15 of the best things to do in Porto

Regis St. Louis

Feb 24, 2024 • 9 min read

Woman Traveler Takes a Photo.

Soaking in the amazing city views is just one of Porto's top experiences © Jayme Burrows / Stocksy

Stretching along the sinewy curves of the Douro River, Porto is a city of hilly cobblestone lanes, avant-garde museums and grand architectural monuments that date back to the Middle Ages.

It’s also a top city for culinary adventures amid northern Portugal’s finest restaurants and wine bars. You’ll find maze-like neighborhoods that are a delight (mostly) to get lost within and vertiginous viewpoints teetering high above the terracotta rooftops. Some of Porto’s best experiences simply have no analog in Portugal (or anywhere else for that matter) – whether walking Porto’s famed cast-iron bridge above the river as the sun sets beyond the seaside, or hunting down the latest street art carved into the walls in the lanes of Miragaia.

Whether you come for a weekend or stay for a week , don’t miss these top things to do in Porto.

1. Take in the river views from the bustling Ribeira district

Porto began its life as a quiet fishing village on the bank of the Douro River on the site of the modern-day neighborhood of  Ribeira . Today, the district buzzes with activity day and night. Although it's very tourist-centric, travelers flock to Ribeira for a reason – notably its knockout views of the river. You’ll also find back-to-back restaurants and bars, craft markets and street performances. Just back from the river, visit  Casa do Infante , where Prince Henry the Navigator was born in 1394. As the sponsor of many Portuguese expeditions, Henry is also honored by a statue outside the opulent  Palácio da Bolsa (which is worth a gander on its own merits).

People line a harbor arm that leads to a lighthouse. Large waves crash against the harbor wall and splash high into the air

2. Soak up the seaside atmosphere in Foz do Douro

When the sun is shining, it seems as though all of Porto descends on  Foz do Douro for a bit of beach time followed by drinks at terrace cafes overlooking the ocean. On steamy summer days, you can cool off in the chilly water. At other times of the year , you can join locals on runs, bike rides or saunters along the seaside promenade, which runs for 2.5km (1.6 miles) up to Matosinhos, Porto’s biggest city beach . For a shorter walk, you can stroll out along a jetty to the 19th-century  Felgueiras Lighthouse , which has dramatic views over the wave-battered shore. Bike it from Porto or hop on vintage tram 1 to arrive in old-fashioned style.

Planning tip:  For fresh-off-the-boat seafood, factor in lunch in Matosinhos, where an entire street (Rua Heróis de França) is enshrouded in the smoke from sizzling outdoor grills.

3. Climb the Clérigos Tower

The 76m-high (249ft)  Torre dos Clérigos , designed by Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni in the 1700s, is Porto’s signature landmark. The baroque tower soars above the city rooftops and visitors can climb 225 steps to reach far-reaching city views from the top. It's not an experience for the claustrophobic – the structure definitely wasn’t built with big crowds in mind!

Planning tip:  After making the climb, drop into the adjoining church – a baroque beauty from 1750 – or simply kick back on the manicured lawn of the adjacent Jardim das Oliveiras. The chilled open-air bar  Base is also conveniently located near the tower, making it the perfect spot for a post-climb drink.

4. Admire the splendor of Igreja de São Francisco

Unprepossessing on the outside but as intricate as a Fabergé egg on the inside, Porto’s  Igreja de São Francisco is an indulgent feast of baroque splendor. The staggeringly intricate interior glows with gold-leaf finery and lustrous woodwork. Look out for the polychrome Tree of Jesse altarpiece as well as the masterful handiwork of craftsmen Filipe da Silva and António Gomes, and drop into the museum to see sacred art and portraits of long-departed bishops.

Local tip:  Make time to visit the eerie yet fascinating catacombs, which are silent when the crowds depart. This is where the great and the good of Porto were once interred.

Landscaped gardens dominated by an art-deco-style water feature

5. Immerse yourself in cutting-edge art in Serralves

A hike from the heart of Porto but well worth the detour,  Serralves brings together avant-garde architecture, contemporary art, a sculpture-strewn park and a bijou art deco mansion in one harmonious whole. Inside, the arrestingly minimalist design of the Museu de Arte Contemporânea was the brainchild of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Álvaro Siza, bearing his trademark clean lines, playful heights and natural materials. Porto’s answer to the Guggenheim, it draws on an impressive permanent collection, featuring works from the late 1960s to the present in rotating exhibitions. 

Planning tip:  After enjoying the art, explore Serralves’ wild side and take a stroll amid floral gardens, forested paths and open meadows. Say hello to the cows and other barnyard animals in the southeast end of the park, or head skyward into the park’s lush canopy on a  treetop walk . 

6. See the sights of Sé cathedral

Gazing defiantly over Porto from its hilltop perch,  the fortress-like Sé evokes the city’s imperial past. This handsome cathedral wields serious historical clout as the spot where Prince Henry the Navigator was baptized in 1394 and where King John I married in 1387. Of Romanesque origins, the 12th-century cathedral was given a baroque facelift in the 18th century. A barley-twist pillar crowns the cathedral courtyard, which commands sweeping views over the sagging houses, terracotta rooftops, and crocheted alleyways of Ribeira.

7. Browse for one-of-a-kind gift ideas at the Mercado do Porto Belo 

On Saturdays, the Praça Carlos Alberto forms the backdrop to Porto’s best market . Join a wide cross-section of Porto society while digging for treasures amid stalls of records, vintage clothing, elegant stationery, antiques, crafts, handmade jewelry, old-fashioned toys, beautifully wrapped soaps and artwork. There’s also a small food component, featuring seasonal fruits and jams. While it’s small compared to its namesake in  London , the market is a great place to support local designers and artisans.

A station concourse busy with people. Many are stopping to look at the intricate blue-and-white tiles that decorate the walls

8. Seek out Porto's Insta-worthy tiles (azulejos)

Portuguese design is epitomized by the walls of colorful tiles known as azulejos , traditionally adorned with repetitive, intricate patterns or mural scenes executed in blue and white. Some of the most impressive tile art can be found inside São Bento train station , where stories of Portugal’s past stretch from floor to ceiling. Also check out the sides of  Capela das Almas on Porto’s main commercial strip, the walls of  Rua de Santa Catarina , and the handsome  Igreja do Carmo , a church that drips with gold on the inside.

Planning tip:  Don’t feel limited to these popular drawcards. Keep a lookout as you wander the city as  azulejos are scattered all over, and discovery is part of the fun.

9. Follow Porto's street art trail

If you want to explore an alternative side of Porto, leave the main sights behind and hit the pavement. As you wander the backstreets and nip down alleyways, keep your eyes peeled for Porto’s ancillary population of vividly colorful murals, painted by the city’s talented street artists.

Planning tip:  Start the street art trail by seeking out some of the heavy hitters like Daniel Eime’s massive photo-realistic mural entitled Mira on the Largo de Artur Arcos , or Vhils’ powerful tribute to healthcare workers featuring his trademark carving style at the Hospital São João. Other good places to hunt for street art are around Travessa de Cedofeita, along graffiti-emblazoned Rua da Madeira, and on Rua das Flores in Ribeira. Top detours include Mirigaia's Rua São Pedro de Miragaia, gallery-lined Rua Miguel Bombarda and the car lot at Trindade, with works by street art demigods MrDheo and Hazul Luzah. 

People gather on tiered parkland to look out towards a bright orange setting sun

10. Find the perfect spot to watch the sunset 

Porto’s west coast location, at the intersection of the North Atlantic Ocean and the Douro River, makes for some epic sunsets. When the daylight starts to fade, Porto hipsters grab a beatbox and some cold beers and head to the narrow  park along Passeio das Virtudes, which slips down the hillside in a series of terraces. When you see how busy this place gets, you’ll realize that Porto sunsets are serious business. The beachfront at Foz do Douro is another top spot to catch the sun's last rays, as is the  Jardim do Morro in Vila Nova de Gaia.

11. Experience world-class acoustics inside the Casa da Música

Porto’s top concert hall is the  Casa da Música , which has stellar acoustics inside a futuristic Rem Koolhaas-designed polygon. You’ll find a wide mix of programming, featuring both grand symphony orchestras as well as jazz groups and the occasional rock icon.

Planning tip:  During the summer, the terrace of the cafe transforms into an open-air stage for free live concerts and DJ sessions from Wednesdays to Friday nights. 

12. Have a Porto picnic

Porto's warm days are tailor-made for picnics. Assemble a portable feast of Portuguese cheese and northern Portugal’s refreshing vinho verde (a light wine from the Minho) and roll out a blanket at one of Porto’s many inviting green spaces . You can watch the ducks and geese on the ponds at the  Parque da Cidade , Portugal’s biggest urban park, or sit beneath an olive tree and admire the view over the Douro from the elegant grounds of the  ​​Jardins do Palácio de Cristal .

Planning tip:  For pure romance, time your visit for the late afternoon, and you can enjoy yet another fine spot to watch the sunset. 

Two glasses of port on a table with a view over the Douro river

13. Enjoy a port tasting

Portugal’s famous port lodges are located in Porto’s cross-river sister city  Vila Nova de Gaia . Gaia, as it’s more commonly called, is easily reached via a stroll or metro ride across the iconic  Ponte de Dom Luís I , which was built by a disciple of Gustave Eiffel (of  Eiffel Tower fame). Tour and taste Porto’s eponymous tipple at vintage cellars such as  Ramos Pinto ,  Graham’s or  Taylor’s , with the latter offering stellar views of the Douro River from its rooftop terrace. 

Planning tip:  You can delve deeper into the port experience at the  World of Wine , a vast cultural complex that contains various museums, a wine school and a dozen restaurants and bars – plus a huge terrace with views over the Ponte Dom Luís I, the Douro and the city across the water. 

14. Cross the Ponte de Dom Luís I

Completed in 1886 by a student of Gustave Eiffel, Porto's  most eye-catching bridge is a city icon. It was built to replace a precarious crossing between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia made from old port boats lashed together – most would agree that its curving arch adds a definite something to the cityscape. From the upper deck, the views over the river and old town are stunning. Keep an eye out for daredevils who leap from the lower level into the river.

15. Join the party people in Baixa 

If you’re seeking out the heart of Porto’s nightlife, head to the cobblestone lanes just west of Avenida dos Aliados. There you’ll find some of the city’s most atmospheric bars like the  Casa do Livro , a former bookshop turned into a stylish drinking den, or  Bonaparte Downtown , with its rustic charm. On weekends, the alleys (especially Rua Galeria de Paris) fill with revelers for an impromptu street party that rages late into the night.

This article was first published Mar 3, 2020 and updated Feb 24, 2024.

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Porto Travel Guide

Last Updated: January 8, 2024

Porto, Portugal and its hillside colorful buildings as seen from the Douro River

While Porto lacks the iconic “wow!” factor of Lisbon , I still think it’s a beautiful riverside city filled with lots of good food, plentiful wine, and cozy riverfront cafes.

Moreover, this is the best place to start your trips to the nearby Douro Valley, where you can explore and tour the region’s famous port vineyards. It’s also one of the main launching grounds for the Camino Portugues (a multi-day hike to Santiago de Compostela in Spain), making it a popular hub for hikers and pilgrims alike.

This travel guide to Porto will help you plan your trip, save money, and make the most out of your visit here!

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Porto

Top 5 Things to See and Do in Porto

A boat passing by the colorful coast of Porto, Portugal on a busy summer day

1. Wander the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal

This is a free 24-acre botanical garden in the center of Porto. The gardens were designed in the late 1800s and include an avenue of lime trees, walking paths along the river, and a space for concerts and exhibitions. There are also sculptures, fountains, and olive trees scattered around as well. It’s one of the best places in the city to relax, people-watch, and take in the view of the river.

2. Cruise the Douro River

For a relaxing break from the city, take a boat trip up the Douro River. The river stretches some 897 kilometers (557 miles) into Spain, though tours focus almost exclusively on the section around Porto where the city’s six famous bridges can be seen. During an hour-long cruise, you’ll pass under the city’s six massive bridges that span the river while learning a bit about the history of the city. Living Tours offers a scenic hour-long cruise for just 15 EUR.

3. Take a tour of the Douro Valley

Port, a sweet dessert wine, hails from this region, and the mountainous Douro Valley is filled with small family-owned wineries. These wineries are all high up in the hills, offering jaw-dropping views as you sip your wine. If you don’t have your own vehicle, full-day wine tours usually last around 8-10 hours and include multiple stops, lunch, and usually a river cruise as well. Get Your Guide runs a popular full-day tour for 95 EUR that visits two wine estates and includes lunch and a cruise.

4. Admire the city’s azulejo art

Introduced by the Moors (Muslims from North Africa who conquered parts of Europe), this traditional ceramic tilework dates to the 13th century. The artwork usually tells a story, often about the history or daily lives of the people of Porto. Igreja de Santo Ildefonso, Capela das Almas, and the port Cathedral are some of the best places to see this traditional art up close.

5. Visit Livraria Lello

Other things to see and do in porto, 1. take a free walking tour.

The first thing I do when I arrive in a new city is take a free walking tour. It’s the best way to get the lay of the land, see the main sights, and connect with a local guide who can answer all your questions. Porto Walkers runs daily free tours that cover all the highlights. Just be sure to tip your guide at the end!

2. Visit the Stock Exchange Palace

Known as the Palácio da Bolsa, this palace was built in 1842, taking over three decades to complete. The building and its cathedral were designed in the Neoclassical style and are both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Monument. The palace was originally intended to showcase Portugal’s economic might. The interior is ornate and entirely covered from floor to ceiling with paintings, sculptures, and architectural decoration. You’ll find lots of commemorations of Prince Henry the Navigator here as well (he was a 15th-century Portuguese figure central in the establishment of the country’s empire). Admission is 10 EUR.

3. Daytrip to Povoa de Varzim

The city of Povoa de Varzim is a small resort town 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of Porto. It has a wide, sandy stretch of beach where the rich locals used to sunbathe in the 19th century. The tiny town’s Praça do Almada central square has some colorful architecture, including the Neoclassical town hall from 1791. There’s not a ton to do here, but it makes for a nice place to stroll and escape the city. The one-hour bus ride from Porto costs less than 5 EUR.

4. Listen to live music at Casa da Música

This state-of-the-art concert hall is the best place in the city to see live music and theater. Built in 1999 to commemorate Porto’s designation as a European Capital of Culture, performances are held here regularly. Though most of them are in Portuguese, there are a lot of classical and jazz performances too. Ticket prices vary but check the website to see what is available during your visit as there are tons of free concerts and events.

5. Shop at Mercado do Bolhão

Bolhão Market is an eclectic local market full of fresh produce, meats, fish, bread, flowers, and local handicrafts. The market, housed in an old Neoclassical building, has been around since 1914 and is popular with locals and tourists alike. You can find pretty much everything here. If you’re cooking your own meals, it’s a cheap place to buy groceries. (Temporarily closed for renovations).

6. Watch a football match

Like the rest of Europe, the Portuguese love football (soccer). If you’re a fan of the sport, pay a visit to Dragão Stadium to take in a football match. The stadium holds over 50,000 people and FC Porto’s fans are some of the most passionate in Europe. They have huge rivalries with other Portuguese teams, so matches are always exciting and energetic. Even if you’re not a huge sports fan, it’s an amazing event to experience while you’re here.

7. Get lost in Ribeira

Porto’s old town, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, is full of narrow and winding medieval streets, delightful cafés, and historic architecture. Have lunch, enjoy some port, and try to get purposefully lost in the meandering alleys. It’s located along the water opposite Vila Nova de Gaia (a district in Porto) and is my favorite part of the city. Don’t miss stopping by the Casa do Infante, which is said to be the house where Prince Henry the Navigator was born in 1394 (admission is 2.20 EUR).

8. See São Francisco Church

Built in the 15th century, the Gothic Church of Saint Francis is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unlike its drab exterior, the interior is lavishly designed in a Baroque style. The church took around 50 years to build and almost every inch is covered in gold and ornately decorated (over 500 pounds of gold dust was used to cover everything). Below the church are catacombs and an ossuary as well. Be sure to dress appropriately as this is a place of worship. Admission is 7.50 EUR.

9. Admire Porto’s vibrant street art

Many of Porto’s buildings are beautifully decorated with street art and murals. Stroll down Rua de Miguel Bombarda, Rue da Madeira, and Escadas do Codecal (the stairs leading down to the Duoro riverfront under Luis I Bridge), and you’ll see some of the city’s coolest public art. If you want to learn more, book a street art tour . It’s the best way to see the main works and learn more about the street art scene in Porto.

10. Climb up the Clérigos Tower

Built between 1754 and 1763, this Baroque-style tower was home to the Brotherhood of the Clerigos, a 17th-century religious order. At 75 meters tall (and with 225 steps) it offers some of the best views of the city. Declared a National Monument in 1910, admission is 6 EUR and includes access to the museum, which showcases the cultural and religious history of Porto during the 18th century.

11. Visit the Soares dos Reis National Museum

This museum is home to a permanent collection of Portuguese paintings, ceramics, furniture, metalwork, and sculptures. Founded in 1833, it was the first museum in the country that focused on Portuguese art. One of the primary exhibitions is by Portuguese sculptor António Soares dos Reis, after whom the museum is named. Admission is 5 EUR.

12. Hike up to the Virtudes Garden at sunset

This vertical garden is located behind the Palace of Justice. Composed of several raised platforms, the park offers a spectacular view of the Douro River and Vila Nova de Gaia district. After a long day of touring the city, this garden is the perfect place to enjoy a few drinks, people-watch, and take in the sunset over the river. It can get busy though so arrive early. Admission is free.

13. Take a day trip to Guimarães

Located 45 minutes from Porto, this charming city was not only the first capital of Portugal, but it’s also where the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, was born around 1111 CE. The city has a beautifully preserved historic center that dates to the 12th century. Some notable sights to check out Guimarães Castle, the city’s old quarter, and the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza. You can visit as part of a day trip or stay overnight to escape the busyness of Porto. You can take the bus or train for under 5 EUR each way.

  For more information on other cities in Portugal, check out these guides:

  • Lagos Travel Guide
  • Lisbon Travel Guide

Porto Travel Costs

An iconic church in sunny Porto, Portugal with a fountain in the foreground

For those traveling with a tent, camping is available outside the city for around 8-10 EUR per night for a basic tent plot without electricity.

Budget hotel prices – Two-star budget hotels near the city center start around 40-65 EUR per night. Some include free breakfast and all have free Wi-Fi.

Airbnb is a budget-friendly option in Porto with private rooms starting from 30 EUR per night (though they average double that if you don’t book early). Entire homes/apartments cost at least 60 EUR per night, though expect to pay closer to 100 EUR.

Food – Fish and seafood form the backbone of Portuguese cuisine (Portugal eats the most seafood per capita in Europe). Cod, sardinhas assadas (grilled sardines), sea bass, and shellfish are some of the most common staples. Other popular dishes include cozido à portuguesa (boiled stew), peixinhos da horta (breaded and fried vegetables), and cured ham. Be sure to also try the prego (beef sandwich) or the bifana (pork sandwich). You can find them at local cafes for around 5 EUR.

