugal’s roads.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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The Best Time to Visit Miami Florida
Miami, Florida, is an eclectic seaside city that’s perfect for relaxing in the sun and enjoying nightlife. Here’s a look at the best time to visit Miami, Florida.
Springtime in Miami
Your best bet for enjoying sunny days in the high 70s is to visit Miami between March and May. During this time period, you’ll avoid the peak season, especially in Miami Beach, when hotel rates can be enormous. The only downside is that party-happy college kids often flock to Miami during spring break, which means you may have some noisy young adults to contend with. To avoid that scene, opt for visiting Miami once spring break season has ended, during late April or early May.
Looking to party in Miami Beach? There’s no better time than December to February, which is when the city’s nightlife is in full swing. Temperatures tend to be in the mid-70s, so you can stroll in comfort around the city, enjoy shopping in Miami, Florida and dine in outdoor patios, which happen to be great for people-watching or even spotting a celebrity or two. However, expect to pay top dollar at hotels during this time of year, and make sure you book well in advance.
Festivals and Restaurant Discounts
If getting great restaurant deals is a top priority, a visit to Miami during August and September means that you can partake in the fixed priced options offered by some of Miami’s top restaurants. For a week of music and partying, the beginning of spring (usually the end of March) is Miami Music Week. If you’re an art lover, visit during Art Basel Miami Beach, which often happens in the fall, during the first week of December. Interested in cars in Miami, Florida? The annual Miami International Auto Show is held during the fall, usually in early October.
Summer in Miami is the city’s slowest time of the year, mainly because it can be uncomfortably hot. You’ll have more space to lay your blanket in the sand, and the clubs and restaurants aren’t as crowded this time of year, but the summer heat can put a damper on lounging in the sun. However, if you want to travel on a budget, this time of year is optimal for finding some great hotel deals.
Since an ideal visit to Miami likely involves spending time outdoors in the sunshine, hurricane season, which is from June to November, isn’t the best time to visit the Sunshine State. Miami enjoys a subtropical climate, so the weather will be warm during this time of year, but you risk days of downpours or even hurricane-force winds that’ll keep you indoors.
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3 Days in Porto: How to Plan a Perfect Porto Itinerary
In this guide to spending 3 days in Porto, we’ll give you our take on exactly how to plan your Porto itinerary with everything you need to know to plan your trip. All the details you need to plan your trip are below – what to do, where to stay, when to visit, and more.
Porto is a charming city, offering something a little different from Lisbon and the Algarve, and it has a unique contrast going on that you’ll feel immediately when you get off the train.
On a walking tour we did ( this one , if you’re curious, which we really liked), we relentlessly questioned our walking tour guide about why it feels so different from other parts of Portugal, particularly the parts to the south.
On one hand, Porto feels much younger and more vibrant than any of the other places we’ve visited in Portugal (with the exception of Coimbra, which is essentially a college town).
On the other hand, Porto feels much, much older than most of the other places we visited in Portugal (again, with the exception of both Coimbra and Évora).
It’s an odd feeling, and we were anxious to explore the reasons behind that.
Porto may not be as well known as the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, but it has a distinctly older feeling than Lisbon, which was leveled by an earthquake in 1755. You’ll especially experience this when you’re walking around the areas near the river just below the cathedral, which have some winding, narrow alleyways that feel very medieval.
Our walking tour guide let us know several times that Porto is the country’s original capital, and lended its name to the country in its early days before the capital was moved to Lisbon in 1255 at the end of the Portuguese Reconquista.
While it doesn’t get nearly as much press as Lisbon these days, Porto is absolutely worth a visit, whether it’s as a part of your Portugal itinerary , or as a weekend trip (if you live in Europe) thanks to its thriving food scene, rich history, and, of course, port.
Planning to spend 3 days in Porto? You’re in the right place! Located in northern Portugal on the Douro River estuary, Porto is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in all of Europe. Wandering through the city’s narrow cobblestone streets, taking in the mix of Baroque, Gothic and Neoclassical architecture, it’s difficult not to fall in love with Porto’s charm.
Over the course of this Porto itinerary, we’ll help you experience the very best this fascinating city has to offer. From admiring the exquisite blue and white tiled churches to sampling its namesake port wine, we’ll give you everything you need to know to enjoy a long weekend in Porto.
Pro-tip : Every single local we met in Porto said something along the lines of “hey, be careful with port” – it’s super easy to drink, it’s 20% alcohol, and it’s full of sugar so the hangovers are awful. You’ve been warned.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post, like hotel links, are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, we make a little bit of money if you click through and book. That being said, we would never recommend something to you that we don’t stand behind 100%.
How Many Days Do You Need in Porto?
For your first trip to Porto, we think three days is ideal.
We had three days, and we felt like it was the right amount of time to get a taste for what makes Porto special (and different from Lisbon, which is where we were coming from).
You’ll need two days to take in the city’s main highlights, and an extra day to explore the nearby Douro Valley.
Being a relatively small city, it’s possible to pack all of Porto’s main attractions into a day ( here’s our guide on how to do Porto in a day ). But this will feel rushed. To appreciate the laid-back atmosphere of this historic city, you’ll want at least 48 hours to explore.
Then on your third day, take a day trip to the Douro Valley (we did this tour and absolutely loved it – it was legitimately a top three travel experience of our lives). The Douro Valley is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site close to Porto and the birthplace of port wine.
We highly, highly recommend doing a guided tour ( here’s the one we did ) where you’ll get to connect with like-minded travelers and learn all about port wine, including touring a vineyard and doing a river cruise on the Douro River. We did it for my little brother’s birthday, and after spending the next three months exploring Spain and Italy , it is STILL the #1 memory from our trip.
Where to Stay in Porto
For 3 days in Porto, you’ll want to base yourself somewhere pretty central, especially if it’s your first time.
We have an entire detailed guide to choosing where to stay in Porto . For more detail, head over there and read that, which has an in-depth guide to each neighborhood we’d recommend with pros and cons, neighborhood highlights, and more.
But here’s the shorter version, if you’re short on time.
You want to be within walking distance of the majority of the main landmarks, plus a good selection of restaurants and bars, and the city’s main transportation hubs (for your day trip to the Douro Valley on day 3).
Of the neighborhoods that check those boxes, Ribeira and Baixa are our top picks. Though we stayed right off of Rua de Santa Catarina a few more blocks north, and we thought it was a great location – we loved our apartment at YourOpo Cosy Apartments .
Ribeira: Romantic & Close to the River
Ribeira is the area of Porto’s old town that encompasses the Medieval harbor and riverfront. The neighborhood is known for its colorful facades and many restaurants and bars with spacious terraces overlooking the Douro River.
By night, the area really comes alive. People from all over the city head to Ribeira to enjoy tasty local delicacies while taking in the fantastic views of Dom Luís I Bridge and Vila Nova de Gaia.
Located just a short walk from most of the city’s main attractions, Ribeira is a great area to base yourself for exploring the best of Porto in 3 days.
- Exmo. Hotel – A stylish and modern boutique hotel with spacious rooms and incredible views over the city and river. Some rooms have their own balcony or terrace. The hotel also has a trendy on-site bar serving food and cocktails throughout the day.
- Descobertas Boutique Hotel Porto – A small boutique design hotel located on one of the oldest and most characteristic streets in Ribeira. Each of the 18 rooms is inspired by a place that Portuguese navigators arrived at during the Age of Discoveries.
- Gran Cruz House – A charming guesthouse with bright and colorful rooms, helpful and welcoming staff, and views over the Douro River.
- Porto River Serviced Apartments – A variety of spacious studios, one bed, and two bed apartments sleeping up to four adults and two children. Every apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen and a cozy living area.
Baixa: Central and Packed with Great Food & Drinks
Ba i xa is Porto’s buzzing city center, which is essentially Porto’s downtown area.
Centered around the Avenida dos Aliados (Avenue of the Allies), the neighborhood is packed with important landmarks such as City Hall, the Cathedral, and more.
The neighborhood is known for its cool and trendy vibe. It’s where you’ll find Porto’s young, hipster crowd sipping coffee in cozy cafes by day, and enjoying the vibrant nightlife scene once the sun goes down.
Baixa also has the highest concentration of hotels in all of Porto. With a wealth of attractions, restaurants, bars, and shops right on your doorstep, it’s no surprise that the neighborhood is one of the most popular places to stay in Porto.
- Fabrica 55 – Modern and elegant studios and one bedroom apartments with fully equipped kitchenettes. The apartments are located on a quiet backstreet just seconds from some of Porto’s top attractions. You really can’t get much more central than this.
- Chic & Basic Gravity – A hotel that’s just as cool as the neighborhood it’s located in. It’s difficult to put this unconventional Porto hotel into words, so we’ll use theirs instead… “A place where sneakers hang from the ceilings, lifts go down but you go up, fish fly, letters are falling, and ceilings become floors.”
- Selina Porto – An exciting and social hostel right in the heart of Porto. You can choose from private rooms or dorms depending on your budget. The hostel has a communal kitchen, movie room, coworking space, lively bar and nightclub, and large garden courtyard. They also run a packed schedule of events, tours, and parties for guests.
How to Plan an Amazing 3 Day Porto Itinerary
3 days in Porto is enough time to experience the best the city has to offer, from exploring the historic city center to wine tasting in the beautiful Douro Valley.
Here’s a quick overview of the itinerary below:
- Day 1: Introduction to Porto’s historic center
- Day 2: The Cathedral, Ponte Luis I Bridge, and Vila Nova de Gaia
- Day 3: Day trip to the Douro Valley
For this itinerary, we’ll assume you’re arriving the evening before and have three full days to explore.
Day 1: Downtown Porto and the Historic Old Town
On the first day of this itinerary, you’ll explore Porto’s historic center, which is made up of the Sé, Baixia, and Ribeira districts.
Start Your Trip with a Walking Tour for Context and a History Lesson
We almost always start our time in a city with a guided walking tour. And we’d highly, highly recommend that you start your first day in Porto with a guided walking tour for a couple of reasons.
First, a walking tour will help you get a feel for the city and see many of the major landmarks. You’ll also get to learn about Porto’s complex history, from the Roman and Moorish occupations to the Napoleonic invasions and Portuguese civil war.
Plus, a tour gives you the opportunity to connect with a local and get valuable insights into the city, such as where to eat and drink, how to get around, and useful tips for seeing the main sights.
Here are three walking tours in Porto that caught our eye. On our trip, we did this private tour – which we liked a lot – because we had a bigger group and the cost worked out for us.
Travel Back to Porto’s Roots Tour (3 hours) – A walking tour run by a lovely local couple with a passion for Porto’s history. Carlota and João will take you to explore the oldest parts of the city and share with you their favorite hidden places, stories, and secrets of Porto. You’ll also spend some time enjoying a bica (strong Portuguese espresso coffee) in one of their favorite local cafés where they’ll share more tips and you can ask all the questions you want.
The Other Side Hidden Porto Tour (3 hours) – Discover Porto’s major attractions and hidden gems on this half-day walking tour with a local guide. The first part of the tour focuses on Porto’s beautiful ‘azulejos’, the traditional Portuguese tiles, so don’t forget your camera for some great photo ops. The tour also includes a stop to try the best pastel de nata (custard tart) in the city.
Be My Guest In Porto Highlights Tour (3 hours) – On this locally run tour, an expert guide will teach you about Porto’s captivating history and architecture while visiting the city’s most important historic landmarks. You’ll pass by sites including the grand Neoclassical City Hall, 12th-century Sé Cathedral, forgotten Serrana café, and the remains of the old city walls. This Porto tour is a great option for history lovers.
Try a Bifana at Conga
After a busy morning walking around the city, you’ll no doubt be hungry and ready for a well-deserved lunch. So it’s time to try your first Portuguese delicacy – the bifana .
A bifana is a traditional Portuguese sandwich consisting of a soft bread roll filled with thin slices of marinated pork and plenty of mustard and piri-piri sauce. No one is quite sure of the origins of the dish, but today the sandwich is one of the most popular fast foods in Portugal.
The bifana is made slightly differently in cafes and restaurants across the country, and there are even some regional variations. In a traditional bifana, the pork is marinated and cooked in white wine, vinegar, garlic, paprika, and salt. While in the Porto-style bifana, beer and Port wine are added to the mix for a more tangy taste.
So where should you try a bifana in Porto? This is where the benefits of connecting with a local on a walking tour come in! Our tour guide highly recommended that we visit Conga .
The casual eatery has been open since 1976 when the owner claims to have invented the dish.
Whether this is true or not, we don’t know. But what we can be sure of is that they cook up one of the tastiest pork sandwiches in town. And it will only set you back €2.40. But do expect a line as this is one of Porto’s most popular bifana spots.
Grab a Pastel de Nata for Dessert
If the bifana hasn’t filled you up, round off your lunch with a proper Portuguese dessert – a pastel de nata.
The pastel de nata is a traditional Portuguese egg custard tart, often dusted with cinnamon. The popular sweet pastry was created in the 18th century by Catholic monks in the Jerónimos Monastery just outside Lisbon.
At this time, nuns and monks would use egg whites to starch their clothes. The leftover egg yolks were then used to make cakes and pastries, leading to the creation of the pastel de nata.
You can find tasty pastéis de nata (that’s the plural version) in cafes all over the city. But our favorite was from the famous pastry shop Manteigaria do Porto , conveniently located just a few minutes from Conga.
Here you can watch the fresh natas being made in front of you, before treating yourself to a warm custard tart and strong coffee in preparation for the afternoon ahead.
In Lisbon, Alysha teamed up with Matt’s two brothers to do a mini taste test of the main spots for pastéis de nata. Manteigaria was the clear winner there, and we were happy to find that they also had a Porto location!
Confeitaria do Bolhão is another great spot for pastéis de nata. This historic cafe was founded in 1896 and has kept all of its traditional decor. It’s a stunning spot to sit inside (if you can get a table) and enjoy a freshly made nata.
Climb to the Top of Clérigos Tower
After lunch, it’s time to walk off the pork sandwich and pastel de nata by climbing 240 steps to the top of the Clérigos Tower.
Clérigos Tower is the imposing bell tower of the beautiful Baroque church by the same name. Built in the mid-1700s, the church and its tower are one of the most emblematic monuments in the city.
The impressive tower stands at 249 feet (76 meters), making it the tallest of its kind in Portugal. It’s pretty difficult to miss Clérigos darting above the rooftops when wandering around Porto.
You’ll have to confront a steep and narrow spiral staircase to reach the top of the tower. But the climb is worth it for the breathtaking 360 views over the city and Douro River from above.
Clérigos Church is free to enter. It costs an additional €6 to climb the tower and visit the Clérigos Museum. The tower is extremely popular and only a certain number of guests can climb it each hour, so it’s best to book your ticket in advance .
Livraria Lello: To Visit or Not to Visit?
The next stop on this itinerary is a slightly controversial one – Livraria Lello Bookshop.
Some people love it, and some hate it. So we’ll leave it entirely up to you whether you choose to visit or not. But to help you decide, here’s what we thought.
Livraria Lello is often described as the most beautiful bookshop in the world. And it’s pretty hard to disagree. Dating back to 1881, the bookshop is famous for its lavish neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau interiors. Its grand staircases, elaborately carved archways and columns, floor to ceiling bookshelves, and elegant stained-glass skylight are truly a sight to behold.
It was rumored that J.K. Rowling drew inspiration from Livraria Lello when she was in Porto crafting the first drafts of her now-famous books.
The author herself has since debunked this myth . But it’s certainly not difficult to imagine bumping into Hermoine Granger browsing the shelves of the historic bookshop, looking for her next potions book.
So what’s the downside? The bookshop has gained such fame in recent years that it has turned into one giant tourist attraction.
For a start, there’s always a huge line to enter. We walked past in the morning, midday, and just before closing, and the line was the same at all hours. You also need to pay an admission fee to go inside. And you can forget about curling up in a corner in silence with a good book. You’ll be fighting your way through countless photoshoots instead.
If you do plan on visiting Livraria Lello, you can buy your ticket in advance online for €5 (you’ll need to pick a date and time slot) or at the entrance on the day for €6. The ticket fee is taken off the price of any books that you buy.
For what it’s worth, we saw the line around the block and decided it wasn’t worth waiting in line for a couple of hours. But, based on the pictures, it’s certainly a gorgeous space, and had there not been a long line, we would have definitely considered it (and probably done it).
See Some Beautiful Tiled Churches
After wandering around Porto all day, you’ve probably already noticed the city’s many exquisite tiled churches. But just in case you didn’t, there are a bunch to discover around the Old Town. This was one thing we loved the most about Porto.
Grab your camera and check out some of these beautiful churches adorned in traditional Portuguese ’azulejo’ tiles.
- Capela das Almas – This small chapel is famous for its striking blue and white tiles painted with scenes from the lives of saints. The church has become one of Porto’s most photographed landmarks. You’ll find it here in the Bolhão district.
- Igreja de Santo Ildefonso – A baroque 18th-century church at the top of a hill in Old Town with azulejo blue and white painted ceramic tiles. Find it here close to São Bento Train Station.
- Igreja dos Carmelitas & Igreja do Carmo – These two connected 16th-17th century churches feature orate granite facades with beautiful tiled walls. The lavish Baroque and Rococo style interiors of Igreja do Carmo are worth visiting too. The twin churches can be found here .
Sunset at Miradouro da Vitória
Finish your first full day in Porto by watching the sunset from one of the best viewpoints in the city, Miradouro da Vitória .
Located on the top of a hill in the heart of Old Town, the viewing platform is completely free to visit.
From Miradouro da Vitória, you’ll be treated to amazing panoramic views over many of the city’s major landmarks, including the Cathedral, Bishops Palace, Douro River, and Dom Luis I Bridge. It does get pretty busy around sunset, so you will have to share the viewpoint with others.
Afterwards, head down a couple of blocks to Prova for a glass of Portuguese wine. This was our introduction to wine in Porto, and they have a fantastic choice of wines and port, carefully selected food pairings, and super helpful staff who will help you find something you like!
Day 2: Sé do Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia (read: Port!)
On day two, you’ll tick off two of Porto’s most iconic landmarks, Sé do Porto and Ponte de Dom Luís I (the main bridge in Porto), before heading to Vila Nova de Gaia on the south side of the river for an afternoon of port tasting.
Start day two with a visit to Porto Cathedral , or Sé do Porto as it’s known locally. Standing on the top of a hill in the historic center, the large Roman Catholic Church is the most important religious building in the city.
The fort-like Cathedral was constructed in the 12th century, making it one of the oldest buildings in Porto, and has been renovated several times throughout its history. Stepping inside, you’ll see the stunning mix of Baroque, Romanesque, and Gothic architectural styles that make the church so unique.
The Cathedral is free to visit, while a ticket to its cloister costs €3. The Gothic cloister is one of the highlights of the church and definitely worth paying for. Dating back to the 14th century, it’s decorated with beautiful blue and white azulejos tiles painted depicting scenes from the Bible.
Walk Across Ponte Luis I Bridge
From Porto Cathedral, turn onto Calçada de Vandoma then Av. Vimara Peres to reach the upper walkway of the Ponte Luis I Bridge.
Ponte Luis I Bridge connects Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia over the Douro River and is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks.
The impressive bridge was designed by German architect Téophile Seyrig, a disciple of French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (the designer of the Eiffel Tower). When it was completed in 1886, it was the longest spanning metal bridge in the world. Ponte Luis I was an architectural marvel of its time.
The upper level of the bridge carries a metro line and a pedestrian walkway, while the lower level is for cars and pedestrians. If you’re okay with heights, walk along the upper walkway for some fantastic views down the river and over the city skyline.
Miradouros of Vila Nova de Gaia
Shortly after crossing the upper level of Ponte Luís I to Vila Nova de Gaia, you’ll reach several incredible viewpoints, or ‘miradouros’ in Portuguese.
Miradouro da Serra do Pilar is the large terrace of the 15th-century hilltop monastery by the same name. From this viewpoint, you’ll get a unique perspective over the Ponte Luis I bridge, down to the historic harbor, and over the rooftops of Porto on the opposite riverbank.
As you make your way down from the monastery to the waterfront, you’ll come across several more viewpoints with stunning views over the city, including Miradouro da Ribeira and Miradouro do Teleférico .
If you’re already tired of walking at this point, you can jump on the Gaia Cable Car to reach the waterfront. At €6 per person for the 5-minute ride, it is a little overpriced. But you’ll get some great views, and you can give your legs a quick rest.
Port Tasting in Vila Nova de Gaia
You can’t go to Vila Nova de Gaia without visiting one of its historic port cellars. Many of the port lodges offer tours and tastings for visitors. Some lodges you can simply walk up to and join a tour, while others require advanced booking.
Graham’s is the port lodge we visited, and we enjoyed the tour and tasting. Graham’s dates back to the 1800s and is one of the most famous names in the industry. When we came back from Portugal, we actually did a port tasting with friends at home in the US, and we were able to find Graham’s 10 Year Tawny at home (at Trader Joe’s, of all places).
The reason we chose Graham’s is the fact that the lodge is set a little back from the main tourist area, so it doesn’t get the big crowds the others do. Plus, it’s up on a hill with great views (though to our disappointment, the tastings are done inside, and the restaurant is the part that has the nice views).
Tasting and tours are by reservation only . And for real port aficionados, don’t miss the vintage room where you can try some of their rarer ports.
There are countless other great port lodges you can visit on this side of the river. Here are a couple of others:
- Sandeman – A 200 year old port cellar with one of the most impressive and significant wine bottle collections in Europe.
- Taylor’s – Taylor’s historic cellar is home to a modern museum about the history of port and the house of Taylor’s, and can be explored on an extensive audio-guided visit.
- Caves Cálem – Calém port lodge not only offers tours of their cellars and museum, but the innovative brand also has a 5D film about port wine production, fado shows, and fantastic port and food pairing sessions.
Drinks in a Secluded Garden
Continue your port tour of Vila Nova de Gaia with another glass or two at the hidden gem that is Churchill’s 1982 Garden Bar .
Located in the secluded garden of Churchill’s port lodge, there are several picnic tables spread out across a large lawn. The garden is fully immersed in nature, with the river and lodges peeking through the trees below.
There’s nowhere better to escape the busy city for a small moment of peace.
And, of course, a port tonic or three.
Walk Back Through Vila Nova de Gaia
After you’ve finished at Churchill’s, complete your day with a walk back through Vila Nova de Gaia. Take some time to explore the neighborhood at your own pace.
A few places you might want to stop include:
- Half Rabbit – A unique piece of modern art depicting a giant rabbit made from trash and repurposed materials. The well-known artwork is a critique of society’s wastefulness.
- 7g Roaster – If you’re in desperate need of a strong cup of coffee after all of that port, this is where you’ll find some of the best coffee in Porto.
- Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau – A touristy but fun fast-food spot where you can try pastel do bacalhau (traditional cod cakes) in a beautiful building while listening to live organ music. Skip the port here, there’s better to be had elsewhere.
- Espaço Porto Cruz – A five-story building on the riverfront that celebrates the history and culture of the port making industry. Each floor has interactive exhibits and games, as well as a tasting room and restaurant. But the highlight is the large rooftop terrace – the best spot in Gaia to watch the sunset over the city with a glass of port.
Day 3: A Day Trip to the Douro Valley
Use day 3 of this itinerary to take a trip from Porto to the nearby Douro Valley. If you only have time for one day trip during your stay in Porto, we’d highly recommend making it this one.
Our visit to Porto was part of a three month European adventure that took us to Portugal, Spain, and Italy, and our day trip to the Douro Valley was among our top memories from the entire trip.
Located 100km east of Porto, the Douro Valley is home to the many vineyards and wineries that produce port wine. The region is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest determined (DOC) wine region in the world.
The enchanting vineyard-dotted countryside is also known for its stunning scenery, great hiking routes, and picturesque towns and villages nestled on the banks of the winding Douro River.
One of the most interesting parts of the Douro Valley is the terraced vineyards, which reminded us a lot of coffee farms in Colombia that use the mountainous landscape to their advantage. We’ve never seen that technique used in wine before, and it makes for some pretty spectacular vistas.
We’d definitely recommend taking an organized tour to the Douro Valley. We did this tour , and it was a highlight of our entire Portugal trip (and our entire three months in Europe, to be honest).
The tour starts with a drive out to the Douro Valley, stopping at a stunning viewpoint on the way to your first winery. Here you’ll learn about the wine making process and sample some locally produced wines.
Next, you’ll head to lunch at an old estate, where there’s no shortage of delicious food and wine. Gluten free and vegetarian options are available too.
After visiting a second winery in the afternoon, you’ll embark on an hour-long cruise along the Douro River with a charismatic captain and plenty of porto tonico (port and tonic) cocktails. The day trip ends with a leisurely ride back to Porto.
But why choose an organized tour over visiting the Douro Valley by yourself? Well, the region is not the easiest place to visit on your own.
It is possible to reach the Douro Valley from Porto by train. A direct line runs to Pocinho, with Peso da Régua and Pinhão being two of the most popular stops. However, once you arrive in the Douro Valley, the area isn’t particularly well-served by public transportation. Without a car to get around, you’ll only be able to explore the towns and limited surrounding areas.
The other option is renting a car and driving to the Douro Valley yourself. The biggest downside of this method is that you’ll need a designated driver who won’t get to sample the local wine, and renting a car can be a bit of a hassle.
You’ll also be missing out on visiting the more off-the-beaten-path vineyards and scenic viewpoints that only local guides know about. And you’ll miss connecting with both the guide, who has a wealth of knowledge about Porto and its port, and like-minded travelers who also love learning and trying new things.
Got More Time in Porto?
If you have more than 3 days in Porto, there are plenty of ways to expand on this itinerary. This could be spending more time exploring Porto itself or adding on some additional day trips.
- Palacio da Bolsa – A Neoclassical 19th-century palace built as the headquarters of Associação Comercial do Porto and used to host official state receptions and visiting representatives. The majestic palace is classified as a National Monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When it’s not being used for official business, you can visit the architectural jewel of Porto on a 30 minute guided tour .
- Mercado do Bolhão – The city’s large central market is a must-visit for foodies. Porto’s lively market hosts a variety of local traders, selling meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables, dairy products, bread, cakes, and more. You’ll also find a handful of cafes and wine bars if the food is making you a little peckish. The original market dates back to 1914, but it’s recently undergone a huge renovation and will reopen in September 2022 (it was closed when we were there, sadly).
- Take a Porto Food Tour – Another great option for foodies in Porto is to join a local food tour. This Eat Like a Local Tour takes you to visit some of the city’s most authentic family-run restaurants and small producers to sample delicious local dishes, paired with wine, beer, and port. Or choose this Vintage Food Tour to learn about the revival of Porto’s cuisine and try fresh spins on traditional Portuguese dishes.
- Beaches to the North – Spend a day relaxing on one of the beautiful sandy beaches to the north of Porto. Praia de Matosinhos, Praia dos Ingleses, and Praia do Molhe are all reachable in around 15 minutes by car or 30 minutes on the metro and bus.
- Day Trip to Braga – Visit the oldest city in Portugal, with a rich and fascinating history that dates back to Roman times. Braga is known for its many religious buildings, ancient monuments, and beautiful gardens. There’s a direct train between Porto and Braga that takes around an hour each way, so this is an easy day trip to take on your own.
- Day Trip to Guimarães – Spend a day exploring Portugal’s former capital. The historic city center of Guimarães is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its many well-preserved medieval buildings, including a castle, palace and numerous churches. The direct train from Porto to Guimarães takes just over an hour.
Less Time in Porto? Here’s How to Spend Limited Time in Porto
If you have less time in Porto, here’s how we’d organize your time.
With One Day in Porto
If you only have one day to explore Porto, we’d suggest condensing the first two days of this itinerary into one.
Start your day with a walking tour in the morning, grab a bifana and pastel de nata for lunch, then walk across Ponte Luis I Bridge for a port tasting in Gaia .
Depending on how leisurely you want your time in Gaia to be, you may have time to fit in another attraction in the afternoon, such as climbing the Clérigos Tower or stepping inside the cathedral .
With 2 Days in Porto
This one is easy! With two days in Porto, simply follow the first two days of this itinerary. You can always return another time to explore more of the wider Porto district.