Another local favorite is francesinha . It’s a sandwich typically made with bread, ham, linguica (Portuguese sausage), and steak, with everything covered with melted cheese and a rich tomato sauce. A fried egg is placed on top of the sandwich and it’s accompanied by fries (that you dip in the sauce). It’s incredibly heavy and filling (and delicious) and should be tried at least once. Expect to pay around 9-14 EUR. For one of the best in the city, visit Bufete Fase’s.

For a cheap meal at a local café or restaurant, expect to pay between 8-10 EUR. Small baked goods and snacks cost under 5 EUR. Fast food (think McDonald’s) costs 7 EUR for a combo meal. For something more mid-range, like a three-course meal with table service and a drink, expect to pay at least 15-20 EUR.

Many restaurants offer a “Prato do Dia” (dish of the day) for around 8-11 EUR. These are usually quite filling and consist of 2-3 courses.

A beer costs 2-3 EUR while a latte/cappuccino is around 2 EUR. Bottled water is less than 1 EUR.

If you plan on cooking your own meals, a week’s worth of groceries costs around 35-45 EUR. This covers basic staples like pasta, vegetables, rice, and some meat or seafood.

Backpacking Porto Suggested Budgets

On a backpacker budget, you can visit Porto for around 45 EUR per day. On this budget, you’ll be staying in a hostel dorm room, cooking most of your meals, limiting your drinking, taking public transportation to get around, and sticking to mostly free activities like the gardens and free walking tours.

On a mid-range budget of 110 EUR per day, you can stay in a private hostel room or private Airbnb, eat out for all your meals, enjoy a few drinks, take the occasional taxi to get around, and do more paid activities like a river cruise or a wine tour.

On a “luxury” budget of 230 EUR or more per day, you can stay in a hotel, eat out anywhere you want, drink more, rent a car to get around, and do as many tours and activities as you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!

You can use the chart below to get an idea of how much you need to budget daily. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you spend more, some days you spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in EUR.

Porto Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Porto is a cheap city in an affordable country so it’s hard to spend a huge amount unless you are splashing out at a lot of expensive dinners. Nevertheless, here are some ways to save money in Porto:

  • Pick up a Porto Card – The Porto Card provides free access to around a dozen museums, 50% discounts on 14 other attractions, free public transportation, and discounts to local restaurants. The card is 13 EUR for a one-day pass, 20 EUR for a two-day pass, 25 EUR for a three-day pass, and 33 EUR for a four-day pass. If you plan on seeing a lot, get this card.
  • Take a free walking tour – If you want to understand more about the history, architecture, and people of Porto then take a free walking tour. They last a couple of hours and are a great introduction to the city. Just be sure to tip your guide!
  • Get the Andante Ticket – For unlimited rides on the bus and metro pick up an Andante ticket. It has 24-hour and 72-hour options and tickets cost 7 EUR and 15 EUR respectively.
  • Stay with a local – Couchsurfing is the best way to save on accommodation in Porto. By staying with a local you’ll not only save money but you’ll get to spend time with someone who can show you the city’s hidden gems and share their insider tips. Just make sure to send your requests early as there are not a ton of hosts here.
  • Skip the taxis – Taxis add up in Porto, often adding fees for luggage and airport pickups. Simply use the metro or bus system to get where you need to go. The taxis add up fast!
  • Say “no” to bread – When eating out, a selection of bread and olives may be brought to your table before your meal. These aren’t free, so politely decline the offer if you’re not interested.
  • Bring a water bottle – The tap water here is safe to drink so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. LifeStraw is my go-to brand as their bottles have built-in filters to ensure your water is always clean and safe.

Where to Stay in Porto

Porto has a lot of budget-friendly hostels that are comfortable, social, and clean. The hostel scene here is really good. Here are my top places to stay in Porto:

  • Onefam Ribeira
  • Rivoli Cinema Hostel
  • Gallery Hostel
  • Pilot Design Hostel & Bar
  • Nice Way Porto

How to Get Around Porto

The classic yellow street car on a sunny day in Porto, Portugal

The metro is composed of six lines and 81 stations. It operates from 6am-1am and tickets are 1.20 EUR.

The Andante Card is a rechargeable card that can be refilled in metro stations, newspaper shops, and select cafes. Once you tap your card, you’ll get one hour of access to Porto’s entire public transportation system.

The Andante Card, along with the Porto Card, also offers an unlimited ride option. The Andante card offers costs 7 EUR for the 24-hour pass and 15 EUR for the 72-hour pass. A one-day Porto Card including transportation costs 13 EUR, while a three-day card costs 25 EUR.

Taxis – Taxis in Porto are safe though expensive. Prices start at 3.25 EUR and increase 0.25 EUR per kilometer. Most drivers speak English but showing them the address on your smartphone will help.

Ridesharing – Uber is available in Porto but it’s not much cheaper than the taxis. Bolt and FreeNow are two other ridesharing apps that are usually cheaper than Uber, but I’d still skip ridesharing altogether if you’re on a tight budget. Public transportation is cheap.

Bike rental – Porto is relatively flat so riding a bike is an easy and fun way to see the city. Bike rentals cost around 15-22 EUR per day.

When to Go to Porto

Peak season in Porto is during the summer months of June-August. Temperatures hover around 22-25°C (73-77°F) and the overall atmosphere during this time is lively. There are lots of places to swim or relax on the beach so it’s still worth visiting during peak season even if the city is a bit busier. Since Porto is in the north and on the coast, you can expect temperatures to not be as warm as in the south, where they can reach 33°C (92°F). Since this is the busiest time to visit, expect prices to be slightly higher.

Personally, if you’re on a budget, I think the best time to visit Porto is the shoulder season (April-May and September-October). Temperatures range from 11-20°C (53-68°F) so it’s still warm during this time but there aren’t as many crowds and prices are cheaper. It may be a bit rainy, but you can still enjoy the city without much inconvenience.

Winter lasts from November to February. It gets cold, and tourist crowds thin out considerably. Temperatures vary but linger around 13°C (57°F). It’s still warmer than much of Europe, so if you’re on the continent and are looking to avoid the worst of the weather, head to Porto. Otherwise, save your visit for the summer or shoulder season.

How to Stay Safe in Porto

Porto is very pretty safe for travelers to visit. Violent attacks here are uncommon and petty crime is rare. Pickpocketing is the most common crime (though it’s still quite rare). Be aware of your surroundings when you’re in markets, on busy streets, and when using public transportation. Always keep your valuables secure and out of reach and you should be fine.

Additionally, young backpackers here are often approached and offered drugs as Portugal has a relatively lax approach to illegal narcotics (drugs are decriminalized here). But, while drugs are decriminalized, that doesn’t mean you’re legally allowed to do them. Always decline any drug offers politely but firmly and continue on your way.

Solo female travelers should feel safe here. However, the standard precautions apply (keep an eye on your drink when out at the bar, never walk home alone intoxicated, etc.).

You won’t find a lot of travel scams in the city but read this article on common travel scams to avoid .

The emergency number in Porto is 112.

Always trust your gut instinct. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:

Porto Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • HostelPass – This new card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money. They’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and glad it finallt exists.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • The Man in Seat 61 – This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic train trip, consult this site.
  • Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
  • FlixBus – Flixbus has routes between 20 European countries with prices starting as low 5 EUR! Their buses include WiFi, electrical outlets, a free checked bag.
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!
  • BlaBlaCar – BlaBlaCar is a ridesharing website that lets you share rides with vetted local drivers by pitching in for gas. You simply request a seat, they approve, and off you go! It’s a cheaper and more interesting way to travel than by bus or train!

Porto Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on backpacking/traveling Portugal and continue planning your trip:

The 4 Best Hostels in Lagos, Portugal

The 4 Best Hostels in Lagos, Portugal

The Best Walking Tours in Lisbon

The Best Walking Tours in Lisbon

Where to Stay in Lisbon: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

Where to Stay in Lisbon: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

The 9 Best Hostels in Lisbon

The 9 Best Hostels in Lisbon

When Three Days Is Not Enough Time

When Three Days Is Not Enough Time

Lisbon: Even Better the Second Time

Lisbon: Even Better the Second Time

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Porto Travel

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Porto, Portugal

Enjoy this UNESCO heritage city in the north of Portugal.

Winner "Europe's Leading City Break Destination"

Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List

Wine cellars

Porto is a perfect getaway destination. Its gastronomy and wines are of the upmost quality.

It is the most prominent city in northern Portugal , and the second most important in the country, after Lisbon, the capital.

Awarded in 2020 as Europe’s Leading City Break Destination, Porto is a small, pleasant and walking-friendly city . It has more than 100 kilometers of coastline, a “World Heritage” historic downtown and a centuries-old wine tradition that grant it a distinctive charm .

Visit its monuments , enjoy a glass of port wine overlooking the Douro river, savor one of its superbs restaurants and if you have time to spare, visit the most interesting places nearby, with these day trips from Porto to Braga , Guimarães , Coimbra , and specially, the Douro Valley region, where you can get to know the place where the wine that ends in Porto’s Wine Cellars is made. When you are back at night, delight your ears with a beautiful fado concert in Porto .

Also, don’t forget to check its amazing architecture , with classics like the Porto’s outstanding Bridge D Luiz I , Clerigos Tower , Saint Francis Church and the tiny colored houses in the Ribeira’s river front . For modern architecture, don’t miss the Casa da Música upside down theatre, and the beautiful Serralves Foundation Museums .

As an ending note, if you are coming with all your family, here’s a few tips on things to do in Porto with kids .

If you’re travelling to Europe, you can also check our Paris Travel Guide .

Porto travel guide

Essential information to help organize your visit to porto.

What to see in Porto

What to see in Porto

The places and monuments that distinguish the city.

Lively neighborhoods

Lively neighborhoods

The vicinities you should include in your itinerary.

Where to stay in Porto?

Where to stay in Porto?

Decide which neighborhood best suits your trip.

Eating in Porto

Eating in Porto

Local dishes and where to eat in Porto

Porto with children

Porto with children

Popular activities for families.

Porto's Museums

Porto's Museums

Classical & modern art collections, large and small exhibitions.

Transportation

Transportation

Cost-effective ways to move around the city.

Famous streets

Famous streets

Renowned and picturesque spots of the city.

Port wine

World-class port, white, red and rosé wine. Don't miss it!

Porto Beaches

Porto Beaches

A perfect coastline for surfing, eating fresh fish or sunbathing by the Atlantic.

The Douro Valley

The Douro Valley

Outstanding landscape declared a UNESCO world heritage site.

Day Trips from Porto

Day Trips from Porto

Braga, Aveiro, Coimbra, Guimarães... the best tours from Porto.

Fado in Porto

Fado in Porto

Don't miss the opportunity to hear traditional Fado music

Start by booking your hotel in Porto and choose the best way to arrive via the airport.

From your arrival save on sightseeing and transportation with the Porto Card, which gives you free or discounted admission to monuments or museums . You can purchase a pedestrian version or one with unlimited access to Porto’s public transport .

If you plan to do any tours in the city and its surroundings, you can book them through Viabam.com, our Porto tours platform.

We offer you helpful information in a guide made by locals who love their city and want to show you Porto at its best.

travel porto portugal

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Jetsetting Fools

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A Perfect Porto Itinerary: How To Spend 1-5 Days in Porto, Portugal by JetSettingFools.com

Perfect Porto Itinerary: How To Spend 1 to 5 Days in Porto, Portugal

Welcome to JetSetting Fools, here you will find our best travel tips for destinations worldwide. Some of the links on this site are Affiliate Links and if you use them to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. For more information, read our Disclosure Policy .

Our perfect Porto Itinerary features the best of the city and the Douro Valley region. From famous Porto attractions to Port Wine vineyards to prime viewpoints, our day-by-day guide shows visitors how to experience the top Porto sights in 1 to 5 days. 

We created this itinerary when friends met up with us in Porto for a five day trip. We were excited to show them the amazing allure of one of our favorite European cities, so we packed their itinerary for Porto with our preferred spots, hidden gems and best eats. Now, we’re sharing it all with you! 

Planning a Porto Itinerary

Boats on the Douro River, Porto, Portugal

Planning a trip to Porto takes some effort because there really is so much to experience! While it is a relatively small city, intriguing Porto sights are spread far, wide, high and low.

To really appreciate the charm of Porto it is sometimes best to simply wander down narrow lanes and trek up steep staircases. Porto beaches along the Atlantic Ocean are just a tram ride away and the vineyard covered Douro Valley is accessible by car, train or tour.

With so much to see and do in Porto, visitors need an excellent plan – and our Porto Itinerary provides just that!

How Many Days in Porto, Portugal?

Amazing view across the Douro River, Porto, Portugal

Determining how many days to spend in Porto depends on your overall Portugal Itinerary (or your complete European Itinerary , for that matter). We think you need at least 2 days in Porto, but those staying longer will have no problem filling their days – and their stomachs!

Because visitors to Porto will likely be on different timelines, we have designed a Porto Itinerary for 5 days, with each day building on the previous. So if you are trying to see the Best of Porto in a Day, creating a 3-Day Porto Itinerary or have 5 Days to Spend in Porto, we’ve got you covered! 

Itinerary for Porto Summary

We provide detailed information in our Itinerary of Porto below, but this summary highlights our recommended trip plan.

One Day in Porto

See top Porto sights and take a river boat ride, then sample Port wine and Fado music. Dinner at a local market.

Porto Itinerary 2 Days

Enjoy wandering Old Town, a seafood lunch in Matosinhos and coastal exploration. Eat a Francesinha for dinner and taste local craft beer.

3 Day Porto Itinerary

Take a day trip to the Douro Valley for a tour and tasting at a Port wine estate. Have a casual dinner at Porto’s most famous sandwich shop.

Porto Itinerary 4 Days

Spend the morning exploring the urban parks, then discover a Porto museum in the afternoon. Eat Petiscos – Porto-style tapas – for dinner.

5 Day Porto Itinerary

Embark on a day trip – either north to historic Braga or south to beautiful Aveiro. For dinner, feast on a traditional Portuguese meal.

Organizing your Porto Trip

As you make your plans, you will want to make sure you keep the details of your vacation to Portugal organized. We suggest using our Travel Planning Printables to keep track of the specifics of your trip! 

Travel Planner Printables by JetSettingFools.com

Our Porto Itinerary

How To Visit Porto, Portugal Itinerary

Our Porto Itinerary includes everything you need to plan your trip. In addition to our day-by-day sightseeing adventures, we also include advice on where to stay in Porto, hacks on what to pack and suggestions about getting there and around. 

Save, Pin or Bookmark our Porto Itinerary to plan your trip to Portugal!

1-Day Porto Itinerary

Amazing View, Porto, Portugal

We don’t think one day in Porto, Portugal is enough…but if it is all the time you have, then we recommend making the absolute most of it! Ambitious explorers with a good plan can squeeze in a lot of sightseeing when visiting Porto in one day, and we’ll show you how to maximize your time.

Church Santo Ildefonso, Porto, Portugal

We recommend planning a Porto 1-Day Itinerary that features the highlights of the city and a taste of the local Portuguese cuisine. Start by seeing the sights on a walking tour and taking in the views on a river boat trip. End the day learning about Port wine, listening to Fado music and eating typical Porto fare. 

Porto Walking Tour

Walking Tour of Porto, Portugal

Make your way to prime Porto sights on a walking tour through the historic old town center, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can use our free step-by-step, self-guided Porto Walking Tour that navigates to the top attractions.

Must-see Porto sights along the route are the beautiful Sao Bento Station, the iconic Clerigos Tower, the incredible Livraria Lello book store and the recently renovated Mercado do Bolhão.

Our outlined walk also includes several stunning Porto viewpoints and the Porto Se Cathedral. Finish the walk by crossing the famous Luis the 1st Bridge to the port wine cellars in Gaia.

Alternative Option: Guided Tours in Porto

View of Rua das Flores, walking street Porto, Portugal

Travelers attempting to visit Porto in one day might find that it is easier to leave the details to someone else. There are an array of top-rated tours that aim to help tourists who are short on time get a full dose of the city.

Visitors can join a local on a Guided Walk of Porto – or upgrade the experience and combine sightseeing, culture, food and drink on a single guided tour. 

Guests can participate in a Secret Porto Food Tour that includes locals-only spots or join an excursion that highlights the premier food and beverage on a Porto Food and Wine Tour . For a guided introduction to the latest from independent Porto breweries and traditional Portuguese snacks, book a spot on the Craft Beer and Food Tour .

Douro River Boat Tour

Take a river cruise on the Douro River, Porto, Portugal

After your walking tour, set sail on the Douro River in a traditional boat. The incredibly popular 6 Bridge Boat Ride is a fantastic way to see Porto from an alternate vantage point. The 50-minute Rabello boat ride departs frequently from both the Ribeira and Gaia waterfronts. 

Port Tasting with Fado Performance

Singer, Fado, Porto, Portugal

In the evening, combine two of Portugal’s best activities – Port Wine Tasting and a Fado Performance – at a Porto wine cellar in Vila Nova de Gaia. First, learn about how Port Wine is made on a guided cellar tour, then enjoy a tasting while listening to the soulful sound of Fado.

Pro Tip : Tickets for the Port tasting and Fado show need to be booked in advance !

Guitiat player, Fado, Porto, Portugal

While Fado was born in the Alfama district in Lisbon, there are many Fado singers in Porto. Visitors have several options for listening to a live Fado performance, even with a Porto Itinerary 1 Day. While a combined Port Wine Cellar Tour with Fado experience is our top pick, other options include Fado with Dinner ( get the details ) or Fado on Stage ( pre-book now ).

Dinner of Local Portuguese Cuisine

Inside, Mercado Municipal de Gaia, Porto, Portugal

End your Porto One Day Itinerary with a feast of Portuguese fare at the Mercado Municipal de Gaia. The marketplace features stalls representing some of the celebrated restaurants in Porto. Visitors can sample an array of traditional Porto dishes – like Bacalhau com Natas, Bifanas and codfish cakes – as well as a selection of international cuisine.

Pro Tip: Use our guide on the Best Porto Food for advice on what to eat!

Wine tasting, Mercado Municipal de Gaia, Portugal

Most vendors at this food hall also sell local wine by the glass and, of course, Port. At the center of the market there is a Super Bock beer station (the locally brewed commercial beer) where guests can create tasting boards to match their palate.

Porto 2-Day Itinerary

Best View, Porto, Portugal

With 2 Days in Porto, visitors have the opportunity branch out and see much more. In our Porto 2 Day Itinerary, you will go beyond the city center to explore the districts along the Atlantic Coastline.

Spend the afternoon eating fresh-caught fish, walking on the beach and savoring the salty sea air. Then, get back to Porto in the evening for a fun night of local bar snacks and craft beer!

Wandering the Ribeira District

Best Tour, Porto Walking Tour: A DIY Walking Tour of Porto, Portugal

Early risers can start their second morning by wandering and marveling in the ancient lanes of the Ribeira District. Enjoy a breakfast of local pastries and fresh squeezed orange juice. Spend an hour or two getting lost in the tangle of Porto streets and lanes, watching the city come to life.