When to Visit Porto
The best time for this 3 day Porto itinerary depends on your vacation priorities. Do you want the highest chance of warm, sunny weather? Or are you willing to brave a little rain to experience the city without crowds?
In general, Porto’s weather is much milder than places further south in Portugal such as Lisbon and the Algarve . The city’s infamous wind can make it feel pretty chilly during the winter and spring months.
We visited Porto in the fall when the weather was still sunny and warm, the leaves were changing color, and the summer crowds were starting to tail off. But each season has its pros and cons.
- Summer – Summer is the warmest time of year in Porto, but still cooler and more bearable than southern Portugal. The average temperature increases to 70-75°F and the sun will almost definitely make an appearance. However, July to August is also the peak tourist season, so you can expect larger crowds and increased prices.
- Fall – Our favorite time of year in Porto. The warm weather often lasts from the summer months into September and October. The tourist crowds are disappearing and the trees along the Douro River are turning a golden color. Plus, it’s harvest time in the Douro Valley, so the wineries are busy picking grapes to turn into port wine.
- Winter – The city can get pretty gray and wet during the winter months. The average temperature drops to around 50°F. Unsurprisingly, most tourists tend to avoid this time. But this does mean that the city is less busy and flights and hotels are cheaper.
- Spring – Porto starts to warm up again in spring. But you can still expect some rain and wind. Crowds are also smaller than during the peak summer months.
The Geography of Porto
We know this may sound odd, but what most tourists consider to be Porto is actually two cities divided by the Douro River. Porto sits on the river’s north bank, while Vila Nova de Gaia is on the south bank.
The area of Porto on the north bank of the river is the oldest part of the city, some of which dates back to Roman times, and is where you’ll find most of the prominent landmarks. This is also the area that most tourists gravitate towards.
Vila Nova de Gaia to the south is home to countless historic port warehouses and cellars dating back to the 17th century. The city has become increasingly popular with tourists in recent years, with people flocking to sample locally produced port at the many riverside port lodges.
You can reach Vila Nova de Gaia from Porto by crossing over the famous Luís I Bridge or taking a Douro River Water Taxi .
Getting Around Porto
Porto is a fairly small and compact city. The narrow, winding streets don’t lend themselves well to cars and taxis.
If you choose to drive around, you’ll spend most of your time stuck in heavy traffic or attempting to navigate confusing one-way systems. Which is why we’d definitely recommend NOT trying to drive in Porto (drop your car off at a parking lot, or find a hotel with parking!).
Your best bet for getting around Porto is by walking or taking public transport.
Exploring Porto On Foot
Porto is a great city to explore on foot. Most of the main sites and attractions are located just a short distance from each other. You’ll also get to appreciate the sites along the way and discover charming little alleyways and backstreets that you’d miss by taking other forms of transport. Walking around the scenic streets of Porto is an experience in itself.
The only downside of walking around Porto is that it’s not the flattest city. There are many steep slopes and staircases to navigate in the historic center. Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. And jump on public transport if you do get tired of walking.
Using Public Transportation in Porto
Porto has an extensive public transportation system operated by the Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos do Porto (STCP) that includes the metro, local buses, and trams. Public transport in Porto is extremely affordable and can get you anywhere you need to go.
- Metro – Porto’s metro system has six lines covering the city and outer suburbs. A single ride starts at €1.20. You’ll need to get an Andante card to travel on the metro.
- Buses – There are numerous public bus routes all across Porto. The buses also cover some areas on the outskirts of the city that the metro doesn’t reach. A single bus ticket costs €1.85, and you’ll need an Andante card to board. The downside of buses is that you may still end up stuck in infamous Porto traffic.
- Trams – Vintage tourist trams are a fun and unique way to get around Porto. There are three main routes – Line1, Line18, and Line22 – covering different areas of the city. At €3.50 for a single ticket, the trams are more expensive than the metro or buses.
Find more information here about public transport in Porto.
The Andante Card
The Andante card is Porto’s public transportation card. You’ll need to purchase an Andante card for €0.60 (refundable) to use the city’s metro and buses. You can buy and top-up your card at the Porto airport and in most metro and train stations.
If you only plan to use public transport once or twice during your stay, you can top up your card and pay for single journeys. But if you’ll be using the metro and buses regularly, there is a good option for you.
The Andante Tour Card is exclusively for tourists and gets you unlimited access to the metro and buses in all zones. The Andante Tour 1 is valid for 24 hours and costs €7, while the Andante Tour 3 is valid for 72 hours and costs €15. The benefit of the tourist Andante card is that you don’t have to worry about which zone you travel to. Worth noting that this card DOES include the airport journey!
The Porto Card (SPOILER: We Don’t Recommend It)
We’ve seen the Porto Card recommended by other travel bloggers, but when we actually did the math and lined it up with the attractions we recommend visiting, we realized that it’s not really worth getting unless you’re literally going to spend the entirety of your three days running around trying to check off every sight you get a discount on.
Which is definitely not how we like to travel.
But, we also recognize that not everyone has the same perspective as us, so let’s talk about what it is and why it might be useful.
The Porto Card is an alternative to the Andante Tour Card (the one that gives you unlimited rides on public transportation). The Porto Card gets you unlimited transport on Porto’s metro and buses, PLUS admission discounts and free entry to many of the city’s main museums, monuments, and tours.
You can buy the Porto Card online , at the airport, or in official tourist offices around the city.
Here are the costs:
- 1-day Porto Card – €13 (vs. €7 for the 24 hour Andante Tour Card – you’d need to visit places that give you €6 in discounts for that 24 hour period to make it worth it)
- 2-day Porto Card – €20
- 3-day Porto Card – €25 (versus €15 for the 3 day Andante Tour Card – you’d need to visit places that give you €10 in discounts for that 72 hour period to make it worth it)
- 4-day Porto Card – €33
If you follow the itinerary as written, you’d save €3 on the Clérigos Tower and €1 on the Cathedral (if you do the cloister) with the Porto Card, for a total of €4 in savings.
Even if you added the Palacio da Bolsa to the itinerary (another €2.50 savings), it still wouldn’t be worth getting the 3-day Porto Card over the Andante Card for either one or three days.
If you want the ability to hop on and off public transportation, go for the Andante Tour card.
We wouldn’t recommend the Porto Card unless you were planning on doing things not included in this itinerary, such as a river cruise or some of the smaller museums that are included for free.
IMPORTANT : Even if you have an unlimited Andante Card or Porto Card, you still need to validate your card before every journey at the station machines. Not validating your card can result in a hefty fine.
Getting to Porto
Porto is well connected to the rest of Portugal and other nearby European destinations by plane, train, and road.
Flying to Porto
Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO) is Porto’s main airport and the second largest airport in Portugal. The international hub serves both the city and the surrounding areas.
Porto’s airport is reachable by direct flight from many other European destinations. Most long-haul flights from the US have a connection in a larger city such as Lisbon, London, Paris, or Madrid.
The airport itself is located just 11 km north of Porto, so getting into the city center is super quick and easy. The metro is the easiest and cheapest way to reach the city from the airport – and the one that we’d recommend using. But buses and taxis are available too and slightly more convenient if you’re traveling with a lot of heavy luggage.
- By Metro – Line E (purple) of the Porto Metro runs between the airport and city center every 20-30 minutes from 6:00 am to midnight. The journey takes around 25 minutes to reach Trindade station. A single ticket costs €2. You’ll also need to pay a refundable card fee of €0.60.
- By Bus – A direct airport shuttle is operated by GetBus . The bus takes 25 minutes to reach the center and costs €2.80. However, GetBus only runs six times a day, so you’ll have to time your journey well to catch it. STCP runs more regular public buses between the airport and the city center. But these are much slower and the routes/timetables can be confusing, so we wouldn’t recommend using them.
- By Taxi – You can also book an Uber or jump in a taxi outside of arrivals. A taxi from the airport to central Porto takes just 20 minutes and should cost you around €25. If you’re arriving early in the morning or late at night, a taxi is your best option.
Taking the Train to Porto
Porto is well connected to many other cities in Portugal via the high-speed train network Alfa Pendular . The network links Porto with destinations including Lisbon, Faro, Coimbra, Braga, and Guimarães in next to no time at all. The trains are modern, comfortable, and have great onboard amenities.
Intercidades trains also run between most major cities and towns in Portugal. These trains aren’t quite as flashy and the journeys take a little longer than Alfa Pendular. But it’s a good budget alternative for traveling to Porto by train.
Most high-speed and intercity trains arrive at Porto’s Campanhã station in the city’s east. From here, you’ll need to jump on a 5-minute local train to São Bento station in the historic city center.
Don’t make the mistake of getting off the train at Campanhã (unless you’re staying nearby). The station is at least a 45 minute walk away from the hotels and attractions of the historic city center – not a fun journey with heavy luggage!
Driving to Porto
If you’re incorporating this Porto itinerary into a wider Portugal or European road trip, you can also arrive in the city by car. The highways between major cities in Portugal are easy to navigate and well maintained.
You’ll need to be cautious once you arrive in Porto itself. The historic city wasn’t built with cars in mind. There are many narrow roads, confusing one-way systems, and restricted areas. Plus finding parking is a nightmare. Do not, under any circumstances, try to drive around Porto’s city center.
If you are arriving in Porto by car, either pick accommodation with private parking or find a parking lot on the outskirts of the historic center.
. Estacionamento Palácio de Cristal is a great underground parking garage in the west of the city that offers 72 hours parking for just €20. You can then walk and use public transport to get around the city during your stay.
Planning a trip to Portugal?
Here are our other Portugal travel guides to help you plan an incredible trip (even if you have to eat gluten free!).
If there’s no link below, it means we’re still working on it – long, in-depth guides take time! We’re working on it, though, we promise.
- 10 Days in Portugal: Planning the Perfect Portugal Itinerary
- 25 Incredible Things to Do in Lisbon: A Complete Guide
- 3 Days in Lisbon: Planning the Perfect Lisbon Itinerary
- One Day in Lisbon: The Best of Lisbon in 24 Hours
- Where to Stay in Lisbon: Our Guide to 4 Amazing Places to Stay
- Gluten Free Lisbon: A Complete Guide to Lisbon’s Best Gluten Free Restaurants
- The Best Coffee in Lisbon: 9 Amazing Lisbon Coffee Shops to Add to Your List
- 3 Days in Porto: Planning the Perfect Porto Itinerary
- One Day in Porto: How to See the Best of Porto in a Day
- Where to Stay in Porto, Portugal: The 3 Best Places to Stay
- A Complete Guide to Planning an Algarve Road Trip (3-7 Days)
- Where to Stay in the Algarve: 5 Charming Towns to Use as a Home Base
- How to Hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail: Complete Trail Guide
Matt is the founder and main writer behind Wheatless Wanderlust, which he started back in 2018 as a way to share his gluten free travel guides with his fellow Celiac travelers.
Since then, Matt and his wife Alysha have visited 18 national parks, spent three months in Europe and six weeks in Colombia, and have explored every corner of the Pacific Northwest, which is where Matt grew up.
He writes super detailed guides to the places they visit, bringing together personal experience and historical context to help YOU plan an amazing trip.
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3 Days in Porto, Portugal: The Most Perfect Porto Itinerary
last Updated: May 21, 2023 porto Portugal
FYI: Affiliate links may be sprinkled throughout the awesome, free content you see below. I’ll receive a small commission when you purchase from my links (at no extra cost to you), which I’ll totally blow on adult things like boba tea and avocado toast. As always, thanks for the support.
Headed to Portugal and looking to spend 3 days in Porto? Keep on reading – this Porto itinerary is exactly what you’re looking for. Full of all my favorite viewpoints, tons of famous blue tiles , local foods to try (Port wine, anyone?!), and of course all the fun things to include on a perfect 3 day Porto itinerary!
It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with Porto. All of 10 minutes to be exact. Didn’t hurt that I was staying in the cutest apartment, stumbled upon the prettiest viewpoint (hardly mentioned anywhere!), and spent my first afternoon eating Portuguese hot dogs with the locals and stuffing my face with the best pasteis de nata in town . More on all that later.
Porto is a coastal city in northwestern Portugal, known for its stately bridges over the Douro River, sweet port wine (tawny’s my fave), and narrow, cobblestoned streets. I think I may have loved it even more than Lisbon, shh! It was actually the original capital of Portugal (notice the similarities in the name?).
I visited Lisbon a few years ago after a much longer Spain and Morocco trip . Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to make it up to Porto, so I was thrilled to have a full 3 days in Porto this time!
And it was the biggest surprise on my entire 10 day Portugal trip – the best surprise. I hadn’t expected to love it oh so much! Sure, I had heard good things, but after my first few hours in the city, I was completely enamored.
Porto felt way more authentic to me, and while it’s still pretty touristy, the city had more of a local vibe to it. And ohh, the sunsets were just oh so glorious!
There’s less tourist attractions and museums here, but that just gives you more time to stroll the streets, take in the spectacular views, and taste all the Port wine! The historical city center of Porto has even been classified as a UNESCO world heritage site since 1996! It’s that impressive (so yes, well worth your time during your 10 days in Portugal).
Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal after Lisbon (I mean, more than 1.3 million people live here!), yet it’s quaint and charming all at the same time. It has a distinctly older feeling than Lisbon (probably due the Great Lisbon earthquake that shattered Lisbon back in 1755), but still feels young, hip, and fresh all at once.
And Porto is an absolute beauty. It remains authentic and affordable, full of green spaces, Port wine, lavish baroque and beaux arts architecture, and SO much good food. Plus magnificent cathedrals, the most beautiful train station and bookstore in the world, historical neighborhoods with mazes of narrow streets, 19th-century gardens, and unforgettable views of the lovely Douro River.
If you’re wondering if you should include Porto on your Portugal itinerary , it’s a resounding yes from me! You can accomplish a lot in Porto in 3 days – and my (crazy) comprehensive guide will show you how!
3 Days in Porto At-A-Glance
- Day 1: Old Town
Day 2: Ribeira and Vila Nova de Gaia
- Day 3: Day trip from Porto (most popular being the Douro Valley and/or Aveiro/Costa Nova)
So let’s get to it – the most perfect 3 day Porto itinerary coming right up! But first, some important logistics!
3 Days in Porto Itinerary Logistics
Where is porto.
Let’s start with the basics! Porto is located in northern Portugal on the Iberian Peninsula, along the Douro River estuary (where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean). It’s actually considered the capital of the North!
The city is about 315 km north of Lisbon (only 2 ½ hours away on the high-speed train!), although much further from The Algarve region, about 550 km away (6 hours on the train).
Porto is also close to the Douro Valley, an entire region full of gorgeous vineyards, incredible landscapes, and lush grapes. It’s a great place for a day trip if you love wine and spectacular scenery!
While the main city center of Porto isn’t located right on the coastline, it’s not terribly far from some stunning beaches either!
Read Next: The Best 10 Day Portugal Itinerary (including all my favorite stops and beaches!)
How to Get to Porto
Can’t wait for your 3 days in Porto?! Thankfully, the city is relatively easy to get to! You’ll find options by plane, train, and car!
Flying to Porto
While Porto’s got its very own airport, unfortunately, there’s no nonstop flights to Porto from the United States. Most international flights arrive in Portugal at Lisbon International Airport, also known as Humberto Delgado Airport or Portela Airport (airport code LIS).
If this is your first time in Portugal, you’ll definitely wanna explore Lisbon for a few days, so this works out quite perfectly! Once you’re ready to head to Porto from Lisbon, there’s a few ways, listed down below. Already explored Lisbon on a previous trip? Book a connecting flight straight to Porto.
If you’re already within Europe, look for a direct flight to Porto to Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (airport code OPO), often known simply as Porto Airport! It’s the second largest airport in Portugal, and is well connected to other European destinations. There’s many nonstop flights to Porto from Europe, even including those on low-cost carriers (like EasyJet and RyanAir).
The Porto Airport is located really close to Porto itself (just 11km north of the city), so it’s not hard to get into the city center. I recommend taking the Porto Metro (Line E – purple), which runs between the airport and the city center every 20-30 minutes or so from 6:00am to midnight. It only takes about 25 minutes and costs €2 per ticket (plus a refundable card fee of €0.60).
If you don’t feel like navigating the metro system as soon as you land (and/or have a lot of heavy luggage), there’s also the bus and a taxi/rideshare.
Driving to Porto
It’s also possible to arrive in Porto by car. Porto is surrounded by plenty of highways, and the roads between major Portuguese cities are in great condition and super easy to navigate.
However, unless you’re road tripping around as part of a much longer Portugal itinerary , I wouldn’t recommend bringing a car to Porto. The roads are tiny, there’s lots of confusing one-way streets, and you risk getting stuck in heavy traffic. Plus, parking in town can be an absolute nightmare, there’s plenty of narrow roads, and all the main attractions are honestly super walkable. Doesn’t sound like a great start to any 3 day Porto itinerary. No thanks!
If you are in fact arriving in Porto by car, don’t fret – I promise you’re not doomed. Plan to park your car in a lot for the duration of your stay or, even better, find a hotel with private parking! Just don’t plan to use your car during your 3 days in Porto at all (and if you follow my Porto itinerary, you won’t need it anyways!).
Taking the Train to Porto
Coming from elsewhere in Portugal? Consider taking the high-speed train (the Alfa Pendular). Porto is well connected to plenty of other cities in Portugal, like Lisbon, Braga, Coimbra, and Lagos. The Alfa Pendular trains are easily the fastest way to get around Portugal (I mean, they’ve got speeds up to 135 mph (220 km/h)! Whoa!
There’s also Intercidades express trains that run between major cities in Portugal. While these trains take a bit longer than the Alfa Pendular, they’re great options for traveling to Porto from elsewhere in Portugal.
I took the trains all around the country during my 10 days in Portugal, and found them super comfortable and modern. There were even power sockets and complimentary Wi-Fi! Not too bad!
Psst – you’ll always wanna book a high speed Alfa Pendular (AP) Train or InterCity (IC) Train between major cities instead of the slower trains (which make more stops and take significantly longer).
Regardless of the train you choose (high-speed Alfa Pendular or InterCity), most arrive into Porto’s Campanhã station (a bit east of the city). But wait – don’t get out of the station just yet!
You’ll need to hop on a local train to São Bento station in the historic city center (which is most likely much closer to your accommodation). Most tickets to Porto include a transfer to São Bento, so you won’t have to buy another ticket. Instead of dealing with yet another train, I simply took a cheap Uber to my hotel from Campanha.
How to Get to Porto from Lisbon
Many people visit Porto after spending a few days in Lisbon, and that’s exactly what I did! Thankfully, getting between the two largest cities in Portugal isn’t all that hard! Here’s your options:
- Driving to Porto from Lisbon : Driving from Lisbon to Porto takes about 3 hours, and is super easy. The roads are all great quality, and there’s lots of signs! Just remember, you’ll wanna park your car in a parking lot once you arrive in Porto.
- High Speed Train to Porto : CP – Comboios de Portugal Trains from Lisbon (the Lisboa – Santa Apolonia station) arrive into Porto’s Campanha station. Tickets include a transfer to Sao Bento Station, which is most likely much closer to where your accommodation is in Porto. Trains take about 3 – 3 ½ hours and they’re super affordable.
- Flying to Porto from Lisbon: From Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS), you’ll wanna book a flight to Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO). Check TAP Air Portugal; they’ve got a few nonstops from Lisbon to Porto every day. Direct flights only take about an hour! If you book early enough, you can typically get a ticket for less than $50.
Coming from Spain? Combining Spain and Portugal trips are super common. That’s what I did on my first visit to the country a few years ago (and I even tacked on both Fez and Chefchaouen in Morocco for a few days)! Unfortunately there’s no high-speed train running from Madrid to Porto (or Lisbon for that matter).
However, Renfe (Spain’s national railway company) offers a modern Trenhotel overnight train to Lisbon from Madrid. Honestly, it’s probably just easier (and more effective) to book a low-cost flight if you’re looking to head from Spain to Porto.
How to Get Around During Your 3 Days in Porto
Porto is a walking city; you’ll 100% wanna wear comfy shoes! Plus, there’s plenty of cobblestone and uneven ground. And stairs. And hills.
The city is pretty small and compact, meaning you can get just about everywhere on foot. Most of the main attractions are close to each other (at most 15-20 minutes away by walking), meaning you can see a whole lot in a short period of time.
A word of warning: Porto is essentially one big hill. If you’re down by the waterfront (Ribeira District) and want to get just about anywhere else… well, you’ll be walking up and up and up. Great for those thighs and butt though! Day 2 of this 3 day Porto itinerary has you exploring Ribeira, so be mindful to explore before heading all the way down to the river.
During the day, I walked EVERYWHERE. I took an Uber/Bolt back to my room after the sun went down since I hung out by the river every night and my feet were tired (and I didn’t wanna make the walk back up in the dark).
For transparency sake, I didn’t use public transit even once during my 3 days in Porto. I just didn’t need it (I got by with walking and calling the occasional Uber).
However, Porto does have a pretty good public transit system, operated by the Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos do Porto ( STCP ). There’s the metro, buses, and even old wooden trams (kinda like those you see in Lisbon).
With more than 75 STCP bus routes, six metro lines, and 3 historic tram lines (Line 1, Line 18, and Line 22), you certainly have lots of options! I recommend using the metro as it’s by far the easiest for first time visitors to the city. The bus lines can be kinda confusing and the trams are more expensive.
You can buy a Porto Card that gives you access to unlimited transportation on the metro, buses, and funiculars, in addition to discounts on popular attractions. If you’re planning to use public transport a lot as well as check out Porto’s best paid sites, you may save a few euros. Note that Porto Cards are not accepted on the historic tram lines.
If you don’t purchase a Porto Card, you’ll need to buy a rechargeable blue Andante card to use the metro. Thankfully, one-way fares start at only 1.20euros; they vary in price depending on how many zones you travel through.
Remember – you must validate your card whenever you enter a station or when transferring lines! Find more info on the Porto metro here.
Yes, there are plenty of ride-sharing apps available in Porto! These include Uber, Bolt, and FREENOW (Portugal’s cheaper version of Uber). If you’re planning to use any, I recommend downloading them to your phone in advance.
Honestly, I kinda just walked everywhere in Porto. The streets are not designed for heavy vehicle traffic, and the roads are tiny and windy. I wouldn’t plan to use many taxis/Ubers during your 3 days in Porto. It’s probably easier (and maybe even faster) to just walk.
But just know Uber, Bolt, and FREENOW are readily available in case you find yourself needing one.
When to Plan Your 3 Day Porto Itinerary (Weather and Crowds)
Overall, unlike other parts of Portugal, Porto experiences a super moderate and mild climate. Meaning it’s never crazy, crazy cold, and never scorching hot (thankfully). If you’re looking for some sunshine, plan a visit anytime between May and September, as you can bet on some rain the other months of the year.
If you’ve got max flexibility, try and visit Porto on a weekday. Weekends are always way busier, no matter if it’s summer or winter.
Summer (High Season – June to September)
Everyone wants to visit Porto in the summer months, and it’s easy to see why. The temps are high (yet bearable with highs around 75°F/25°C) and there seems to be a constant breeze from the river.
The weather is beautiful, there’s a bunch of fun open-air festivals (like Nos Primavera Sound, Regata dos Barcos Rabelos, and the Porto Wine Fest), and it’s hot enough to sunbathe at the nearby beaches. Plus the sun doesn’t set until around 9:30pm, so you’ve got plenty of time to explore during the day.
Note that accommodation and flights will surely be more expensive (so book early!), and know that it’ll be way more crowded this time of year. You may need to make reservations at top restaurants as well.
For reference, I visited Porto in the beginning of August, and had gloriously sunny and warm weather. I was surprised that I had to wear a light jacket once the sun went down though! Sure beats the intense heat in Lisbon and the Algarve.
Spring/Fall (Shoulder Seasons – March to May and October)
While the temps will be super pleasant this time of year, expect some rain showers during both spring and fall (although way less so than in the winter).
In my opinion, the best season to visit Porto is during one of the shoulder seasons – late spring (May to early June) or early autumn (late September to early October). There’s less tourists visiting the city, the weather is still mild (temps in the mid to high 60s°F), and flights/hotels are a bit less expensive than summer.
Two benefits to fall: 1. The fall colors along the Douro River are absolutely spectacular, and 2. It’s grape-harvest season at wineries in the Douro Valley (meaning you can see the wine-making and grape-stomping in action).
Winter (Low Season – November to February)
If you don’t mind cold, rainy days and wanna score some cheap accommodations/flights, winter is your best bet. Just don’t visit in December, the city’s wettest month (it rains more than it doesn’t)! January is the coldest month in Porto, although temps hardly fall below 40°F (5°C), even at night.
Weather in winter is super tricky – you may get a misty morning, a sunny afternoon, and a dreadfully cold night. Plan to dress in layers that you can easily remove/add as the day goes on.
Honestly, I wouldn’t plan to spend my 3 days in Porto during the rainy winter season. I feel like you’d miss out on so much of the city’s charm by running inside all the time. And the views, ugh you’d miss those gorgeous sunny views!
How Long to Spend in Porto
Is 3 days in Porto enough? I totally think so! The city is pretty compact, and you can easily see all the main highlights in just two. Including exploring all the main sites, seeing a Fado show, tasting some port wine over in Vila Nova de Gaia, and checking out plenty of amazing viewpoints.
But I highly recommend adding a third day to your Porto itinerary so you can tack on a day trip!
If you only have one full day in Porto, you can probably squeeze in a whole bunch of attractions. BUT it’ll feel extremely rushed. Porto, like Port wine, is meant to be savored, so I recommend at least 2 full days to see this historic little city.
Where to Stay in Porto
If this is your first time to Porto, you’ll wanna base yourself somewhere pretty central.
Most tourists prefer to stay in Ribeira (the gorgeous riverside district), Baixa/Se (super central and near lots of public transit), or Bolhão/Santo Ildefonso (along the shopping street of Rua de Santa Catarina).
Thankfully, Porto is pretty small and you can walk from neighborhood to neighborhood quite easily.
When doing my research on Porto accommodations, I found way more apartments than typical hotels in the city center. Because of this, I opted for a managed apartment that felt like a hotel – someone at check-in, daily cleaning service (if I wanted it), and a swanky common space.
Ribeira is easily Porto’s prettiest waterfront neighborhood with fantastic views of Dom Luís I Bridge and Vila Nova de Gaia. It’s known for its colorful, historic houses and tiny, windy alleyways all leading to the Douro River.
Expect tons of charm and interesting corners, and plan to get lost a bit – there’s no escaping it! There’s a reason it’s the most popular neighborhood to stay in Porto.
Do note that Ribeira is located at the bottom of a hill near the river, meaning you’ll need to work those glutes to reach most of the other attractions during your 3 days in Porto. Not the worst thing, but you’ll probably get a bit tired from all that uphill walking, especially in the height of summer.
Recommended hotels in Ribeira:
- Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel : a luxury 5 star hotel with comfy and spacious rooms (decked out in great decor) and views of the Douro River!
- Manor House Porto: set in a historic old stone building with the best garden (complete with fruit trees!) overlooking the bridge and river. The perfect place to relax after a busy morning!
- Mo House : a classic design with large French doors and wrought-iron balconies overlooking the Douro River of course. One of the favorites in Ribeira.
Baixa is Porto’s downtown area and it’ll undoubtedly be crowded, but you’ll be close to all the action! It’s super central and close to many of the attractions you’ll be visiting on this 3 day Porto itinerary, including Avenida dos Aliados, São Bento railway station, Rua das Flores, Clerigos Church and Tower, and the crazy popular Lello bookshop.
If you’re into nightlife, you’ll be pleased to know that this area has the city’s liveliest nightlife.
Recommended hotels in Baixa and Sé (Downtown Porto)
- Torel 1884 Suites and Apartments : With eclectic old world furnishings and apartments overlooking Rua de Flores, you can’t beat this hotel! Plus, it’s super close to the Sao Bento Train Station.
- M Maison Particulière : Located in a 16th-century building in Old Town Porto, I swear a stay here has the classic feel of a Paris hotel! The decor is just timeless!
- Maison Albar Hotels Le Monumental Palace : Located in a renovated historic building from 1923, with beautiful design elements. Plus an unbelievable indoor swimming pool – just take a look at the photos, whoa!
Bolhao is another neighborhood in Porto that I recommend staying in. This is where you’ll find the shopping street of Rua Santa Catarina, the famous Chapel of Souls, and the Mercado do Bolhão.