Explore Matosinhos and Eat Seafood

Surfers on the beach at Matosinhos, Porto, Portugal

Next up on your Porto 2 Day Itinerary is the coastal neighborhood of Matosinhos. Travel to the Matosinhos District by Bus #500 or Metro. The ancient seaside settlement has roots as a fishing village, but has grown tremendously in modern times. In addition to the vast port and contemporary cruise ship terminal, the area features a wide beach that’s popular with sun worshippers and soul surfers.

Grilled Squid Fish Lunch in Matosinhos, Porto, Portugal

However, Matosinhos is best know as the place to eat fresh grilled seafood in Porto. At lunchtime, the restaurants (of which there are more than 600 in the small community) fire up their grills and cook fresh fish over hot coals. We recommend eating grilled squid and other seafood delicacies at Restaurante O Lusitano. 

Canon and Watchtower at Sao Francisco Xavier Fort, Porto, Portugal

After a filling lunch, spend some time on Matosinhos Beach and then walk off your meal with a stroll south along the coast toward Foz. Stop at the Sao Francisco Xavier Fort and consider a detour onto one of the trails at Parque da Cidade do Porto (Porto City Park).

Walk Along the Coast to Foz do Douro

Pérgola da Nevogilde, Foz, Porto, Portugal

Continue walking south along the rugged shoreline, passing through the picturesque Pergola da Foz. For a sweet treat, stop of Tavi Confeitaria. Visit the Sao Joao Baptista Fort and walk out to the 19th century Felgueiras Lighthouse. Use caution and watch out for the large waves that sometimes splash over the railing and seawall!

Light House at Foz do Douro, Porto, Portugal

From the Foz Lighthouse, visit the Fortaleza de São João da Foz and continue your trek through the pretty Jardim do Passeio Alegre Park. Next, hop on Classic Tram #1 for an old school ride back into Porto city center.

Virtudes Miradouro Viewpoint Park

Best Viewpoint, Porto, Portugal

Disembark the tram at the second to last stop, Alfandega, and perhaps pop into the World of Discoveries or Transport Museum. Then, wind your way up through the Miragaia Neighborhood (past Sao Pedro de Miragaia Church) to Virtudes Park. The west-facing viewpoint is a popular hangout – especially at sunset – for amazing views over Porto.

Patio at Musa das Virtudes, Craft Beer, Porto, Portugal

Pro Tip : Join Porto locals along with other visitors and grab a bottle of Portuguese wine and some snacks from the Spar Market to enjoy at the scenic panorama – or order a fresh craft beer from Musa.

Craft Beer in Porto

Pint at Catraio Craft Beer Shop Porto, Portugal

As in other European cities (like Budapest , Amsterdam and Paris ), the Craft Beer Scene in Porto is coming on strong. Travelers who appreciate better beer will definitely want to make room in their Porto trip plan to sample a few.

We recommend heading to one of the dedicated craft beer bars in Porto. In addition to Musa, visitors can get a taste of locally produced microbrews at other nearby spots, like Cervejaria do Carmo, Baobab or Catraio Craft Beer Shop.

Pro Tip : We share more about what and where to drink in our Porto Craft Beer Guide .

Francesinha for Dinner

Best Francesinha Porto Sandwich

The Francesinha is a must-eat when visiting Porto in 2 days. Nearly every café and restaurant in the city makes the iconic, gut-busting sandwich, but we believe O Afonso makes the best ones. Fair warning; they’re big enough to share, especially with the essential order of fries!

Pro Tip : O Afonso is one of the featured restaurants in our guide of What and Where To Eat in Porto . 

3 Days in Porto Itinerary

View of the terraced vineyards, Pinhao, Portugal

Building on our 2-Day Porto Itinerary, spend your third day discovering the Port Wine vineyards of the Douro Valley, where they have been growing and processing grapes for centuries.

To wrap up your 3 Days Porto Itinerary, you’ll return to the city for the evening and enjoy another classic and satisfying Portuguese meal at one of the top dining establishments!

Day Trip to Douro Valley

View of the many vineyards, Pinhao, Portugal,

While the Douro Valley is nearby, a full day is required to tour the region. Those visiting Porto in 3 Days can join one of the highly rated guided Douro Valley Tours or plan their own trip.

The most popular guided tour provides minivan transportation, Port Wine tastings at two estates, an included lunch of typical cuisine and a Douro River cruise on a traditional Rabelo boat. Reserve your seat now!

DIY Porto-Douro Valley Itinerary

Train Station, Pinhao, Portugal

Rather than joining a tour during your Porto 3 Day Itinerary, you can opt to plan our own day trip from Porto to Pinhao. While the DIY trip will likely be limited to visiting only one winery that is within walking distance of the train station, it is still a great introduction to the most famous Portuguese wine region (and will cost a fraction of the price for a tour).

Depart Porto on the 9am train and arrive in Pinhao around 11:30. After a quick walk around town, indulge in a delicious traditional lunch at Segredos do Douro, which is right across from the train station.

Port wine tasting at Coft Wine, Pinhao, Portugal

Walk off the meal on a short jaunt through the vineyards towards Croft Port at Quinta da Roeda, where you can join an inexpensive vineyard tour and Porto wine tasting ( book in advance ). Afterwards, stroll back into Pinhao in time to catch the 4pm train to Porto.

Pro Tip : We would not recommend this as one of the things to do in Porto with kids, as the children on our vineyard tour and tasting were utterly bored and distracting to fellow guests. 

Dinner in Porto

Casa Guedes, Pernil Com Queijo Sandwich, Porto, Portugal

Complete your third day with a casual dinner at one of Porto’s most popular restaurants: Casa Guedes. The house specialty is a tender roasted pork and sheep cheese sandwich. It’s so simple, yet so divine!

Pro Tip : Casa Guedes now has four locations in Porto, but the original Casa Guedes Tradicional is our favorite.

Alternatively, take a break from traditional Portuguese food and try out some international cuisine. Our preferred place for a truly exceptional burger in Porto is Simplex Virtus, which also features a nice line-up of craft beer. If burgers aren’t your jam, check out TerraPlana, where they make incredible pizzas that pair nicely with their creative cocktails.

4 Days in Porto Itinerary

Column in the middle of Rotunda da Boavista, Porto, Portugal

Building off our 3 Day Porto Itinerary, those with 4 Days in Porto can take in many of the sights that long weekend visitors miss! In our 4-Day Porto Itinerary, we delve into the attractions that are located west of the city center.

Douro River View from Crystal Gardens Park, Porto, Portugal

Partake in one of the best things to do in Porto, Portugal and discover the pretty parks and fabulous museums that are on the west side of the city. We recommend spending the morning at one (or more) of the urban parks and then enjoy the afternoon at one (or more) of the top Porto museums. 

To help you tailor the day to your specific interests and budget, we are highlighting a few different options for what to see and do. All of these Porto points of interest can be reached either on foot or by public transit. 

Porto Parks

Fountain at Crystal Gardens Park, Porto, Portugal

The elegant Jardins do Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace Gardens) rank as one of the best parks in Porto. The planted gardens are especially beautiful in the spring and summer – and peacocks freely roam the grounds year-round! It is free to enter the park and explore the winding trials and savor the views.

Fountain at Crystal Palace Gardens, Porto, Portugal

The charming Porto Botanical Garden is another gorgeous green space. The grounds are free to enter, but a ticket is required to enter the intriguing Biodiversity Gallery. 

For those interested in exquisite architecture in a unique setting, check out the Agramonte Cemetery. While it may seem strange to include a graveyard as a city attraction, the cemeteries in Portugal are beautifully decorated with sculptures and mausoleums.

Michelin Star Restaurant Antiqvvm, Porto, Portugal

Travel Tip: After touring gardens in Porto, you have no doubt worked up an appetite. For an extravagant lunch, make reservations to dine at the Michelin Star Antiqvvm on the grounds of the Crystal Palace Gardens.

Entrance to Mercado Bom Sucesso, Porto, Portugal

For something a little less formal (and a lot less expensive), go to the Mercado Bom Sucesso food hall. After lunch, walk around the Rotunda da Boavista park and admire the towering Monument to the Heroes of the Peninsular War.

Porto Museums

modern Casa da Musica concert hall, Porto, Portugal

The National Museu Soares dos Reis Art Museum, which is housed in an 18th century palace, hosts an excellent permanent collection of paintings, ceramics and sculptures. 

Music lovers will not want to miss the Casa da Musica concert hall. A modern marvel of contemporary design, Casa da Musica offers guided tours of the unique space. 

Museu Romantico da Quinta da Macieirinha is a historic house featuring period pieces. The museum sits on the west end of the Crystal Palace Garden.

The famed Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art is so much more than just a museum. The complex includes multiple galleries, impressive architecture and sprawling gardens. 

Travel Tip : Each Porto museum on our list requires a ticket to enter. The Porto Card provides free or discounted entry to these museums (and many other attractions in Porto!). Get the complete details and prices . 

Petiscos Dinner

Grillled Sausage, Porto, Portugal

End your 4th day of Porto sightseeing with a lingering meal of drinks and food. Similar to tapas, Petiscos are small plates that are typically eaten while drinking and are intended to be shared. Bifana sandwiches, Alheira sausage and Octopus Salad are all common petiscos.

Snack Plate, Porto, Portugal

There are numerous restaurants and taverns in Porto that feature petiscos – from the hip Tapabento at the Sao Bento Train Station to the casual Gourmet da Emilia in Gaia. That said, we think Taxca is an ideal place for visitors to get an introduction to this particular style of eating in Porto.

5-Day Porto Itinerary

Views from Miradouro da Vitoria, Porto

Those spending 5 days in Porto can embark on another day trip to see more Northern Portugal destinations. The best Porto day trips take visitors to stunning sights within an hour or two of the city – and we are highlighting some of the most popular options. 

Alternatively, complete your Porto in 5 Days Itinerary by visiting any sights that you may have missed on the previous days – or navigate to a neighborhood you have yet to discover (like Bonfim or Lapa).

Tours and Day Trips from Porto

Taking a Porto Day Trip by Train in Portugal

Conclude your 5 Day Itinerary for Porto, Portugal by either traveling north to Braga or south to Aveiro. Visitors can plan their own perfect Porto day trip – or forgo the details and meet other travelers by joining an organized tour. We have suggestions for both!  

North to Braga, Portugal

View of Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal

Travel north of Porto to the historic and beautiful town of Braga. The Bom Jesus do Monte hilltop church – and it’s stunning staircase – is a top attraction. The Braga Old Town also boasts numerous opulently decorated churches, including the Braga Cathedral (which is the oldest in Portugal). Use our guide of the Top Things To Do in Braga to plan your time.

Alternatively, book an organized tour to two ancient cities: Braga and Guimaraes, Portugal. In addition to seeing the sights in Braga, participants also venture into the small town of Guimaraes to see the Medieval castle. Get more details!

South to Aveiro, Portugal

View of Aveiro, Portugal

Travel south to Aveiro, the ‘Venice of Portugal, on a day trip from Porto using our Guide of Aveiro Things To Do . Take a cruise along the canals in a traditional Moliceiro boat and soak in the beauty of the colorful town. Rather go by tour? Learn more!

More Porto Day Trip Ideas

While we think Braga and Aveiro are the best Porto day trip options, fellow travelers might be more interested in visiting a national park or seeing a religious pilgrimage site. 

Peneda-Geres National Park

Take a trip northeast of Porto and immerse yourself in nature at the Peneda-Geres National Park. Hike mountain trails, swim in blue lagoons, visit small villages and get a taste of the regional food on an all-day outing. Find out more!

Fatima and Coimbra, Portugal

View of Coimbra, Portugal

Make the pilgrimage to Fatima, one of the most important religious sites in Portugal where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared in front of 3 children in 1917. Then, travel to Coimbra to visit one of Europe’s oldest universities. Book it now!

Traditional Portuguese Dinner

Roasted Pork Shank at Antunes, Porto, Portugal

Be back in Porto for one last traditional meal of Portuguese food for dinner. Make advance reservations at Taberna Santo Antonio, where the rotating menu features in-season specialties. Alternatively, enjoy an epic family-style meal of roasted pork at Antunes. Bom Proveito! 

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Travel Tips for your Porto Itinerary

Igreja da Santissima Trindade, Porto, Portugal

OK, we know you’re ready to make your Porto travel plans – but we have a few important tips for your trip. Whether you are staying in Porto for just one day, spending a weekend in Porto or looking to visit Porto in 3 days or longer, these tips will help you plan an enjoyable vacation to Portugal.

When is the Best Time to Travel to Porto?

Spring Flowers at Jardim Marques de Oliveira, Porto, Portugal

Choosing the best time to go to Porto depends on a few different factors – like length of stay, desired activities and overall Portugal travel budget. 

Summertime in Porto

Porto is busiest in the summer when the weather is hot and the long days are full of sunshine. June, July and August are ideal for swimming at the nearby beaches – however, the city is swarming with fellow tourists. Prices peak in the summertime, getting reservations will be difficult and touring the sights can test even the most patient of travelers. We avoid Porto in the summer.

Autumn and Spring in Porto

During autumn and spring Porto sees fewer visitors, which means hotel prices are lower and it’s easier to get into the top attractions. The weather can be damp and fickle, as Porto is actually one of Europe’s wettest cities, with October typically seeing the most rain. The ocean is also likely too cold for swimming at Porto beaches. 

Porto During Winter

Winters in Porto are mild for Europe, but still a bit wet. If you’re prepared, winter can be a great time to visit as prices are low and there is no problem touring attractions and getting into restaurants. Plus, Porto in December is lavishing decorated for the holidays, like many of the Best European Christmas Destinations .

How To Get to Porto, Portugal

Metro Train, Porto, Portugal

Porto can be reached by plane, train, bus, boat or car. We’ve traveled to Porto by train from Lisbon and plane from London and Funchal and departed on cheap flights to Barcelona and Madrid .

Our preference is to fly – we are JetSetting Fools, after all! When we need to purchase plane tickets, we start our search for the lowest fares on Skyscanner . But, first, read our tips for Getting the Best Flights for Cheap . 

Porto Airport

The modern Porto Airport, Francisco Sa Carneiro Aeroporto (OPO), is located north of the city center. Served by major European airlines and low-cost carriers, there are also direct flights from the US to Porto year-round. After landing in Porto you should use the Metro, Uber or pre-arranged private transport to get to your accommodations.

Getting Around Porto

If you can handle the hills, Porto is fairly easy to get around on foot. Studying a Porto Map – like this one – in advance will aid you in navigating the city. Additionally, there is a robust network of public transportation in Porto that includes buses and rail . 

Where To Stay in Porto, Portugal

View looking at Ribeira Square, Porto, Portugal

There are numerous options when it comes to Porto accommodations. Guests can choose from luxurious Porto hotels, affordable apartments and bargain hostels.

On our first short visit to Porto, we stayed at the well-located Hotel da Bolsa in the Ribeira District. While the property could use a refurbishment, we loved being in the heart of Porto’s most popular tourist area and our upper-level room had a Douro River view!

Start your search for top hotels in Porto on Booking.com – but read our Best Hotels at Best Rates article first!

For our subsequent extended stays in Porto, we opted to use Airbnb . For longer visits, we usually choose to stay in apartments, as they offer more space and a kitchen. However, for 5 Days or less in Porto, we recommend booking a centrally located hotel.

What You Need For Your Trip to Portugal

City Hall, Porto, Portugal

Now onto our packing hacks for your trip to Porto. We share more packing advice – like why Packing Cubes are Essential along with our Ultimate Packing List – on our dedicated Packing Tips Page . Also, go ahead and grab your Free Packing Checklist !

Travel Shoes 

Our Porto Itinerary includes a lot of walking – it’s really the ideal way to see the city. Just be sure to pack a pair of comfortable travel shoes so you’re ready for the hills, stairs and cobblestones! I like to wear lightweight walking shoes, like these by Columbia – and Kris prefers these trail shoes by Merrell .

Appropriate Clothing to Pack for Porto

As we explained above, Porto experiences all four seasons and a fair amount of rain any time outside of summer. For the long, hot and sunny summer days, bring loose-fitting, breathable clothes – and a swimsuit if you plan to spend time at the beach in Porto. During winter, spring and especially autumn in Porto, it is advisable to bring a travel umbrella and packable raincoat . 

Best Travel Camera 

Porto is incredibly photogenic! We recommend capturing the stunning sights with a real travel camera rather than your phone. We shoot with a Canon Rebel and a 18-135mm lens . It’s also a fantastic budget camera option for beginner photographers, as it comes with a bundle of accessories!

Wi-Fi in Porto

Staying connected is important for things like looking up directions, ordering an Uber, checking restaurant reviews and making reservations. We use Pocket WiFi for Travel so that we can be connected the minute we land off that long flight .

With this GlocalMe Hotspot , you can connect up to ten devices at one time; making it perfect for families or groups of friends traveling together. You can either purchase SIM cards or buy eSIM data online in advance. Another great feature is that it doubles as a power bank for when your phone batteries need a boost!

Day Pack for your Trip to Porto

We highly recommend carrying a great day bag to organize and secure all of your everyday travel items . While we’re talking packing, get our advice on the Backpack Vs Suitcase debate!

Travel Insurance for Portugal

In addition to trip cancellations, insurance may cover lost luggage , unexpected illness or injury while abroad. Find out more about coverage and rates with World Nomads .

More Tips for your Trip to Portugal

Tile Art Inside Sao Bento Train Station, Porto, Portugal

The itinerary that we outline above provides a good starting point for planning the Porto segment of your Portugal trip. Many travelers, however, prefer to visit multiple Portugal destinations – like Lisbon, Madeira Island and the Azores. Our trip planning guides cover the top places to visit in Portugal!

Lisbon and Porto Itinerary

Best View of Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal

Travelers designing a Porto to Lisbon Itinerary can use our detailed 3-Days in Lisbon Guide for advice on what to see and do – and we highly recommend including a Day Trip To Sintra ! We provide more tips for Lisbon in these articles: 

  • Best Lisbon Viewpoints and Most Beautiful Lisbon Churches
  • Essential Lisbon Travel Tips
  • What To See in Belem, Portugal
  • How To See Lisbon’s Cristo Rei Up Close
  • Best Free Lisbon Things To Do

Choosing Between Porto or Lisbon

Do you need to choose between Lisbon or Porto? To be honest, it would be difficult for us to pick one city over the other. If at all possible, we would recommend including both! For example, if you are planning a Week in Porto Itinerary, consider splitting your time between Porto and Lisbon. 

Add Madeira or the Azores

Porto Moniz Swim in the natural pools, Madeira Island, Portugal

Have more time to explore Portugal? Fantastic! How about adding on an island adventure to create the Ultimate Itinerary for Portugal ? It is simple enough with several direct flights from Porto to Madeira Island or Ponta Delgada, Azores .

Get started with our Best Things To Do in Funchal (including where to eat ) and then plan your complete Madeira Itinerary ! Alternatively, read our plan for 7 Days on Sao Miguel Island (including our favorite hikes and top viewpoints ).

Start planning your trip to Portugal ! Search for the lowest airfares , the best accommodations and fun things to do …then start packing !   Want more travel tips? Head over to our Travel Planning Page and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides Page !

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A Perfect Porto Itinerary How To Spend 1 to 5 Days in Porto, Portugal by JetSettingFools.com

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Porto – a coastal gem in northwest Portugal – boasts a rich blend of historical sites, architectural marvels, and cultural experiences! No wonder you’re planning to visit it!

However, since we do know how overwhelming it can be to plan your trip – given the numerous tourist attractions in the city – we’ve decided to help! We’ve selected some of the most historically – and culturally-rich locations in Porto and grouped them based on their location so that you could walk from one to the other over a day. We haven’t included too many restaurants and cafes – you’ll find plenty of good ones yourself!

As such, here’s a comprehensive 5-day Porto itinerary to help you make the most of your visit – you can benefit from this guide even if you’re looking for tips on a “2 days in Porto” itinerary.

But first – let’s see how you can arrive in Porto if you’ve landed in Lisbon.

Porto Itinerary: How to Get There from Lisbon

If you’ve landed in Lisbon – which is understandable, considering the beautiful things to see in the area – but also want to enjoy what Porto has to offer, there’s no need to worry about how you’ll get there! There are plenty of options!

First, you can rent a car. This is undoubtedly more convenient and comfortable – this Porto road trip can actually become the highlight of your holiday, as the scenery is absolutely marvelous!

However, if you don’t want to or can’t rent a car, you can easily rely on public transportation. Naturally, you’ll have to accommodate your schedule based on the bus/train schedule, but that’s not such a big problem since several buses go from Lisbon to Porto every day!

If you want to take a bus, check the Rede Expressos website. There are over 20 scheduled trips from Lisbon to Porto throughout the day – choose the one that suits your plans best. The tickets are around 8-15 EUR, and the trip lasts approximately three hours and a half. You can also check Flixbus for even more options. And the best thing about buses? Private bus companies rarely, if ever, go on strike, so you can be assured that you’ll reach your destination!

For trains, check out the Comboios de Portugal website. The train ticket is more expensive, but some of them arrive faster than the bus. Taking a train is also much better if you’re traveling with kids, as any parent likely already knows!

Day 1: Exploring Porto’s Churches

We’ve decided to dedicate the first day of our Porto itinerary to the churches, which are of incredible beauty and undeniably among Porto’s most historically-, culturally-, and spiritually-rich sites. Keep reading to learn more about each and decide if they should be on your must-visit list! You can even include some of these on your Porto 1-day itinerary!

Sé do Porto (Porto Cathedral)

Location : Terreiro da Sé, 4050-573 Porto, Portugal

Hours : Every day: 9 AM – 6:30 PM

Tickets : 3 EUR

Begin your journey at Sé do Porto – a magnificent Romanesque cathedral dating back to the 12th century! Its strategic hilltop location offers sweeping views of Porto and the Douro River. Furthermore, it’s located in the historical center of Porto, so you’ll definitely enjoy the walk to get there!

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Since the cathedral’s exterior and interior were significantly altered during the Baroque period, the structure now features both Romanesque and Baroque elements. In addition, the Porto Cathedral displays some Gothic structures as well, including the famous Gothic cloister adorned with traditional azulejo tiles depicting religious scenes. The silver altarpiece in the chapel is a notable feature, having been added to the original structure in the second half of the 17th century.

The cathedral’s history is also tied to the formation of the Kingdom of Portugal, as it served as a key religious and military site during the Reconquista.

Igreja de Santa Clara

Location : Av. Avelino Teixeira da Mota, 1950-034 Lisboa, Portugal

Hours : Every day: 9 AM – 1 PM; 2 PM – 6 PM

Tickets : 4 EUR

Next, visit the Igreja de Santa Clara, famous for its opulent Baroque interior. This church is not at the top of many tourists’ must-visit list – and for us that’s a pity! Despite its modest exterior, the church’s interior is a marvel of golden woodwork and intricate carvings.

Igreja de Santa Clara

It was built in the 15th century. However, it underwent significant transformations in the 17th century showcasing the artistic and religious fervor of that era. The church is an excellent example of Portuguese gilt woodwork, known as talha dourada , which was widely used in the 17th and 18th centuries. In addition, access to this church is given through a Baroque door built in 1697 and was reconstructed centuries later. It now features Baroque and Renaissance elements.

São Bento Station

The famous São Bento Station! How could we leave this off the list?! A short walk from the Igreja de Santa Clara will bring you to this renowned azulejo-covered station – part transportation hub and part art gallery!

Opened in 1916, the railway station is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Without a doubt, people are primarily visiting it for its walls covered in over 20,000 azulejo tiles! You truly have to see it to believe it!

The tiles were designed and painted by Jorge Colaço. They illustrate significant events in Portuguese history, such as the Battle of Arcos de Valdevez and the Conquest of Ceuta, making it a visual narrative of the nation’s past. In other words, you won’t only delight in the one of a kind art but also learn a lot about Portugal’s history.

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The station itself is built on the site of a former Benedictine monastery ordered by Manuel I of Portugal , adding a layer of historical intrigue. Its exterior doesn’t lack charm either – the building has a Beaux-Arts style with unique architectural elements.

Igreja de Santo Ildefonso

Location : R. de Santo Ildefonso 11, 4000-542 Porto, Portugal

Hours : Varies depending on the day

Tickets : Free

We’ve got two more churches on the list if you’re up to it! Needless to say, you don’t have to visit everything we recommend. First, it can be quite tiring to visit everything, especially if you like to walk around leisurely and enjoy the city. Secondly, not every attraction appeals to everyone, so just go with whatever you prefer! Our job is to share details on why you may like a certain location!

So why do we think you should visit Igreja de Santo Ildefonso? The answer takes us back to Sao Bento station. Why so? If you liked it, you’ll probably like Igreja de Santo Ildefonso as well because it’s also covered in numerous tiles that blend perfectly with the proto-Baroque style!

Built in the 18th century, its Baroque architecture is further complemented by beautiful stained glass windows. The church’s facade, where the 11,000 azulejos are installed, depicts scenes from the life of Saint Ildefonso. The tiles were created by Jorge Colaço, the same artist who worked on the Sao Bento Station tiles.

Igreja de Santo Ildefonso

Igreja do Carmo

Location : R. do Carmo, 4050-164 Porto, Portugal

Hours : 9:30 AM – 5 PM

Tickets : 5 EUR

Igreja do Carmo is a fine example of Rococo/Baroque architecture. Constructed in the 18th century, its azulejo-covered exterior illustrates the foundation of the Carmelite order. The adjoining Igreja dos Carmelitas, separated by a narrow house known as the “hidden house” (Casa Escondida), adds to the unique architectural charm.

This structure is said to have been built to prevent any close contact between the nuns of Igreja dos Carmelitas and the monks of Igreja do Carmo.

Igreja dos Carmelitas and Igreja do Carmo

Capela das Almas

Location : R. de Santa Catarina 428, 4000-124 Porto, Portugal

Hours : Monday to Friday – 7:30 AM – 6 PM; Saturday and Sunday: 7:30 AM – 12:30 PM and 6 PM – 7:30 PM

The last religious site on our list, we promise – but undoubtedly worth a visit if you can squeeze it into your Porto itinerary!

Capela das Almas is famous for its vivid blue azulejos (over 15,000 tiles) depicting scenes from the lives of saints, including Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Catherine. The tiles were added in 1929 by Eduardo Leite and cover an impressive 360 square meters, making it one of the most visually stunning sites in Porto!

In other words, visit Capela das Almas and get a full bouquet of Porto churches and azulejo-covered structures!

Day 2: Historic Squares and Iconic Landmarks

The second day of our Porto itinerary focuses on the historic center of the city and the most famous landmarks. Be it that you’re looking for a week-long trip itinerary or just some tips on spending 2 days in Porto, this tour will undoubtedly help you plan your visit. In addition, if you’re looking for things to do in Porto for a day – this route is definitely it!

Here’s what you should check out on day 2 in Porto:

Praça de Gomes Teixeira

Start your day at Praça de Gomes Teixeira, a bustling square surrounded by significant landmarks. The square’s centerpiece is the Fonte dos Leões, a beautiful fountain adorned with four lion sculptures.

In fact, you’ve probably seen it on your first day in Porto, as it’s right beside Igreja do Carmo. But it’s an excellent starting point for today’s tour. 

Fonte dos Leões

Monumento D. Pedro IV

Location : Praça da Liberdade, 4000-069 Porto, Portugal

Stroll to Monumento Dom Pedro IV, located in the heart of Avenida dos Aliados, only six minutes away by foot. This statue honors the first Emperor of Brazil and is a key figure in both Portuguese and Brazilian history.

Known as Dom Pedro I of Brazil, he was also the king of Portugal, where he was known as Pedro IV. The king played a pivotal role in the independence of Brazil from Portugal. The monument is a symbol of his contributions to the formation of modern Portugal and Brazil.

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Rua das Flores

You may have passed Rua das Flores on your first day in Porto because it’s close to the São Bento station, but now you can leisurely explore it!

Rua das Flores is a charming pedestrian street with beautifully restored buildings, shops, and cafes. Once upon a time, however, it was a street of noble residences and mansions.

Make sure to check out Livraria Chamine de Mota, Portugal’s largest antiquarian bookstore, Ferragens Fermoura, a shop with wooden toys, household linen, and whatnot, and Floresta Cafe by Hungry Biker.

Igreja e Torre dos Clérigos

Location : R. de São Filipe de Nery, 4050-546 Porto, Portugal

Tickets : 8 EUR

We know we promised that Capela das Almas would be the last religious site on our itinerary, but how can we skip Igreja e Torre dos Clérigos when it offers such splendid panoramic views over the city?

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This Baroque church and its 75-meter tall bell tower, designed by Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni, were completed in 1763. The tower is one of the tallest in Portugal – you’ll have to climb 240 steps. But once you’re at the top, you’ll convince yourself that the breathtaking view of Porto is well worth the effort! The church boasts a richly decorated interior with detailed carvings and an impressive altarpiece.

Miradouro da Vitória

Location : R. de São Bento da Vitória 11, 4050-265 Porto, Portugal

Why not end your day at Miradouro da Vitória? It’s an incredible viewpoint offering stunning views over the Ribeira district, Douro River, and Vila Nova de Gaia. This spot is particularly enchanting at sunset – it provides a perfect opportunity to capture the picturesque scenery of Porto!

All in all, make sure you’ve got enough battery on your phone on your second day in Porto because the scenery promises to be magnificent!

Day 3: Vila Nova de Gaia and Port Tasting

And so we’ve made it to the 3rd day! Spoiler alert – if you’re planning a Porto itinerary, three days can be more than enough to visit the best locations in the city. Vila Nova de Gaia can make for a perfect end to your trip if you’re spending just 3 days in Porto. If you’re planning to prolong your trip, keep reading, because we’ve got some other truly incredible places you’ll enjoy!

Vila Nova de Gaia is a municipality in the Porto District located on the other side of the Douro River. If you want to have an authentic experience exploring local cellars – Vila Nova de Gaia is your destination!

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In addition, it has 17 beaches, among which are Miramar, Granja, Valadares, and Madalena. In short, you can pair wine tasting with sunbathing – can you wish for more after two busy days in Porto? 

If you’re on the lookout for museums and natural parks, rest assured – you’ll find plenty in Vila Nova de Gaia, including:

  • Jardim do Morro
  • Local Nature Reserve of the Douro Estuary (spoiler alert: it’s a treasure for wildlife enthusiasts, especially bird-watchers!)
  • Gaia Biological Park
  • House-Museum Teixeira Lopes
  • Solar dos Condes de Resende

Make sure to stop at Miradouro da Ribeira, which offers splendid views over Ponte Luis I. It’s an excellent spot for early morning photography.

We also recommend taking the Gaia Cable Car to Miradouro do Teleférico. This short ride provides a unique perspective of Porto and the river. At the top, you’ll find another fantastic viewpoint offering sweeping views of the cityscape and the bustling riverbanks below!

Gaia Cable Car

Port Tasting in Vila Nova de Gaia 

Spend the afternoon exploring the famous port wine cellars of Gaia. Here are some you can choose from:

  • Graham’s Port Lodge, established in 1820, holds approximately 3500 barrels of Port.
  • Sandeman, which houses one of Europe’s most extensive bottle collections.
  • Taylor’s Port, which offers beautiful gardens and a stunning terrace view alongside its wine cellars.
  • Cálem, which has over 150 years of history and offers visitors more than just a tour museum and cellar tour – there are also Fado shows and 5D films.
  • Ramos Pinto, founded in 1880, is located in Vila Nova de Gaia’s historic center.

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Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau

Location : Av. de Diogo Leite 122, 4400-111 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal

Hours : Every day: 10 AM – 10 PM

If you’re in Vila Nova de Gaia, you simply cannot miss out on tasting the delicious Pastel de Bacalhau . This is basically a codfish cake – it sounds simple, but we promise you, it’s absolutely delightful! And you won’t taste a better pastel de bacalhau anywhere else in the world – n ot to mention the stunning interior decorations that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into another world!

Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau is a relatively recent establishment, having been founded in 2015. However, it has rapidly spread across Portugal, now having ten stores in the country.

Day 4: Museums and Riverside Walks

We’ve decided to book the 4th day in our Porto travel itinerary for museums and riverside walks. If this sounds good to you, put on your most comfortable shoes and let’s go!

Museu de Arte Contemporânea

Location : R. Dom João de Castro 210, 4150-417 Porto, Portugal

Hours : Monday to Friday: 10 AM – 6 PM; Weekend: 10 AM – 7 PM

Tickets : 24 EUR

Begin the day at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea of the Serralves Foundation. This museum is a hub for contemporary art, featuring works signed by both Portuguese and international artists. The surrounding Serralves Park, with its beautifully landscaped gardens and art installations, is perfect for a leisurely stroll.

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Museu Nacional da Imprensa

Location : Estrada Nacional 108, 206 Porto, Museu da Imprensa 206, Porto, Portugal

If you’re not an artist or art is not something you’re interested in, head to the other side of Porto to check out Museu Nacional da Imprensa – this one is excellent for bookworms, journalists, and anyone interested in Portugal’s history of print media.

The museum houses a collection of printing presses, historical documents, and an extensive archive of newspapers and magazines.

We must mention that this museum is temporarily closed – but it may be open when you come to Porto, so make sure to check their website beforehand.

Museu do Futebol Clube do Porto

Location : Via Futebol Clube do Porto – Estádio do Dragão, 4350-415 Porto, Portugal

Hours : Every day: 10 AM – 7 PM

Tickets : 20 EUR

If you’re neither an artist nor a journalist but are a fan of sports, head straight to Museu de Futebol Clube do Porto!

Located at the Estádio do Dragão, this museum celebrates the rich history of FC Porto, one of Portugal’s top football clubs . Exhibits include trophies, memorabilia, and interactive displays highlighting the club’s achievements.

Museu Futebol Clube do Porto (Estádio do Dragão)

Palácio da Bolsa

Location : R. de Ferreira Borges, 4050-253 Porto, Portugal

Tickets : 12 EUR

Whatever museum you’ve chosen from the ones mentioned above, it’s time to head towards Palácio da Bolsa – this one is a must-see for everyone because it’s a feast for the eyes!

Palácio da Bolsa is a 19th-century neoclassical building that once served as Porto’s stock exchange. The palace’s stunning Arab Room was inaugurated in 1880 on the occasion of the tricentenary of Luis de Camoes . Architects, designers, and construction workers spent 18 years building this room!

The palace features other exquisite rooms decorated with fine furniture, paintings, and decorative arts.

palacio da bolsa porto

Church of Saint Francis and Casa do Infante

After your visit to Palacio da Bolsa, make sure to stop by the Church of Saint Francis to admire its Gothic elements – the most prominent in Porto! The interior of the church, on the other hand, features Baroque decorative elements.

We also recommend visiting Casa do Infante, one of Porto’s oldest buildings dating back to the 14th century. It was traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Prince Henry the Navigator. Today, it houses a museum that explores Porto’s medieval history and its role in the Age of Discovery.

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Have a Riverfront Walk and Cross the Ponte de Dom Luís I

End the day with a leisurely walk along the Douro River in the Ribeira District. This historic waterfront area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has narrow, winding streets and colorful buildings. Enjoy the lively atmosphere, with plenty of restaurants and cafes offering outdoor seating with views of the Douro River.

While you’re there, make sure to cross the iconic Ponte de Dom Luís I, a double-deck iron bridge designed by a disciple of Gustave Eiffel – you’re right, the one who designed the Eiffel Tower! The upper deck offers a pedestrian walkway with stunning views of Porto and Gaia.

It’s a perfect way to end your evening, capturing the city’s illuminated skyline and the serene flow of the Douro River!

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Day 5: A Trip to Douro Valley

The Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its terraced vineyards and scenic landscapes – so why not end your trip with it?!

We recommend booking a guided tour ( this one , for example). While you can certainly explore the Douro Valley on your own, you’ll enjoy the trip significantly more if you don’t have to worry about anything besides having a good time!

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This particular tour, for instance, includes hotel pick-up, guided visits to two wine estates (which include, of course, wine tastings), lunch, and 50 minutes spent on a traditional Rabelo cruise that departs from Pinhão. Make sure to have your camera ready, as the valley’s breathtaking scenery, with rolling hills and the meandering Douro River, ensures breathtaking views you’ll want to revisit through pictures over and over again!

Such tours usually take approximately 10 hours, although this highly depends on traffic. The groups are usually small – up to 30 people – and the tours cost approximately 100 EUR.

Other Things to Do in Porto

If you’re spending more than 5 days in Porto and are looking for other places to visit or simply want to replace some of the attractions we mentioned above – we’ve got you covered! We’ve prepared a list of some extra activities that can make your Porto trip memorable:

  • Bank of Materials . Visit the Bank of Materials for a unique cultural experience. It’s a repository of building materials and architectural elements (mostly azulejo tiles) salvaged from demolished or renovated buildings. It’s a fascinating place for those interested in art, architecture, and urban history.
  • Have dinner at Voltaria and enjoy your dessert at Cremosi. End your Porto adventure with a memorable dinner. Voltaria offers a cozy atmosphere and a menu featuring traditional Portuguese dishes with a modern twist. Cremosi is known for its delicious gelato and desserts, perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth after a day of exploration.
  • Livraria Lello. Take a short walk from Igreja do Carmo and arrive at Livraria Lello , one of the most beautiful and famous bookstores in the world! Its neo-Gothic interior, stunning stained glass ceiling, and ornate wooden staircase are a must-see for book lovers and architecture enthusiasts! However, be aware that the place is usually pretty crowded.

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  • Majestic Café. Take a break at Majestic Café, an iconic Belle Époque-era café on Rua Santa Catarina. Known for its exquisite Art Nouveau design, this café has been a favorite spot for intellectuals and artists since the 1920s.