It’s where I stayed after all, and I loved this location! The hotels and apartments are a bit cheaper than in nearby Ribeira and Baixa, and you can still walk everywhere.
I chose to stay at this cute apartment in Bolhao, and I honestly never wanted to leave! It was just so cute!
Recommended hotels in Bolhao:
- Grande Hotel do Porto : A romantic atmosphere and a rooftop terrace with panoramic Porto views – what else could you want? Quite a gem and not noisy at all despite being on the main shopping street.
- Bloom House by Sweet Porto : This is where I stayed, and I was obsessed. The space was just so cute and cozy, and the staff was so helpful (plus the apartment wasn’t expensive at all)! It’s located right on Rua Santa Catarina, down the block from the Chapel of Souls.
Vila Nova de Gaia
If this is the first time you’re spending 3 days in Porto, I honestly don’t recommend staying in Vila Nova de Gaia. While this neighborhood has some gorgeous views, it’s on the opposite side of the Douro River and is actually considered a different city! Getting to the main attractions and using public transport will be a bit tougher from here.
However, if you want a more local feel and have a feeling you’ll be taking full advantage of the Port Houses, consider a stay here. And OMG The Yeatman looks all kinds of amazing…
Recommended hotels in Gaia:
- The Yeatman : The wine hotel’s luxury spa has a large pool with the most amazing panoramic views of Porto. The whole space is super chic and elegant (where I’d choose to stay with my husband!)
- Caléway Hotel : Old stone architecture meets modern clean lines. Not far from both the Gaia Cable Car and D. Luis I Bridge.
Additional Porto Itinerary FAQs
Currency : Like in most other European countries, the currency of Portugal (including Porto) is the euro. Don’t expect to use dollars or pounds (or any other currency) here.
Porto is one of the cheapest cities in Western Europe, although it’s definitely increasing in price as the city gets more popular— so go now! Coming from an expensive city like San Francisco , hardly anything felt overpriced.
Language: The official language in Portugal is Portuguese, which has some similarities to Spanish but is also very different. They’re two different languages afterall!
Don’t expect locals to completely understand you if you’re speaking Spanish. Although having some knowledge of Spanish will definitely help in Portugal as some words are quite similar.
With that being said, I was surprised at just how many locals knew an impressive amount of English. Because of that, I was able to communicate quite easily during my 3 days in Porto.
Hotel and restaurant staff would always begin communicating in Portuguese, and then switch to English once I stated “Eu não falo português, inglês, por favor”. I found that in general, no one was upset that I didn’t understand/speak Portuguese, and they were more than happy to switch to English. They’re very friendly people!
A few locals I ran into didn’t speak much if any English at all – mainly drivers, old-school restaurants, and the older generation.
However, I always love learning a few important words in the local language (plus, it’s the respectful thing to do as well):
- hello/hi: Olá/oi
- bye : Tchau (pronounced like Ciao!)
- thank you : Obrigada
- please : Por favor
- you’re welcome : De Nada
- good morning : Bom dia
- good afternoon : Boa tarde
- good evening : Boa noite
- bathroom : banheiro
- I don’t speak Portugese : eu não falo português
- More wine, please! : mais vinho, por favor
Port Wine: Be careful with Port! It’s got a high alcohol content (20%!) yet so super easy to drink. And it’s loaded with sugar…. all components for a nasty hangover. Know your limit and stick to your boundaries (I never have more than 2 drinks, no matter what – especially when I’m traveling solo).
Visiting Portugal soon? You’ll probably love these other articles about the country:
- 10 Days in Portugal: The All-Time Best Itinerary Out There
- The Magical Fairytale Land of Sintra
- 3 Days in Lisbon, Portugal (All My Favorite Spots)
Best 3 Days in Porto Itinerary
Day 1: downtown (baixa) and bolhao.
On the first day of your 3 day Porto itinerary, you’ll be exploring the main downtown areas of Porto – Baixa and Bolhao. If you wanna see everything on the list, prepare for an early morning start, grab an egg tart or two, and hit the ground running.
You can either check out the two neighborhoods yourself, or on a walking tour. While I love wandering around a new city myself, sometimes it’s nice to follow a local around and actually learn something (instead of just admiring all the pretty architecture).
This 3-hour walking tour takes you to all the main monuments (like Sao Bento train station, Livraria Lello, Aliados Avenue, etc), while delving out SO MUCH interesting info about Porto and its history.
Harry Potter fans rejoice – this is thought to be THE place and major inspiration for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. And what a beautiful bookstore it is – with its Gothic style interior, dramatic red staircase leading to the second floor, and large stained glass windows.
Although Rowling later actually crushed her bright-eyed fans and said she has never even been to the bookstore before, haha…
Regardless, there’s a reason it’s often called the most beautiful library in the world. And yes, this means the crowds follow. Aim to arrive before opening, and you might still even encounter a line!
You decide if you wanna spend a few hours waiting to go inside … or not. I chose to skip it, because I heard it was just crazy crowded inside and the line was literally down the block. Trust me, the place is tiny and you’ll feel claustrophobic from the crowds no matter when you go.
With only 3 days in Porto, I decided to admire the exterior, said goodbye to the literal thousands of people waiting, and moved on to the other attractions nearby.
Die-hard Harry Potter fans: If you have your heart set on marveling at the interior (hey, I get it, I really do), there’s another way!!!
Skip-the-line tickets to Livraria Lello! BOOK THIS TOUR , and you’ll get access to the bookstore without waiting in line! If I knew about this ahead of time I think I would have signed up for the tour for this reason alone!
Don’t believe me? Read the reviews – guests state they completely passed the massive line and went right in! No reason to waste precious time if you’ve only got 3 days in Porto. If you don’t get skip-the-line-tickets ahead of time you’ll need to stand in not one, but two different lines. First line is to purchase a ticket, then the second is to show your ticket to actually get inside.
Igreja dos Clérigos and climb up the Clérigos Bell Tower
Igreja dos Clérigos is a gorgeous Baroque church that’s a true icon of the city, built way back in 1732. While the church’s facade is full of interesting Baroque symbols, its main draw is the panoramic views of Porto at the top of Clerigos Tower.
Prepare to climb about 200 steps or so – a good way to work off that Francesinha you’ll be eating for lunch! I don’t always go inside churches, but this is one you definitely don’t wanna miss.
From up here, expect a phenomenal bird’s eye view of both Old Town and the Douro River. Simply stunning, and a great way to orient yourself to Porto on your first day in the city.
Definitely book your skip-the-line ticket to the tower ahead of time (only $6), as I walked past tons of people waiting in line. And with only 3 days in Porto, you don’t wanna waste any precious time.
The Twin Churches: Igreja Carmo & Igreja Carmelitas
Your first official sighting of those famous blue and white tiles Porto is so well known for! This 18th century baroque-rococo twin-church is one of the oldest buildings in the historic part of Porto, and I just loved it – the exterior at least.
I was short on time so didn’t make it inside, but I heard it’s got an amazing Portuguese “stairway to heaven” altar.
Psst — I wrote an entire post on where to see the gorgeous blue azulejos in Porto ! Check that out if you’re looking for all the best spots!
Sao Bento Railway Station
You may have already been here (it’s where most trains into Porto arrive), but if you haven’t, don’t miss Sao Bento Station!
The station is decorated with traditional Portuguese azulejo tiles – easily the most beautiful train station in the world! Because of this, it’s typically pretty crowded (especially when large tour groups arrive). Wait around a few minutes and they’ll clear out.
Indulge in a Francesinha
Finally, time for lunch! And I hope you’re hungry, because a francesinha (a famous Portuguese sandwich) is on the menu. Now, I know what you’re thinking. A sandwich? C’mon, there’s gotta be better food.
But a francesinha (pronounced fran·se·si·nhuh) isn’t your regular ol’ sandwich. Imagine thick bread with ham, sausage, steak, and cheese – all smothered in a creamy tomato beer sauce and topped with an over-easy egg. It’s kinda like Portugal’s version of the French croque monsieur, but way heavier.
Yes, it very well may induce a heart attack, but that’s why you’re walking everywhere in Porto (right…?). I highly recommend Brasao Restaurant, but try to make a reservation in advance as they get pretty busy! Was it worth all the calories? Heck yes, but I couldn’t even finish half of it – I was so full (great to split with a friend though).
After a busy, busy morning/early afternoon, the second half of the day will be a bit more relaxing. Walk over to the Bolhao neighborhood, and stroll down Rua Santa Catarina – Porto’s main shopping street. There’s lots of main sites right on this street, so you can see a lot in a short period of time.
Fabrica de Nata and/or Manteigaria
Fuel up for the afternoon with some of the best pasteis de nata in Porto , Portugal’s famous egg tart. Both Fabrica de Nata and Manteigaria are super popular with some of the best custard egg tarts in town.
You’ve probably already had a few in Lisbon, but you’ll see – no amount of pasteis de nata is ever enough. I typically get fresh squeezed orange juice as well – so sweet and only a few euros (way cheaper than any fresh juice in the states).
Read Next: All My Favorite Pastel de Nata in Porto (yes, I did some research… haha)
Rua Santa Catarina
Take a walk down Rua de Santa Catarina – Porto’s main shopping street! There’s lots to see here, from local boutiques and international shops (like Zara!), to the Chapel of Souls and Majestic Cafe.
It’s super stylish and romantic and there’s always tons going on. As my hotel was right on Santa Catarina, I spent a lot of time on this street!
Chapel of Souls (Chapel of Santa Catarina)
You’re in Porto – you’re gonna see lots and lots of beautiful tilework! But the Chapel of Souls is by far superior – there’s a reason it’s famous for its magnificent exterior of 16,000(!!!) blue & white tiles. It’s just so, so pretty!
The tiles depict the death of St Francis of Assisi and the martyrdom of Santa Catarina. You can look inside if you want, but in my opinion, the real beauty is on the outside. My apartment was literally down the block, so I came here to admire the tiles all 3 days I was in Porto!
Mercado do Bolhão
Being only one block away from the famed Chapel of Souls, make a quick stop here at the market (open since 1839). The market has five floors full of fishmongers, butchers, farmers, and fruit sellers offering all the seasonal specialities.
During my visit to Porto, the market was undergoing much-needed renovations, so was unfortunately closed. It’s set to open again in September 2022. Fingers crossed its back open for you!
This is where J.K. Rowling supposedly worked on her Harry Potter books, with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and a gorgeous Belle Epoque atmosphere. Easily one of the most beautiful cafes in the world – meaning, yes, prices will be inflated.
BUT it’s where J.K. Rowling hung out!!! The Harry Potter premiums are more than worth it (in my opinion). Grab a coffee and hang out for a bit. If you don’t feel like sitting and just wanna check out the architecture, you can quickly take a sneak peek.
Church of Saint Ildefonso
Another church – yes I understand it’s the third one of the day, haha. If you’re on the hunt for classic blue and white azulejos (like I was!), don’t miss this 18th century church – there’s over 11,000 tiles! It’s not hard to find; just down the street from the Majestic Cafe (told you most things are super close together over here).
I mean, just look at the front of that church – those tiles are absolutely striking! You can take a peek inside but you’ll need to pay a few euros to properly explore the interior.
Gazela for famous Portuguese hot dogs
Time for a snack! Try a cachorrinhos, a famous Portuguese hot dog, covered with cheese and spices. Nope, not your typical hot dog! Get the fries, too – they were delicious. If it’s good enough for Anthony Bourdain, it’s good enough for me! They’ve even got a photo of him on the wall!
Plus, there’s always tons of locals here. I had such a fun time with the staff, sitting on the bar stools sipping some vinho verde and munching on my sausage.
Miradouro das Fontainhas
I swear this is the secret viewpoint no one tells you about! I kinda stumbled upon it on my first day, and lemme tell you, it was one of the most breathtaking sites I’ve ever seen. You’ll be going across the river on Day 2 of this 3 day Porto itinerary, so feel free to take it easy tonight. Bring a few beers or a bottle of wine, and just soak up those Porto views.
I found even more viewpoints while walking from Miradouro das Fontainhas to Luis I Bridge. You can cross over if you’d like but you’ll be doing that tomorrow!
Note: I visited Miradouro das Fontainhas during the day. I’m not so sure I’d head over there as a solo female traveler once the sun sets – I saw a bunch of local drunk men and felt a little uneasy at times, and that was in pure daylight. Best to go with a friend or your significant other come nightfall!
Dinner at Casa Guedes Tradicional
Time to try another Porto speciality – the Sande de Pernil. It’s got slow-roasted pork with sheep cheese and savory sauce. Casa Guedes Tradicional is no-thrills, no-nonsense, traditional, local food. And the prices can’t be beat. Great for a quick bite after a long day of exploring!
Day 2 of this 3 day Porto itinerary includes the picturesque neighborhood of Ribeira, a cruise on the Douro River, as well as some port tasting over in Gaia. FYI – you’ll wanna book your port tasting in advance as most are by-reservation only.
Ribeira is an old picturesque neighborhood in the heart of Old Town Porto, even designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.
It’s one of the most authentic and liveliest areas of Porto, with colorful 18th-century townhouses lining the cobblestoned streets, tons of waterfront restaurants serving grilled sardines, and tiny wine bars with great views of the bridge and river.
I loved wandering around Ribeira, finding secret corners and hidden gems down the tiny alleyways. It’s a great place to get lost – kinda like in the Alfama District in Lisbon!
Walk down Rua das Flores
No visit to Porto would be complete without a walk down Rua das Flores. This 500 year old street is lined with chic cafes, souvenir shops, hip boutiques, and tasty restaurants.
Stop at Chocolataria das Flores for some chocolate cake if you’re hungry – I had a delicious iced coffee and some cake here! Be sure to notice the wrought-iron balconies and tile work on the buildings – absolutely stunning!
Looking for another nice street to wander down? Check out Rua da Bainharia, another very pretty street in the Ribeira area of Porto.
Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto)
Next up on this Porto itinerary – the Se do Porto! This romanesque cathedral sits high up on a hill and you get such a gorgeous view of Porto from here! And it totally looks like a fort or castle from the outside. Inside, don’t miss the famous cloisters with their beautiful blue tiles.
Miradouro da Vitória
Get one of the best views in town here at Miradouro da Vitória. Unlike Lisbon, Porto doesn’t have many miradouros, but this viewpoint is just perfect. Gives you a great perspective of Porto and the entire region. This’ll likely just be a quick stop to take some photos.
It’s a bit tricky to find (and honestly in kinda a dilapidated area), but wander down the narrow streets of Old Porto and you’ll find it! Or use a map – that’ll make it that much easier!
→ Looking for another viewpoint in Ribeira? Check out Miradouro da Rua das Aldas – this was one of my favorite viewpoints in Porto (despite needing to walk up oh so many steps to reach it)! It’s a great stop before/after visiting the Porto Cathedral.
Stroll along Cais da Ribeira
Once you make your way down the hill, take a stroll along Cais da Ribeira, Porto’s own riverside promenade. From here you’ll be able to take a cruise on the Douro River and have some lunch! If you’re visiting later on in the day, note that it’s exceptionally busy at night (I visited at night, hence the pastel sky and hordes of people).
Definitely stop here if you need a relaxing hour or two – great for people watching and drinking wine!
Tip: If you’re super into Portuguese history and ornate buildings, check out the Monument Church of St. Francis (the most prominent Gothic monument in Porto) and Bolsa Palace (the interior rooms are absolutely outstanding)! Both are not far from the waterfront.
Lunch at Escondidinho do Barredo
Get that authentic Portuguese foodie experience here! The place is cozy and traditional, and the food is made by the cutest Portuguese grandmas right at the entrance to the dining room (if you even wanna call it that). It’s been in the same family for 3 generations, and is definitely more of a locals place.
Here you’ll find delicious freshly cooked tapas-style food, and always a long wait (with lines usually out the door). But I promise it’s worth it for those fantastic traditional dishes. Try some sardines, octopus (prato de polvo), tronchas, meat croquetas (my favorite!!!!!), cod croquetas, and bolinhos de bacalhau. All so delicious!
You’ll need to pull it up on Google Maps as the restaurant is kinda hidden – I don’t even think there’s a sign for it at all! They don’t accept credit cards, so make sure you bring cash.
Six Bridges Cruise
Get ready – a sail down the sparkling Douro river is next up on this Porto itinerary. It’s one of those super touristy things to do during your 3 days in Porto that’s actually cool.
And it’s one of the most classic things to do in Porto, meaning you can’t miss it! There’s a reason the Six Bridges Cruise has almost 1500 positive reviews!
You’ll see the beautiful landscapes and red-roofed buildings of both Ribeira and Vila Nova de Gaia from the water – a different perspective than on land. The guide will give loads of info about the historic bridges that connect Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. And yes, the boat will glide under them!
When you buy your ticket , you’ll need to decide what day you wanna go. But the tickets are not timed – meaning you can head down to the waterfront and hop on a boat whatever time you like between 11am and 4pm.
The Six Bridges Cruises last for about 50 minutes. Remember to exchange your mobile ticket confirmation for a paper ticket (which you’ll need).
Psst – you can actually board the boat from either Cais da Ribeira or Cais de Estiva (both in Ribeira) or across the bridge in Vila Nova de Gaia. So pick whichever pick up spot fits your schedule best!
Vila Nova de Gaia (or simply Gaia), isn’t even in Porto itself. But it simply shouldn’t be missed on any 3 days in Porto! It’s located across the river from Porto, and you actually need to cross the bridge to reach it.
Walk across Luis I Bridge
A true icon of the city! If there’s a reason you’re thinking it resembles the Eiffel Tower you’re not wrong – the same architect designed the two structures! The Luis I Bridge connects Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia, the next area we’ll be exploring!
Walk on over (it only takes about 10 minutes or so), on either the lower or upper level. And make sure to admire the views – absolutely amazing.
Gaia is known for one thing and one thing only – port wine! This is where ALL the port wine in the WORLD originates – how wild! Naturally, there’s plenty of cellars and historic port houses offering tours and tastings of the sweet stuff. A must on any Porto itinerary!
All the popular Port wine cellars are located across the river in Gaia, which is why you just crossed the bridge! There’s a whole bunch, including Graham’s Port Lodge, Sandemans, Calem, Taylor’s Port, Burmester, etc. So many to pick from.
If you’re following this 3 day Porto itinerary to a T, you’ll wanna make reservations for the latest possible time slot, typically around 4pm or so. I got on a 4:30pm cave and winery tour at Sandemans, and it was perfect because I then stayed in Vila Nova de Gaia for the rest of the evening.
Note: Visiting outside of summer? Be sure to check sunset times and make sure your Port tour is at least an hour and a half beforehand. You don’t wanna be inside the cellar while the sun is setting on the river!
There’s quite a few Port houses – pick one that sounds the most interesting to you (or that has availability… the tours do fill up fast in the busy summer season). Most tours are only 45 minutes to an hour or so, which is perfect if you’ve got lots of other must-do’s on your Porto itinerary. Here’s a few options to choose from:
- Graham’s Port Lodge Tour + Tasting
- Cálem Cellar with Chocolate, Cheese, and Wine Tasting
- Cálem Tour + Tasting, plus interactive museum
- Burmester Cellar Tour
If you’d rather head out on a walking and wine tour instead (or in addition to), these sound right up my alley:
- Port Wine Walking Tour with 11 Tastings : Yes, you read that right. ELEVEN tastings! The perfect tour for the die-hard port lover.
- Cálem Cellar Tour, Fado Show & Wine Tasting : This tour not only gives you a complete tour of the Calem Cellar (plus wine tasting of course), but also includes a Fado Show!
I’m not a huge wine drinker, although I found myself fascinated with the process of making Port wine. Those barrels were huge, and we even saw a few that are over a few hundred years old. I even fell in love with Tawny, one of the three types of Port wine I tasted on my tour. Whenever I see a glass of tawny being offered in restaurants in the states, it brings me right back to my time in Porto!
Dinner in Gaia/Walk along the riverfront
There’s a whole bunch of restaurants over here, each with views of the Douro River and famous Luis I Bridge. A few that got super high reviews are: DeCastro Gaia (ask for a table near the window), Taberninha do Manel (authentic Portuguese food), and Tempero d’Maria (get the grilled octopus dish!).
Before/after your dinner, take a walk along the riverfront. You’ll find plenty of cafes and restaurants. I stopped for a drink (fresh lemonade with real sugar cubes… yum) and loved people watching and admiring the rabelo boats passing by under the bridge.
If you’re into eclectic artwork, check out the nearby “Half Rabbit” piece by Bordalo II. It’s essentially a giant rabbit sculpture made out of recycled materials on the corner of a building a few blocks from the waterfront.
Watch the sunset
You don’t wanna miss a Porto sunset. Golden hour over the city is legendary, especially from Vila Nova de Gaia (you get to see the Douro River and Riberia’s colorful waterfront). Nothing more spectacular in my book! Everyone says the best part of Gaia isn’t even in Gaia itself – it’s the view over to Porto! Here’s two spots I recommend:
- Jardim do Morro : Super touristy, but for a reason! Take the cable car up to this garden and you’ll find live performers and a really good time!
- Rooftop bar of Espaço Porto Cruz : Such a fun atmosphere and the drinks/wine are so good. And the views of the river and Porto are some of the best. Easily the best spot in Gaia to watch the sunset with a glass of port in hand. I had such a good time up here!
From either, you can watch vintage rabelo boats cruise under the giant Dom Luis I bridge, sip a few cocktails (highly recommend trying a porto tonico – a cocktail mixed with tonic water and port wine!), and just bathe in that beautiful evening light. Ohhh Porto, I miss you so.
Porto Itinerary Day 3: Day trip from Porto
It’s day 3 of your 3 days in Porto! And it’s time to get outta the city.
There’s quite a few trips from Porto you can take, but the most popular are Douro Valley and a combo of Aveiro and Costa Nova. If you really wanna do both day trips (hey, I get it, they’re super different and both wildly impressive), you’ll need to spend another day in Porto.
Option 1: Aveiro and Costa Nova
Striped fishermen houses, art nouveau buildings, ovos moles egg pastries, colorful moliceiro boats on the Ria de Aveiro, and long sandy shorelines. That’s what a day trip to Costa Nova and Aveiro will be!
Ever since I saw photos of the colorful wooden houses in Costa Nova I instantly wanted to go, so I was thrilled when I finally made it there this summer. And you bet I took way too many of my own photos of the colorful striped fisherman homes – how could I not, just look at them!
Aveiro is such a pretty Portuguese city and I wish I had longer to explore! Don’t miss a wander around town, admiring the art nouveau architecture, taking a ride on a painted traditional moliceiro boat, and stopping for a famous ovos moles at M1882 – Ovos Moles de Aveiro (easily the best spot in town).
How to Get to Aveiro and Costa Nova from Porto:
Train : There’s a direct train straight from Porto Campanha to Aveiro, taking roughly an hour or so. If you wanna get from Aveiro to Costa Nova, I’d call an Uber/Bolt as the ride is only about 15 minutes and it’ll be pretty cheap! You can also take the Transdev bus (L5951) which will take you to Costa Nova in about 40 minutes.
Guided Day Tour : Don’t wanna worry about the train and then an extra Uber ride? Consider joining a group tour! This half-day tour ( here’s the exact one that I took! ) spent the first part of the morning in Costa Nova, then drove us over to Aveiro for a boat ride and some free time.
While I wish the tour was longer and we had more time to explore, I appreciated getting back to Porto on the earlier side (so I could stuff my face with another Francesinha, haha).
Option 2: Douro Valley
A trip to the Douro Wine Valley is one of the most popular day trips from Porto! While I’m kicking myself I didn’t make it here myself, it’s already on my list for next time.
Imagine sipping some of the finest port wine from family-run vineyards, admiring views of the sweeping valleys and cliffside roads below, and soaking in the sunshine.
The Douro Valley is one of the world’s best known wine regions (kinda like Napa Valley near me in San Francisco!). It’s actually a protected UNESCO site and is even known as the birthplace of port wine!
How to Get to the Douro Valley:
Guided Group Tour : If this is your first time to the region, I HIGHLY recommend jumping on a guided tour. This is the most convenient option, and with only one day to explore the Douro Valley, you wanna make sure you do it right!
Most guided day tours include transport from Porto, lunch, tasting some of Douro’s finest Port wine, and even floating along the Douro River in a traditional Portuguese Rabelo boat. There’s lots (and lots) of tours to choose from, but I recommend this tour (you also get to taste olive oil!) and this tour (with over 900 positive reviews )!
Train : You can catch a train to one of the main towns of the region, then take a taxi/ride share to a few vineyards. Take the Douro Line train to Pinhao, Tua, or Pocinho (all in the Douro Valley). Most people visit Pinhao, the most popular Douro Valley stop and one of the most scenic.
Drive : If you’re planning to do a bit of wine tasting (which you totally should – that’s the main draw of the region), I don’t recommend driving. Or assign someone to be DD (please be safe!). Plus, if you’re not familiar with the area, it can be hard to know where to stop as the region is kinda spread out.
Hope this helps you plan the best Porto itinerary possible! When are you spending 3 days in Porto, Portugal?!
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February 21, 2023 at 5:24 pm
Great post. Thank you for sharing so much! I travel to Porto often to see my family but I was wondering which airlines you feel are the most comfortable and enjoyable from the US to Porto? My dad is 87 now and this trip won’t be easy as it is. Thank you so much.
February 25, 2023 at 3:34 pm
I don’t have any specific airline recommendations, but I’d make sure to book a standard carrier, and not a budget airline. Also, consider paying a bit extra for premium economy as it makes the seat more comfy!
June 30, 2023 at 4:21 pm
Thank you for the information, it is very helpful. Will travel to Porto Portugal in August and will be doing a road trip for about 12 days . We are staying initially 3 days in Porto before starting the ride towards the north. Let’s see how it goes . Thanks for the travel tips and the photos , beautiful
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Home - Top 10 - Where to stay? - 2 days - 1 Week - Day trips - Airport to Porto - Beaches - 1-day tour - Braga - Aveiro
3 days in Porto: a suggested itinerary and tour for 2023
Porto is a captivating city, which perfectly blends history, traditions and modern Portuguese culture.
Set on an undulating landscape, Porto provides architectural wonders, a quaint old town, stunning vistas and beautiful beaches. Throw in its famed Port producing industry and it is easy to see why this charming city is fast becoming a top rated holiday destination.
This guide will provide a flexible itinerary for a three-day tour of Porto, which includes; the best districts and sights in order to make the most of this captivating city. Related articles: Porto introduction - 1 day in Porto - 1 week in Porto
Day 1 - Exploring Central Porto
To get a traditional taste of Porto, it is recommended to spend the first day exploring the historic city centre and the charming Ribeiara district. The main tourist office, based along Rua Clube dos Fenianos (on the west side of Porto City Hall), is a perfect spot to grab a map and start a day’s tour of Porto.
Below is a list of the Porto’s main attractions to include on a self-guided tour:
The Câmara Municipal and the Avenida Dos Aliados
Avenue of the Allies (Avenida Dos Aliados): This impressive boulevard is the monumental heart of Porto, which leads up to the Câmara Municipal do Porto (City hall) with its distinctive70m bell tower. The grandeur of the marble and granite buildings that line the Avenida Dos Aliados portrays a history which doesn’t actually exist, as the entire plaza was constructed in 1916.
The view from the top of the Torre dos Clérigos tower
Clérigos Tower (Igreja E Torre Dos Clérigos): The quaint, baroque Clérigos Church and Tower is situated on the highest point of the old city and after climbing the 250 steps of the tower, visitors are rewarded with fantastic 360-degree panoramic view of the city. It is open daily 9:00-19:00 and has a €3 entrance fee.
Lello bookshop (Livraria Lello): This Lavish bookshop is one of the oldest in Portugal and walking around this art nouveau building it is clear to see why this could have prompted the inspiration for the Hogwarts library and staircases. The ornate interior has transformed the shop into a major tourist attraction, with few visitors purchasing books, so now there is an entrance fee of €3.
The Church of Saint Ildefonso
Saint Ildefonso Church: This uniquely beautiful church has exterior covered in over 11,000 traditional painted blue azulejos tiles. For tourists interested in this architecture, it is also worth visiting São Bento Train Station; one of the most decorative stations in Europe
Porto Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace (Sé Do Porto): The highly fortified Porto Cathedral is the religious centre of Porto and the original church dates from 12th Century. The Cathedral is situated in the oldest district in Porto and the square surrounding it once served as the bustling trading centre. It is free to enter and open daily from 9:00-12:30 and then 14:30-18:00 in peak season (Off peak times may vary).
The Ribeira river front at early evening
Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa): The Neoclassical Palácio da Bolsa complex was built by Porto’s Commercial Association in 1830 to act as the city’s stock exchange and entice investors to the city. It is open from 9:00-18:30 in peak season (9:00-12:30 / 14:00- 17:30 in low season). Tours cost €7 per adult and €4 per child.
Evening: Dine in Ribeiara The evening of the first day should be spent in Ribeira; one of the oldest districts situated on the northern bank of the Douro River. This is a delightful area of narrow, winding streets lined with restaurants and is a perfect place for dinner and a glass of Port.
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Day 2 - Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia city, situated on the southern banks of the Dourio River, is the renowned home of Port. Whilst the city is equally as picturesque as Porto, the real tourist highlight is taking one of the many Port tasting tours. Interestingly, Port production is still very much a part of the modern culture and the sweet drink is still matured and bottled in the vast cellars located on Avenue de Diogo Leite along the riverside.
The wooden tanks where the ruby ports are stored for 3 years
Visiting the cellars and Port tasting tours are surprisingly inexpensive and costs reflect the quantity and quality of the Ports tasted. Tour prices start from €6.00 for two drinks of medium quality. Each of the Port house conducts tours in multiple languages. To get a real experience it is suggested to join a couple of the tours throughout the day.
For visitors with time for only one tour, it is advisable to head to Ferreira Cellar; the only wholly owned Portuguese Port producer. Ferreira is located on Avenue Ramos Pinto and tours run daily from 10:00 – 12.30 and then from 14:00 to 20:00. The tour costs €6.00 per adult and this includes; a 30-minute guided tour and a tasting of two Port wines at the end.
Other highlights of Vila Nova de Gaia include:
Ponte Luis I Bridge: Take a walk along this iconic bridge that connects Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia. This feat of engineering has stood since 1886 and was created by a partner of Gustave Eiffel. It is possible to cross the bridge at both levels, with the top level providing wonderful views of the city.
Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar: Take the cable car (Teleferic de Gaia) that transports visitors from the banks of the Douro up to the elegant, whitewashed Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar. From this unique circular cloister there are unparalleled views across the Douro to the Ribeira and Porto landscape. The cable car station is located on Rue Piedade just off the main riverside Avenue de Diogo Leite. It costs €4.50 single ride and cars run daily from 10:00 to 20:00.
The water front of Vila Nova de Gaia
Cruise the River Douro: There are many scenic boat cruises along the Douro River, which pass under the famous city bridges and allow unique vantage points of dramatic city landscape. Prices start from €12.5 per adult and children are normally free.
Day 3: Day trip to Guimarães, Braga or Espinho beach
For the third day it is suggested to have a day trip to either one of the historic cities close to Porto or (if the weather is good) to visit a beautiful beach for a relaxing day. The two most fascinating historic cities close to Porto, are Braga or Guimarães while the best beach is the Praia de Espinho. All three of these destinations can be travelled to by train services that depart from São Bento train station.
Day trip to Guimarães - Guimarães is regarded as the ‘birth place of Portugal’ as it was the first capital city of Portugal during the 12th century, and was also the birth place of Portugal’s first king; Afonso Henriques. The city boasts a medieval castle, restored gothic palace, numerous pretty squares and a cable car ride to the top of Penha Hill. For a guide to a day trip to please click here .
The historic centre of Guimarães
Day Trip to Braga - Braga is the religious centre of Portugal and within the compact historic centre are numerous ornate churches and beautiful baroque styled houses.
Just outside of Braga is the wonderful Bom Jesus do Monte, a charming church that is situated on top of a hill and is reached via elaborate staircases, which represent the steps to heaven. The Bom Jesus do Monte is considered as the finest tourist attraction in the region surrounding Porto. For a guide to a day trip to Braga please click here .
Braga is a dlightful city
Day trip to Espinho beach - Espinho is a popular beach resort that lies to the south of Porto and is a great location for a relaxing day on the beach. The town is situated on a 17km stretch of golden sands and, as it faces a westerly direction, provides waves that are suitable for surfing.
Espinho is a typical Portuguese beach resort with a charming town centre and a small fishing community; who moor their colourful fishing boats on the beach. In the centre of the town there is the largest casino in northern Portugal, as well as numerous great restaurants serving up the fresh fish. For more details about Espinho beach please click here .
A colourful fishing boat on the vast beach of Espinho
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The Foz District
Pretty district situated at the mouth of the Douro River
Stunning scenery, charming villages and relaxing boat tours
A vibrant city, regarded as the religious centre of Portugal
Known as the birthplace of Portugal and steeped in history
Canals, colourful fishing boats and a rich history
Airport to Porto
How to travel from Porto airport to the city centre
Lively beach resort, offering the best beaches close to Porto
Ponte de Lima
Ancient crossing point of the Lima River
Viana do Castelo
A city that exemplifies all of the finest aspects of the Minho region
Douro by car
Leave the tourists behind and discover the true allure of the Douro
The charming trams of Porto that cross the city
Liberal students and ancient university traditions create a fascinating city
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How to spend an incredible 3 days in porto – your essential porto itinerary.
Planning to spend 3 days in Porto Portugal and looking for an awesome Porto itinerary? I’ve got you covered! Porto is a city full of surprises. Often overlooked in favour of its flashier cousin Lisbon, there is something for everyone and I think I actually preferred it over Lisbon. If you’re booking a trip to Porto and only have three days to explore, no worries! You can easily fit in all the highlights with this comprehensive 3-day Porto itinerary.
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Why Visit Porto
Porto has to be one of the best places to visit in Portugal. Completely different to the tourist towns along the Algarve, and even a contrast to cities like Lisbon and Coimbra, Porto will not disappoint anyone looking for a taste of the real Portugal.
There are lots of activities in Porto to enjoy, from exploring colourful streets lined with quaint cafes and shops to digging around in local markets and admiring beautiful azulejo tiles and gorgeous views from hilltop viewpoints. Porto will certainly keep you busy!
Savouring delicious Portuguese cuisine, and tasting some of the world’s finest port wines at renowned cellars are more of the best things to do in Porto, as Portugal has some excellent food and drink to enjoy, as well as some fabulous bars and nightlife.
If you prefer something more relaxing, there are picturesque beaches near Porto to catch some sun or head inland to the Douro Valley wine region for beautiful countryside, wine tasting and a gentle cruise along the river.
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Hotel deals, group tours, lisbon vs porto.
I loved both cities, but there are lots of different opinions when it comes to deciding which is better – Lisbon or Porto! If you have enough time to spend a week in Portugal and visit both places then I’d definitely recommend doing that so you can enjoy both Porto and Lisbon and make your own judgements!
To me, Lisbon was beautiful and clean, but busy and crowded, even in the winter. Porto was a bit dirtier and grittier somehow, but just as pretty as Lisbon. Porto felt more like a real city, with people living and working here instead of just visiting, so for that reason, I preferred spending time in Porto instead of Lisbon.
How Many Days in Porto is Enough?
Porto is an incredible destination that deserves more than just one day of exploration, that is for sure. While you could enjoy a very pleasant day trip to Porto Portugal, for an immersive experience and to make the most of the city and surrounding region, it’s best to plan for at least three days.
I’d recommend spending two full days in Porto itself and another day spent on a fabulous wine-tasting tour to the Douro Valley. If you are short on time then 2 days in Porto is enough to discover the highlights of the city and its surroundings, but three days is a perfect amount of time to enjoy the city and take a day trip.
I spent a week in Porto, with four nights in an apartment and 2 nights in a hostel, so had plenty of time to discover the best things to do in Porto. Assuming you have less time to travel than I did, I’ve condensed the highlights of Porto together with some of my favourite experiences, activities, bars and restaurants in Porto all together in this 3-day Porto itinerary!
The Best 3 Day Porto Itinerary
OK let’s get down to planning your 3 days in Porto Portugal! There are no fixed rules with this Porto itinerary, you can take a look and pick and choose what you like to do or follow it exactly, it’s totally up to you! If the weather is poor on one day of your trip that might influence what you decide to do.
I have planned this itinerary based around 3 main areas, with day one in the historic centre of Porto, day 2 exploring both sides of the river and tasting some port, and day 3 getting out of the city on a fabulous day trip.
Porto Itinerary Day 1: Explore the Historic Centre of Porto
Exploring the historic centre is a must-do for any Porto 3-day itinerary. Wander down narrow cobblestone streets, pass gorgeous buildings decorated with intricate azulejo tiles, and take in the smells (and tastes!) of freshly baked pasteis de nata custard tarts from bakeries and cafes.
Breakfast/Brunch in Porto
If you want to start the day off right, a big breakfast at Do Norte Café should sort you out! Otherwise, a coffee and an egg custard pastry or two from Nata Lisboa is another excellent option.
A Porto Walking Tour
If you would like a guided tour to learn more about the history of Porto and have someone show you around the best of the city, this 3-hour walking tour starts at 10am and gets great reviews for the knowledgeable guides and comprehensive tour (although there is a minimum of 2 people required to book).
For solo travellers, this tour also starts at 10am and can be booked for just one person. It’s great value and you can add an optional picnic to enjoy after the tour.
If you’d prefer an e-Bike tour, check out this one , or how about a tuk-tuk tour for a unique way to visit Porto? You might even prefer to do a hop-on-hop-off bus tour .
BROWSE MORE TOURS IN PORTO
However, if you would rather explore Porto at your own pace, these are the must-see places to visit in Porto’s Old Town. I’ve arranged them in order so you can do your own self-guided walking tour in Porto, but of course, you can mix and match to suit your own exploring speed and preferences.
I’m kicking off your first day in Porto with this beautiful bookshop, said to be an influence for J.K Rowling’s Hogwarts. It is ridiculously touristy, there is a fee to get in and always a line of people outside but if you are looking for Instagram spots in Porto this definitely qualifies!
Insider Tip: This walking tour includes skip-the-line access to Lello Bookshop
I took one look at the queue of people and decided to give it a miss. When there are so many people around it is hard to get those perfect photos, so if you do want to go inside I’d suggest heading there early.
You can book tickets online here , either €5 for a standard ticket, which is discounted against the purchase of a book in store, or €15,90 for priority (skip-the-line) entrance which also includes a book.
Close to Lello Bookshop you’ll find the Clérigos Tower and Church. The Igreja dos Clérigos has an interesting façade with designs including seashells, but the real draw is the 25m tall baroque bell tower which has panoramic views of Porto.
You can buy skip-the-line tickets in advance to save time (a great idea if you just have 2 days in Porto), or just buy them at the entrance. Be prepared to climb the 225 steps as there is no lift to the top!
Igreja do Carmo
This was one of my favourite places in Porto as it is just so pretty! The Church of Carmo is twinned with the Igreja dos Carmelitas Descalços, which is right next door – separated by a tiny house in between the two churches.
It is free to go inside the churches, and there are tours where you can learn more about them and the Carmelite Monastery. Once you’ve had a look inside and at the façades, take a look around the corner at the wall of the Igreja do Carmo and be blown away by the beautiful blue tilework. Have a look up close then cross the street to see it in all its glory!
If you’re here on a Saturday, stroll up to Praça de Carlos Alberto to take a look at the Portobelo market which runs from 10am to 7pm (Saturdays only).
The Town Hall
Head towards the Mercado del Bolhão, via the Town Hall in Praça do Município. It’s another impressive building that’s worth a look as you’re passing by.
Mercado del Bolhão
This market is a must-do in Porto for food lovers, and for anyone really – it’s a lovely neoclassical building filled with stalls selling fresh produce & prepared foods so if you’re feeling peckish it’s a great place for snacks or to buy something to cook later.
Sample a Pastel de Nata
Two of the most popular places to buy these delicious Portuguese custard tarts are super close to the market, so take a moment to have a rest and enjoy a tasty treat!
Manteigaria – Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata and Fábrica da Nata are both delicious so why not try one from each place? In the name of research of course. Alternatively, carry on the itinerary and pop back here after lunch, my suggested café is only 5 minutes’ walk away.
Chapel of Souls
My oh my Porto has some gorgeous buildings! The Chapel of Souls is moments away from the Market so wander up here and get an eyeful of the blue & white tiles painted with scenes depicting the lives of saints.
Rua Santa Catarina
If you want to do some shopping in Porto then this is the street to do it! There’s a large mall called Via Santa Catarina that leads off the street, or just wander down towards the Church of Saint Ildefonso.
Church of Saint Ildefonso
Yes, it is another church with blue azulejo tiles! I couldn’t go inside this one as the gate was closed when I visited, but it was still a lovely building to admire, with steps leading up to the façade.
Lunch: Try a Francesinha
One of the best foods to try in Porto is a francesinha – it is quite possibly the best/most calorific sandwich you’ll ever try! It is made with white bread, filled with meats like ham, linguiça, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat, then covered with melted cheese, a fried egg and thick spicy sauce. If that’s not enough, it usually comes with fries.
Lado B Café (Coliseu) is one of the best places to eat a francesinha , although this was the only one I tried it was very good! It’s just around the corner from the Church of Saint Ildefonso.
I’ll be honest though, while I did manage to finish the whole thing I did feel a little sick afterwards! If there are two of you travelling I’d suggest buying one to share, then saving a bit of space for some custard tarts!
Brasão Coliseu, Café Santiago éLeBê Baixa (only Friday to Sundays for lunch) are other highly-rated places to eat nearby.
Miradouro das Fontainhas
If you want a walk after lunch then head down to Miradouro das Fontainhas for lovely views of the Douro River and famous Luís I Bridge which stretches across the river. In the other direction you can also see the Ponte Dona Maria Pia bridge, which was designed by Gustav Eiffel (of the Eiffel Tower).
There’s another fabulous viewpoint at Miradouro para a Ponte D.Luís I a little closer to town so make sure you take a look at one of these, if not both!
Porto Cathedral – El Sé do Porto
The cathedral sits up high and overlooks the city, so you will see it from various viewpoints around Porto – you may as well see it up close too! It is free to go inside, and while you’re there take a look at the view from Rua das Aldas Viewpoint as well.
Sao Bento Station
Sao Bento Train Station in Porto has to be one of the most beautiful train stations in the world. The walls are covered in azulejo tiles which make it a very popular photo spot, and a busy place especially when train arrivals coincide with tour groups trying to take photos.
I came here once during the day, then again in the evening when it was much quieter but sadly quite poorly lit so the photos had fewer people in them but didn’t turn out as well! By this time of the afternoon it should be reasonably quiet.
Sunset at Miradouro da Vitória
Another viewpoint with views of the Cathedral and Luís I Bridge, which is particularly lovely as the sun goes down and casts a golden glow over the buildings.
Dinner at a Traditional Restaurant in Porto
There are so many excellent restaurants in Porto it’s hard to pick the best! If you’re nearby Miradouro da Vitória then check out Taberna Santo António for traditional Portuguese food. It’s best to book in advance to guarantee a table.
Porto Itinerary Day 2: Down By the River
I’ll start today’s itinerary more or less where we finished yesterday, around Sao Bento Station, so you have another chance for photos there without crowds of people. From here, work your way down to the Douro River and the Ribeira district, the city’s oldest neighborhood, before heading across the water to explore Vila Nova de Gaia and its famous port houses.
Breakfast in Porto
If you haven’t already eaten at your accommodation, treat yourself to a custard tart from Nata Lisboa or a sandwich at A Sandeira do Porto – or prepare for a brunch on Rua das Flores at Mercador Café or Floresta Café by Hungry Biker, both of which get great reviews.
Rua das Flores
I loved this street, my Airbnb was actually right here so I walked up and down it several times! It’s got cute shops, some excellent cafes and is a very pleasant street to stroll down. Keep an eye open for The Cat mural on the wall of one of the buildings. Do some souvenir shopping or have breakfast here.
Mercado Ferreira Borges
On your way down to the river, take Rua de Ferreira Borges to pass by Mercado Ferreira Borges, a striking 1880s market building of iron and glass, which is now a nightclub. If it’s open you can have a nose inside or just admire the bright red paintwork.
Igreja Monumento de São Francisco
You’ll also walk past the Bolsa Palace and Igreja Monumento de São Francisco; the church is worth a visit for the gold décor and altarpieces. It’s €8 per adult entry fee.
La Ribeira is a colourful neighbourhood, with the houses in narrow streets and lining the banks of the river all painted in different colours and designs. Take time to wander around, get lost and make your way back to the river to stroll along the Cais da Ribeira boardwalk.
Restaurants are more expensive here thanks to the waterfront views, but it’s hard to resist taking a seat here in the sunshine. Praça da Ribeira is a popular place to do that, don’t miss the Fonte do Cubo sculpture and fountain.
You don’t have to pay to enjoy the views though, you can always perch on one of the benches along the river too.
Take a River Cruise
A great way to see Porto is from the river. There are various tour operators offering boat trips on the Douro River from Porto, so you can see which are available on the day or buy a ticket online. For the pre-booked tickets you still need to exchange them with the operator for a pass to board the boats.
The boat cruises usually last around an hour, and have some commentary about Porto, the six bridges that cross the Douro River and the history of the rabelo boats which transported wine from the Douro Valley to the city.
Boat tours leave from both sides of the river, so pick whichever one best suits your timings. This ticket allows you to choose between either option for maximum flexibility.
Walk Across Dom Luís I Bridge
The impressive Dom Luís I bridge is a two level bridge, with a car and pedestrian route on the bottom level, and a tram and pedestrian route on the top. The bottom part was undergoing construction work when I was there which blocked most of the view, so you won’t get as good a view from there until the works are finished.
If you have the option, walk across one way, then do the other on the return journey to get the best of both worlds!
Stroll Along the Ribeira de Gaia
I loved this side of the river as you get lovely views of Port and the bridge, as well as the chance to see traditional boats lined up in the water. Stroll along the riverfront and head towards the market, and don’t miss the street art installation Half Rabbit on the corners of R. Dom Alfonso III and R. Guilherme Gomes Fernandes ( Google maps location here ).
Lunch in Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia is famous for its port cellars and wine tasting. Before you dive into the port though, it’s best to line your stomach! The Mercado Beira Rio has a range of great places to eat or there are also several restaurants on the waterfront if you see something you like on the way past.
Cable Car & Monastery of Serra do Pilar
Gaia Cable Car or Teleférico de Gaia gives you wonderful views of the river and Porto as you glide above Vila Nova de Gaia. Keep an eye on the time with this one though as it closes at 6pm. I’ve put it in here after lunch so you can take the cable car from the station by the market, up to the top near Dom Luis I Bridge.
One way tickets cost €7 per adult, or a return ticket is €10, so I’d suggest getting a return ticket and having a look at the park and viewpoints around the cable car station like Miradouro da Ribeira, then hopping back on to go back down for a port tasting.
If you have time before going down, walk over to Monastery of Serra do Pilar which has incredible views over the Douro River. The monastery has an unusual round church and cloister, which you can see from the outside but unfortunately it is currently closed to the public for restoration.
Alternatively, wait until after your port tasting and take a one-way ticket on the cable car around 5.45pm so you can walk back to Porto across the top of the Luís I Bridge for dinner on the other side.
You can buy tickets online in advance here , or from the cable car stations at either end of the line.
Port Tasting in Porto
There are lots of historic port houses in Vila Nova de Gaia where you can arrange a tour of the cellars and port tastings in Porto, (the city gave the drink its name) but you’ll need to book in advance to guarantee a place at your preferred time.
You can book tastings at individual port houses or visit several as part of a guided port tasting tour like this one . Here are some suggested options for booking a port tasting, or do some more research and choose your own:
· Cockburn’s Cellar Tour Classic or Pairing Option
· Port Wine Tasting w/Cheese Pairing Option
· Graham’s Port Lodge Tour & Premium Tasting with Pairings
· Cálem Cellar Tour, Interactive Museum & Wine Tasting
· Port and Douro Wine Walking Tour with Tastings
After an afternoon of drinking port, watching a Fado performance is a lovely way to absorb more Portuguese culture. While Fado didn’t originate here, there are some excellent Fado shows in Porto to enjoy.
You could combine a visit to Cálem Wine Cellars with a Fado performance as you sip on more port, or head back across the river to La Ribeira and watch a show there during or before having dinner.
O Fado is one of the best places to watch Fado in Porto, and as you enjoy a traditional Portuguese meal there are performances from renowned Fado singers. You will need to book a table in advance which you can do on their website here .
If you prefer to watch a show before dinner here are some options for you to pre-book:
· Fado Na Baixa Live Performance with Port Wine
· Intimate Fado Concert Ticket with a Glass of Wine
· Live Fado Show with Glass of Port Wine
Dinner in La Ribeira
If you haven’t eaten dinner yet, then book a table at a traditional Portuguese Restaurant in the heart of Porto’s historic old town. While you can find free tables it is best to book ahead to guarantee one at your top choice.
I had a lovely meal at Taberna Dos Mercadores , which is a tiny place but I was lucky to snag a table as I hadn’t reserved! Nearby Taberna Dona Antonia also gets great reviews.
After dinner, have a last walk along the waterfront (and perhaps another cheeky glass of wine at Bacchus vini), before heading to bed.
Porto Itinerary Day 3: A Day Trip from Porto
By now you have spent a wonderful couple of days in Porto, exploring the city streets, admiring the views and sampling the excellent food and drink on offer. Now it’s time to head out of the city on a day trip from Porto.
The most popular Porto day trip has to be to the Douro Valley wine region. There are various Douro Valley day tours on offer which take you to various wineries, including lunch and often a boat trip on the Douro River too.
I took this Douro Valley full day tour and LOVED IT! We tried lots of different wines and ports and had an amazing lunch in a local restaurant too. Transport was included in a mini-van from Porto, and I really enjoyed the Douro River boat trip too, although it was chilly as it was in January!
You can read more about my Douro Valley day trip from Porto in this post .
If you’re not into wine then take a look at some of these other Porto Day trips for inspiration:
· From Porto: Braga and Guimarães Full-Day Trip
· From Porto: Aveiro, Paiva Walkways and Arouca 516 Footbridge
· From Porto: Braga and Guimarães Full Day Tour with Lunch
· From Porto: Peneda-Gerês Park Tour with Lunch
· Fátima and Coimbra Full-Day Tour from Porto
Alternatively, spend your third day covering anything you missed over the last two days in Porto, perhaps visiting a couple of museums in Porto or just taking it easy and enjoying the views from a café alongside the river.
I hope you have enjoyed this 3 day Porto itinerary, and I’ve covered everything you might need to plan an epic trip to Portugal! If you have any questions or if you think I’ve missed anything please do let me know in the comments below.
Where to Stay in Porto
With just three days in Porto, you’ll want to be as central as possible so you can explore without worrying about public transport or taxis into the city.
The two best neighbourhoods to stay in Porto are Ribeira, the medieval old city which spreads along the north bank of the Douro River, and Baixa or Sé which is the centre of Porto and is great for exploring the city. These are the most popular places to stay in Porto, and the prices often reflect that, although you can find some great value hostels and hotels in Porto and bag a bargain.
Vila Nova de Gaia is across the river from the old town but is another popular place to stay in Porto as it is home to many of the port producers, with lots of bars and restaurants along the riverfront. It is easily accessible to the Old Town across Dom Luís I Bridge.
Want More Portugal Articles?
- Why Visit Lisbon in Winter?
- What Not to do in Lisbon
- A Lisbon Food & Culture Walk
- Incredible Castles in Sintra
- The Best Hostel in Lisbon
- 3 Day Porto Itinerary
- The Best Benagil Cave Tour
- Where to Eat in Lagos
- Things to do in Evora
- Where to Stay in Evora
- A Douro Valley Wine Tour from Porto
Hi! I'm Claire Sturzaker, a 30-something foodie traveller who loves to enjoy the best of a destination without breaking the bank. I'm here to help you and all women backpackers to plan their best budget travel adventure. I am an avid supporter of female solo travel, and took my first solo trip 20 years ago! I love to write about travel, hostels, backpacking and van life.
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3 EPIC Days in Porto, Portugal (Helpful Porto Itinerary)
October 31, 2023
Post Overview: How to Spend 3 Days in Porto Itinerary
Planning to spend 3 days in Porto? You’ve come to the right place.
I’ve had a handful of friends reach out asking about the best way to spend 3 days in Porto. Seems like most travelers tend to stay for 3 days, which is the perfect amount of time!
Porto is an underrated gem. Best known as Lisbon’s colorful and vibrant neighbor, the city is slowly coming out of the capital’s shadow (good things can’t stay secret for long).
Thankfully, the city is manageable, which means 3 days in Porto is enough time to appreciate everything on offer for those visiting the city for the first time.
I visited the city for a full month this winter (January 2023) and was able to draft a quick 3 Day Porto Itinerary. I’m not one for small talk, so let’s jump into the good stuff. Hope you enjoy!
Meet the Editor Behind This Porto Itinerary
Óla! My name is Antonina and I’m an American traveler (nice to meet you!). My introduction to Portugal began five years ago during my honeymoon. Since then, my husband and I have returned a handful of times and decided to spend 3 days in Porto last fall.
We were smitten by the city and found ourselves disappointed we didn’t visit sooner. There’s no denying that Porto has a way of drawing people in and our case was no different, we found it irresistible. In fact, we enjoyed our time so much that we returned for a full month in January (2023).
Alas, the Porto itinerary below outlines the best way to spend 3 days in Porto based on the things we personally learned after visiting Porto for 3 days and then returning for a full month . Hope you enjoy!
Absolutely! Porto is a small city, so spending 3 days in Porto gives you ample time to enjoy the best the city has to offer. Read on to learn about the can’t miss spots and activities.
Where to Stay in Porto for 3 Days
- Here’s my favorite hotel in Porto (where I typically stay) . It’s affordable, cozy, and has the best views of the Douro River.
- If you can’t live without luxury (way to go, you!) here’s the BEST hotel in town , hands down.
Tips for Spending 3 Days in Porto, Portugal
Don’t rush the experience.
- As mentioned, Porto is a manageable size! I’ll make sure you see the best of Porto in three days at a leisurely pace. Don’t expect to rush much with the Porto itinerary, it’s curated to align with the slow way of life the Portuguese people are known for.
Dinner is a late affair
- The Portuguese typically eat lunch around 1pm and dinner around 7pm or 8pm. As such, most restaurants don’t open until 12pm or 12:30 and then close from 4pm to 7pm, reopening around 7pm for dinner.
The Porto Card is a great deal
- The Porto Card can be purchased for a duration of one, two, three or four days and gives you access to six museums plus up to 50% discounts at many major attractions. We purchased the card for our 3 days in Porto and it ended up saving a decent amount of money. Highly recommend!
Best payment methods in Porto
- Credit cards were accepted at 90% of the places we went. However, it’s always handy to have some euros in your pocket. ATMs are easy to come by, especially in tourist areas. ATMs accept American bank cards, so pulling cash shouldn’t be an issue.
Visiting Porto longer? Here’s my complete roundup of the 20 Memorable Things to Do in Porto .
How to Spend 3 Days in Porto
Day 1 | porto itinerary.
Your first of 3 days in Porto will be spent visiting the city’s highlights. We’ll spend the day exploring the most charming neighborhoods, visiting some of the most famous sites and getting a proper bite to eat at a local restaurant. Day 1 on this Porto itinerary is all about introducing you to Invicta (Porto’s nickname).
- Breakfast at Época
No good day starts without food and since you’ll only have 3 days in Porto, it’s important to me that you enjoy meals at the best restaurants in town. As such, getting breakfast (or brunch) as Época is non-negotiable in my book because this place is a gem.
Everything on the menu is guaranteed to impress but I can personally vouch for the Turkish Eggs and pancakes. Don’t sleep on the opportunity to order both, the meals are exceptional.
After breakfast, head towards Igreja do Carmo
Most folks don’t realize that Igreja do Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas are two separate churches because it looks like one massive church from the outside.
However, if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that the two striking buildings are indeed separated by an unassuming narrow 6-foot house that is very easy to miss.
But the house serves a purpose! It ensured that the two churches didn’t share a common wall, so the monks and nuns could be properly kept apart.