The interior of the Majestic Cafe

  • World of Discoveries. Looking for a fun and educational experience? Visit the World of Discoveries, an interactive museum and theme park that recreates the adventures of Portuguese explorers . It’s a great place for families and those interested in the Age of Discovery.
  • Foz do Douro. Spend part of your evening in Foz do Douro, where the Douro River meets the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the seafront promenade, relax at one of the beachside cafes, or visit the Felgueiras Lighthouse for spectacular ocean views!
  • Mercado do Bolhão. Mercado do Bolhão is a traditional market in the heart of Porto. It’s an excellent place to experience local culture, buy fresh produce, and sample regional specialties.
  • Passeio das Virtudes. Head to Passeio das Virtudes for another unique viewpoint! It’s a charming garden offering delightful panoramic views of the Douro River and Gaia. It can make for an excellent end of your one-day Porto itinerary, especially if you’re visiting it with your significant other!

Porto Itinerary: Tips

Be it that you spend two days in Porto or a whole week, we’ve prepared some tips on visiting the city. You can thank us later!

  • Wear Comfortable Shoes : Porto’s hilly terrain and cobblestone streets can be challenging. You’ll certainly be happy to have worn comfortable shoes!
  • Use Public Transportation : Porto’s metro, buses, and trams are efficient and convenient for getting around the city. You can also use Uber, which has highly affordable prices, especially if you’re traveling with friends or family.
  • Bring cash : Many restaurants and shops in Portugal accept only cash or local cards, so make sure to have some.
  • Purchase a Porto Card . If you have lots of tourist attractions on your Porto itinerary, you can buy a Porto Card, which offers access to public transportation and free entry to various museums and monuments.
  • Wear Sunscreen . Don’t forget to wear sunscreen. It’s often windy in Portugal, and you may feel like the sun isn’t strong but it actually is , and you’ll likely end up with a severe sunburn, especially if you spend your whole day walking around the city.

Enjoy your trip to Porto!

Frequently Asked Questions

How many days in porto are enough.

We recommend spending at least two days in Porto to be able to see the most sought-after attractions.

Are 7 Days Too Many for Porto?

Seven days are definitely not too many to stay in Porto. There are many tourist attractions you can explore and, besides this, you can book 1-2 days just for sunbathing at the beaches in Vila Nova de Gaia.

Is Porto or Lisbon Better?

Both Porto and Lisbon are worth visiting as they have unique historical and cultural landmarks that can become the highlight of your trip. The ultimate choice depends on your preferences and budget, as well as on the climate – Lisbon is much hotter than Porto in the summer.

Is Porto a Walkable City?

Porto is definitely a walkable city, so pack up some comfortable shoes because you’ll need them!

Is Porto an Expensive City to Visit?

Entry fees, public transportation, and eating out in Porto are quite inexpensive. In fact, Porto is one of western Europe’s least expensive cities. 

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18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Porto

Written by Becca Blond and Paul Bernhardt Updated Dec 25, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Porto is an easy city to fall in love with. From the moment you arrive, you'll be mesmerized by its historic center, which is filled with narrow cobblestone streets and picturesque squares, with tall colorful houses, Baroque churches, train stations, and stately neoclassical buildings with intricate blue and white tile facades dating back to the 14 th century.

The city sprawls upward from both sides of the Douro River and is seemingly hewn out of granite cliffs at the mouth of the river, where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. It is a city that has it all. From rich cultural attractions to world-class museums and even surf beaches, there is no shortage of sights and activities to partake in.

Dom Luís I bridge at night

Porto is relatively compact and it's easy to explore on foot so long as you don't mind climbing some very steep hills. If you do get tired, however, the public transport system is good, and taxis and Ubers are plentiful. But half the fun of exploring Porto is wandering its cobbled Medieval streets and 18 th -century accented neighborhoods on foot. Just be sure to pack some decent walking shoes.

The city's historical heart is the Ribeira . This waterfront bairro positively insists you lose yourself among the maze of narrow streets and seek out some of the city's most cherished architectural treasures. In fact, so rare and precious are the buildings that make up this venerable neighborhood that UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site.

Meanwhile, the city's contemporary character is evident in its thriving modern arts scene and an alarmingly futuristic music venue. Crossing the bridge to Vila Nova de Gaia is a sightseeing highlight, as is a guided tour around one of the port lodges. Also consider a cruise along the Douro, and for a truly memorable city panorama take a ride on the cable car that glides from one end of the quayside to the other.

Considered Portugal's second city, after Lisbon, many will argue it is the more charismatic of the two cities. You'll have to experience it for yourself, following our list of top attractions, to decide.

See also: Where to Stay in Porto

1. Torre dos Clérigos

2. palácio da bolsa, 3. porto bridge climb, 4. igreja de são francisco, 5. cais da ribeira, 6. ponte dom luís i, 7. sé (cathedral), 8. vila nova de gaia, 9. museu nacional soares dos reis (soares dos reis national museum), 10. parque das virtudes, 11. world of discoveries, 12. igreja do carmo, 13. casa da música (music house), 14. fundação de serralves museu de arte contemporânea (contemporary art museum), 15. café majestic, 16. centro português de fotografia (portuguese center of photography), 17. porto tram city tour, 18. surfing in porto, 19. avenida dos aliados, where to stay in porto for sightseeing, frequently asked questions, what is the best way to get from porto's airport to the city center, what are the best shopping areas in porto, what are the best beaches near porto, what are the best day trips from porto, what are the other must-see destinations in northern portugal, map of tourist attractions in porto.

Torre dos Clérigos

The soaring Clérigos Tower punctuates Porto's skyline like a monumental needle. This is the city's most visible landmark, a 75-meter-tall, 18th-century granite-hewn rocket, and visiting this historic structure should be high up on the "things to do" list.

You'll need a stout pair of legs to climb the 240 steps to the top of the tower, but the effort will be rewarded with a breathtaking panorama of the river, the coastline, and the distant Douro valley — a bird's-eye-view of Portugal's second largest city, and an inspiring way for first-time sightseers to get their bearings.

Commissioned by the Brotherhood of the Clergy ( clérigos ) and designed by the Italian-born Nicolau Nasoni, the Baroque tower complements the adjoining Igreja dos Clérigos , which is also Nasoni's handiwork. Built between 1732 and 1750, the church itself is a wonderful example of the architect's affinity with the Baroque and features an elliptic floorplan, one of the first churches in Portugal built in such a way.

But the tower remains the highlight and, day or night, its tapered profile stands as a historic beacon visible from most parts of the city.

Address: Rua São Filipe de Neri, Porto

Official site: www.torredosclerigos.pt

Palácio da Bolsa

Dating from the mid-19th century, Porto's former stock exchange contains a wealth of historic interest. Built on the site of a Franciscan monastery, its sumptuous interior is divided into several rooms and salons, each one singular in its appeal and worthy of close scrutiny.

Pretend you're a wealthy merchant visiting on business as you wander through the Portrait Room with its gallery of uniformed monarchs, and then cast your eyes skywards after entering the Golden Room to admire its gilded stucco ceiling. You'll be ready for your meeting with the boss in the lavishly furnished Chairman's Room before joining fellow merchants in the richly decorated Court Hearing Room to witness mercantile law acted out in due process.

You may want to pop into the adjacent Juror's Room before gathering in the magnificent Hall of Nations to mingle with the great and the good. But you'll want to leave the best for last by sneaking off to the astonishing Arabian Room, inspired by Granada's Alhambra , and the one place that really sells a tour of the Bolsa.

Incidentally, the building is the headquarters of the Porto Chamber of Commerce, and its members still gather in the classical General Assembly Room.

Address: Rua Ferreira Borges, Porto

Official site: http://www.palaciodabolsa.com

Arrábida Bridge

One of the more unusual things to do in Porto — and certainly a radical departure from the traditional sightseeing options — is the chance to climb the arches of the Arrábida Bridge , set downstream away from the more familiar Ponte Dom Luís 1 .

The Porto Bridge Climb conducts guided tours of this iconic structure with participants attired in harnesses and secure lifelines in order to scale the lofty heights safely and comfortably. Following a narrow pedestrian staircase and connected by cable to a parallel handrail, visitors slowly scale the yawning arches to reach the top of the span, 65 meters above the River Douro . The panoramic views of the outlying city and the mouth of the river are truly memorable.

Descending the 262 steps reveals the size and elegance of this 20th-century engineering marvel, inaugurated in 1963 and currently the only bridge span in Europe that can be accessed this way.

Location: Cais do Bicalho, Porto

Official site: https://www.portobridgeclimb.com/?lang=en

Igreja de São Francisco

Visitors are shrouded by gold as they enter the beautiful church of St. Francis. Its 18th-century Baroque interior is encrusted with a gilded veneer so dazzling and exuberant that most agree this is one of the best examples of worked gold anywhere in the country. Indeed, this is a priceless sightseeing experience.

Gilt carving embellishes the high altar, columns, and pillars, with barely a single patch of stone left visible. Look out for smiling cherubs and dour-faced monks as you edge toward the north wall and São Francisco's Tree of Jesse, a family tree in gilded and painted wood depicting Christ's genealogy.

An extraordinary and beguiling artifact carved between 1718 and 1721, the tree boasts fine detail seen in the expressions of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and other figures, including King David, Solomon, and Jesse himself, which leaves onlookers speechless.

A tour of the ancient catacombs underneath the church helps bring visitors back down to earth, but there are more treasures from the church's monastery to behold in the museum afterwards.

Address: Rua do Infante D. Henrique, Porto

Official site: www.ordemsaofrancisco.pt

Cais da Ribeira

Porto's riverside quarter is an alluring labyrinth of narrow, winding streets; zigzagging alleyways; and low-slung, sun-starved arcades. Facing the River Douro , though, are terraces of lofty townhouses painted in bright mustard, tangerine, and tawny hues — the Ribeira is an adventure in color and flavor.

A plethora of restaurants and cafés set under the arches along the quayside makes this the most popular area in the city for relaxing and socializing. Praça da Ribeira , the riverfront square, is a popular and lively meeting point and buzzes with a young, friendly vibe.

This is also a busy commercial district, where grocers rub shoulders with butchers and fishmongers. Tiny, dilapidated shoemaker's studios echo to the industrious tapping of cobblers' hammers, and the rustic aroma of freshly baked bread collides with the Douro's salty, briny odor. Above it all, locals share gossip from balconies or open windows, shouting inexorably across lines of washing snapping in the breeze.

The Ribeira is also about history, and exploring this fascinating neighborhood is to discover medieval relics built over Roman foundations. UNESCO loves the place, and long ago declared it a World Heritage Site.

Ponte Dom Luís I

The grandiose Dom Luís I bridge is one of the most iconic structures in Portugal. Spanning the mighty River Douro to link Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia on the south bank, the bridge's majestic sweep and two-tier aspect is a binding component in the city's proud, social fabric.

The heavily riveted charcoal-grey ironwork has Gustave Eiffel written all over it, and indeed it was an assistant of the great French engineer who built the bridge in 1886. Commuters use the bridge on a daily basis — a road, Avenida da República, runs across the lower deck while the upper span accommodates a metro railway line.

Pedestrians can walk across using the narrow pavements set on either side of the road, or be really brave and traverse the structure using the 60-meter-high top-tier footpath.

An outstanding view of the bridge can be had from the terrace of the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar , on the south bank. From here, the entire city forms a fabulous backdrop, and the panorama is particularly dramatic at dusk. Don't forget your tripod!

Sé (Cathedral)

Sightseeing in Porto should always include exploration of the city's cathedral. In fact, the sweeping panorama from the terrace over the old-town streets and the sleepy River Douro is a great curtain raiser and primes the senses for what lies ahead.

An imposing 12th-century landmark, the cathedral has the appearance of a fortress, such is the forbidding look of its towers and the shadowy complexion of its façade. Redeeming features include a beautiful 13th-century rose window set in the west front, and the serene Baroque cloisters paneled with sky blue azulejo tiles. Linger here a little to absorb the medieval ambiance and the tranquil locale.

From here, a worn 18th-century granite staircase connects with the chapterhouse, which is wrapped in more stunning tile work. Another standout attraction is the magnificent silver retable in the small chapel to the left of the chancel.

Round off your tour by poring over the cathedral's dazzling hoard of gold and silver held in the Treasury.

Oporto Cathedral - Floor plan map

With its long, broad promenade and riverfront aspect, Vila Nova de Gaia is an irresistible diversion. Easily reached on foot by crossing the Ponte de Dom Luís I , the town's landscaped quayside is fringed by a long line of stylish restaurants and cafés. It's also the departure point for numerous Douro River cruise boats.

Adding a wonderfully nostalgic perspective is the fleet of traditional barcos rabelos moored alongside the esplanade. These graceful sailing vessels were once used to ferry casks downriver from the Douro port estates, and with Porto's Ribeira district providing a suitably romantic backdrop, sightseers are regaled with an atmospheric cityscape, a tableaux reminiscent of the 18th century.

For a truly dramatic outlook, take a ride on the Teleférico de Gaia , or cable car. This novel new sightseeing attraction runs along the Gaia riverside and connects the upper station, near the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar , with the eastern end of the esplanade.

Location: Cais de Gaia, Porto

Vila Nova de Gaia - Floor plan map

If you decide to visit just one museum in Porto, make sure it's this one. The outstanding collection of Portuguese art spans from the 16th to the 20th centuries and includes sculpture by António Soares dos Reis, the country's celebrated 19th-century sculptor after whom the museum is named.

The displays are wonderfully eclectic in their scope, with the gold and silverware particularly engaging. The collection of paintings showcases works by Portuguese and foreign artists, notably Dutch and Flemish. Fine Portuguese glassware from the 18th and 19th centuries complement rare ceramic pieces that include porcelain from China, and examples of Delftware.

Decorative furniture from as far away as India and Japan lend the exhibition an exotic veneer, while the textiles collection is mostly derived from fabrics and other materials that were confiscated from dissolved monasteries and convents.

Allow a good couple of hours to browse the various galleries and then explore the garden, perhaps before a bite to eat in the museum's cafeteria, where the lunch choice includes vegetarian options.

Address: Palácio dos Carrancas, Rua D. Manuel II, Porto

Official site: https://museusoaresdosreis.gov.pt/

Sunset from Parque das Virtudes

Set on a hillside overlooking the Douro River and the Ribeira neighborhood, Parque das Virtudes is the most revered local spot to watch the sunset on long summer days. Due to its western locale, Porto gets some amazing nightly fire shows, and you need to come here at least once on your trip.

You can grab a takeaway beverage from one of the cafes on the street behind the top of the park, take a seat in the grass or on one of the benches, and just breathe. People of all ages come for sunset, and you'll hear a mix of languages and maybe even be treated to some impromptu live guitar and drum sessions.

The park, which is really a terraced garden carved into the embankment above the river, has lots of tall trees and makes a great spot to plan a lunchtime picnic away from the crowds. Finding the entrance to the park can be difficult. Look for one on Rua Azevedo de Albuquerque and another behind the Palácio da Justica .

World of Discoveries

Portugal's remarkable period of conquest and exploration, the Age of Discovery , is re-enacted with astonishing effect at this slick interactive museum and theme park. The perilous voyages of 15th-century Portuguese navigators, setting sail in fleets of fragile caravels to chart unknown waters and map new lands, are brought to stunning life through a series of detailed exhibitions and screened animations.

But the real adventure begins after boarding a boat and journeying to countries discovered by the likes of Vasco da Gama, who in 1498 mapped a sea route from Portugal to India, and Pedro Álvares Cabral, who reached Brazil in 1500.

Wearing audio headsets, passengers are regaled with the planning and organization underpinning these ambitious maritime expeditions and also glean a fascinating insight into the history and culture of the various destinations colonized by the Portuguese during this period. In fact, this is a wonderfully engaging and educative experience and good fun for all ages.

Address: Rua de Miragaia 106, Porto

Official site: https://www.worldofdiscoveries.com

Igreja do Carmo

Plastering the exterior of Porto's 18th-century Carmo church is a blaze of blue and white azulejos (tiles), and the striking façade is one of the most instantly recognized in the city. The original azulejos found around the city date back to the 14th century when they were used as a key decoration element on streets, buildings, and monuments. Today, some of the tiles have been replaced by replicas after the originals were stolen.

The church's immense tile panel is a real head-turner, but the splendid gilt carvings that decorate the interior are equally appealing. In fact, the elegant golden-brushed woodwork is among the finest examples of Portuguese Rococo.

The neighboring Igreja das Carmelitas is less of an eye-opener. Incredibly, dividing both is a house, built to comply with an ancient law that stipulated that no two churches were to share the same wall.

Detail of Igreja do Carmo

Many believe this to be the narrowest private residence in the country, although it's been unoccupied for nearly 30 years. A whimsical anomaly, the one-meter-wide abode makes for an interesting snapshot squeezed as it is between two granite monoliths.

If you enjoy seeing the azulejos also pay a visit to the nearby Sāo Bento train station . It is the most impressive example of this form of tile art. Here you will find floor-to-ceiling tile murals telling stories of Portugal's history. Another top spot for intricate tiling is found along Rua de Santa Catarina street.

Address: Rua do Carmo, Porto

Casa da Música (Music House)

Anyone staying in Porto for a few days should check out the cultural program on offer at this fabulous international concert venue. The "Music House" is celebrated as much for its radical design as for the caliber of the entertainment it hosts.

Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas kicked convention when he was commissioned to create a building that would propel the city headlong into the 21st century. This he achieved to great acclaim, and the best way to appreciate his triumph is to attend one of the many gigs staged within its bleached, odd-sided skin.

All musical tastes are catered for, anything from classical and fado, to jazz and hip-hop. World-class acts performing here include the late Lou Reed, who played the opening night back in 2005.

Another way to glimpse the interior is to walk up to the top-floor restaurant. On the menu of Mediterranean-influenced cuisine is an inspiring panorama across Porto's busy Boavista neighborhood. But for an unhurried, up-close-and-personal view join a guided tour. Otherwise, amble over here at dusk when the venue is washed with floodlight for a truly abstract perspective of this extraordinary structure.

Address: Avenida da Boavista 604, Porto

Official site: http://www.casadamusica.com/en/

Fundação de Serralves Museu de Arte Contemporânea (Contemporary Art Museum)

The influential Serralves Foundation runs Porto's highly respected Contemporary Art Museum. Designed by minimalist wizard Álvaro Siza Vieira, the chalk-white building is itself a cultural draw, an example of subliminal ergonomic architecture set in a verdant, meandering park four kilometers west of the city center.

The museum has eschewed a permanent collection and instead aspires to offer different perspectives on contemporary art in various media. This all adds up to an exciting and unpredictable visitor experience where, very often, you're left to make your own mind up about the meaning behind each piece and the intentions of the artist — in other words, this is modern art.

Also set within the grounds is the pink Art Deco Casa de Serralves , where other exhibitions are held. Discussions, arguments, and points of view can be exchanged in the on-site café or the more formal restaurant. The park is quite beautiful, a landscaped Eden of tremendous biodiversity. A series of footpaths snake through the 18 hectares, winding past spruce lawns, ornamented lakes, and aromatic herb gardens before circulating through a shady, wooded copse.

Address: Rua Sao Joao de Castro 210, Porto

Café Majestic

With its distinctive Art Nouveau façade of curvaceous stonework and undulating motifs, this sparkling gem of a coffeehouse is unmistakable.