You can tour the interior of the church (one of the churches is free to visit, the other charges admission). However, I suggest admiring the breathtaking tiles from the outside, it’s incredible and worth a few moments of your time.
Pop into the São Bento Station
Much like Lisbon, Porto is known for donning spectacular displays of Azulejos (hand-painted tiles). It seems to me that Porto got the cream of the crop though because most of the tile work depicts fascinating celebrations or historic events.
Nowhere is this more evident than at the São Bento Train Station. Inaugurated in 1916, this masterpiece of architecture is covered in 20,000 hand painted tiles. No corner untouched, the interior is painstakingly beautiful, a real show stopper.
The tiles were hand-painted by Jorge Calaco and depict various scenes from Portugal’s history (like royal coronations and celebrations). Even if you don’t have a train to catch, add this to your Porto itinerary and make the time to see it, it’s wonderful.
Porto Itinerary Tip: While exploring São Bento Station you’ll be in the Baixa neighborhood. This is one of Porto’s most historic districts, which means it’s worth getting a little lost. Tuck into any tempting side street and explore the area to your hearts content.
Walk the Dom Luis I Bridge
Built in 1886, walking the Dom Luís I Bridge is an iconic Porto experience! The double-deck iron-cast bridge connects the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.
Designed by an apprentice of Gustav Eiffel, the beautiful bridge spans the River Douro and is considered an architectural feat. When it was constructed, it was the longest bridge of its type in the world.
One thing we kept reading in guidebooks before finalizing our Porto itinerary was that walking across the bridge (especially at sunset) was non-negotiable. How true that turned out to me. We did this three nights in a row!
The Dom Luís I Bridge swells with tourists and visitors alike during the evening hours, everyone eager to get a glimpse of the breathtaking views of Porto. Join the club, it’s a great time to be had.
Sunset at Jardim do Morro (or) Miradouro da Serra do Pilar
When you’ve made your way across the Dom Luís I Bridge, head directly to the Jardim do Morro for more breathtaking views of Porto at sunset.
Chances are good that you’ll be serenaded by a talented musician and the chatter of love birds all around you. Soak in the views and the energetic atmosphere until you simply can’t stop pinching yourself.
Then, I implore you to trek up to the Monastery of Serra do Pilar for yet another beautiful vantage point of Porto. It requires an uphill climb, which will ensure you keep your feet on the ground after all those happy feelings wash over you.
Looking to add something fancy to your Porto Itinerary?
If you enjoy the finer things in life, I suggest swinging by the Yeatman Hotel for evening drinks and delicious fare. During our month-long stay in Porto we found ourselves looking for something to do. We decided to make our way to the Yeatman Hotel because the terrace caught our eye a few days earlier.
Not sure what to expect, we were impressed by the grandeur of this stunning hotel. Thankfully you don’t have to be a guest at this swanky institution to get a taste for the good life, you can merely pop in for dinner and drinks (or just drinks).
What started as a curious exploration turned into an easy going afternoon that melted into the memory of a lifetime. Two bottles later, we were shocked to discover that 6 hours had gone by. It was the perfect way to spend a day doing nothing while enjoying the good life Porto offers.
Obviously with only 3 days in Lisbon you won’t want to spend 6 hours nursing a bottle of wine (unless you do?). But if you’re in the mood for great drinks and even better views, this is definitively the place to be.
3 Days in Porto Itinerary (Day 1 Roundup)
- Admire Igreja do Carmo
- Visit São Bento Station
- Walk the Dom Luis Bridge
- Sunset at Jardim do Morro
- Drinks at Yeatman Hotel
Porto Itinerary | Day 2
The theme for your second day in Porto is “beloved traditional gems.” Today we discover some of the best sights in Porto, things worth traveling out of the way to see. We’ll visit one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world and spend the easy afternoon hours sipping port before ending the evening with stunning views of the Douro River.
It’d be a shame to spend your precious 3 days in Porto waiting in line, but somethings are worth seeing in person. You simply can’t visit Porto without popping into Livraria Lello because it’s considered the most beautiful bookstore in the world.
You’ll need to purchase a ticket in advance to get in (€5 per person), but the ticket price can be used towards a book purchase.
Admittedly, this is one of the most popular things to do in Porto so the lines are impossibly long. However, if you book the earliest morning ticket and show up 30-40 minutes before opening, you’ll be able to get in quicker.
Even with the hassle of waiting in line, I’d argue this is a can’t-miss activity for anyone visiting Porto for 3 days for the first time. If you’re flying halfway around the world might as well see this magical place!
Porto Travel Tip: You can purchase tickets to skip the line for €15. It’ll save you time during your 3 days in Porto so it may be worth considering.
Next, head to Torre dos Clérigos
Now that you’ve had your fill of crowds, make your way to Torre dos Clérigos (Clérigos Tower). A stone’s throw from the bookstore, you couldn’t miss it if you tried.
Torre dos Clérigos first opened n 1763 and officially became the tallest landmark in Porto. As you can imagine, the views from the top are some of the best in the city.
If you’re visiting Porto for 3 days, it’s best to start your first day getting a lay of the land. What better way to do that than by climbing to the highest point in town?
You can climb the 225 steps to the top of the bell tower to be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views of Porto for a small admission (8€).
The admission includes a tour of the small musuem, but let’s get real, the tower is the star of the show. Admittedly, the staircase can feel claustrophobia so you’ll want to embark on this popular Porto attraction at your own discretion.
If you’re interested in adding this to your 3 day Porto itinerary, tickets can be purchased on site or in advance.
- Get Your Fill of Tiles at Sé do Porto
Speaking of incredible tiles, don’t overlook Sé do Porto! The venerable Porto Cathedral is one of the oldest structures in Porto and serves as an iconic symbol for the city.
Built in 1110, the Porto Cathedral is unequivocally the most important religious structure in Porto (it’s been declared a National Monument). Strategically located on a hill overlooking the Douro River, this fortress-like cathedral is an eclectic mix of architectural styles.
But it makes sense, when considering that the cathedral was renovated throughout the centuries (it’s nearly 1,000 years old!). Architecture fans may consider studying the cathedral as one of the best things to do in Porto. The temple is Baroque, while the facade and nave lean towards Romanesque. The cloisters? Those are Gothic in style.
A striking stone facade covered in tiles tempts visitors to explore the cathedral in its entirety. Visiting the cathedral is free, but touring the cloister will set you back €3.
The cloister is a must-visit addition to any Porto itinerary, so don’t let the nominal entrance fee hold you back. Decorated in breathtaking splashes of hand-painted azulejos (tiles), this experience is worth every penny.
Paying admission gives you an opportunity to climb to the top of the north bell tower for panoramic views of Porto. The entire visit won’t take longer than an hour, but I can guarantee you — this is one of the most memorable things to do in Porto in 3 days.
- Stroll the Cais de Ribeira
Engulfed by stacked colorful buildings on one side and the gentle (albeit bustling) Douro River on the other, strolling the waterfront is one of the top attractions in Porto.
Cais de Ribeira is considered Porto’s liveliest spot for great food and drinks, especially during the evening hours.
We spent most mornings at a sunny cafe people watching and then returned in the evening for a different beverage of choice. Park yourself at a nearby restaurant and order a snack, it’s one of the most relaxing things to do in Porto in 3 days.
Let’s go Port tasting!
You probably already know that Porto is the birthplace of Port wine. So how could anyone possibly visit Porto without sampling the stuff and learning more about the history?
If there’s only one activity you make time for on this Porto itinerary, it should be port tasting. Ironically, the port cellars are not in Porto, but rather in Gaia (the small town across the river).
Once in Gaia, you’ll quickly see that there’s no shortage of great port cellars to choose from. Seriously, there’s ten of them within walking distance from Ribeira. If you’d like some guidance, here’s a quick roundup of the three best port cellars in Porto.
Best Port Cellars in Porto, Portugal
- Cálem : The biggest port wine producer in Porto, Calem is a must visit for those that love port. Chances are good you’ve had their wine before, or at least seen it in stores.
- Sandman: Founded in London in 1790 by Scotsman George Sandman, Sandman is one of the biggest names in town. The Porto cellar has been in operation sine 1811 and the brand is well known far beyond Portugal’s borders.
- Caves Ferreira : Founded in 1751, Caves Ferreira is one of the oldest port cellars in Porto (celebrating 250+ years!). It’s a tad further located from the bridge folks use to cross from Ribeira to Gaia, so it gets less visitors.
Port tasting is one of the most popular things to do in Porto so you’ll want to book your tour well in advance if you plan to add this activity to your own Porto itinerary.
Porto Travel Tip: It’s easy to underestimate how strong port wine is. Traditional wine has an alcohol content of 11-13% whereas port clocks in at 20%. Keep that in mind if you’re add port tasting to your Porto itinerary!
Dinner Idea For Your 3 Day Porto Itinerary
Looking for dinner plans? One of the best restaurants we went to while visiting Porto for 3 days was a tiny little local spot called Taberna Dos Mercadores .
When I say tiny, I mean tiny . The restaurant only seats 12 people, so you’ll want to make reservations if you’re visiting during high tourist season. My husband and I ordered the seafood stew for two and enjoyed every ounce of the IT. Another clear standout was the flaming shrimp, it’s a must-order.
3 Days in Porto Itinerary (Day 2 Roundup)
- Livraria Lello (Famous Bookstore)
- Torre dos Clérigos (Clérigos Tower)
- Port Tasting in Gaia
- Dinner at Taberna Dos Mercadores
Porto Itinerary | Day 3
Spending 3 days in Porto gives you the luxury of diving deeper into Porto’s incredible sites or taking a day trip to one of the surrounding areas. There’s no shortage of great fun to be had, but if you’re going to take just one day trip while spending 3 days in Porto, I’d suggest visiting the Douro Valley, I’ll explain why below.
- Breakfast at Confeitaria do Bolhão
Serving happy customers for more than 120 years, Confeitaria do Bolhão is one of the oldest bakeries in Porto. You absolutely must pick up a few pasteis de nata. You should to eat your weight in these bad boys otherwise it’ll be your biggest regret from the trip (learn from my mistake).
There’s a reason both locals and tourists alike flock to this bakery all hours of the day. It lives up to the hype! Besides, you’re going to need all the fuel you can get to power through your 3 days in Porto.
- Admire the Capela Das Almas (Chapel of Souls)
After breakfast you’ll be a stone’s throw from Capela Das Almas (also known as the Chapel of Souls). Found right off Rua de Santa Catarina, this stunning 18th-century building is arguably one of the most famous churches in Porto, thanks to the 15,000+ Azulejos (hand-painted tiles) depicting the lives of notable saints.
Chances are high that you’ll see many folks talking pictures with the building (it’s so beautiful in person). Spend your time admiring the tiles before moving on to the next activity on our Porto itinerary: touring the Bolsa Palace.
Porto Itinerary Tip: While exploring Capela Das Almas you’ll be in the historic Bolhão neighborhood.
- Tour Bolsa Palace
Touring the Bolsa Palace was a highlight during our 3 days in Porto. As such, no Porto itinerary is complete without mentioning this gem.
The Palácio da Bolsa was built between 1842 and 1910 and stands as a testament to Portugal’s obscene wealth during the 19th-century.
Built atop the ruins of the St. Francis Church and originally operated as the Portuguese stock exchange and the glamorous interior was meant to encourage wealthy investors to consider Portugal’s robust trade ventures.
As impressive as the exterior is, you have to go inside to appreciate the breadth of splendor and detail that adorns these gold-leafed walls.
During our tour we learned that is took more than 60 years to complete the palace because of the grand detail, especially in the staircase past the Hall of Nations. How wild is that?
The star of the show, by far, is the jaw-dropping Salão Árabe (Arab room), which is guaranteed to take your breath away. I also enjoyed the Pátio das Nações (Hall of Nations, the original trading floor), the beautiful Court Room and Gustav Eiffel’s office.
Note : You cannot visit the Bolsa Palace without a guided tour, which is included with admission. Tours are conducted in four languages and the first person to sign up for a tour gets to choose the language.
Here’s how it worked for us: We showed up at 11am for a tour and were informed we missed the English tour by ten minutes. We were told that the 2pm tour was not booked yet and had an opportunity to book the 2pm tour in English, which we did.
We had a few hours to kill, so we had some lunch and returned to the palace five minutes before 2pm to start the tour, it was a breeze!
Sunset at Miradouro da Vitória
As we wrap the last of your three days in Porto, head over to one of the coolest viewpoints in the city. Miradouro da Vitória offers sweeping views of Porto while the Sé dominates the skyline. It’s an incredible vantage point and one that will give you an appreciation for all you’ve seen during your three days in Porto.
Of all the great viewpoints we explored during our trip, Miradouro da Vitoria was one of the more memorable because the expansive views of the city were unbeatable – you can see practically every Porto landmark from here!
Enjoy a Performance at Casa da Música
One of the true highlights of our trip personal Porto itinerary (and the reason we extended our stay in Porto), was catching a performance at Casa da Música.
Casa da Música is an incredible and unique concert hall that opened in Porto in 2005. The thing looks like a spaceship! The building is a true masterpiece and just being inside of it feels like a privilege.
You can catch performances there most days of the week and the prices are very affordable (we paid 6€ each and would have gladly paid way more).
Porto Itinerary Day 3 | Option B: Day Trip to the Douro Valley
Few know that Portugal’s Alto Douro “high Duoro” is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. Romans planted vines more than 2,000 years ago after realizing the area’s ideal growing conditions.
There’s no reason to miss an opportunity to take a day trip to the country’s premier wine region while visiting Porto for three days. Located 3-hour’s drive from Porto, you can reach the valley by train, car or cruise and can make it a day trip or extend your trip and stay a night.
If you’re a wine enthusiast, you’ll want to brush up on your knowledge of Portuguese wine beforehand. Spend some time researching the best wineries to visit, or sign up for a helpful tour.
Between the breathtaking views and delicious wine, you’ll see why visiting Douro Valley is considered one of the best day trips to add to a Porto itinerary.
3 Days in Porto Itinerary (Day 3 Roundup)
- Catch Sunset at Miradouro da Vitória
- Enjoy a performance at Casa de Musica
- Option B: Take a Day Trip to the Douro Valley
Visiting Porto for 3 Days (How to Get to Porto)
Most travelers end up traveling to Porto from Lisbon. And thanks to the train, the journey couldn’t be easier. But those strapped for time may choose to fly. Here’s the three main ways to get to Porto.
- By Train: The train between Lisbon and Porto runs several times daily. Make sure to book your ticket to the São Bento Train Station in Porto because it’s right in the heart of the city.
- By Plane: Flying into Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport. Flight deals are easy to come by when flying within Europe. Our tickets from Lisbon to Porto were $34 a piece and the flight only took one hour.
- By Bus: Although the bus is an option for getting to Porto from Lisbon, I wouldn’t recommend it because it takes a bit longer. However, it is the cheapest option.
Either by train or plane. We’ve done it both ways and while the flight is faster, you’ll need to account for the time-consuming airport process. We prefer to travel between Lisbon and Porto by train. It’s inexpensive, takes only 3.5 hours and gets you there comfortably.
What’s the best time to visit Porto?
Honestly, when it comes to the best time to visit Porto you can’t go wrong. The only months I’d suggest avoiding are January and February because there’s a higher chance of rain. Apart from that, it’s all fair game.
As with most European cities, spring and fall are the best time to visit Porto. But the mild temperatures attract crowds, which brings up the cost of hotels and makes dinner reservations a necessity.
If your schedule permits, try visiting in April for sunny weather with a chance of some solitude. Plus, there’s a higher chance you can walk up to a restaurant without reservation. Always a win!
Try to avoid January and February (because of the rain). Apart from that, it’s all fair game. There isn’t a bad time to visit this sunny city, but spring and fall offer a romantic buzz the other seasons can’t easily compete with. My personal favorite time to visit Porto is April (before the tourist crowds arrive).
Where to eat in Porto
Taberna Dos Mercadores: This tiny (and I mean tiny ) restaurant only seats 12 people, so you’ll want to make reservations if you’re visiting during high tourist season. My husband and I ordered the seafood stew for two and enjoyed every ounce of the meal. Another clear standout was the flaming shrimp, it’s a must-order.
Casa Guedes: A very popular restaurant for sandwiches, this is a can’t-miss spot for a quick and cheap bite while visiting Porto.
Tasco : Quite simply, Tasco makes you feel like royalty. I don’t think I’ve had better service at any other restaurant, ever. Fantastic shareable plates with memorable fare you’ll return for.
Cantinho do Avillez : It’s impossible to find a “best things to do in Porto in 3 days” list that doesn’t mention Cantinho do Avillez and there’s a reason for it – this place is one of the best restaurants in Porto! We had the octopus dish and cocktails, the entire experience was such a treat and we can’t wait to go back.
3 Day Porto Itinerary (Post Summary)
In sum, here’s a quick roundup of the best way to spend 3 days in Porto. In other words, the ideal Porto 3 day itinerary.
Porto Itinerary | Day 1
Day 2 | porto itinerary.
- Dinner at Taberna Dos Mercadores.
The Porto Card can be purchased for a 1,2,3 or 4 days and gives you access to six museums plus up to 50% discounts at many major attractions. All told, the Porto Card was a phenomenal deal during our trip to Porto and we were grateful it was offered!
Map of Things to Do When Visiting Porto for 3 Days
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The Perfect 3 Days in Porto Itinerary – Culture, Port & Food
Table of Contents
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Porto is surely one of the most beautiful – and underrated – cities in Europe . Although I’m currently living here, I understand many people will be visiting for a short trip. I’ve put together this 3 day Porto itinerary so you can experience the best of Portugal ‘s second-biggest city.
PORTO ESSENTIALS Accommodation: Booking.com / Hostelworld Getting there: flight ( Skyscanner ), train ( Omio ), bus ( Flixbus ) Activities: GetYourGuide Getting around: walk / Metro / bus / taxi Guidebook: Lonely Planet Porto
In a rush? Pin this 3 day Porto itinerary for later.
Read next: 80 things to see and do in Porto – main attractions, hidden gems, nightlife & more
Is 3 days enough in Porto enough?
For a first trip to Porto, three days is a great amount of time to spend. Porto isn’t a city with hundreds of must-see attractions so it’s easy to tick off the notable sights in the historic city centre during one day, unlike the capital: you need at least 3 days for your Lisbon itinerary ! However, the charm of Porto isn’t measured by its number of monuments. It’s a beautiful city full of quirky details and architectural delights to be found in the backstreets. To enjoy Porto properly, you’ll want more than one day. With two days, you can add port tasting in Vila Nova de Gaia to your Porto itinerary and, with a third day, you can take a choice of day trip; Porto has several to choose from. Here’s how to visit Porto in 3 days…
How to get to Porto
By air: fly into Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport. Flights from the UK start from €7. I use Skyscanner to find the best-value flights, using the ‘search by month’ tool to find the cheapest dates. By train: these arrive into Campanhã (the largest station to the east of Porto) or São Bento (a beautiful station in the city centre). Use Omio to book trains to and from Porto . By bus: the most affordable bus network around Europe is Flixbus. Tickets from Lisbon to Porto start from €5. Browse Flixbuses into Porto . From Porto airport to the city, catch the Metro for €2.50 or a taxi for around €10.
How to get around Porto
Walk: If you’re staying somewhere central, you can easily spend 3 days in Porto without needing to catch public transport. Porto is walkable but make sure to bring comfy footwear because there are steep hills, particularly between the city centre and Ribeira. Metro: This runs underground in the city centre and above ground in the suburbs. It’s really affordable: single journeys around the city centre are €1.20 and they increase in price as you travel further out. Pick up an Andante Card when you arrive and top up using the machines in the station. Public bus: Journeys also cost €1.20 with an Andante Card or €2 with cash. Journey times are listed on Google Maps although, in my experience, the buses don’t always arrive when scheduled. Get a 1-4 day public transport card from €11 including 50% off Porto attractions . Tour bus: For a fun, touristic way to get around, take the open-top bus tour around the main attractions. Book your ticket here . Historic tram: This old-fashioned tram is more of a touristic attraction than anything but it has the dual purpose of getting you to the Foz district. Trams depart every 20 minutes and cost €3 each way. Beware they get busy in peak months; the 500 bus to Foz is cheaper and less crowded. Funicular dos Guindais : To travel between Ribeira and the elevated city centre, a single funicular ride costs €3.50. Get a combined ticket for the tram, funicular and open-top bus . Cable car: To travel between the upper and lower levels of Vila Nova de Gaia, take the scenic cable car for €6 one way / €9 return. Taxi apps: Use Uber, Bolt or FREE NOW. The latter two are slightly cheaper.
Where to stay in Porto
Ribeira (the riverside district) is a beautiful, popular place to stay but it’s also very busy with a steep walk required to reach the city centre. If you’re keen to stay here, I would recommend The Editory House Ribeira . Baixa is the city centre and a convenient place to stay near to the nightlife (whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on you). For a hotel, check out B The Guest Downtown (€85 per night), for an apartment check out Oportolazaro Apartment and for a hostel, go for Oporto Invictus Hostel . Cedofeita is a trendy neighbourhood known for cool galleries and cafes on Rua Miguel Bombarda. It’s just a short walk from the city centre. Casa Antiqua (€100 a night) is a beautiful rustic option with a garden while Almada Apartments are great for more privacy. Oporto Sky Hostel is the best budget option. Bonfim , a 15-minute walk from the city centre, is an authentic local area with just a few hipster places popping up like craft breweries and speciality coffee roasters. Read my Bonfim area guide for why you need to visit! Catalonia Porto is a lovely luxurious option and Moov Hotel is a great budget choice.
When to spend 3 days in Porto
Spring (March-May): This is a lovely time to visit Porto with pleasant weather and fewer tourists than the summer months. Summer (June-August): These months in Porto can be blissfully hot but expect the city centre to be totally rammed. Autumn (September-November): This is another good season to visit as the warm weather can stick around until mid-November although mornings and evenings do get chilly. Winter (December-January): Porto is one of the rainiest cities in Southern Europe to bring a good raincoat and umbrella. Temperatures go down to 6 degrees.
What kind of Porto itinerary is this?
This is a first-timers itinerary suitable for those spending 3 days in Porto. We’ll see the highlights and get stuck into the history and culture. It’s a fairly busy itinerary but not too jam-packed. I don’t generally enjoy rushing through a trip, so I create itineraries that balance the must-sees with time to wander, eat and visit coffee shops. 3 day Porto itinerary – quick overview:
- Day 1: city centre, history and culture
- Day 2: Ribeira and Vila Nova de Gaia (inc port tasting)
- Day 3: choice of popular day trips or Porto hidden gems.
Since I travel on a budget , you won’t overspend while following this Porto 3 day itinerary. You also won’t miss any meals because I make it my mission to find the best food wherever I go!
DAY 1 PORTO ITINERARY (CITY HIGHLIGHTS)
For our first day in Porto, we’ll explore city centre and finish with a sunset bar. We’ll also start with my favourite activity, a…
Free walking tour
Free walking tours operate around the world and I’m a huge fan. I’ve taken them everywhere from Cape Town to Copenhagen . The two most popular operators in Porto are Porto Walkers and Sandeman’s New Europe Tours , both led by local guides who offer informative introductions to the city. If you’re taking the Sandeman’s one, it departs at 11am near the Clérigos tower. Climb it beforehand for spectacular 360-degree views over Porto. After the tour, go back to the attractions that most interested you for a second, more in-depth look.
Notable sights for day 1
Whether you see them during a walking tour or independently, don’t miss these sights from your Porto itinerary. The following places are all close together meaning you can easily see them on foot during day 1. If you save Ribeira (the riverside area) for tomorrow, you can avoid climbing any steep hills during this first day.
Clérigos tower climb
This baroque church is one of Porto’s most famous landmarks. There’s rarely a time you won’t see it jutting above the city skyline. For views of Porto and the Douro River, there’s nowhere better. Inside, the church is decadent and covered in gold. There’s also a museum about its history but I confess I whizzed through this to reach the tower. Visitor details: Entrance including the museum and tower costs €6. It’s open from 9am-7pm with last entry 30 minutes before closing.
Igreja do Carmo
One of the most famous buildings in Porto is Igreja do Carmo , a ‘twin’ church joined with Igreja dos Carmelitas. Separating the two churches is Casa Escondida (Hidden House) measuring just 1 metre in width. It was built to fill the awkward gap and improve the look of the two important chapels beside Jardim de Cordoaria. The tiny house was inhabited until the 1980s and, before that, used for secret meetings during the Siege of Porto (1832-1833).
Miradouro da Vitória
Soak up views of Porto and snap photos from Miradouro da Vitória not from the central Clérigos area. Although there are countless elevated viewpoints in this aesthetically-pleasing city, this is one of my favourites.
São Bento Station
A train station as a tourist attraction? Stay with me. Spectacular São Bento is known as one of the world’s most beautiful train stations. Chances are if you catch a train to or from Porto, it will be from the larger station, Campanhã. Regardless, make sure to visit this masterpiece designed by Portuguese architect, José Marques da Silva, depicting centuries of Portuguese history via 20,000 blue and white tiles. São Bento was built on the site of an ancient Benedictine monastery. Officials had been planning to convert it into a station for several decades but couldn’t until the last nun died in 1892. Legend has it she haunts the station to this day! Wander nearby Rua de Flores, one of the prettiest streets in Porto with outdoor dining and live music in summer.
Igreja de Santo António dos Congregados
Next door to São Bento Station is the Church of St Anthony’s Congregation, built in the 1600s and decorated in the Porto uniform of blue and white tiles. Although it’s more of a local place of worship than a tourist attraction, it’s worth admiring from the outside and snapping some photos. It’s free to enter.
Capela Das Almas ( Chapel of Souls)
If the thought of yet another church doesn’t entice you, perhaps its Instagrammable nature will. The blue and white tiled wall is a regular haunt for photographers. Entry to the chapel is free and so is having a photoshoot outside! The Chapel of Souls is on Rua de Santa Catarina, Porto’s main shopping street near Mercado do Bolhão and foodie gems like old-school cafeteria, Confeitaria do Bolhao , and my two favourite pastel de nata cafes in Porto , Manteigara and Fábrica da Nata.
Igreja de Santo Ildefonso
A small, attractive church near Porto city centre is Igreja de Santo Ildefonso featuring artwork by Porto’s best-known architect, Nicolau Nasoni. Despite being small, the church is made of 11,000 blue and white azulejos (tiles). Entrance is free so take a quick peek inside. Time this stop for lunch or dinner to eat at nearby Casa Guedes (serving famous pulled pork sandwiches) or Cafe Santiago (an iconic place to try Porto’s national dish, the francesinha).
One of the oldest and most important monuments to add to your Porto itinerary is Porto Cathedral . With views of the Douro River, this 12th-century cathedral has collected elements of Baroque, Romanesque and Gothic architecture throughout the ages. Although it’s a pleasant place to wander today, it has a gory history: the column in the central square is where the criminals of Porto were once hung. Gulp! Wander through the cloisters and admire yet more blue and white azulejos, then climb the tower for spectacular views over Porto. Entry to the Cathedral costs €3 .
About 20 steps from Porto Cathedral is the Episcopal Palace (Bishop’s Palace), built in the 12th century for, unsurprisingly, the Bishop. In the 18th century, it was redesigned by Nicolau Nasoni, the architect responsible for half of Porto’s notable buildings. The main reason to venture inside is the walk up the Baroque staircase and admire the bejewelled ceiling. Tip – entry is €4 but if you buy a combination ticket, you can enter the Bishop’s Palace and Porto Cathedral for €6, saving €1 compared to buying separate tickets.
Day 1 – afternoon
If you see the above sights during a morning walking tour and choose not to revisit any, you’ll have some free time in the afternoon. After a busy start to your 3 day Porto itinerary, you may wish to simply wander and relax in the cafes (it’s what I would do!). Otherwise, here are a few other city centre attractions to check out:
When I first strolled along Rua das Carmelitas during my first day in Porto, I wondered what everyone was queuing before. Perhaps something cultural or religious? Well, I wasn’t exactly wrong: Harry Potter is basically a religion, right? This famous bookstore has a link to the wizarding world because J.K. Rowling spent several years living in Porto before penning her novels. Many people will tell you Livraria Lello is not worth a visit and, if you only have 3 days in Porto, I’m inclined to agree. You’ll be queuing for ages to visit a beautiful but small and crowded library that’s only rumoured to have inspired J.K. Rowling’s books (unfortunately she recently busted this myth ). If you DO decide to visit, here’s some advice:
- Entrance is €5 online or €6 on the door but if you buy a book, the price is deducted from your purchase
- Visit early or late to reduce time queuing. It’s open from 9.30am-7pm so, if the line is long, consider arriving at 9am on day 2 or 3 of your trip
- If time’s tight, consider paying €15.90 for a skip-the-line ticket
- Large bags need to be left in lockers. To save time, just bring a small bag.
Crystal Palace Gardens
For a slice of peace in central Porto, end your day in Jardins do Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace Gardens). Peacock strut around a curious dome building (the Superbock stadium) and locals and tourists take sunset picnics overlooking the Douro River. Inside the gardens, you’ll also find the Porto Romantic Museum and the Port Wine Museum .
Where to eat during day 1
If you’re spending just three days in Porto, plan your meals with precision. There’s so much to eat and drink; you wouldn’t want to miss the highlights. Foodie options for day 1 of your Porto itinerary:
For coffee & brunch: For enormous breakfast dishes and excellent coffee in an atmospheric cafe, head to Do Norte Café by Hungry Biker . The cheesy waffles with smoked salmon are unusual but very tasty. I also like Zenith and Nicolau Porto (both have good vegan options).
Read next: my Porto coffee guide and my Porto brunch guide
For affordable food: Visit Conga to try the ubiquitous Portuguese bifana (spicy marinated meat in a crusty bread roll) for €2.30. For a fantastic meal in a hidden gem of a restaurant, Cana Verde is an affordable option with excellent rissóis (croquettes) and other typical dishes. For vegan food: Try burgers and ‘cheese’ boards at Apuro Vegan Bar , healthy brunch at Nola Kitchen , veggie versions of Portuguese dishes at Vegana by Tentugal and burgers, bowls and sharers at Kind Kitchen . Don’t miss daTerra for an impressive buffet!
Read next: where to eat vegan food in Porto
For pastel de nata: My favourite cafes are Manteigaria on Rua de Alexandre Braga and Fábrica da Nata on Rua Santa Catarina. In both cafes, you can see pastry chefs making fresh nata. Natas D’ouro is also worth a try for their orange, lemon, port and caipirinha-flavoured natas.
For pastries and snacks : to try fish and meat croquettes, tasty sandwiches and more pastries and sweets than you knew existed, Confeitaria do Bolhao is an authentic but touristic cafe in Bolhão. Eat in or stock up for a sunset picnic. For francesinha: to try the national dish of Porto (steak, sausage and ham between slices of white bread, drowned with a cheesy, beer sauce and topped with a fried egg), head to Cafe Santiago . Avoid peak hours if possible – it gets VERY busy. Try a veggie version at Brasão or Francesinha al Forno da Baixa . Mercado do Bolhão – I’m told this market is excellent but it was closed for renovation when I lived in Porto in 2022. I hear it’s now back open so go check it out!
Read next: what to eat in Porto – the must-try dishes
Day 1 evening options
Provided you’re not tired from a busy day exploring Porto, you should absolutely make the most of the nightlife while spending 3 days in Porto. The city has a nice range of rooftop terraces, cosy bars and lively clubs.
Sunset from Guindalense Football Club
Catch sunset overlooking Dom Luis I Bridge from the terrace of Guindalense Football Club . This bar is nothing fancy but the views are spectacular. They serve a range of local drinks including port and vinho verde (Portuguese green wine) and snacks including chouriço (chorizo) mopped up with crusty bread. If you want to end the day somewhere fancier, try Miradouro Ignez or 17th Restaurant & Bar.
Watch a fado show
Catch a cultural performance at Fado na Baixa auditorium. Practised in Portugal since the 1820s, fado music has earned a spot on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Book a Fado show in Porto .
Porto bar crawl
Porto has lively bars and clubs so why not enjoy them as part of a bar crawl? Porto Walkers run a good one departing at 10.30pm. If you’d rather explore without a tour, there are plenty of cool bars like Royal Cocktail Club and Candelabro .
Read next: what to do in Porto at night
DAY 2 PORTO ITINERARY (RIBEIRA & VILA NOVA DE GAIA)
For day 2, explore Porto’s most beautiful neighbourhood, Ribeira, then head south of the Rio Douro (river) to find out what’s good in Vila Nova De Gaia. Clue: it’s port! First up…
Morning – Ribeira
On a sunny day, there’s no area of Porto more atmospheric than Ribeira. This district on the banks of the Douro River is known for its impressive townhouses and many cafes and restaurants (although expect to pay tourist prices).
Although the riverside area, Cais da Ribeira , is most famous, don’t miss the backstreets. Just behind popular Ribeira Square is a maze of alleyways and ancient houses. Find one of the city’s most ancient houses at Torre da Rua de Baixo . For excellent coffee and beautiful views, start your day at My Coffee Porto halfway down the steps between the city and Ribeira.
Take a scenic boat cruise
Board a 6 Bridges boat cruise from Ribeira Square. These cruises in traditional rabelo boats depart regularly, lasting 50 minutes and offering a commentary on the bridges you sail underneath. Get a boat cruise, bus tour and cellar tour for €28 .
São Francisco Church
On the waterfront is one of the oldest monuments in Porto, Igreja de São Francisco , built in the 14th century. Entrance is a little pricey at €8 but you may wish to part with the money to spy the decadent interior laden in 1 00kg of gold leaf.
The Stock Exchange Palace ( Palácio da Bolsa ) beside São Francisco Church is a neoclassical building, protected by UNESCO. The Arab Room, which took 18 years to construct, is the jewel of the palace and can be visited only as part of a guided tour (€10). It’s worth visiting early in the day to find out when the next tour will be departing in your language. You may need to buy a ticket and return a couple of hours later, or you may be lucky and find one is departing right away.
Mercado Ferreira Borges
The bright red market building is worth a quick stop if you’re passing nearby Bolsa Palace and São Francisco Church. It houses modern art, a restaurant with outdoor seating and even a nightclub.
Afternoon – Vila Nova De Gaia
After your morning in Ribeira, cross the low level of Luís I Bridge to reach Vila Nova De Gaia. This suburb of Porto is best known for its many wineries producing the city’s most famous beverage, port wine .
Lunch at Beira-Rio Market
Eat lunch at Mercado Beira-Rio to line your stomach. Unlike the traditional markets in Porto with centuries of history, this is a stylish modern market open since 2017. Eat Italian food at Piadini Mia, seafood at More Sea, authentic Brazilian food at Botequim a Brazilian, or simply sip coffee and snack on a pastel de nata. Another nearby option for quality coffee and brunch is 7g Roasters .
No three day Porto itinerary would be complete without port. This sweet beverage was invented when the French raised taxes on Bordeaux wine and the British were forced to find a new export supply. They settled on the wines from Northern Portugal’s Douro Valley but the product spoiled during its journey back to the UK. The solution? Add a slug of brandy to keep it fortified. The sweet, strong wine has remained a hit ever since! Port wine tasting experiences in Porto:
- Cálem Cellars: to see the cellars and barrels where port is made, take a trip to Cálem Cellars. Book a ticket including a tour, museum access and wine tasting or upgrade to include wine, chocolate and cheese tasting !
- Tour other notable port houses like Taylors, Sandeman, Ferreira and Grahams ( book in advance as it’s by appointment only)
- World of Wine (WOW) – tour nine interactive museums and take workshops at this brand-new cultural centre. Book a ticket .
- Budget wine tasting – there are plenty of small restaurants along the Douro offering five port wines for €5!
Find the street art rabbit
Just around the corner from Beira-Rio Market is this incredible street art mural of a giant rabbit. The artist, Bordalo II , created it from trash found around Porto to demonstrate how wasteful society can be.
Read next: complete Porto street art walking tour
Sunset viewpoints for day 2
Finish your day at…
Jardim do Moro
This beautiful garden viewpoint can be accessed by walking across Luís I Bridge from the city centre or if you’ve previously been exploring Gaia, by walking up the hill or catching the cable car from Cais de Gaia station. With views over the Douro River and Ribeira, this is one of the most atmospheric places in Porto to watch the sunset, added to by live musicians playing for the crowds. Tip – pack a dinner picnic. I brought some takeaway rissol (croquettes) and pastéis de bacalhau: the perfect picnic after a busy day sightseeing.
Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar (monastery)
This ex-monastery set on a hilltop behind Jardim do Moro is another popular sunset spot in Vila Nova de Gaia, not to mention a UNESCO World Heritage Site! The monastery was used as a makeshift fort during the Siege of Porto, having been under construction for 72 years due to a lack of funds. Nowadays, it remains one of the city’s most iconic buildings, seen from any viewpoint. Like Jardim do Moro, watching sunset here is free.
Read next: all the best sunset viewpoints in Porto
DAY 3 PORTO ITINERARY
Finish three days in Porto with either a day trip or another round of city sightseeing. A few of the best day trips from Porto are…
Option #1 – Douro Valley
If there’s a part of Portugal more beautiful than the Douro Valley, I’m yet to hear about it. This vast wine region is one of the oldest in the world, protected by UNESCO and known as the birthplace of port wine. Expect sweeping valleys, lofty viewpoints along curvy, cliffside roads, and family-run vineyards nestled on the banks of the Douro River. Although I spent a few days exploring this region, it’s best to visit the Douro Valley as a day trip from Porto . You can hire a car or catch a train/bus to one of the main towns then a taxi to one of the many vineyards. A more convenient option if you just have one day is an organised day tour from Porto including tasting, boat cruise and lunch . If you take just one day trip from Porto, let it be this one!
Option #2 – Cycle to Senhor da Pedra beach
One of my favourite days in Porto was spent cycling to Capela do Senhor da Pedra (Chapel of the Lord of Stone) on Senhor da Pedra beach, 10 kilometres from central Porto. This relaxed, non-touristic beach is easily reached by a flat cycle path that follows the coast. Stop at points of interest including São Pedro da Afurada , a quaint fishing village with colourful houses and friendly locals, and Douro Estuary , a nature reserve home to various bird species. There are plenty of coastal beach clubs where you can stop for an upmarket lunch or, for those on a budget, a selection of modest restaurants near the church. I had sardines and a drink in a restaurant for €5. Hire a bicycle from Porto Rent a Bike costing €12 a day. Cross the lower level of Luís I Bridge, turn right and follow the coast the whole way.
Option #3 – Aveiro day trip
This pretty Portuguese city with canals, boat rides and Art Noveau architecture is just an hour from Porto by train or bus. In addition to riding a painted moliceiro boat, you can take a sub trip to Costa Nova to snap colourful beach houses and relax on white sands; learn about the history of salt at the open-air salt pan museum ( Ecomuseu Marinha da Troncalhada ), or hire a bike and explore 48km of scenic cycling trails. To learn how to visit Aveiro as a day trip from Porto and what to do there, follow my guide.
Option #3 – more city sights / hidden gems
If you’d rather explore the city thoroughly, finish your 3 day Porto itinerary by touring any attractions you’ve missed or seeking out the hidden gems.
Foz do Douro: Spend a day exploring the Foz district of Porto where the river meets the ocean. Promenade through Pérgola da Foz, visit Felgueiras Lighthouse or take the 1-hour coastal walk (or quick bus/taxi ride) to Matashinos , a beach where you can surf and eat fresh seafood. To get to Foz, ride the historic tram to Foz (Line 1) from Ribeira for €6 return (you’ll need to purchase two €3 singles) or the cheaper 500 bus. Alternatively, purchase the ultimate Porto transport ticket including the trams, hop-on-hop-off bus and funicular. Parque de Serralves : Between Porto and Foz lies an 18-hectare park boasting a museum, cinema and pink Art Deco villa. Tickets cost €20 . One option is to visit in the morning, then head to Foz in the afternoon, finishing with a sundowner.
Street art : Porto may not be famous for street art like Lisbon but there are a few cool murals to check out. As well as the Bordalo II rabbit in Vila Nova de Gaia, there’s an impressive blue cat mural off Rua de Flores. A notable street is Rua de Miguel Bombarda with urban murals and modern art galleries. If you visit this part of town, check out Rota Do Chá tea house and Frida Mexican restaurant. Take a street art tour by tuk-tuk for €25
Jewish Quarter tour: With a fascinating yet tragic history, Porto has one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. Take a Porto Jewish heritage walking tour stopping at hidden synagogues and other places of interest. Mercado Bom Sucesso : Although it doesn’t feel overly Portuguese, foodies spending 3 days in Porto may wish to visit this modern, indoor market near Casa da Música. There are some stands serving traditional Porto dishes like Lado B (famous for its francesinha) as well as world cuisine. I can vouch for the veggie buffet at Datera and the banoffee pie at Chocolate Rosa .
What to eat during 3 days in Porto
- Francesinha – as I already mentioned, Porto’s national dish is a white bread sandwich filled with steak, sausage and ham, drenched in a rich sauce made of beer and topped with a fried egg. To really give your arteries a workout, it’s served with a side of fries.
- Prego em prato – steak is topped with fried egg, cheese, fries and ham (just in case you didn’t eat enough meat already!).
- Bolinhos de bacalhau – salted cod croquettes are best eaten warm when the breadcrumb exterior is still crispy.
- Sardines – Portuguese sardines are large and meaty. To make them a meal, they’re often served with potatoes and vegetables.
- Cachorrinho – rich, spicy Portuguese sausages are served in crispy bread. To call them hot dogs would be sacrilege.
- Caldo verde – tasty green soup is a classic Porto starter. Garlic, onion and black pepper are cooked with stewed greens and potato.
- Pastel de nata – well, obviously! These egg custard pastries don’t originate in Porto but that’s no reason not to eat them in excess.
Read next: the best pasteis de nata in Porto
Thanks for reading!
For more travel content, follow me on Instagram , Facebook , Twitter and YouTube .
I hope you have a better idea of where to eat the best food in Porto. You’re in for a feast!
Read my other Porto blogs:
- Absolutely everything to see and do in Porto
- Porto day trips by public transport
- Douro Valley day trip – car, bus, train or river cruise
- The best cafes & coffee shops in Porto
- The ultimate Porto nightlife guide
- Why to visit Bonfim, Porto – a local’s guide
- Sunset spots in Porto not to be missed
- 25 best Porto foods to try
- A complete guide to vegan food in Porto
More Portugal content:
- The best places to visit in Madeira island, Portugal
- What to eat and drink in Madeira
- 3 days in Lisbon itinerary
- Ultimate guide to Lisbon solo travel
- Lisbon hidden gems
- Things to do in Aveiro, Portugal
Want more Europe city break itineraries ?
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- How to spend 3 days in Barcelona
- 3 day Venice itinerary for first-timers
- 2 perfect days in Milan
- A complete itinerary for Vienna, Austria
- Things to do during 3 days in Copenhagen (winter itinerary)
- The perfect weekend in Hamburg, Germany
- 1 day itinerary for Bratislava, Slovakia
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TRUSTED RESOURCES FOR VISITING PORTUGAL Getting there by air – I use Skyscanner to find the best-value flights, using the ‘search by month’ tool to find the cheapest dates. You can also use the ‘to anywhere’ feature if you’re flexible on where you’re going. Driving in Europe – use Rentalcars.com to compare car rentals in European countries (and all around the world). For trains , I use Omio . The search feature allows you to compare prices, and they show live departure times on the website. This is also a handy tool to compare trains and buses in one search. For buses, I use FlixBus . Find journeys between European countries from €1! For hotels and self-catering apartments, I use Booking.com . You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.com . Browse tours and activities on GetYourGuide . To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters , a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets. Need travel insurance ? I use True Traveller (for UK & Europe residents) since it’s some of the most affordable insurance out there but still covers everything you’d need including various activities, valuables and pre-existing conditions. Unlike some companies, they insure you if you’re already travelling / don’t yet have your flight home booked. Get a quote . For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing . Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and budget tips from my 10+ years on the road!
Rose is a solo traveller from the UK who has been on the road since 2015. She wants to show other women that solo travel isn't scary and doesn't have to be expensive! Rose has lived in Mexico, Canada and all over Asia, seeking out food, bubble tea and street art wherever she goes!
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3 Days in Porto: The Perfect Porto Itinerary
Are you planning to spend 3 days in Porto? This in-depth Porto itinerary will help you explore the best attractions this beautiful coastal city has to offer.
Nestled along the Iberian Peninsula, Porto is best known for its port wine, statuesque bridges, windy cobblestone streets, and golden beaches .
While historically, the coastal city has been less famous than its close neighbour Lisbon, it’s burst onto the tourism scene in the past decade – no doubt thanks to its stunning vistas and charming cobbled streets that are brimming with cool activities.
In this guide, I’m going to unpack the highlights of Porto in 3 days – from the vibrant Ribeira District with its colourful row houses to stunning mediaeval cathedrals, trendy cafes, and bookshops.
I’ll also give you valuable tips for your trip, like where to stay in Porto, how to get around, and what to pack.
So without further ado, let’s dive into the perfect 3 days in Porto itinerary.
Handy Tips for Planning Your Porto Itinerary
Group tours or seeing things independently.
Exploring Porto through group tours is the less stressful of the two.
You won’t have to worry about planning an in-depth itinerary or navigating along the narrow and windy streets solo. On the other hand, seeing things independently gives you leeway to alter your itinerary as you see fit.
What to Pack for Your Porto Long Weekend Itinerary
Packing for Porto is a breeze. The items you should bring mainly depend on the weather and your itinerary. Characterised by a Mediterranean climate, Porto has cool winters and balmy summers.
Here are some ideas of what you should add to your Porto packing list:
- A wide-brimmed hat will come in handy for walking tours and sightseeing around the city.
- Save the shorts for the beach, and wear comfy, loose-fitting pants or summer dresses when exploring the town.
- Use a lightweight shoulder bag to carry your sightseeing essentials.
Where to Stay for Your 3 Days in Porto
Hotel pão de açúcar (budget).
Located in the centre of Porto, Hotel Pão de Açúcar gives you stunning views of the historic City Hall building. Inside you’ll find quirky art déco-style interiors complete with vintage furnishings.
Tuck into breakfast on the outdoor terrace overlooking the city hall, but if you want something different, there are many restaurants within a few minutes walk.
Check rates and availability at Hotel Pão de Açúcar
Hotel Carris Porto Ribeira (Mid-range)
Overlooking the Douro River in Porto’s gorgeous Ribeira District, Hotel Carris is a refurbished, historic building offering modern décor interiors, wooden floors, and a splash of dark and light colours.
In the morning, dig into a rich buffet-style breakfast followed by á la carte meals available in the evenings.
Check rates and availability at Hotel Carris Porto Ribeira
Torel Avantgarde (Luxury)
Located just 10 minutes from the Clérigos Church, Torel Avantgarde sits in the centre of Porto.
The lavish 5-star boutique hotel boasts an eclectic interior with colourful paintings on the wall and trendy furniture. Go for a massage at the spa or take a quick dip in the infinity pool that overlooks the city.
Check rates and availability at Torel Avantgarde
Useful Resources for Your Porto Itinerary
- Skys c anner : Find the best flights, hotels, and car rentals for your 3 days in Porto holiday.
- Booking.com : Book the best hotels, apartments, and guesthouses in Porto by comparing prices, reviews, and amenities.
- Hotels.com : This is a Booking.com alternative with plenty of hotels in Porto.
- Eurostar : If you have more stops on your Portugal itinerary , travelling by rail is the fastest and easiest way.
- Tripadvisor : Plan the ultimate Porto itinerary using user-generated reviews and comparisons.
- Get Your Guide : Find the best and most-rated tour guides and excursions in Porto.
Getting Around Porto
Getting around Porto is relatively easy. Many of the narrow, winding streets are not fit for cars and taxis, so if you choose to drive around town, you’ll find yourself stuck in heavy traffic. The best way to get around Porto is by foot or public transportation, like trains and trams.
Get yourself a Porto Card which gives you unlimited access to the city’s buses and metro stations. You’ll also get discounts on excursions, sightseeing, and entrance fees.
3 Days in Porto Itinerary
Porto itinerary day one: centro-baixa .
We’re going to kick things off by exploring the city’s buzzing downtown district of Centro-Baixa on the first day of your 3 days in Porto itinerary.
The neighbourhood is famous for its cool and trendy vibe, with its streets lined with cosy cafes, bars, and restaurants that come to life when the sun sets.
Take a Guided Walking Tour
Start the first day of your itinerary with a guided walking tour around Porto to see some of the city highlights and get a deeper understanding of the town’s history.
Spot Porto’s landmarks and historical buildings along streets like Aliados Avenue, visit art galleries and watch wooden Rabelo boats transport people across the Douro River.
A historic centre walking tour will take you through mazes of narrow streets lined with mediaeval bookshops and blue-tiled buildings, like the São Bento Station.
Book a Porto Guided Walking Tour Here
Visit Porto Cathedral
Porto Cathedral is one of the city’s oldest and most famous attractions.
The iconic 12th-century Roman Catholic church sits atop a hilltop giving you stunning views of Porto’s colourful houses and the Douro River.
The complex boasts a mixture of Baroque, Romanesque, and Gothic architectural styles that make the church unique. Entrance to the cathedral is free, but you’ll need to pay a small fee to explore the monastery and courtyard.
Climb Up Clérgios Tower
One of the most noticeable landmarks in Porto, Clérgios Church, sits on high ground, giving you panoramic city views. Keep an eye out for its 75-metre-tall bell tower as you walk around the city.
Explore the Livraria Lello Bookshop
Livraria Lello is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.
This aesthetically unique bookstore is famous for supposedly being the inspiration for J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, but the writer has since debunked these claims.
The downside of visiting Livraria Lello is the long lines of tourists, all wanting to see the majesty inside this quaint bookshop.
Explore Porto’s Highlights by Bus and River
Another fantastic way to see Porto is via a scenic hop-on hop-off bus and river cruise. You can hop on and off in popular areas like Santa Catarina, Porto’s main shopping street, which boasts international boutiques, coffee shops and Bolhão Market.
You should also stop by Batalha Square, a popular attraction often packed with tourists thanks to its historical significance and abundance of cafes, souvenir shops, and hotels.
Before hopping onto your river cruise, take a guided tour of Calém Wine Cellars, where you can sample various white, dry and ruby ports.
Book a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, River Cruise, & Port Cellar Tour Here
Porto Itinerary Day Two: Ribeira & Vila Nova De Gaia
If you search “what to do in Porto for 3 days”, the Ribeira district will surely pop up, and for a good reason.
Day two of your itinerary takes you through the hip riverside neighbourhood and its port-producing counterpart Vila Nova De Gaia.
Visit Palácio da Bolsa
Palácio da Bolsa is one of Porto’s most popular landmarks. This neoclassical monument, built between 1842 and 1910, honours Porto’s former and current money merchants.
The historic building boasts a majestic facade and an even better interior, with stucco walls and Moorish designs gilded with about 18kg of gold.
A Palácio da Bolsa guided tour takes through the history of the former Porto Stock Exchange and how master artisans worked to build this architectural jewel over three generations.
Book a Palácio da Bolsa Guided Tour Here
Marvel at the Monument Church Of St Francis
The Monument Church Of St Francis is one of Porto’s not-so-hidden gems. This 13th-century church is a fine example of Gothic architecture in Porto. It boasts a stunning regal interior with intricate wall carvings and baroque altarpieces covered in gold leaves.
If you’re an art lover, you’ll appreciate the catacombs, gothic-style interiors, and exhibitions of artefacts dotted across the church.
Take the Barredo Stairs
The Barredo neighbourhood is home to a large concentration of colourful, mediaeval Porto houses dotted along a maze of narrow streets. Stroll down the Barredo stairs for great views of the river and a sea of terracotta roofs.
The area retains an old village flavour, giving you a glimpse of everyday life in Barredo, complete with aromas of Portuguese cuisine, locals conversing, and clothes hanging outside.
Grab a Bite Along Cais da Ribeira
Cais da Ribeira is a romantic part of Porto. The riverside promenade boasts gorgeous sunsets and plenty of cafés, bars, and restaurants that help bring up the nightlife in the area.
Considered one of the liveliest parts of town, Cais da Ribeira is also the most picturesque, with narrow mediaeval streets and alleyways lined with colourful old houses. This area is an excellent place for you to walk, dine, sightsee, and people-watch, but – be warned – it will be overrun by tourists.
To avoid crowds, I recommend visiting in the early morning or late evening for a more peaceful experience.
Walk Across the Dom Luís I Bridge
This double-deck metal arch bridge spans over the Douro River, connecting Ribeira to neighbouring Vila Nova De Gaia.
Walking across the bridge is a popular activity with two stunning viewpoints Miradouro Ponte D Luis Porto and Cais da Ribeira de Gaia, on each side of the bridge.
Dom Luís I is one of six bridges that connect Porto to Vila Nova De Gaia. You can explore these by taking a six-bridges cruise along the River Douro.
Book a Six-Bridges Cruise Here
Watch the Sunset at Jardim Do Morro
Perched atop the highest point of a hill in Vila Nova de Gaia, Jardim Do Morro is a gorgeous garden that’s all about the view. This viewpoint is reachable via cable car or crossing the Dom Luís I Bridge.
The Jardim Do Morro viewpoint comes to life at sunset. This lush-filled garden gives you epic views of Porto and the Douro River. At sunset, the sky boasts kaleidoscopic red, orange and blue hues—a sight that many visiting Porto flock to see.
Top Tip: This is a popular sunset viewpoint in Porto; make sure you get here before sunset to find a spot. You can check sunset times in Porto here .
Go Port Tasting
Port wine is a classic Portuguese delicacy. The production of this fortified wine happens in the Douro Valley , north of Porto. The sweet red wine pairs well with desserts but is available in rosé, dry red, semi-dry red, and white varieties.
Porto has an expansive network of wine cellars and tasting rooms. You can learn all about the history and production process of port via a guided walking and wine-tasting tour .
Book a Walking and Wine Tasting Tour Here
Porto Itinerary Day Three: Hidden Gems
Explore these hidden gems on day three of your Porto long weekend trip.
Admire Street Art Along Rua De Miguel Bombarda
Miguel Bombarda is a vibrant cosmopolitan street in Porto. The quirky street boasts several contemporary galleries. The Presence Gallery is where you can admire Jorge Santos’ depictions of an intersection between nature and architecture.
You’ll find a healthy mix of graffiti murals, alternative shops, bars, and restaurants along the streets.
Stop for Brunch at Mercado Bom Sucesso
Before continuing with the rest of your final day in Porto, make sure to stop by Mercado Bom Sucesso. This popular indoor market offers fresh produce, local food stalls, and cultural events.
Mercado Bom Sucesso is a great place to chill after a long day and sip a glass of wine while snacking on cheese and ham.
It’s also great for a full meal, offering delicacies like pizzas, sushi, suckling-pig sandwiches, and Portuguese dishes like bifanas and Polvo à lagareiro . There’s also a wide range of traditional Portuguese sweets, delicious wines, and gins to try.
Take a Jewish Quarter Tour
The Jewish Quarter in Porto signifies the cultural diversity that’s existed in Portugal for over a hundred years. Due to the harsh inquisition, Jewish communities were forcibly expelled from other areas and had to create a Jewish Quarter within the city walls.
The colourful neighbourhood now attracts tourists with its hidden synagogues and other places of worship. You can learn more about the history and heritage of the Jewish Quarter via a guided tour .
Book a Jewish Heritage Walking Tour of Porto Here
Go to a Beach in Foz Do Douro
End your long weekend in Porto adventure with a relaxing day at the beach. Characterised by golden sands and bouldering black rocks along the coast, Foz Do Douro is a seafront area boasting eclectic bars, restaurants, and a promenade.
One of the coolest things to do in Portugal is to go to the beach, and Foz Do Douro offers precisely that. The coastal town near Porto boasts chilly waters perfect for a cold dip, bike trails along the promenade, and landmarks like the Fortress São João Baptista.
Grab a bite at Mercado da Foz do Douro, where you can get everything from fresh fruits to fast food, like burgers and hotdogs. Take a walk to admire the verdant Jardim do Passeio Alegre before wrapping the day up with some beer tasting at Pub Bonaparte.