Inside, a vintage 1920s ambience percolates the salon. Arranged throughout the lavish interior are the original carved wood chairs and marble-topped tables that lend Majestic its delightfully bohemian flavor. Cherubs and lamplights cling to the plasterwork ceiling. Gracing the walls are sets of huge Flemish mirrors that reflect the evocative, yesteryear character.

This is the most celebrated of Porto's cafés, and one of Europe's most historical. Lunch and dinner can be taken here in considerable style, the menu tempting with a fusion of Portuguese and Mediterranean flavors. The café is also known for its cakes and pastries selection, and conjures up specialties like French toast smothered in a creamy egg custard topped with dried fruit.

Kids will love it here, especially when they realize that author J.K. Rowling worked on the draft of her first book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone while sipping coffee at a table near the entrance. Magic, or what?

Livaria Lello bookstore

Harry Potter fans will also not want to miss a visit to Livaria Lello bookstore (about a 12-minute walk away), which is said to have inspired Diagon Alley's premium bookstore, Flourish and Blotts, in the series. When JK Rowling lived in Porto, she would visit the more than 100-year-old bookstore on weekends. There is almost always a line to get into the bookstore today, and tickets cost 5 EUR, although you can get the money refunded if you buy a book.

Even if Harry Potter doesn't excite you, this bookstore is still a work of art. The interior is art nouveau at its finest and you'll want to climb the curved red staircase to the top. The bridge in the center of the shop, with a curve and dip at its middle, is equally impressive. Also make sure to check out the ceiling, which has a huge stained-glass window in it.

Address: Rua Santa Catarina 112, Porto

Official site: http://www.cafemajestic.com/pt/Utilidades/Homepage.aspx

Centro Português de Fotografia (Portuguese Center of Photography)

The Portuguese Center of Photography will appeal to anybody with an understanding of the photographic process. This engaging cultural facility is set within the walls of a former 18th-century prison, the Cadeia de Relação. The jail was closed in 1974, but its labyrinth of cells, various administrative offices, and the inner courtyard were all carefully restored and now serve as unusual exhibition spaces.

Exhibitions tend to focus on vintage and contemporary Portuguese photography, but a number of international photographers have seen their work exhibited as part of cultural exchange initiatives. Interestingly, photographs created digitally and those taken using traditional analogue methods share a more or less equal platform, so purists and fans of new imaging technology will be equally enthralled.

Most visitors, however, will be fixated on the collection of antique cameras and photographic equipment housed on the top floor. After musing over the miscellany of antique Linhofs, classic Leicas, and evergreen Kodaks, taking a photograph using a telephone will seem faintly ridiculous.

Address: Largo Amor de Perdição, Cordoaria, Porto

Porto Tram City Tour

Porto's historic center and the riverfront can be admired from a vintage tram during tours that take in several emblematic sights and cultural landmarks. Three different lines serve the destination, all offering a different perspective on Portugal's second city.

Line 1 begins near Ponte Dom Luís 1 . Depart from here on the "Riverside Line" to trundle west all the way to the coastal town of Foz do Douro , situated at the mouth of the River Douro and known for its nearby beaches and coves. This leisurely excursion is a favorite option in summer when you want to escape the city heat.

Line 18 is a restored track, part circular in design, and the shortest ride. The route passes Igreja do Carmo and ends, suitably, at the Museu do Carro Eléctrico , the tram museum.

Arguably the most rewarding circuit in terms of sightseeing and attractions is the Line 22 tour. On this route, the streetcar clatters and hisses past Torre dos Clérigos , Igreja do Carmo, and Café Majestic , among other visual showstoppers.

Surfing in Porto

Porto is home to some of the country's best surfing for beginners , and you'll find breaks here to be consistent and less crowded than more famous spots in the Algarve to the south. A promenade runs for 1.6 miles from Foz do Douro to Matosinhos , which is a local favorite surf spot.

The beach has two breaks. One is in the protected harbor wall area, while the other is outwards from it. If you need a lesson or just need to rent some gear, there are plenty of surf schools and shops by the beach.

Avenida dos Aliados

A vibrant and entertaining overview of everyday Porto can be gleaned by strolling the length of this broad double avenue. Lined on both sides with shops, stores, boutiques, cafés, and restaurants, "Aliados" is the city's clamorous commercial hub.

At the foot of the thoroughfare lies Praça da Liberdade , but visitors can begin exploring by popping into the nearby Estação de São Bento , Porto's central railway station, to gaze upon the 20,000 or so dazzling azulejos depicting early modes of transport and the history of Portugal.

A slow amble north will take you to the Câmera Municipal , Porto's city hall, which crowns the top of the avenue. From here, turn right along Rua Formosa until you reach the site of the historic Mercado do Bolhão .

The market hall is currently undergoing a much-needed refurbishment and is closed until at least the end of 2020. However, a temporary market has been created just beyond the main structure past the Bolhão Metro station. Here, you can still purchase fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, household goods, and handicrafts. If you're traveling on a budget, stock up on cheese and freshly baked bread rolls and head back down the opposite side of the avenue to enjoy a picnic by the river.

Porto is a largely vertical city clinging to the river bank, so map distances can be deceiving, and places that seem close can be a long, steep climb apart. A few main attractions are close together near the riverside, while others cluster around Praça da Liberdade, both convenient locations for hotels. The best views are from Vila Nova de Gaia just across the river. Here are some highly rated hotels in Porto:

  • Luxury Hotels : InterContinental Porto Palacio das Cardosas overlooks Praca da Liberdade, near Sao Bento station and a short walk from the Carmelite church and Torre dos Clerigos. In terraced grounds with views from every room, The Yeatman is a contemporary resort-style hotel with a spa, in- and outdoor pools, and Michelin-starred dining in Vila Nova de Gaia. You'll feel like a star entering the glamorous film-set lobby of the well-located Hotel Infante Sagres , updated to highlight its classic old-world elegance and add a stylish contemporary flair to the rooms.
  • Mid-Range Hotels: In the old town, with river views, boutique Porto A.S. 1829 Hotel offers budget-friendly luxury, between Torre dos Clerigos and Sao Francisco, a five-minute walk from the Ribeira. In the upper city, near the Carmelite church, less than a 10-minute walk to the old town, Eurostars Das Artes Hotel is handy to restaurants and the Soares dos Reis museum. In the old town, near Sao Francisco and the Bolsa and a three-minute walk from the Ribeira shore, Carris Porto Ribeira blends modern décor with vintage features.
  • Budget Hotels: Overlooking Praca da Liberdade near Sao Bento station, Hotel Universal is close to restaurants and 15 minutes from the port. Nearby Vera Cruz Porto Hotel offers free breakfast with panoramic views. Also including breakfast, Hotel da Bolsa is just up the street from the Bolsa and Sao Francisco church, a short downhill walk to the river past local restaurants and shops.

Aerial view of Porto

Porto's Sá Carneiro International Airport is located in Maia, 10 kilometers north of the city center.

You can easily get to central Porto using the Metro. Line E (purple) runs every 20 minutes during weekdays, and around every half an hour on weekends and holidays. Tickets can be purchased from vending machines or at the airport's tourist information office.

Conventional taxis and Uber circulate throughout Porto, and serve the airport.

Pedestrianized Rua de Santa Catarina is lined with an interesting mix of international fashion chain stores and boutiques, and local, family-run businesses. The plush Via Catarina shopping mall is located here.

If you're in town on the second and last Saturday of every month, saunter along to Rua Candido dos Reis and the vibrant Mercadinho dos Clérigos. One of the city's most authentic markets, this is where to pick up decorative handicraft, vintage clothing, and antique objets d'art.

Porto's proximity to the ocean affords some rewarding beach escape options. The upmarket seafront suburb of Foz do Douro, reached by bus and tram, sits at the mouth of the River Douro and serves as the attractive gateway to the city's nearest beaches.

Praia de Matosinhos : A locals' favorite, Matosinhos is the largest beach, with easy access to the city center, and is perfect for spending a lazy day in the sun. Regular Atlantic swells draw surfers and bodyboarders, and there are surfing schools based along the esplanade.

Praia do Molhe : A picturesque promenade replete with a 1930s-era pergola overlooks this pleasant pocket of sand. This is a lovely place to sit and watch the sun go down, perhaps over refreshments at the beachfront café.

Several destinations make worthwhile day trips including Guimarães , located 57 kilometers northwest. Often called the "Cradle of Portugal" — a reference to the city's historical status as the birthplace of the nation — Guimarães glows under UNESCO World Heritage status for its well-preserved medieval quarter.

Journey another 20 kilometers north and you arrive at Braga , once the seat of Portugal's archbishops and still regarded as the country's ecclesiastical capital. Both these destinations can be explored by embarking on a small group tour from Porto.

A quick 45-minute drive east from Porto takes you to the beautiful riverside town of Amarante. Straddling both sides of the River Tâmega, this picture-perfect gem of a destination is forever associated with São Gonçalo, a 12 th -century saint whose name belongs to the town's famous bridge, which crosses to the 16 th -century Igreja e Convento de São Gonçalo.

Porto is the gateway to northern Portugal, and the entire region has its own fair share of memorable places to visit.

High up near the border with Spain is the coastal city of Viana do Castelo. Try and time a visit to coincide with the annual Romaria Nossa Senhora da Agonia, a fantastic four-day costumed festival that takes place in August.

Vila Real is a convenient starting point from which to explore the upper reaches of the Douro Valley. The town is also roughly midway between Porto and remote Bragança, famed for its 12 th -century walled citadel.

For a better idea of where to go and what to do, take a look at our Portugal itineraries page.

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Everything you need to know for that perfect weekend in Porto, Portugal

Things to do in Porto

With its cute cobblestone streets, buildings brightly decorated with Moorish tiles and the stunning Douro River slicing through the heart of the city, Porto is a place that captures the imagination as soon as you set eyes upon it. And that’s before discovering all the little taverns with delicious tapas and cheap port dotted all around the city!

Also, with the Douro Valley , one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, just a short two-hour drive away, there’s more reasons to visit Porto than ever before.

Add in the fact that you get a big bang for your bunk and it’s no wonder this place was recently voted in Lonely Planet’s ‘ Best Value Destination ’! It really is such a popular destination in Portugal and one I always tell people to visit.

Old Town, Porto

Porto is a city that’s got to be seen from the ground up.

One of the great things about Porto is that it’s incredibly small for a city. That means you’ve got to use your feet and try and walk everywhere as much as possible to really get a feel for the place.

Saying that, if those feet ever do get tired, you can always rely on the abundance of excellent public transport – there’s the cable car, the funiculars, the trams, taxis, and the city is really accessible by bike too.

Planning a trip to Porto? Then make sure you check out my guides to the best hotels in Porto and the best day trips from Porto too!

Colourful buildings, Porto

Where to start in Porto?

The best place to start in Porto is at the harbour. Here you can catch an old Rabelo boat and cruise along the River Douro taking in the sites.

A cruise is an amazing way to orientate yourself in the city and you’ll be able to pick out a few places such as the Serra do Pilar (one of Porto’s best view points) and the port caves as places to visit for later.

It’s on a Rabelo boat cruise that you’ll quick come to understand why one of Porto’s many nicknames is “the city of bridges” – there are no fewer than six bridges here making that the most of any city in Europe.

The most famous of these is the Dom Luis I bridge , which when it opened in 1886 was the longest arched bridge in the world. This is one of the most famous landmarks of Portugal and is such a stunning place to visit. Today it acts as one of the main focal points in the city.

The Dom Luis I bridge, Porto

Another of Porto’s bridges worth talking about is the Maria Pia Bridge which was designed by Gustave Eiffel in 1877.

This is the very same Gustave Eiffel that created the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and when looking at the bridge you can’t help compare the two structures and their obvious similarities. It’s almost as if someone push the Eiffel Tower over across the Douro River!

Maria Pia Bridge, Porto

From the harbour, next you’ll want to walk along the river to the bottom of the Dom Luis I bridge and catch a funicular to the top of the bridge.

From here you can walk over the bridge taking in the amazing views of the city, but make sure you head for Serra do Pilar, the small monastery overlooking Porto. This is easily one of the best viewpoints in the city, especially as the sun sets over the River Douro, so make sure you head there at the end of the day!

Once you know where you’re going in Porto, it’s time to get lost. Only then can you truly get a feel for the city. And if you ever get hungry or tired, just pop into a tavern, refuel on

Art and Architecture in Porto

Art and Architecture

A city that’s famous for its food and relaxed atmosphere, not everyone considers Porto a destination for art and architecture lovers, which is exactly why I loved it here – you could really immerse yourself in your surroundings, taking in all these different notes outside without having to walk around an exhibition inside. To me, it really adds to the city!

One of the things Porto has become most renowned for is its Moorish tiles.

These ceramic tiles (also known as azulejo ) are everywhere you look in the city. They’re on the walls depicting Portugal’s history at the São Bento railway station and they’re on all the buildings around old town.

Once they would’ve been a status symbol, a sign of the rich and wealthy, though today they’re a part of Porto’s culture as much as its history. There are over 20,000 individual blue and white tiles adorning the railway station walls alone, and each one makes up battles, coronations and other major events in Portugal’s history – well worth seeing!

Top 3 museums to visit

  • Museu Serralves – This is the modern art museum and with exhibitions from Miro to Franz West, there are always world-class artists to be seen here.
  • National Museum Soares dos Reis – Founded in 1833, this is one of Porto’s oldest and best museums exhibiting collections of Portuguese art. The building is pretty impressive too!
  • Museu do Vinho de Porto – Only in somewhere like Porto would you find a museum dedicated to wine! Perfect for learning about what makes this region of Portugal so fantastic at producing wine!

Top 3 buildings to visit

  • Clérigos Tower – If you want some of the best views of Porto’s Old Town then walk up the 76m to the top of Clérigos Tower. The views from up here are outstanding.
  • Church of São Francisco – On the inside of the Church of São Francisco there’s barely an inch that isn’t dripping in gold making it one of the most dazzling displays of baroque finery in the world.
  • Livraria Lello – As soon as you walk inside Livraria Lello you’re greeted by the most beautiful staircase. It’s also thought that this staircase was the inspiration for J.K Rowling’s Hogwarts!

Read more about the art and architecture in Porto in my guide here!

Food and Drink

One of the most pleasurable ways of really understanding a city is through its food and drink –  and neither are lacking in Porto.

Geographically, Porto lends itself to all sorts of gastronomy. Its proximity to the ocean means that fish (specifically cod) is plentiful, and most importantly, the world famous Douro Valley (and the birthplace of port) is only a few hours away.

Porto has grown a lot in popularity over the last few years, and a lot of that is down to the delicious yet cheap food you can get here.

No visit would be complete without trying to famous Portuguese custard tarts, and the cod fishcakes are amazing too, all washed down with a summer port tonic cocktail.

Top 3 restaurants to visit

  • O Paparico – This restaurant is hidden in the middle of nowhere but if you’re looking for one of the finest restaurants in Porto then this is it. There are a number of taster menus to choose too!
  • Restaurante Cafeina – There’s quite a strong French influence here and the food is devine too. Also, the dining room is covered in azulejo – worth eating here for the setting alone.
  • ODE Porto Winehouse – A slow-food hideaway just up from the Douro, with chestnut wood beams, exposed stone walls and slate tables on wine barrels.

Top 3 bars to visit

  • Miradouro Ignez – If you want to have a drink with some of the best views of the city then this is the place for you.
  • 360º Terrace Loung e – Another place with fantastic views of the city and often there’s music in the evenings too.
  • Catraio – If you’re after some craft beer then you can’t go wrong with Catraio. They brew a lot of their own ales too.

Top 3 things to eat in Porto

  • Francesinha sandwich – The king of sandwiches (just watch our video to find out what goes in it!) Cafe Santiago does the best ones in the city so head there.
  • Nata tarts – The best place to go for these is at Confeitaria do Bolhão . And make sure you have cinnamon on top!
  • Tripe – If you’re brave enough tripe is incredibly popular in Porto (as is other offal!) How do I put it? It is an… acquired taste.

Read more about the food and drink in Porto in my guide here!

The Douro Valley

The Douro Valley is surprisingly the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. Dating back to the mid-18 th century, they’ve been producing wine and port here ever since.

A little like with champagne only coming Champagne in France, port can only be produced in the Douro Valley to officially be classified as port. Whether you like wine/port or not, this is easily one of the most beautiful places to in the world to produce it.

No weekend in Porto would be complete without making a day trip to the Douro Valley, and the best way to learn all about the wine and port here is to hit up a few vineyards – seeing the vines in front of you while you’ve got a glass of deep fruity xxx really does make it taste better!

Top 3 vineyards in the Douro Valley

  • Quinta do Crasto – Infinity pool. All I need to say is infinity pool. Quinta do Crasto is an absolutely stunning property with some of the best views of the Douro Valley around.
  • Quinta da Pacheca – This is one of the oldest vineyards in the Douro Valley and they have been producing world-class wine here ever since 1738 .
  • Quinta de Guimaraes – Dating back for seven generations, Quinta de Guimaraes is another stunning property, this time with a maze to get lost in.

Top 3 places to eat in the Douro Valley

  • Restaurante Castas e Pratos – Castas e Pratos occupies an old wooden warehouse that once belonged to the local railway station. Very fancy inside.
  • Quinta do Pôpa – One of the newer kids on the block (their doors opened in 2012), Quinta do Pôpa is in a lovely setting for lunch and you can even get on their famous picnics in the gardens.
  • D.O.C. Restaurante – A strikingly modern restaurant with some of the best food around. D.O.C. Restaurante definitely deserves all the awards its got!

Read more about our day trip to the Douro Valley in my guide here!

As I’ve already mentioned, one of the best things about Porto is its size – it is so easy walking around this city taking it all in.

From taking in all the amazing art and architecture to eating your way through all the local delicacies, it’s amazing how much you can pack into a long weekend in Porto, and it’s no wonder why it’s one of the hottest destinations around right now!

Sunset in Porto

Have you ever been to Porto? If so, what are some of your favourite things to do in the city? Let me know in the comments below!

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Porto guide

About the Author

Macca Sherifi

Macca Sherifi is the founder of the multiple award-winning blogs An Adventurous World and the Great British Bucket List. Every month he inspires over 200,000 avid readers to travel the world.

6 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Porto, Portugal”

Porto is amazing place to visit nowadays both with kids, family, or your loved one. It has so much to offer, even though this city is pretty small.

Yes! It’s amazing how much you can pack into such a tiny place, isn’t it? Porto is one of those places just perfect for a long weekend though!

Porto is the second largest city in Portugal. Really awesome place. Photos are amazing Macca Sherifi. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Thank you for commenting! Porto really is such an amazing place to explore!

Porto looks nice. A few years ago everyone was saying it was such a dirty city, but I guess that has changed?! x

Yeah, it’s a great little city! I really enjoyed it there – easy to get around, loads to see and do, and the food is amazing too. And the port, obviously the port. It didn’t seem dirty at all though, not that I noticed, so yeah, I guess they’ve cleaned it up!?

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@benvadasz and I are excited for our biggest adventure yet, and to show our little beach baby the world! 🌏🩵  Coming early September! 🫶

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.