Take a Day Trip to the Douro Valley
The Douro Valley is a picturesque region in Portugal famed for its stunning natural scenery, charming villages, and abundant vineyards. Winemakers across Portugal make their port wines with grapes grown in this region.
On your day trip to Douro Valley, you’ll enjoy vineyard tours and wine tastings at some of Portugal’s oldest wineries. Hike the Porto Wine Trail that traverses vineyards and narrow cobblestone streets. Or, take a scenic boat ride along the Douro River.
If you’d like to explore the quaint town in the Douro Valley, Lamego boasts many restaurants, cafes, and villas.
Book a Douro Vall e y Day Trip From Porto Here
Porto Itinerary – Map
Add These to Your Porto Itinerary
- Brilliant Things to do in Porto
- What to do in the Douro Valley
- Where to Stay in Porto
- The Best Beaches in and around Porto
- The Best Hotels in Porto
- Fabulous Day Trips from Porto
When’s the Best Time to Visit Portugal?
Cool Things to do in Lisbon: A City Break Guide
André Saraiva in Lisbon: Street Art in São Vicente de Fora
20 Brilliant Day Trips from Porto
Follow me on Instagram for travel inspiration, tips, and guides.
for Solo Travel Over 50
3 Days in Porto Itinerary for First Time Travel
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Porto’s city center and surrounding area is a must visit. Situated on the Douro River, the Atlantic coast, and not far from the Douro Valley, another UNESCO World Heritage site, you must carve out at least 3 days in Porto on your Portugal solo travel, and use my tried-and-true Porto itinerary. It has all you need to plan and book the best 3 days (or 4) in Porto for your first time Porto visit.
As you’ll notice from the tips throughout , this perfect Porto itinerary is intentionally written for the first time Porto solo traveler and/or older traveler (I am over 50 and have been traveling solo FOREVER). Yet, anyone can use this travel itinerary it to plan and book 3 to 4 days in Porto .
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All You Need for This 3 Day Porto Itinerary
The ultimate porto travel guide, the porto card, 5 must dos in porto, day 1 – baixa, ribeira & vila nova de gaia, day 2 – duoro valley & baixa, day 3 – braga & sé / baixa, day 4 – porto itinerary option.
Here are all of the sites you need to successfully book these perfect 3 days in Porto, Portugal.
I even give you my suggested Porto hostel as a budget friendly and centrally-located stay in Baixa, an ideal location for Porto solo travel on foot.
I recommend you bookmark and use these sites early to lock in your Porto 3 days itinerary and get the best Porto travel deals.
Cheap Flights to Porto
Best Porto City Center Hotels
Best Porto City Center Hostels
Porto Hostel Pick
Porto Train Tickets
Porto Bus Tickets
Don’t forget to use the Ultimate Porto Solo Travel Guide to plan your three days in Porto, Portugal. It is the ultimate one-stop-shop guide for all you need to know to plan Porto solo travel with:
- Best Time to Visit Porto
- Getting to Porto
- How to Get Around Porto
- Porto Solo Travel Safety
- Packing Essentials for Porto
- Best Places to Stay in Porto Solo
- Best Things to See and Do in Porto
- Porto Dining, Nightlife and Shopping
- Best Booking Sites for Porto Travel
- Top Porto Budget and Ecotourism Travel Tips
If you’re a first-time traveler to Portugal, also use my Ultimate Portugal Solo Travel Guide full of tips on culture, entry requirements, currency, tipping, using electronics, safety, and a lot more to plan solo travel in Portugal.
More Portugal Travel Guides & Itineraries
- Coimbra in 1 Day Itinerary and Guide
- The Best of Lisbon in 4 Days Itinerary
- The Ultimate Lisbon Solo Travel Guide
- 7 Best Europe Beach Destinations for Solo Travelers
Book Your Flight to Porto Early to Save Money
Buying the Porto Card is not a requirement for this Porto 3 day itinerary. It does cover up to 150 discounts on Porto museums and attractions, including a discount on a port wine cellar, unlimited free local CP trains, public bus and metro transportation – ideal for getting from the Porto Airport to the city center – and can be purchased for increments of 1, 2, 3 or 4 days.
Research the Porto Card to see if it is right for you while seeing Porto in 3 days. I did not opt for the Porto Card on this particular itinerary mainly because I traveled to Porto in the off-season. I opted to buy my itinerary tickets individually, which I’ll show you below.
Still, if you are traveling to Porto during peak season it may help you financially and save time.
The Porto Card Could Save Money and Time
Yes, you will get to do all of these top Porto things to do in this 3 days in Porto itinerary. Inspired yet?
3 Days in Porto Itinerary
This Porto itinerary provides some of best and free things to do in Porto in 3 days. This uniquely well-preserved and historical city on the Douro River is has just about everything you can think of to do, indoors and out. The city center being a UNESCO World Heritage site further lends to its cache as a top Portugal travel destination.
You’ll be walking leisurely about the city center hills, strolling along the riverside, sipping port, exploring more UNESCO sites and more during these 3 days in Porto Portugal. After your visit to Porto, you may consider Porto your favorite large city in Portugal instead of Lisbon, like me.
Porto 3 Day Itinerary Tip s
- This itinerary assumes staying in Baixa, Porto within Porto’s city center, such as my suggested Porto hostel , or at any of the best hotels or hostels noted above. You can also refer to the ‘Best Area to Stay’ accommodations in the Porto Solo Travel Guide .
- This itinerary starts the day after arrival to Porto assuming to allow for a full 3 days in and around Porto.
- Travel in the shoulder season for good weather, long daylight hours, less tourists, and lower costs. Consult the Porto Solo Travel Guide for events in Porto you may wish to attend (or avoid).
- This Porto itinerary is covered by walking. Porto is very hilly so ensure to wear comfortable walking shoes .
- Dress in layers to allow for changes in weather if traveling in the off season.
- Walking, sunshine and drinking port (or wine) in Porto definitely calls for sunscreen and staying hydrated. Be eco-friendly and bring your own travel water bottle , bottle sling for easy carry, and environmentally safe sunscreen .
Arriving Baixa, Porto
I flew from Madrid into the Porto Airport to start my Portugal travel in Porto before spending a day in Coimbra followed by 4 days in Lisbon . It was beneficial to spend 4 nights in Porto to get relax and get oriented before 3 days of sightseeing.
From the Porto Airport you can take the train to arrive Baixa either at the Trindade or Sao Bento station. Ask your hotel or hostel which is closest and more convenient for walking the least amount of hills. Your Porto accommodations should be within a 10 minute walk of either station.
Arriving by dinner time allows you plenty of time to check-in, freshen up, and take in Porto’s city center, dining options, and finding spots for incredible sunset views over the Douro River.
Stick to the Baixa, Bolhão or Sé districts, which are conveniently full of dining options and shops to keep you occupied for a lazy evening.
For casual, inexpensive dining on the east side of Praça da Liberdade (Liberdade Square) in Baixa, try Casa Guides Tradicional on Praça dos Poveiros near the Jardim Marques de Oliveira, which is full of tulips in bloom in the spring. Eat a traditional sanduíche de pernil with a cold, Super Bock lager (or stout) on their rooftop bar over looking the Praça dos Poveiros, which could be lively depending on the night or time of year. Get there early for a good spot.
Explore as much, or as little, of the Baixa, Bolhão and Sé districts after dinner, but save up your energy for walking the hills of Porto tomorrow.
There’s no rush to get up super early for this Porto 3 day itinerary. Breakfast in hotels and hotels start later in the morning (8 – 8:30am) in Portugal than most other European countries.
Partake in your hotel breakfast (or elsewhere), and then be out and about for a self-guided tour of Porto city center, starting in Baixa, which holds many of Porto’s historic landmarks.
Starting on the northern end, take in the expansive Liberdade Square (hopefully construction in this area is completed by now). The rest of the morning will be walking downhill towards the Rio Douro making your walking tour all the easier.
After the plaza, head west towards the baroque Igreja do Carmo (Church of Our Lady of Carmo) to admire the blue-tiled facade and open space of the Praça de Lisboa. From the plaza walk around to tour the Jardim da Cordoaria and Portuguese Centre of Photography .
Then go east to pass the Clérigos Church (you can’t miss the bell tower) towards the São Bento railway station . At the busy intersection turn south to walk downhill on Rua das Flores.
Don’t worry. You’ll have time to see Clérigos and the São Bento station later in your 3 days in Porto, I promise.
Take your time strolling the iconic Rua das Flores , lined with restaurants and shops. Window shop or buy souvenirs, and dine here if you want.
Make your way to the open Jardim do Infante Dom Henriquet lined by the distinctly red Mercado Ferreira Borges and the historic Bolsa Palace , the Stock Exchange Palace, where you can take a short, half-hour guided tour if you wish (access only allowed with a guide).
After your Bolsa Palace tour , finish your stroll down at the old town Ribeira waterfront. The Cais da Ribeira (riverfront promenade) is known for its own shopping, restaurants, bars, and nightlife.
Find an outdoor spot for dining and people watching. Enjoy the scenic Gaia across the river with the ever-present traversing boats. From the Cais da Ribeira is where you can also do a 50-minute Douro River cruise after lunch so you can absorb fantastic views of Porto and the 6 bridges that cross the Douro River.
If you want, here may be a time where you opt for a walking tour or electric tuk tuk tour. You don’t have to, but here are some Porto tour options that take 1 to 3 hours. If you prefer a tour, my advice would be to forgo the morning portion of this first of 3 days in Porto itinerary.
If you finish by noon or earlier, you will still have time for lunch on the Ribeira and a river cruise. Otherwise, pick up this itinerary for lunch and afternoon in Vila Nova de Gaia.
Guided Tour Options to Fit This Porto Itinerary
Refreshed after lunch and the river cruise , and/or guided tour, walk the east along the promenade to cross the Luis I Bridge to do an afternoon stroll on the Avenida de Ramos Pinto for classic views of Porto and port wine tasting in Vila Nova de Gaia.
Shop the local vendors’ tents that line the Gaia riverside while passing the multiple Gaia port houses across the avenida.
You can pop into any as you please or arrange a port cellar tour and tasting. The rest of the afternoon in Gaia is yours.
Me? I went off a recommendation of a local to taste at port tasting at Ferreira Cellars and Porto Cruz . I first arrived at Porto Cruz housed in a bright blue tile facade building for a leisurely tasting of 5 ports with food at a reasonable price.
I ended up chatting with others lounging on the outdoor patio setting while watching the pedestrians and river boats linger by while the sun slowly descended casting reddish light on the rooftops of Porto’s city center across the water.
Enjoying the spectacularly warm and sunny October afternoon and conversation so much, the time escaped me. I ended up missing doing a Ferreira Cellars tour and tasting and riding the Teleférico de Gaia (the skyrail stops at 6pm). Still, it was worth the lazy afternoon.
With the sun almost set, I walked back across the base of the Luis I Bridge to stairs that took me to the top of the bridge for a beautiful westward view of the river and Gaia before enjoing a light dinner of wine and delicious Caprese salad with salmon at La Ricotta in Baixa. I decided to make it an early evening.
Point is, you have the flexibility on your first day of 3 days in Porto to tour and taste at as many port cellars as you wish. Here are some options for tasting and tours that are inexpensive and last only 45 minutes to an hour and a half to fill your afternoon.
Gaia Port Tasting and Tours for this Porto Itinerary
If you decide to stay in Gaia, save a tour of Cálem Wine Cellars with live Fado music for the end. Tours start at 6 or 6:30pm, depending on time of year you visit Porto.
Dine in Gaia and take an electric tuk tuk back to Baixa if you’re too tired to walk the Porto city center hills.
Day 2 is full and fully arranged for you, because you’ll have already reserved your wine trip to Douro Valley for port tasting in this fabulous UNESCO World Heritage region of Portugal.
Your tour will leave early so plan for at least a snack and coffee or arrange an early breakfast before you depart Porto.
A Douro Valley day trip from Porto is a must-do day trip. I highly recommend this small group Douro Valley wine tour , full of scenic valley stops, an authentic Portuguese lunch, a stop at the famous Pinhão train station to view the beautiful blue tiles, river cruise, and 2 port tasting stops with tours.
It’s a a full day away from Porto, but very worth it. Our guide was fantastic, and I learned a lot , not to mention had a wonderful time with my small group (there were only four of us) eating, cruising, and drinking in unforgettable Portuguese scenery.
If this Douro Valley wine tour is booked, here are similar highly rated tours for your review to book in advance .
Top Douro Valley Wine Tours from Porto
You’ll be back in Porto in time for dinner, which is a good time to spend more time exploring the dining and nightlife along the Rua das Flores and Cais da Ribeira.
Finish your breakfast early to leave for Porto’s oldest church, Sé do Porto (Porto Cathedral) to take in the spectacular view of the river and Gaia below before leaving. In fact, I recommend catching a sunset from here if you can on your first night in Porto.
Enter the cathedral at opening. Truly unique, this church is a mixture of Romanesque, Baroque, and Gothic styles. It is free to enter with entrance to the stunning blue-tiled cloisters only € 3 (get your ticket there).
After a brief 30-minute visit, make your way down the hill to the São Bento Station. Upon arriving São Bento, take in the intricate artwork within the iconic blue tiled walls. They are stunning also.
Buy a round trip ticket to Braga and be on your way on a morning train for an hour long ride to Braga (switching trains in Campanhã).
The Braga city centre is a 5 minute walk from the train station. Soon you’ll be passing through the Porta Nova Arch and immediately fall in love with this quaint Portuguese town.
You can stop at the Braga Tourism Office for a map or explore on your own.
From the Porta Nova Arch, I recommend a visit to the Biscainhos Museum and Igreja do Pópulo. Then make your way into the city center.
Other top Braga sights to catch are the Ancient Episcopal Palace and Santa Bárbara Garden, Crivos Housem, Raio Palace, and Braga Cathedral.
This is also Vinho Verde wine region so lunch with some crispy Vinho Verde wine (one of my faves ) is also a must in Braga. I recommend a late, outdoor lunch with wine at Casa de Pasto Carvalheiras , but get there before they temporarily close in the afternoon.
Ride an afternoon train back to São Bento (switch in Campanhã) in time to do the last day pass entry to the 18th century baroque Clérigos church and bell tower, ideal for a sunset. I suggest getting your entry ticket in advance .
You’ve had an hour’s rest on the train so you’ll be ready to climb the 225 steps of the bell tower, which is completely worth it. The tower’s skyline of view of Porto’s red roofs and the Douro River before the sun goes down is something you won’t want to miss.
The Clérigos church is close to University of Porto and the many restaurants and boutique shopping along Rua das Carmelitas and nightlife activity on Rua da Galeria de Paris to live it up a little to end your 3 days in Porto. I hope you enjoyed it.
As you can tell from above, 3 days in Porto is enough time to experience the top sights of Porto and its surroundings. Expanding your stay to 4 days in Porto, of course, allows for more day trips from Porto with Porto exploration at night.
The Douro Valley and Braga were top of my list, but if I weren’t already going to Coimbra for a day before 4 days in Lisbon , I would have stayed at least 2 more days in Porto to visit Aveiro, Barcelos, and Guimarães without having to haul my luggage, for sure.
Can you believe that Aveiro, Barcelos, and Guimarães from Porto are only a 40 to 70 minute train or bus ride? Why not take an extra one or two days in Porto to see more of Portugal?
If you don’t want to go alone, here are some highly rated tours from Porto to Aveiro and Guimarães that I would consider doing, plus some other day trip ideas, you may want to reserve for your Porto solo travel.
Top Day Trips from Porto Portugal
Start planning your 3 days in porto budget, let me hear from you.
I would love to hear how my 3 days in Portugal itinerary worked on your Portugal solo travel. Post me your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below. Thank you!
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2 thoughts on “the 3 days in porto itinerary for first timers (2023)”.
Hello Gewn. Nice post, really nice itinerary for Porto. And, yes, we had a really wounderfull time at the Vale D’Ouro wine tour. Best wishes, Daniel & Daniela
Fabulous! I’m pleased to hear it. – Gwen
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Discover Porto in 3-Days: The Best Porto Travel Itinerary
By: Author Angela Price
Posted on Last updated: October 22, 2023
Porto is one of Portugal’s most popular destinations , and by spending three days in Porto, you will have plenty of time to see all the best attractions this Unesco World Heritage Site offers.
Being able to visit Porto in three days easily makes it one of Europe’s best city break destinations . It’s a quick 2-hour flight from the UK, meaning a short mid-week break or weekend in Porto is perfectly doable.
Built on the Douro River banks in Northern Portugal, Porto is the second largest city after Lisbon and is the world’s leading centre for Port wine production. The historic Port wine cellars of the region line the banks of Vila Nova de Gaia and are possibly one of Porto’s most visited tourist attractions.
In this 3-day Porto itinerary, I will show what you can expect to experience during a three day Porto visit, including historic landmarks, river cruising, and of course, the famous Port wine tours.
Do you need to arrange travel insurance, car hire or accommodation? Please check out my resources page to help you plan your trip.
Table of Contents
How to Get Around Porto
Porto is a walkable city; every turn will show you something new and exciting. That said, one of the main ways of getting around Porto is by tram.
The familiar yellow trams that also run in Lisbon will make walking up some of Porto’s hills a little easier. Yes, Porto is a hilly city, so make sure you have comfortable footwear to navigate the steep inclines and cobbled streets.
There is also a city sightseeing Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus , perfect for navigating the city and planning where you might want to revisit during your 3 days in Porto. Using the bus, a tuk-tuk (yes, you read correctly) or joining a Porto walking tour on day one is an excellent way to familiarise yourself with the city.
Best City Tours In Porto
Day one porto itinerary, visit the historic avenue de aliados.
After stopping in Porto’s main shopping street, Rua Santa Catarina, for coffee and pastel de nata, one of the best Portuguese pastries you could wish to taste, stroll to Porto’s central boulevard, “Avenue de Aliados”.
Flanked by ornate buildings housing mainly hotels and banks, it translates as “Avenue of the Allies”, referring to the 14th-century treaty between Portugal and the United Kingdom.
The oldest alliance in the world is the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty which is still in force.
The Avenue is also home to an unusual claim to fame. The ex- Cafe Imperial , once an iconic Portuguese coffee shop in the 1930s, is now a branch of McDonald’s bearing the title of “the most beautiful McDonald’s in the world”.
It features decadent period chandeliers and art deco-stained glass and feels entirely out of place for its current occupier. Regardless of that fact, it is worth visiting if you are curious.
Step inside the beautiful Livraria Lello – Porto’s famous book shop
Every perfect Porto itinerary has to include a visit to Livraria Lello, Porto’s famous bookstore.
JK Rowling is said to have gained inspiration for the Harry Potter novels after living in the city and spending long hours in this beautiful bookstore. Once you’ve been here, it’s not hard to see why!
It is a magnet to Harry Potter Fans and one of the most photographed places in Porto due to its elaborate interior and spellbinding red staircase.
You must buy a ticket from the shop close to the entrance (on the corner of the road) to gain admittance, and the queues during the day can be lengthy. The best time to visit Livraria Lello is 30 minutes before closing. We arrived at that time and walked straight in.
The entrance ticket is redeemable against any purchase you make in the store.
On entering the bookstore, you first notice the ornate sweeping stairway, albeit traffic-clogged with people trying to get that perfect photograph on the stairs (me included!).
The stained ceiling glass and lamps are breathtaking, as is the private room at the back stating “No Entry – Rare Books” I wonder what priceless items lie behind the facade.
The store is smaller than expected; still, there is no time limit to how long you can spend there. After the obligatory photos have been taken, browse the bookshelves and admire the interior’s small, beautiful details.
Head to a wine bar in a historic chapel
That evening we ate the best tapas in Porto at Tapas and Friends ; it was so good we returned on our third evening in Porto.
We also discovered an extraordinary wine bar in Porto tucked down one of its cobbled streets. It was called Cappella Incomum and was housed in a tiny converted chapel complete with an altar. It was an unusual place to drink wine in Porto but a charming setting.
Things to do in the Evenings in Porto
Day two porto itinerary, check out the catacombs in igreja de são francisco.
Heading towards the Port, you will come to Igreja de São Francisco, the Church of St Francis, one of Porto’s most prominent monuments and a Unesco world heritage site.
Established in 1245 by the Franciscan Order as a small convent church, it was extensively developed over later years. A ticket gives you entry to the Church and a museum housing the Monument church, catacombs and artworks.
Go down to the Catacombs, and you will find the resting places of the Franciscan monks and members of Porto’s wealthiest families. If you like the macabre, look through the glass floor; thousands of human bones lie beneath it, originally from overcrowded nearby cemeteries.
In the adjoining main church, the prediction is that over 300 kilos of gold dust was used to decorate the interior. The luxury was too extravagant for many, considering the area’s poverty, resulting in the church’s closure for several years.
You can’t take photos inside, so a visit is necessary to see the grandeur on offer for yourself.
If you are interested in catacombs and ossuaries, you might like to read about my trip to Kutna Hora Bone Church in the Czech Republic.
Hang out in the ribeira district of porto’s old town.
The Ribeira district is the oldest part of the city, where pastel-coloured buildings and narrow cobbled streets share the best spot in Porto, gradually leading down to the banks of the Douro.
Ribeira is a vibrant neighbourhood with busy bars, cafes, restaurants, and shops jostling for space along the portside.
Street entertainers are everywhere, competing for your attention and your tips! Ribeira is the best place in Porto to people-watch, enjoy a traditional Portuguese meal and a glass of the local port wine.
Walk across Dom Luis l Bridge Porto or sail under it
Dom Luis I Bridge dominates the historic centre of Porto. A student of Gustave Eiffel built it, and it is an imposing image as it spans the River Douro.
Sometimes referred to as the Gustave Eiffel Porto Bridge, it is one of the most famous bridges in Europe . The bridge links Ribeira to Vila Nova de Gaia, where the best port wine cellars are based.
Dom Luis l double-decked bridge allows pedestrians to cross on the upper deck and regular traffic to pass on the bottom. The bottom floor also has narrow footpaths on either side for pedestrians. You can hop aboard a boat that will take you on a 45-minute cruise of the six Porto bridges giving a brief insight into each one.
Have your camera ready to capture scenic images as you sail along the Douro Valley.
Best Porto River Cruise Tours
marvel at the architecture in porto cathedral.
After wandering along the river, head up the steep cobbled streets to the highest point in Porto and visit Porto Cathedral.
Also known as Sé do Porto Catedral, it is the most famous and oldest landmark in Porto’s cultural city and has far-reaching views over the city and the Duoro River.
Outside the Cathedral is a column where criminals of Porto were hung. At least their last view was a good one.
The interior of the Cathedral is very commanding, with a predominantly Baroque interior.
The cloister entrance is inside the Cathedral and decorated with the stunning blue and white tiles Porto is famous for. They
The blue and white tiles represent Porto culture and heritage and depict biblical scenes dating back to the 14th century.
The Cathedral is one of the best places to spot azulejo tiles in Porto . I enjoyed the serenity and beauty of its architecture, which is unique to the city.
From November to March, the Porto Cathedral’s opening hours are from 9 am until 12:30 pm (The cloister closes at 12:15), and in the afternoon, it opens at 2:30 pm and closes at 6 pm (The cloister closes at 5:30).
From April to October, it opens from 9 am to 12:30 pm and again from 2:30 but until 7 pm this time (The cloister until 6:30 pm)
The Porto cathedral mass times are:
- Mass at Porto Cathedral during the weekdays is at 11:00
- Mass on Sunday is at 11:00
Day Three Porto Itinerary
Go on a day trip to aveiro and see the colourful boats.
I had read that you could visit Aveiro on a day trip from Porto as it was only an hour away by train and was dubbed the “Venice of Portugal”. This was good enough for me, so we journeyed by train from Porto to Aveiro.
The traditional blue and white “azulejo” picture tiles depicting battles and rural life adorn the walls of São Bento Train Station, so even if you aren’t planning to catch a train, make sure you still visit this beautiful train station during your time in Porto.
When we arrived in Aveiro, we headed along the main promenade to reach the canals and explore things to do in Aveiro. I want to say I was excited, but the sad fact is it was underwhelming.
Traditional painted boats lining the canal were offering 45-minute trips. They looked beautiful, but we learnt from disembarking passengers that there was nothing very picturesque to see on the river journey, just industrial and urban landscapes.
After recharging with coffee at one of the Aveiro hotels along the canalside, we opted for a 30-minute tuk-tuk ride instead of the boat ride. As we had made an effort to get here, we felt we should look around at Aveiro’s monuments. Sadly after being shown a couple of churches, the salt flats and the local college, we had seen everything Aviero had to offer.
All the research I had done sold Aveiro as a destination that must be visited, but I’m afraid I must disagree.
Unless you desire a train journey and a canal ride, which is most definitely not like Venice, I would say stay in Porto. It is, however, your trip, and you may personally find Aveiro delightful.
Join a Porto Wine Tour
One of the best things to do in Porto is a port tasting tour of the cellars ranging from well-known Taylor Port to local cellars. We joined a port-tasting tour with Porto Walkers .
Our tour took us to 3 port houses with seven tastings. Headed up by Alex, a Porto local guide, our group consisted of around 20 people from different countries.
Alex was full of information on the origins of port wine and had a cheeky sense of humour. We discovered that wine could only be labelled as a port when produced in the Duoro Valley. It is around an hour’s drive away; therefore, this is the only place in the world that produces port wine.
Best Wine Tours in Porto
Vila nova de gaia.
The port-wine houses are in Vila Nova de Gaia, on the opposite banks of the river to Porto. Alex told us the history of this side of Porto and introduced us to some of Porto’s street art which is becoming more popular around the city.
The first port wine stop was at a traditional small producer, where we sampled one tasting. Our second stop was at a historic wine cellar, where we sampled two tastings.
The final stop was at my favourite, Porto Cruz, where we sampled four tastings at a professional tasting room. We discovered different types of port wine from a red port, pink port and even a white port – who would have guessed!
We finished off at their rooftop bar, which had fabulous views across the river to Porto. After learning so much during the tour, I now feel justified to drink port at any time of the year, not just at Christmas, which was my usual British tradition, and I have discovered a bottle of pink port which goes particularly well in a cocktail or two!
While in this area, why not check out the street art all around you? In particular, the oversized rabbit by the wine cellars made from recycled trash is a nod to saving the environment.
Best Porto Wine Tours
The beauty of travel is the people you encounter on your journey, and after meeting new acquaintances during the tastings, we decided to join together for a meal. We headed towards the restaurant, O Afonso , our tour guide recommended.
We all opted for the local traditional Portuguese dish of a Francesinha sandwich made with bread, meats, melted cheese, tomato, and beer sauce. Francesinha could probably induce a heart attack, but it is a Porto dish that must be tried.
Of course, there are many other Portuguese foods – from soups, seafood and meats to delicious Portuguese sweet desserts.
Best Porto Food Tours
My honest opinion of porto.
I travelled in March, and the weather was pleasant, with a mix of sun and clouds.
I would recommend you try 3 nights in Porto as I enjoyed the port cellars’ uniqueness, and I feel that this is the main reason you would visit Porto. It wasn’t one of my favourite European cities, but that is because I have visited amazing places like Prague, Venice, and Oslo, so I found Porto lacked something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. That said it might be somewhere you fall in love with, so give it a go!
I would, however, recommend visiting Porto as part of a 2-week perfect itinerary for travel to Portugal . This could also include beautiful Portuguese cities like Lisbon and Faro so you can pick a favourite place in Portugal.
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Friday 28th of February 2020
Bookmarking this for later this year when I'm in Portugal. I already can't wait and your post only got me more excited! I love visiting unique libraries so the Livraria Lello will be fun.
You will love it. Be sure to pre-book a tour of the port cellars and try the local food especially the pastel de nata (egg custard tarts) delicious!
Saturday 8th of February 2020
very informative & useful itinerary shared for Portugal, gonna be helpful for travel lovers have saved this for my reference cheers, siennylovesdrawing
Glad you found it useful.
Friday 7th of February 2020
I've never been to Europe, Portugal and Spain are where I would like to start. Thanks for the great recommendations!
I hope you get to Europe one day. You will love it. Make sure you put England on your list, we have an amazing history and fantastic sights to visit.