The colourful skyline of Porto, Portugal, and the Douro Riverfront. The Ultimate Porto Itinerary for First-time Visitors

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.

The colourful skyline of Porto, Portugal, and the Douro Riverfront.

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.

The charming streets, and colourful tiled apartment buildings in Porto, Portugal

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.

Traditional boats and the Dom Luís I Bridge over the Douro River in Porto, Portugal. The Ultimate Porto Itinerary for First-time Visitors

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.

Ribeira district

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

The charming and colourful side streets of Ribeira district in Porto, Portugal

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)

An old brick lighthouse with a red top, situated near the mouth of the Douro river, at the Foz do Douro neighbourhood coastline.

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

The golden glow of sunset on 3 colourful, traditional tiled buildings in Bolhão and Cedofeita Districts in Porto.

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.

Public Transportation

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!

The charming square, and colourful tiled apartment buildings in Ribeira, historic centre of Porto, Portugal.

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!

Colourful houses on terraced hills in the Douro Valley, a perfect day trip during your 3 days in Porto, Portugal

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.

Looking down at a table in Mercador Cafe in Porto. On the table is a  cup of orange juice, sunglasses, a cafe latte, and two Pastel de Natas

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!

The colourful skyline of Porto, Portugal along the Douro Riverfront

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.

Livraria Lello

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.

The enchanting interiors of the famous Livraria Lello bookshop in Porto, Portugal, with it's grand wooden staircase and stained glass window ceiling

*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.

The golden glow of sunset at Bacalhau Restaurant beside the Douro River, in Porto, Portugal

**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.

The beautiful and original 1920 exterior of the famous Majestic Cafe in Porto, Portugal

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.

A girl with white sunglasses, hangs off a simple white and red lighthouse in the Foz do Douro beach neighborhood of Porto, Portugal

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.

Two glasses of red port in Croft classes and on top of croft barrals in the cellar in 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.

A couple wearing sunglasses take a selfie in front of the Dom Luís I Bridge in Porto, Portugal

**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.

Wine tasting in the Douro Valley is a must during your 3 Days in Porto, Portugal:

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.

A girl with a golden watch holds a white port tonic cocktail in the heart of Porto, Portugal

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.

Traditional Tascas

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.

A couple sits at a cafe table in Porto and has two cafe lattes, two Pastel de Natas, and a cup of orange juice

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.

During your 3 Days in Porto, Portugal, I do no recommend the Ribeira boat rides as they can be overpriced and crowded.

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.

The famous blue azulejo tilework you see all over churches, train stations and old buildings in Porto, Portugal

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

travel porto portugal

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.

Weather-Appropriate Clothing

travel porto portugal

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.

Sun Protection

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.

travel porto portugal

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.

3 Days in Porto, Portugal: The Ultimate Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

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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November 17, 2023 at 10:25 pm

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Beautiful Porto: Things To Do, See, And How To Travel in Porto, Portugal

Ahhhh, porto. cobblestone streets, historic architecture, and gorgeous  azulejo glazed ceramic tiles.

Sunsets on the Luis I Bridge over the Douro River…or oceanside where the river meets the Atlantic. Romantic alleyway dinners followed with a €2 glass of sweet Port wine, born in the Douro Valley upriver. This city of around 230,000 people is large enough to captivate for days… or weeks …on end. A It’s a city small enough to feel quaint and approachable, but there are still plenty of things to do in Porto.

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Of course Porto can be taken in quickly, but if you have the opportunity to stay longer, I highly suggest you do. There are just so many things to do in Porto. I spent 10 days on my first visit to Porto, slowly exploring the many different areas of the city—much outside of the historic center and what is considered the “old town.”

There’s much to be missed if you simply stay in the “touristic” areas of Porto.

This Porto travel guide will help you explore not only the things to do in Porto’s old town, but also many of the offbeat places worth getting to by walking or taking one of the extremely clean and easy city buses. Gorgeous botanical gardens, the mouth of the ocean, and even an amazingly haunting cemetery seemingly plucked from an Edgar Allan Poe story.  

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First Things First…Take A “Free” Walking Tour Of Porto

I have to begin here, as it’s literally the most important thing I do in every new city I visit. Porto is nowhere near the size of Lisbon, but regardless, taking a free walking tour is by far the cheapest and fastest way to get your bearings. Two to three hours with a knowledgeable Porto travel guide showing you paths to most of the “tourist spots,” food and drink spots, and other things to do along the way.

I recommend Porto Walkers as they employ locals that truly understand the history. And make sure to tip your guide, as that’s how they earn a living. But if you want to do an inexpensive paid tour and learn about the Portuguese Age of Discovery and why the city was given the UNESCO World Heritage status, check this one out.

The Best Things To Do In Porto, Portugal – My Top 5 Recommendations

I know why you’re here…you want the visual sexiness and the “must-see” spots for when you travel to Porto. Trust me, there are plenty that fit that bill. I could give you the low hanging fruit and tell you to visit one of the many Port wine manufacturers or to take in some live Fado music, but those are pretty easy recommendations. Keep in mind though that I tend to explore not only the “must-see” spots, but also try to let the universe guide me to the places that feed my soul. Finding those places often only requires picking a direction and walking. Some of the best moments in travel…and life…are the unplanned ones. That’s where some of these recommendations come from; simply walking aimlessly and turning a corner to have my fire ignited by an unexpected gem. 

Every time I think “I should plan more,” serendipitous moments like those remind me how beautiful life can be when we simply let ourselves go where the wind blows. 

What to do in Porto Portugal view of moon over Luis 1 bridge

Take A Port Wine Tour On The Gaia Side Of The River

If you’re in the birthplace of port wine, you must learn about and sample the goods. Not gonna lie, I’m not too big on spending money on touristy things, and I’m often thrilled to simply walk around and be in awe of my new surroundings. But the €35 wine tour by Porto Walkers was absolutely the most fun I had while in Porto.

Our group of about 15, with our Porto travel guide Alex (ask for him if possible!), learned, drank, and laughed for over three hours. Then I went with a group of new friends and kept things going at dinner based on his recommendations. Journey through the wine-making process, sample no less than 7 glasses of different styles of ports, and make new friends. What’s not to love? 

Take In A Sunset At The Many Amazing Sunset Spots In Porto

Seriously, there are so many amazing places to see the sun set over the Douro River that it needs an entire article dedicated to it! Easily one of the best things to do in Porto—and it’s free! My favorite… by a very close margin …was from the  viewpoint of the Ponte Luis I bridge.  It’s much less crowded and gives a view of the beautiful bridge that’s often wildly crowded at sunset.

Other spots worth catching a sunset from are literally  in the middle of  the Ponte Luis 1 bridge or on the Jardim Do Morro Park on the Gaia side of the river. With a drink and locals at Parque das Virtudes, Miradouro da Vitória, at the Porto Cathedral, or immersed in the lush Jardins do Palácio de Cristal. 

What to do in Porto Portugal visit Cristal Gardens

Visit The Jardins Do Palácio De Cristal

If you long for green spaces and sometimes need to “escape the city” to get grounded—like I do—you must spend an hour or two at the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal. Winding trails through fairy-tale-like landscapes complete with koi ponds, castle-like towers to explore, and  actual  live…like for real…peacocks roaming the grounds.

Bonus for you if you grab a bottle of wine to take in the sunset, as drinking in the streets and parks is completely acceptable in Porto. 

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Photograph The Beautiful Azulejo Tiles Of Porto

Throughout Porto…and all of Portugal…you’ll experience the beautiful glazed blue “ azulejo”  tiles. While the blues are gorgeous, you’ll also find that many residential buildings are clad with tiles in all colors of the rainbow. But if you want to see some of the best examples of blue azulejos on the exteriors of buildings, check out: Parish Church of St. Nicholas, Church Santo Ildefonso, Igreja do Carmo, Capela das Almas (The Chapel of Souls…shown above), or Igreja de São Martinho de Lordelo.

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Sample Pasteis De Nata…After Watching Them Being Made

They’re delicious…and totally fat and sugar-free… wink.   One thing you must do in Porto, or in Portugal in general, is to try a  warm  pastel de nata. But to add to the fresh-baked deliciousness, start your morning by watching them be made in the windows of Manteigaria- Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata .

Once you’re done watching and purchasing a few, take a stroll up the bustling shopping street of Rua De Santa Catarina and check out the blue azulejo (glazed tile) exterior of the Capela das Almas (Chapel of Souls).

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Porto Travel Guide – Other Things To Do In Porto, Portugal

What to do in Porto Portugal sunset from Luis 1 Bridge in Porto Portugal

Walk Across The Luís I Bridge

This is a no-brainer for things to do in Porto. Better views of the Douro River, or the Porto (north) and Gaia (south) sides of the river will be hard to find all from one viewpoint. Add to that the crowds of onlookers and the regular passing trains and depending on the time of day it can be pretty magical. Nearby are the Porto Cathedral and the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, also worth spending some time taking in. 

Porto Portugal Sao Francisco church interior of catacombs

Explore The Church Of São Francisco…And The Catacombs Underneath (above)

Spending the €8 or so to tour this beautifully gilded church and its catacombs is well worth the cost. If you get all dreamy about Gothic Architecture…like I do…this is one of the best representations for you to see in Porto. The bonus is that this spot is a little off of the tourist path, so crowds inside can be less than other more touristed spots, even on the weekends. 

Inside Igreja de S. João Novo in Porto Portugal

Step Inside Igreja de S. João Novo (above)

Another church that seems to go under the radar, Igreja de S. João Novo is absolutely stunning inside. On a Saturday morning, I stumbled on this church and  literally  the only  (visible)  soul inside was the man tuning up the organ. Again, go where the crowds aren’t and you’ll often be pleasantly surprised with what you find.

Check Out Some Bad-Ass T-Shirt Shops

Yep. I’m throwing this in here because they’re freaking awesome.  Typographia  has local artists, as well as commissioned international artists, designing their shirts. They’re sold in very few select locations in Porto, Lisbon, and a few other spots around western Europe. And if you need a nerd fix comprised of wookies, Scranton references, legos, or wizards wands, check out  Tee Legend  – “T-Shirts for Geeks, Nerds & Jedis.” 

Porto Portugal Cemitério de Agramonte mausoleum main tombs area

Explore The Tombs & Chapels Of Cemitério de Agramonte

Planted amidst a backdrop of Porto’s more modern 20th-century architecture, in the more corporate part of the city, is this homage to the past. I’ve seen a lot of cemeteries, but this one tops the list as one of the most elaborate and decorative in such a dense space.

Porto Portugal Cemitério de Agramonte mausoleum underneath

The fact that you can enter one of the two-story tombs…and walk the hall of the catacomb underneath…is worth the trip. One of the truly odd but epic things to do in Porto. But an hour or two could easily be spent here taking in the history of souls. Oh, and it’s free to enter… please, just be respectful.

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Tour Balsa Palace In Porto (AKA The Old Porto Stock Exchange)

There are few buildings this beautiful inside that aren’t churches in Porto. I had seen some images online, but they did absolutely no justice to seeing the Porto Stock Exchange with my own eyes. Entry is around €10, but it includes a guided tour that takes 30-45 minutes with plenty of history. Even if you dropped that coin  just  to see the Arab room for 5 minutes, it would be worth it. Oh, and you have to pay for a guided tour as they don’t let anyone in without a guide.

Porto Portugal photo of the Bolsa Palace Stock Exchange

Honestly, It was really hard not to keep The Bolsa Palace / Porto Stock Exchange out of my  top things to do in Porto. Protip: Go early, and if you’re really there for photos and less interested in the history, just ask which is the smallest tour. I took the tour in English, and the history is fascinating…but this is your show!   Get your ticket here, then go early to choose the time and what language of tour you prefer.

Porto Portugal photo of The Jardim Botânico do Porto

Walk Through The Trees And Blooms At The Jardim Botânico do Porto

This was an unplanned treat for this botanical garden lover. One of the benefits of not over-planning is that it gives you the chance to just stumble upon things. That’s what happened with Porto’s Jardim Botanico as I wandered from Cemiterio de Agramonte towards the coast for sunset. Serendipity.

When I visited there was an amazing illuminated installation throughout the grounds—breathtaking after dark. And that photo above of the lily pool is real and not tweaked for color. Amazing… and it’s free.

What to do in Porto Portugal view of city of Porto from Cathedral tower

Look Out Over The Rooftops From the Tower Of The Porto Cathedral

Perched on one of the highest spots in the city, the view from the top of the tower is pretty epic. Whether it’s rainy and foggy or blue skies with sunshine, it’s worth the trip. The blue azulejos (glazed tiles) inlaid amongst the gray stone halls of the cathedral are also beautiful in contrast. And entry is only €3. Go early on a weekday to beat the crowds if possible.

Porto Portugal comboios de portugal train stops map

Getting Around Porto And Traveling Around Portugal

Porto is extremely walkable, assuming you can handle the hills and cobblestones that make up old town. (I suggest leaving your stilettos at home.) If you like a good wander-about, it’s perfect. But if that’s not your jam, Ubers are available, as are taxis and even scooter sharing from companies like Bird and Circ.

The metro and buses are also very clean, safe, and cheap. Want to check out the sunset at the Atlantic coast? Grab the 500 bus for only €2 one way and enjoy. Countrywide, the Comboios De Portugal trains are simple between big cities, and everything else is connected by multiple bus routes. All are usually very inexpensive for standard fairs.

Typical Spending Costs In Porto

I am definitely classified as a budget travel nerd and tend to target traveling internationally for an average of about €30-€60 a day, all in. Of course, you can travel cheaper than that, or the sky’s the limit. But I was able to average about €50-€60 a day in Porto, and that was with a couple of baller hostels and plenty of money spent on good food, tours, and attractions.

A bed in a 4-6 bed dorm runs about €15-€30. (Never stayed in a hostel? Read this!)   Fantastic  sit-down meals at most non-bougie restaurants run €7-€15+. And a glass of good port, table wine, or draft beer at those restaurants usually starts at about €2. Credit cards are widely accepted, but carry some cash for the smaller joints.

Some Of My Favorite Hostels in Porto, Portugal

I stayed at three great…but very different…hostels while in Porto. The Passenger Hostel in Porto is  literally  in a historic train station and has over 100 beds. It’s been ranked one of the best hostels in Portugal, literally. The bathrooms look more like spas, and the top floor common space is epic.

The Gallery Hostel is what a hostel would look like if it were birthed from a hotel that hooked up with an art museum. Super-thick mattresses, spacious private bathrooms, and a restaurant in the bottom that will cook you a full breakfast each morning for about €4. 

The Porto Wine Hostel was like coming home. A small hostel with lovely owners on hand to chat and help with anything, and a fantastic wine bar in the heart. A smaller hostel with fewer high-end amenities than the others, but it makes up for any of that with heart and soul. I’m actually heading back there in a few days (as I write this) since I need some chill time in a happy place to recharge.

There are dozens of other hostels in Porto and hundreds throughout Portugal. You can filter by rating, location, amenities, cost, etc., here!

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Travel in Porto, Portugal: Travel Basics & Important Logistics

Here are some of the nitty-gritty details you need to know before you plan your trip and travel to Porto, Portugal.  Where Is Porto, Portugal?  The country of Portugal is located on the western coast of Europe. Well, more specifically it’s kind of tucked into the western coast of Spain. It’s one of the closest European countries to the US while only a couple hundred miles from Africa. Porto, Portugal is the largest northernmost city in Portugal, and is less than 100 miles south of the border of Spain. The country is only about 350 miles N/S and 100 miles E/W as the crow flies, depending on where you look.  Altitude & Relativity To The Equator:  Porto is right up against the Atlantic, essentially at sea level, and on a similar longitude line as the US. Expect summer heat and humidity and comfortable temps even in the cooler, shoulder travel seasons in Porto.  Portugal Travel Seasons:  Peak travel months in Portugal are generally June-September. The travel shoulder seasons are considered April-May and October-November. January-March is considered the low/slow season for travel to Portugal, but it’s still sunny, just a bit chilly for the beach or a dip in the ocean. Protip: If you’re traveling in the low season, check ahead to see if establishments close during that time!

International Airports in Portugal:  Lisbon, Porto, and Faro are the most frequently used, but there are also international airports on the islands of Madeira and Ponta Delgada.  Travel In Porto And Around Portugal:  Regional flights are plentiful and fairly inexpensive, but you can get to most places on the mainland cheaper and in a similar timeframe with the extensive train and bus options. Porto’s metro (subway) and bus lines are fantastic; clean and inexpensive. But you can walk most places, assuming you don’t mind some pretty wicked hills.

photo of yellow residential facade in the alleys of Porto, Portugal

Plugging In, Spending Money, And Personal Concerns

Electrical Outlet/Plug Type:  Type F “Schuko,” so get an international adapter like this one. Currency:  The Euro (€) is used throughout Portugal, and in most bigger cities like Porto, businesses are happy to take credit cards for anything over €5. But carry cash just in case, since some of the best places are small, off-the-radar mom and pop spots, and they’ll sometimes need to take cash to avoid the excessive fees of accepting cards. Note, as of this writing, the exchange rate is about $1.25USD = €1.00, so while it’s close, that disparity can add up quickly if you’re not paying attention!

Tipping:  Tipping at restaurants is not  expected  throughout Portugal. But as usual, if you receive kind, great service, you should give a little extra. Personally, as a digital nomad exploring places where the USD goes further, I think it’s a great reason to give a little more regardless of what’s expected!

RELATED: UPDATED: 18 Safe Traveling Tips For Newbies Budget Allowance For Different Traveler Types:  Portugal is the  least expensive  country in western Europe. Budget travelers (like me) can live it up in hostels for $50-60/day, all-in. Obviously the budgets can go up from there depending on your style.  US Passport Holder Entry Time Limits:  Portugal is part of the Schengen Zone, a group of European countries that allow most US passport holders to visit the country for 90 days every rolling 180 days. If you want to stay longer, you’ll need to look into long-term visas. Vaccinations:  You can find out  more here,  but there aren’t any out of the ordinary for US citizens.  Can I Drink The Tap Water In Portugal?  Yes. It may not be the absolute tastiest, but it’s definitely safe to drink.  LGBTQ+ Concerns:  Portugal is considered medium/high on the equality index. I can happily say that free love and expression were obvious with both locals and tourists as I traveled throughout Portugal. (rating by  https://www.equaldex.com/ ) 

Staying Safe While Traveling In Porto…Or Portugal In General

Honestly, there wasn’t a moment when I was wandering around Old Town Porto when I felt unsafe, whether day or night. Obviously, as you get away from the well-presented tourist center, that can change. That said, you should always take some necessary precautions when you’re traveling.

Explore with a friend or two if possible, and consider staying out of the dark corridors at night if you’re solo. Yes, they’re kind of magical at night, but just be cautious. Ubers are fairly available in Porto, as are Taxis, but they’re a little more expensive.

Keep an eye on your drinks if you’re into the nightlife, and let people know where you’re going if you’re concerned at all. Don’t buy drugs off the streets—yes, you will get asked when on most busy tourist corners at night. Essentially, use common sense and go with your gut if you feel unsafe or concerned.