I really like your honesty in your approach to Porto. It looks like a nice place to visit but I would certainly not head to the "Venice". It's really annoying when things get overhyped & are a "Must-do" when actually they are just disappointing when you make the effort to go. I have also had some excellent experiences on the Hop On Hop Off buses but some are not worth the time or money, Buenos Aires springs to mind - so many amazing things to do but this is not one of them! ;)
I’m glad you enjoyed my review. Not everywhere can be amazing and I just wanted share my opinion about that. If I ever get to Buenos Aires I will head your advice.
I haven't been to Porto. If I get the chance to travel to Europe, Porto will definitely be one of the places I'll visit
A Blissful Wanderer
Travel & Lifestyle Blog
Europe , Portugal · October 30, 2023
3 Days in Porto, Portugal: The Ultimate Porto Itinerary for First-time Visitors
Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable journey to the captivating city of Porto, Portugal? Picture yourself strolling through narrow cobblestone streets, adorned with colourful buildings and ornate tiles, as the sweet scent of port wine fills the air. In just 3 days, you can immerse yourself in the rich history, vibrant culture, and delectable cuisine that make Porto truly one-of-a-kind. This 3 day Porto itinerary is the ultimate guide for first-time visitors. And will ensure you make the most of your time in this enchanting city. From exploring the historic center to indulging in Porto’s vibrant food scene, get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Join us as we navigate through the highlights, hidden gems, and unmissable experiences in Porto. Let’s dive in and discover the ultimate itinerary for 3 incredible days in Porto, Portugal.
Why visit Porto, Portugal?
If you’ve stumbled upon this blog post about the enchanting city of Porto, Portugal, you’re probably already under its spell. And I don’t have to convince you to go. But if you’re still on the fence, and torn between the allure of Porto and Lisbon , let me share my perspective. In my humble view, Porto embodies the very essence of authentic, traditional Portuguese charm.
While I hold a special place in my heart for Lisbon , it has become a magnet for digital nomads , which adds an international flavour to its character. Moreover, Lisbon’s bustling nature, as a city twice the size of Porto, infuses it with a cosmopolitan dynamism.
Yet, Porto’s magnetic pull cannot be denied. It beckons with its delectable culinary scene, its close ties to the picturesque Douro Valley, a paradise for wine enthusiasts, and its enchanting traditional architecture. This city whispers tales of a bygone era and invites you to savour the beauty of Portugal’s cultural roots.
When to visit Porto, Portugal?
Porto, Portugal is a city ready to be explored at any time of year. Each season bringing its unique charm and appeal. Whether you prefer the warmth of the summer sun or the cozy ambiance of winter, Porto offers something for everyone. Before diving into the details of our 3 day itinerary, it’s important to consider when you should visit this enchanting city.
Summer in Porto, Portugal
During the summer months of June, July, and August, Porto is bathed in glorious sunshine and warm temperatures. This is the perfect time to soak up the city’s outdoor attractions, such as the surrounding beaches and lush gardens. The charming riverfront promenade, Ribeira, is particularly buzzing during this time. Here you’ll find outdoor cafes and restaurants welcoming visitors to savour the lively atmosphere.
Fall or Spring in Porto, Portugal
If you prefer milder temperatures and smaller crowds, spring and autumn are excellent seasons to visit Porto. In these shoulder seasons, the city exudes a peacefulness that allows you to appreciate its architectural wonders and cultural heritage. The streets are less crowded, allowing for strolls and intimate exploration of Porto’s hidden corners. Plus, you may get the chance to witness some of the city’s traditional festivals and events, which take place throughout the year.
Winter in Porto, Portugal
For those who appreciate the cozy charm of winter, Porto offers a unique experience during the colder months. The city’s historic center is adorned with festive lights and decorations. Thus, creating a magical atmosphere that makes it a winter wonderland. Enjoy a glass of warm port wine by a crackling fireplace or indulge in hearty Portuguese cuisine at cozy taverns. Winter in Porto is truly a time to embrace the city’s intimate and charming character.
Ultimately, the best time to visit Porto depends on your personal preferences. Each season has its allure and offers visitors a chance to experience the city in a different light. So, whether you’re chasing sunshine, avoiding crowds, or seeking a cozy winter escape, Porto is ready to welcome you with open arms. And will provide a memorable and delightful visit no matter the time of year.
Is 3 Days in Porto Enough Time?
How many days do you need in Porto? Well, that depends on how much time you have and what you want to see and do. Porto is a vibrant and dynamic city with so much to offer! From its stunning architecture to its rich history, delicious cuisine, and of course, its world-renowned port wine. So whether you’re a first-time visitor or returning for another adventure, it’s important to consider how many days you’ll need to fully immerse yourself in all that Porto has to offer.
If you’re limited on time, 3 days in Porto can allow you to see the major highlights. You can explore the historic Ribeira district, stroll along the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge, and visit the Livraria Lello bookshop. Additionally, don’t miss the chance to indulge in some wine tasting at the famous port wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia. Plus, you can take a day trip to the picturesque Douro Valley. Here you can admire breathtaking landscapes and sample exquisite wines . A 3 day visit allows you to experience the essence of Porto and its most iconic landmarks.
If You Have More Time in Porto
However, if you have more time to spare, you won’t regret extending your stay. Spending five days in Porto will provide you with the opportunity to delve deeper into the city’s culture and history. You’ll also have more time to savour the local gastronomy and wander through charming neighbourhoods like Foz do Douro. And maybe even catch a performance at the stunning São Bento Railway Station or modern Casa da Música.
For those with a week or more to spare, you’ll truly be able to soak up the Porto experience. You can explore lesser-known gems such as the Crystal Palace Gardens. Venture to nearby cities like Guimarães or Braga. And take leisurely walks along the Douro River. With extra time, you can also immerse yourself in the local art scene, by visiting contemporary art museums like Serralves. Or simply relax at one of the city’s beautiful parks.
No matter how many days you choose to spend in Porto, you’ll find that each day is filled with discoveries and unforgettable moments. However, I will be focusing on a 3 days in Porto itinerary, as I think that’s the perfect amount of time in this charming city.
So, now that you have an idea of how much time you need in Porto, let’s dive into where to stay and find the perfect base for your adventures.
Where to Stay in Porto?
When choosing where to stay in Porto, you’ll find a range of options that cater to different preferences and budgets. From luxurious hotels to cozy guesthouses, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. Overall, I found prices in Porto fairly affordable.
If you’re looking to soak up the rich history and culture of Porto, consider staying in the Ribeira district. This UNESCO World Heritage site is located on the banks of the Douro River. It offers a charming mix of narrow streets, colourful buildings, and lively waterfront cafes. Also, by staying here, you’ll be within walking distance of iconic landmarks such as the Dom Luís I Bridge and the Porto Cathedral. So here are some accommodation options at different price points.
- Ribeira do Porto Hotel
- Cale Guest House
- Ribeira Flores 59 Downtown Apartments
Foz do Douro Neighbourhood
For those who prefer to stay near the ocean and have an upscale experience, the Foz do Douro neighbourhood is an excellent choice. Situated near the mouth of the river, Foz do Douro boasts stunning ocean views and a relaxed atmosphere. Here, you’ll find boutique hotels and upscale restaurants, as well as beautiful beaches where you can unwind after a day of exploring. And the best part is that a trip into the city Center will only take you around 30 minutes by bus or cable car.
- Bartolomeu Beach Apartments
- Romantic – Casa Rua Bela
- Maison D’Oro
- Liiiving in Porto – Luxury Beachfront Apartments (great for groups)
Bolhão and Cedofeita Districts
If you’re on a tighter budget, the Bolhão and Cedofeita districts offer more affordable accommodations without compromising on charm. Bolhão is known for its bustling market and lively atmosphere, while Cedofeita is a bohemian neighbourhood with trendy cafes and independent boutiques.
But no matter where you choose to stay in Porto, you’ll find that the city’s compact size makes it easy to navigate and explore. In the next section, we’ll delve into how to get around Porto and make the most of your time in this captivating city.
- Blau 1911 (Great Price!)
- Seventyset Flats – Porto Historical Center (River Views)
- Ando Living – Flores Townhouse
How to get around Porto?
No matter where you choose to stay in Porto, you’ll find that the city’s compact size makes it easy to navigate and explore. With a well-connected public transportation system and plenty of walkable areas, getting around Porto is a breeze for first-time visitors.
One of the best ways to explore the city is on foot. Porto’s historic center is relatively small and its narrow, winding streets are filled with hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Take your time to wander through the charming neighbourhoods, stopping to admire the beautiful architecture, bustling markets, and vibrant street art along the way. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes , as Porto’s hilly terrain can be a bit challenging at times.
Hop-on Hop-off Bus
A hop-on-hop-off pass in Porto is the perfect choice for a 3-day visit, allowing you to maximize your exploration of this beautiful city. With limited time, you can effortlessly cover all the must-see attractions, from historic landmarks to stunning waterfront views, while enjoying the flexibility to disembark and explore at your own pace. This pass ensures you don’t miss out on any key sights, and with the convenience of frequent buses, you can make the most of your time, creating an unforgettable Porto experience that’s both efficient and enjoyable.
If you prefer to cover more ground in a shorter amount of time, Porto’s public transportation system is efficient and reliable. The city has an extensive network of buses, trams, and the Metro, making it easy to reach all the major tourist attractions. The Metro is particularly convenient for getting around, with four lines that connect key areas of the city.
For a unique and scenic way to explore Porto, hop on one of the traditional trams that still operate in the city. Tram Line 1 takes you on a picturesque ride along the Douro River. Thus, offering breathtaking views of the city’s iconic bridges and colourful riverside houses. It’s a must-do experience that combines transportation with sightseeing.
Another popular mode of transportation in Porto is the iconic cable car, known as the Funicular dos Guindais. This cable car connects the riverside area with Batalha Square. This offers a convenient and enjoyable way to travel between these two points. The ride itself is an attraction! It provides panoramic views of the city as it ascends and descends through the hilly landscape.
Rent a Bike
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, renting a bike or joining an electric bike tour is a great option. The city has a growing network of cycling lanes and paths, and there are numerous bike rental shops where you can easily get set up with a bike for the day. Or, if you’d like a local to show you around, I recommend this electric bike tour . Pedalling along the riverside or through the lush parks can be a fantastic way to discover the hidden corners of Porto.
Overall, getting around Porto is a seamless experience that adds to the charm of this captivating city. Whether you choose to explore on foot, utilize the public transportation system, hop on a tram or cable car, or even rent a bike, you’ll find that navigating Porto is as enjoyable as the destination itself.
In the next section, we’ll delve into what to see and do in Porto in 3 days. Here I’ve summarized the top highlights and must-visit attractions that you won’t want to miss. But read onwards to gain more details on each activity and of course, where to eat!
What to See & Do in Porto in 3 Days: A Quick Summary
In this section, we’ll provide you with a quick summary of what to see and do during your 3 days in Porto. This will ensure that you make the most of your visit to this vibrant city. From exploring the historic centre to tasting the renowned port wine, there is no shortage of unforgettable experiences awaiting you.
Exploring the Historic Center – Day 1 in Porto
Explore ribeira, a unesco world heritage site.
- Visit the São Bento Train Station , and Igreja do Carmo Church . Both known for its stunning azulejo tilework, which is a true symbol of the city’s architectural heritage.
- Bolhão Market for lunch
- Livraria Lello, a renowned bookshop that inspired J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series with its enchanting staircase and beautiful architecture. Or take a walking tour that shows you all the incredible places in Porto that J.K Rowling took inspiration for Harry Potter
Discovering the Art and Culture – Day 2 in Porto
- Art lovers should not miss the Serralves Museum
- Alternatively, you can opt for an exhilarating ride on the historic tram. This will take you through the charming streets of the Foz do Douro neighbourhood to the picturesque beaches.
- Walk across the Dom Luís I Bridge, which offers breathtaking views of the Douro River and the charming waterfront below.
- Port tasting at some of the top cellars. Or see and hear a live Fado performed at Cálem Wine Cellars in Porto.
Indulging in Port Wine and River Cruises – Day 3 in Porto
- Embark on a leisurely river cruise along the Douro River . Immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery of terraced vineyards and picturesque towns. This will take up your whole day, and includes lunch and wine tasting!
With this quick summary of what to see and do in Porto in 3 days, you’ll be well-equipped to embark on your adventure and create lasting memories in this captivating city. However, be sure to read on if you want more details on these activities and where to eat and drink!
What to See & Do in Porto in 3 Days: An in-depth 3 Day Porto Itinerary
Welcome to our in-depth 3 days in Porto itinerary, where we’ve meticulously crafted the perfect guide to help you explore this enchanting city in Portugal. Over the next 3 days, we’ll take you on a journey through Porto’s rich history, vibrant culture, and delectable cuisine. From iconic landmarks like the Ribeira district and the Dom Luís I Bridge to hidden gems only the locals know about, our itinerary is designed to make your visit an unforgettable adventure. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply seeking a taste of Porto’s unique charm, this comprehensive guide has something for everyone. Get ready to immerse yourself in the heart and soul of this captivating city.
**Day 1 in Porto: Explore the Historic Center & Immerse Yourself in Porto’s Enchanting Charm**
Breakfast at mercador cafe & brunch.
Your 3 day Porto adventure begins with an enticing array of experiences that will transport you through time and culture. Kick-start your day at Mercador Cafe & Brunch! This is a delightful spot that not only serves up a scrumptious breakfast but also sets the tone for the day with its charming ambiance. As you savour your first meal in Porto, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the inviting aroma of fresh coffee and pastries, preparing you for the journey ahead.
With your energy replenished, you’ll embark on an exploration of Ribeira, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This historic district is like a living museum, where every winding alleyway and colourful façade tells a story of Porto’s rich past. Cobbled streets lead you to the São Bento Train Station. Here you will find a true architectural gem known for its exquisite azulejo tilework, which adorns the walls like an intricate tapestry. Just a short walk away stands the Igreja do Carmo Church! Another masterpiece of azulejo artistry, painting the cityscape with vivid blues and intricate patterns. The Igreja do Carmo Church has become a Porto icon, thanks to Instagram!
Lunchtime at Bolhão Market
Lunchtime beckons, and the bustling Bolhão Market awaits with a tantalizing array of local delights. Here, you can savor Porto’s culinary treasures while absorbing the vibrant atmosphere of this beloved marketplace.
In the afternoon, venture into the world of literature at Livraria Lello , a legendary bookshop that once inspired J.K. Rowling’s iconic Harry Potter series. The enchanting wooden staircase and the grand architecture of the bookshop will transport you into a realm of magic. Alternatively, consider joining a walking tour that unveils the various Porto locations that left an indelible mark on J.K. Rowling’s creative process.
*Warning: Livraria Lello has become extremely famous thanks to social media and it’s connection to Harry Potter. Because of this, come prepared to stand in a long line just to enter the bookstore. Plus, they also charge an entrance fee of €8, which is fully discountable against the purchase of a book.
In order to skip the line and see other Harry Potter inspired sites in Porto, be sure to check out this walking tour .
Just next door to Livraria Lello, you’ll find Fernandes, Mattos & Ca., Lda., a boutique that beckons shoppers with its charming offerings. Here, you can discover unique souvenirs and keepsakes to remember your Porto adventure.
Cocktails & Dinner
As the sun begins to set, head across the street to Base Porto . Here you’ll find a trendy open-air bar set in a serene green space that always has a great vbe. Enjoy a refreshing drink as you take in the twilight views of the city, and people watch. A perfect prelude to the evening ahead.
Cap off your day with an unforgettable dining experience at Bacalhau Restaurant . Here you can savor the flavours of Portugal while gazing out at the shimmering Douro River. If possible, secure a reservation for one of the riverside patio tables, where you’ll be treated to a captivating sunset that bathes the city in a warm, golden glow. This is Porto’s magic at its finest, a testament to the city’s ability to captivate hearts and inspire unforgettable moments. Day one has just scratched the surface of what this enchanting city has to offer.
**Day 2 in Porto: Immerse Yourself in Art, Culture, and Stunning Views**
Breakfast at majestic cafe.
As the sun rises on day two of your Porto escapade, start your morning at the Majestic Cafe . This cafe dates back to 1920, and is considered a treasure of Portugal’s art nouveau style. The decor exudes old-world elegance. And you’ll find yourself sipping your coffee amidst gilded mirrors, ornate chandeliers, and the whispers of the past. While it’s true that prices here might be a tad steeper than other options, dining here is an enchanting step back in time. And if their pricer menu isn’t in your travel budget, stroll past the Majestic Cafe and take a quick peak inside.
Choose Your Own Adventure: Serralves Art Museum Or Head to the Beach
Afterwards, for art aficionados, a visit to the Serralves Museum is a must. This cultural gem is a sanctuary of contemporary art, set amidst lush gardens and stunning architecture. The museum’s exhibitions are sure to leave you inspired, making it an essential stop for those seeking creative stimulation.
If you prefer to explore the coastline, hop on a historic tram for a journey through the charming Foz do Douro neighborhood, leading you to the idyllic beaches. This tram ride is not just a means of transport but a cultural experience in itself, as you traverse picturesque streets and engage with the local way of life.
Head Across the Dom Luís I Bridge for Port Tasting
Afterwards, embark on a walk across the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge . It is an architectural marvel that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Douro River below. The bridge serves as a gateway to the charming waterfront, where the city’s soul truly shines. This vantage point captures the essence of Porto’s allure and is sure to be a highlight of your journey.
For a taste of Porto’s liquid heritage, indulge in a port wine tasting session at one of the city’s top cellars. Alternatively , immerse yourself in the emotive world of Fado music at Cálem Wine Cellars , where you can savour the rich melodies and powerful voices that echo through the heart of Porto.
Dinner & Drinks
As the evening approaches, return across the bridge for a delightful dinner at Tapas Na Boca . This restaurant is a place where the flavours of Portugal take centre stage. The city’s culinary traditions are on full display here, ensuring a delightful feast.
If you still have the energy after dinner, take a leisurely stroll along the riverfront. This is where the lively bars and cafes come alive. Porto’s nightlife offers a diverse array of entertainment. And it’s not uncommon to stumble upon hidden gems, like hookah bars and cocktail lounges.
With day 2 winding down, you can look forward to a journey to the Douro Valley Wine region. This day has been a celebration of art, culture, and captivating views, perfectly setting the stage for what promises to be another extraordinary day of exploration and discovery.
**Day 3 in Porto: Savoring the Douro Valley’s Beauty and Culinary Delights**
Your third day in Porto is a culmination of your journey, promising you a remarkable combination of natural splendor, wine tasting, and memorable dining experiences. Today, you will embark on a leisurely river cruise along the Douro River , offering you a front-row seat to the magnificent landscapes of terraced vineyards and quaint towns.
Moreover, the river cruise is an idyllic way to savour the beauty of the Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its vineyards that produce the world-renowned port wine. As you glide along the river, you’ll be mesmerized by the terraced hillsides that are adorned with lush vineyards, showcasing the centuries-old tradition of winemaking. This journey provides an immersive experience that allows you to appreciate the serenity of the valley. But you’ll also learn about its rich history and viticultural heritage.
For an all-inclusive experience, we opted for a river cruise package that includes wine tasting and a delectable lunch. This experience will deepen your understanding of the local wine production and gastronomy, making it a truly enriching day of exploration.
Final Dinner & Evening in Porto
For dinner, we recommend “Restaurante Toca da Raposa.” This quaint restaurant is known for its authentic Portuguese cuisine and friendly atmosphere. Here, you can indulge in a variety of regional dishes, with a particular focus on the fresh seafood and hearty meat options. The cozy ambiance and the warm hospitality create a perfect setting for a relaxing evening. Tonight reflect on your Porto adventure while savouring the last flavours of your trip.
As you enjoy your final evening in Porto, you’ll find that this city has left an indelible mark on your heart. And the Douro Valley’s charm has added a splendid final chapter to your unforgettable journey. Day 3 encapsulates the essence of Porto’s allure, from its stunning landscapes to its delectable culinary traditions, leaving you with treasured memories to carry forward.
Where & What to Eat in Porto?
Immersing yourself in Porto’s vibrant food scene is the perfect way to experience the city’s culture and culinary traditions. With its wide array of traditional dishes, fresh seafood, and world-renowned pastries, Porto offers a delectable journey for food enthusiasts. Whether you prefer a cozy local tavern or a trendy restaurant with a modern twist, there’s something to satisfy every palate in this gastronomic haven.
Port Wine Cellars
No visit to Porto is complete without indulging in the city’s beloved drink: port wine. Head to one of the port wine cellars located in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the river from Porto, and take a guided tour to learn about the production process and history of this iconic wine. End the tour with a tasting session, where you can sample a variety of ports, ranging from the sweet and fruity to the rich and complex.
White Port Tonic
For those who appreciate the nuances of a classic gin and tonic, indulging in a white port tonic while in Porto is a must. This distinctive and revitalizing concoction flawlessly marries the sophistication of white port wine with the lively sparkle of tonic water, making it an exceptional choice for your Porto experience. While you can order these at the Port Wine Cellars, we also found that at restaurants and cocktail lounges around the city.
Porto’s Local Food Markets
Porto’s food scene is a melting pot of flavors, combining influences from both its Portuguese heritage and international influences. From quaint cafés serving freshly baked pastries to gourmet restaurants offering innovative interpretations of classic dishes, there is no shortage of options to satisfy your appetite. Begin your gastronomic adventure at one of Porto’s bustling markets, such as Mercado do Bolhão or Mercado Ferreira Borges, where you can browse stalls filled with an array of colorful produce, aromatic spices, and artisanal products.
For a truly authentic experience, venture into one of the city’s traditional tascas, cozy neighborhood eateries that have been serving up hearty Portuguese dishes for generations. Here, you can savor dishes like Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá (codfish casserole) or Tripas à Moda do Porto (Tripe Porto-style), both of which showcase the city’s culinary heritage.
Pastel de Nata
No visit to Porto would be complete without indulging in its renowned pastries. Head to one of the many pastry shops scattered around the city and indulge in the iconic pastel de nata, a delicious custard tart with a crispy crust. Pair it with a cup of aromatic Portuguese coffee for a delightful afternoon snack.
As you explore the diverse food scene in Porto, keep in mind that reservations are recommended for popular restaurants, especially during peak tourist seasons. Be open to trying new flavors and dishes, and don’t hesitate to ask the friendly locals for their recommendations. With its rich culinary heritage and passion for gastronomy, Porto is sure to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.
What Not to Do During Your 3 Days in Porto?
For first-time travelers visiting Porto, it’s essential not to waste time and money on activities that might not align with the city’s true essence and charm. While Porto is a city rich in authentic experiences, some tourist traps can be avoided. One thing not to waste time on is overpriced, Ribeira boat rides. Most of the time these can be overcrowded and not as authentic as exploring the city on foot or by tram.
Also, skip overpriced, touristy restaurants in favor of exploring local eateries for a genuine taste of Porto’s culinary culture. With this being said, I will admit that Majestic Cafe’s menu is double the cost of anywhere else. But I really enjoyed admiring the architecture and ambiance.
Finally, don’t be lured by aggressive street vendors or time-consuming shopping in crowded commercial districts. Instead, seek out local markets and boutiques for unique, reasonably priced souvenirs. By focusing on more authentic and personal experiences, you can make the most of your visit to this enchanting city without wasting your time or money on overly commercialized offerings.
What Souvenirs to Buy in Porto, Portugal?
Now that you’re aware of what not to do in Porto, it’s time to move on to the next exciting topic: what souvenirs to buy in this captivating city. Get ready to discover the perfect mementos that will forever remind you of your delightful Porto adventure.
When it comes to souvenirs, Porto offers a plethora of options that reflect its unique culture and heritage. Whether you’re a food lover, a wine enthusiast, or a lover of traditional craftsmanship, there’s something for everyone to bring back home.
One of the most iconic souvenirs to take from Porto is, of course, Port wine. With its rich and complex flavors, this fortified wine is a symbol of the city and its centuries-old winemaking traditions. Head to one of the Port wine cellars for a tasting experience and choose your favorite bottle to savor the memories of your time in Porto.
Portuguese Food Souvenirs
For food enthusiasts, it’s hard to resist the temptation of bringing home a taste of Porto’s gastronomy. Look out for tins of sardines, a beloved local delicacy, which come in beautifully designed packaging. Another popular choice is traditional pastéis de nata, delicate custard tarts with a crisp pastry shell. Wrap them carefully and savor the flavors of Porto long after you’ve returned home.
Ceramics & Tiles
Additionally, if you’re seeking something more tangible to remember your Porto adventure, explore the local craft scene. Porto is known for its handmade ceramics, intricately painted with traditional motifs. From beautiful tiles to decorative plates or even personalized pieces, these ceramics make for unique and meaningful souvenirs. Keep an eye out for local artisans and their workshops to truly appreciate the craftsmanship behind these treasures.
Linens and Intricate Embroideries
Finally, consider bringing back a piece of Porto’s textile heritage. The city is renowned for its quality linens and intricate embroideries. From hand-stitched tablecloths and napkins to embroidered shawls or framed pieces of art. These textiles showcase the skill and artistry of Porto’s artisans. By purchasing these items, you not only bring home a beautiful souvenir but also support the preservation of traditional craftsmanship.
When packing for your adventure in Porto, don’t forget to leave some space in your luggage for these special souvenirs. With a bottle of Port wine, a tin of sardines, a few delicate custard tarts, a hand-painted ceramic piece, or an intricately embroidered textile, you’ll be able to carry the essence of Porto with you wherever you go. So pack your curiosity, sense of adventure, and a little extra room in your suitcase, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through Porto’s treasures.
What to pack for 3 Days in Porto?
When preparing for your 3-day adventure in Porto, it’s important to consider what to pack. While Porto offers a plethora of unique experiences and sights to explore, there are a few essentials that will make your trip more comfortable.
Comfortable walking shoes
First and foremost, don’t forget to pack comfortable walking shoes . Porto’s hilly terrain and cobblestone streets require sturdy footwear to navigate with ease.
Whether you’re strolling along the picturesque Ribeira district or climbing the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge for breathtaking views, comfortable shoes will ensure you can fully enjoy the city’s charm without discomfort. I opted for New Balance sneakers , sandals , or loafer flats that provided good arch support, and my feet didn’t complain.
Check the weather forecast for Lisbon during your trip and pack accordingly. Lightweight and breathable clothing is ideal for the warm summer months, but also consider layering options as temperatures can vary.
Pack a mix of tops, bottoms, this trendy linen short set and dresses that you can mix and match for different outfits. Opt for natural fabrics like cotton or linen to help you stay cool and stylish during your trip. But don’t forget to pack a striped sweaters for when it gets cool in the evenings.
Lisbon experiences plenty of sunshine, so it’s crucial to pack sun protection items. Bring sunscreen with a high SPF . Plus, trendy sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun, and a wide-brimmed hat or cap to protect your face and head.
Small Crossbody Bag or Backpack
A compact bag is essential for carrying your daily essentials while exploring the city. Opt for a crossbody bag or backpack that can securely hold your wallet, phone, map, water bottle, and any other items you may need throughout the day.
Travel Adapter and Portable Charger
Additionally, ensure you can stay connected and keep your devices powered up. Pack this travel adapter compatible with Portugal’s electrical outlets.
Not only does it work with my computer and hair curler, it has the additional four USB plugs at the top, to charge all your phone and any other gadgets! Additionally, bring a portable charger to keep your phone and other electronics charged while you’re out and about.
Remember to adapt this packing list based on personal preferences. As well as, the time of year you’re travelling, and any specific activities or events you plan to participate in while in Porto. For 10 of my best packing tips to ease anxiety, check out this post here .
Conclusion: Make the most of your 3 Days in Porto, Portugal
In just 3 days, this carefully crafted itinerary will guide you through the enchanting city of Porto, Portugal. Thus, ensuring that you make the most of your visit. From exploring the historic center to immersing yourself in Porto’s vibrant food scene, this itinerary offers a little something for everyone.
As you wander through Porto’s historical landmarks and indulge in its delicious culinary delights, you’ll be captivated by the city’s rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re strolling along the Douro River or unwinding in one of Porto’s charming cafés, every moment in this incredible city is an opportunity for discovery.
So, don’t hesitate to start planning your trip to Porto today! As the saying goes, “Porto is a city that leaves an indelible mark on your heart.” So, pack your bags, gather your curiosity, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the streets of Porto. Start writing your own story in this fantastic city, and let Porto leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul.
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