I also suggest wearing clothing that allows you to zip or button up your wallet, phone, etc., as most of the time the biggest concern in bigger, tourist-heavy cities is pickpockets in dense areas. If someone else is an easier target than you, then your odds of trouble are reduced! (You don’t have to run faster than the bear…)

Share This Porto Travel Guide With A Friend!

If you’re wanderlusting about travel to Porto, or anywhere in Portugal, please share this article on social and with your travel ride-or-dies! Then connect with me over on Instagram or subscribe on YouTube, since I talk about a lot of these logistics and how things are going along the way!

Happy Travels. Cheers!

Travel Planning Tips

Figure out where you are going & how are you getting there… I suggest using at least 2 to 3 different travel search sites. Start with Skyscanner or Orbitz or Booking  … or whatever aggregator site you prefer. Then when you see what airlines to use, check their respective sites for better deals or rewards flights.

Figure out where you’re going to stay… If you’re interested in hostels, search Hostelworld or Hostelling International. For longer-term or more private digs, look at Airbnb , VRBO, or you can look for hotel rooms in the links from the search engines listed above. 

Get comprehensive travel insurance, or in the least, travel medical insurance if internationally… Especially with Covid not going anywhere, get covered. Start with an insurance aggregator like Insure My Trip, or with SafetyWing,   World Nomads , or another. Then decide what is important to you; trip cancellation, baggage coverage, medical, or all of the above. And get a yearly evacuation plan, since you’ll have to get home after your emergency! 

Need more resources? Click here!

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Well Spent: The Best Places to Eat, Drink, and Shop in Porto, Portugal

travel porto portugal

As one of Portugal's favorite northern cities, Porto is brimming with history, culture, and is home to arguably one of the greatest sandwiches on earth. Come explore all the best things to see and do in one perfect day in Porto.

Check into the Torel Palace

Ready to live out your royal fantasies? Then the Torel Palace is for you. The hotel, housed in a one-time family mansion, has been transformed into a five-star accommodation, with 24 charming rooms and suites, a delicious restaurant, a spa, and a hidden oasis swimming pool in the back.

Dating back to 1861, Torel Palace Porto has been meticulously renovated to bridge the divide between new and old, perfectly blending modern amenities with old-world charm. The hotel also comes with a stunning library housing more than 1,000 books to discover, and each room is named after a Portuguese literary great to inspire guests to pick up a page turner and learn more about this wonderful country. Book a room starting at $160/night.

Grab breakfast at O Diplomata

Make sure you have enough energy for a day of exploring Porto by first stopping into O Diplomata, a coffee shop and cafe that has all the fixings for an ideal breakfast. At the shop, you'll find coffees, juices, smoothies, and plenty of eggs. However, the real star of the show here is its pancakes. At the restaurant, you can choose from a pre-selected pancake menu or make your own from a list of batters, dozens of toppings, and even ice creams you can add on top for a morning sugar rush. Snag a stack starting at just $2.

Seek out a 360-degree view at Clérigos Tower

Clérigos Tower is a must-see sight in Porto. Though really, it's hard to miss as the highest tower in the city. The tower, attached to the Clérigos Church since 1763, is an awe-inspiring building filled with historical artifacts as well as free organ concerts every day at noon inside the massive church.

Ready to make your way to the top? All you need to do is climb the 225 steps through a few narrow passages, past the bells, and finally make your way to the outdoor viewing area where you can see a 360-degree view of the city below. Then, once you catch your breath, walk back down, just make sure to take your time. Tickets to enter the tower cost just about $6.

Paula Galindo Valle/Travel + Leisure

Dig into a francesinha at Cafe Santiago

It's lunchtime in Porto, which means it's time to eat one thing and one thing only: Francesinha. And in Porto, Café Santiago is the prime place to try it.

The restaurant, which opened its doors in 1959, has a hardcore following thanks to its perfect francesinha sandwich made with several meats including sausage and beef, thick sliced bread, sliced cheese, an egg on top, and smothered in a secret sauce to finish it off. Seriously, they won't tell you what's in it—it's a family recipe that is kept behind a locked vault, so you'll just have to trust us that it's delicious. And, if by some miracle you're still hungry, you can order a side of fries to sop up the rest of the sauce, too. Grab a sandwich for about $10.

Dive deep into vino at the World of Wine

While visiting Porto you'll likely get to taste a few great varietals. But, during your stay you can take that tasting and turn it into an educational experience at the World of Wine. The new cultural destination, located in the heart of Vila Nova de Gaia's historic Port warehouse district, features a collection of seven immersive museum experiences, including the Wine Experience, a sensory-driven exhibit that takes visitors through a hand-on exploration of regions, climates, grape varieties, and production, and Planet Cork, an exhibit allowing visitors to discover everything they could ever know about cork and the sustainable and innovative industry around it.

The World of Wine is also home to 12 restaurants, bars, cafes, retail outlets, and a wine school. Come pay a visit for about $19.

Get a taste of the best at Euskalduna

End the day in Porto with a tasting menu you'll never forget at Euskalduna. The intimate restaurant puts all its focus on the kitchen. The prime seats are those surrounding the chef's counter, where guests can watch the masters at work as they piece together a meal made of 10 "moments" and a few surprises along the way, too. The menu incorporates flavors from around the globe, but its ingredients are sourced right here in Portugal. Want to make this meal even more special? Pair it with a wine for the perfect complement to your tasting menu. Make sure to make reservations ahead of time. Take a bite for around $130/per person (115 euros).

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A Passion and A Passport

Proving Travel is Possible with a Full-Time 9-5

3 Days in Porto, Portugal: The Most Perfect Porto Itinerary

last Updated: May 9, 2024 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.

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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).

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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!

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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.

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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.

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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. 

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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). 

Public Transit

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.

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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.

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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!

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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.

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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/Santo Ildefonso

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.

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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).

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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.

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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.

Downtown (Baixa)

Livraria Lello

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. 

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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

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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. 

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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

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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

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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)

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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!

Majestic Cafe

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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.

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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.

The Best 3 days in Porto itinerary!

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.

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Explore Ribeira

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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!

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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. 

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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.

Port Tasting

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!

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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! 

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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

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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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February 5, 2024 at 12:22 pm

Thanks for the post! I plan to book a tour for the day trip to Duoro Valley. Do you have a promo code for getyourguide.com by any chance?

March 10, 2024 at 11:10 am

No promo codes unfortunately. Have a great trip — the valley is said to be so special and beautiful!

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March 2, 2024 at 9:23 pm

Wow, thanks for so many great suggestions. I will be visiting Porto for the first time in October & will take advantage of your information in my trip planning!

March 10, 2024 at 11:09 am

Glad it was helpful! I loved Porto oh so much! Have the best trip!

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Top 10 Things to Do in Porto, Portugal

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Home to port wine, the city of Porto offers plenty to do in a picturesque setting by the Douro river . Take a walk along the historic riverfront, while admiring views of Vila Nova de Gaia , Porto's neighbor across the river, dine on some seafood or Porto's gluttonous sandwich, the Francesinha, and see Portugal's famous tiles, azulejos , while admiring all the churches throughout the city.

Try Some Port

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Most of the city's best port producers have a building in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the river from Porto itself, and many are open for tours or tastings. Each tour typically includes a tasting of a white, ruby, and tawny port with the price of admission (which can be free at some cellars). The more you taste, the more you will recognize your favorite style.  Caves Ferreira remains one of the most popular among visitors, as it's the only house that has continued under Portuguese ownership since its founding in 1751.

After touring, visit Vinologia , an independent bar that specializes in learning to appreciate port. Now you hopefully know the style of Port that you like, you can compare that type across different producers. This is where you can really zero in on finding your favorite port. Vinologia offers vertical tastings to try different vintages and styles, and also horizontal tastings to help you explore the different producers of a single port style.

Take a Guided Tour

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 Want to experience the city like a local? A guided tour, either privately or with a local, is a great way to do just that. If you want to explore Porto at your own pace, try a hop-on, hop-off bus tour that will take you around the city's attractions and historic sites, or try a food and wine tour , where you can taste classic Portuguese dishes like pasteis de nata (an egg custard tart) and bolinho de bacalhau (cod fritters).

Walk Across the Ponte Luis I Bridge

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Probably one of the most iconic structures in Porto, not only does the Ponte Luis I bridge lend itself to the landscape, but it also allows for incredible views of both Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. You will want to go across the river to Vila Nova de Gaia, whether to visit the Port cellars or just take in stunning views of Porto itself.

Stroll Along the Ribeirinha Promenade

Porto, its many bridges, and its neighbor, Vila Nova de Gaia, offer up some stunning views. One of the best places to see them? The Ribeirinha, a promenade that takes you along the river Douro and past many cafes and restaurants. Start near the Sao Francisco Church , then head towards the river. You can grab a cheap snack or drink and take in some of the views or continue towards the Ponte Luis I bridge where there are plenty of restaurants. If you feel like sampling some of Portugal's great wines while sitting on the Ribeirinha, check out Avepod. It has a good selection of wines and ports from independent, small winemakers, as well as some delicious nibbles.

Admire Modern Art at Serralves

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If you like modern art, then the Serralves Modern Art Museum is a must-see. This museum has rotating exhibitions and amazing gardens for when museum fatigue sets in — don't miss the art deco villa in the garden. The best way to get there is by local bus, and it's easy to combine the trip with a visit to Casa da Música since you can take the same bus to both.

Admire the Porto Cathedral

Porto's cathedral or Sé do Porto in Portuguese, began construction in the 12th century but was not completed until 1737. As a result, the cathedral has many different types of architectural influences including Gothic, Romanesque, and Baroque. The cathedral is also located right amongst several other sites, including the Pelourinho statue, the Medieval Tower, and an archaeological museum. Plus, you can catch some nice views of Porto nearby.

Try a Francesinha

Porto's decadent Francesinha is a sandwich typically filled with various types of meat, covered with cheese, and then drowned in a tomato and beer sauce. Haute cuisine it is not, but it is tasty. One of the best and most popular spots for a delicious Francesinha is Verso em Pedra, not far from the Sé do Porto, along the Douro River. Best to share one, but if you are going solo, you can order a half.

Walk Among the Shaded Jardim Palacio de Cristal

A sports pavilion has replaced Porto's original Crystal Palace, but the real attraction here is the grounds surrounding it. As you head towards the river, you will see all the different gardens, designed in the 19th century by German landscaping architect Émile David. From these gardens, you get great views from different angles of the Douro River and Vila Nova de Gaia. Not overrun with tourists, these gardens are a great way to relax, but still get some sightseeing in. They're also nicely shaded, helping you to keep cool during the summer months. Make sure to explore all the grounds, as they wrap around the river.

See Porto's Famous Tiled Churches

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Porto has so many beautiful churches, and almost all are free to enter. Visit a Porto tourism office for a free tourist map, which has the churches marked on it. Many of Porto's sights are within walking distance, and many of the churches are peppered throughout most of the major tourist sites. Even if a church is closed, the exterior can be the best part. Many churches are adorned with azulejos , Portugal's traditional painted ceramic work. Quite often the ones found in churches are blue and white and may depict different scenes. The most famous church is the Gothic Church of São Francisco. While there is an entrance fee, it's worth it.

Take a Day Trip Outside of the City

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While there is plenty to see and do in Porto , it is an ideal jumping off point for day trips. The scenery of the Douro Valley, the area where Port and other wines are made, is fantastic.

You can follow along the Douro river, whether by boat, train, or vehicle and take in the gorgeous terraces where the vineyards are. You'll see why anyone who goes to the valley can't stop praising it.

Or head to Braga, which has plenty of churches and a 12th-century cathedral. It is a pleasant and walkable city, where you can fill your day with sites in town. One of the area's biggest attractions is the Bom Jesus do Monte , a sanctuary, which is just outside of the city but is easily reachable by a local bus in Braga.

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10 Cool Cities To Visit In Portugal For First-Timers

Planning a trip to Portugal for the first time? Get excited, because Portugal is truly amazing.

Portugal’s got it all — stunning azulejo tiles, fado music, petiscos (Portuguese tapas), pastéis de nata (custard tarts), bacalhau (salted cod), local markets, and charming towns that’ll make you want to stay forever.

The country will easily steal your heart with its natural landscapes, from the golden sands of the Algarve to the verdant vineyards of the Douro Valley, offering tons of opportunities for adventure and relaxation.

It’s also home to some world-famous festivals, such as Lisbon’s Saint Anthony’s Feast and Porto’s São João Festival, both of which showcase the country’s rich cultural heritage, lively spirit, and zest for celebration!

You’re not going to be able to see it all on your first visit, and chances are you’re going to have to narrow down the cities you want to visit to just a mere handful.

In this post, I’ll cover some of the best cities/small towns in Portugal perfect for first-timers.

I personally love taking day trips from larger, more well-known cities to explore smaller towns, so I’ve included some side trip ideas below too. These towns are often way less crowded and hold an equal amount of cultural immersion, sights, and downright magic in them!

This post may contain affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more, but in the event of a sale, the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep this blog running/pumping out useful and free content. Thanks a lot!

Everyone knows and loves Lisbon — this city needs no introduction! As Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon is a colorful mix of historic neighborhoods, lively markets, hilly walks, amazing restaurants, and panoramic viewpoints.

Explore the winding streets of Alfama , eat the best Portuguese egg tarts you’ll ever eat in your life (seriously), visit the iconic Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery , go miradouro-hopping for the best city views, and savor all the delicious seafood the city has to offer.

I’ve visited Lisbon on multiple occasions over the years — there’s always new businesses popping up so you’ll never find the city to be stale, even after your first time.

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What else is near Lisbon?

Sintra : Known for massive mansions, fairytale palaces, and lush gardens, Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage site just a short train ride from Lisbon. Highlights include the colorful Pena Palace, the historic town center, and the whimsical Quinta da Regaleira estate.

Cascais : A charming coastal town known for its beaches, picturesque seaside promenade, good seafood, the Boca do Inferno (Hell’s Mouth) cliff formation, and the historic Cascais Citadel.

Just a 35 to 40-minute train ride away from Lisbon, Sintra is a fairytale-like town dotted with colorful mansions, lush gardens, and mysterious palaces.

For centuries, the royals and the monarchs treated Sintra as their summer retreats. The elite and the rich also built palaces, mansions, and estates all over the area.

Explore the UNESCO-listed Pena Palace , wander through the enchanting (and rather mysterious) Quinta da Regaleira , and hike to the scenic Moorish Castle for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Wondering how to best spend your day in Sintra? Check out our day trip itinerary of Sintra from Lisbon here.

Pro Tip: You won’t be able to do all three in one day, but if you only had one day, I’d opt for Pena Palace in the morning, then Quinta da Regaleira in the afternoon. You can explore the rest of Sintra’s little city center on your way back to the train station!

Nestled along the banks of the Douro River, Porto is a dreamy and walkable town known for its postcard-perfect riverside scenery, port wine tasting opportunities, and ornate azulejo tiles found almost anywhere.

Wander through the narrow streets of the Ribeira district , cross the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge (built by the same guy who built the Eiffel Tower!), see the places where JK Rowling got all her Harry Potter inspiration , and sample delicious Portuguese cuisine in the city’s cozy taverns .

I first visited Porto back in 2018 and it just so happened to be the weekend of the São João Festival — which I’d highly recommend to anyone visiting Porto!

I didn’t get much sightseeing done on this trip (the festival was a huge deal for the city), but I was able to return to Porto as part of my Spain/Portugal Contiki trip and fell in love with the city even more than I already had the first time around.

This city is a must for first-timers!

2 Perfect Days In Porto: A Detailed Itinerary (+ Essential Travel Tips)

What else is near porto.

Guimarães : Known as the birthplace of Portugal, this historic city has well-preserved medieval architecture and a charming old town to explore.

Braga : One of Portugal’s oldest cities, Braga is known for its baroque architecture, religious landmarks, and always-buzzing atmosphere. Visit the Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary, explore the historic city center, and marvel at the intricate details of the Sé Cathedral.

Aveiro : Known as the “Venice of Portugal,” Aveiro is a coastal town famous for its colorful moliceiro boats and art nouveau architecture. We’ll cover this one more below!

Located in Portugal’s scenic Alentejo region, Évora is a UNESCO World Heritage site best known for its well-preserved medieval architecture and rich history.

Explore the ancient Roman temple of Diana , visit the eerie Chapel of Bones , enjoy the fake ruins that make you feel like you’re in a Shakespearean play, and stroll through the charming streets of the old town.

Evora, Portugal: The Perfect 2-Day Itinerary

Known as the “Pearl of the Atlantic” (because it’s located right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean), the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo are a haven of natural beauty. If you love all things nature, this lesser-known destination is a must-visit.

Imagine everything good about an outdoor oasis — greenery everywhere, dramatic cliffs, and lush botanical gardens — that’s Madeira for you. For epic hiking, you can’t miss the Laurisilva Forest , a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The island of Porto Santo , in particular, is the ideal place to escape from the hustle and bustle of big city life. Explore the charming capital city of Funchal , take a scenic hike along the Levadas (irrigation channels), and sample the island’s famous Madeira wine .

Don’t miss the chance to sample Madeira’s unique cuisine , which is influenced by Portuguese, African, and Caribbean flavors. Try traditional dishes like espetada (skewered meat), bolo do caco (sweet potato bread), and black scabbard fish, washed down with a glass of Madeira wine.

What else is near Madeira?

Porto Moniz : Known for its natural lava rock pools, Porto Moniz is a scenic coastal town where visitors can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy fresh seafood by the ocean.

Santana : This town is unique due to its traditional triangular-shaped houses with thatched roofs, offering a glimpse into Madeira’s rural heritage. There’s good hiking here too.

Planning A Trip To Europe: Travel Solo or Go With Contiki?

Nazaré, a picturesque coastal town nestled along Portugal’s Silver Coast, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by first-time visitors.

Known for its towering cliffs, golden beaches, and world-class surfing waves, Nazaré offers a laid-back atmosphere and stunning ocean views. Watch in awe as surfers tackle the legendary waves at Praia do Norte, explore the colorful fishing village of Sitio, buy nuts and candy from locals, and savor fresh seafood dishes at local restaurants.

What else is near Nazaré?

Alcobaça : Home to the epic Alcobaça Monastery (a UNESCO World Heritage site).

Óbidos : Just a short drive from Nazaré, Óbidos is a charming medieval town surrounded by ancient walls. Read more about it below!

Batalha : Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Batalha is famous for its monastery, Mosteiro da Batalha.

Óbidos, a medieval hilltop town surrounded by ancient walls, is about as charming and magical as it gets when it comes to fortified towns in Portugal.

Wander through its cobblestone streets, pop into all the medieval-themed shops , admire the whitewashed houses , walk along the city walls , and explore the impressive Óbidos Castle . Don’t miss the chance to sample Ginjinha, a traditional cherry liqueur served in chocolate cups!

Throughout the year, Óbidos holds lively festivals and events worth visiting, such as the Medieval Market and Chocolate Festival .

15 Unforgettable Things To Do In Óbidos, Portugal

What else is near óbidos.

Peniche : A coastal town known for its amazing beaches and excellent surfing conditions, Peniche is also famous for its fresh seafood restaurants and historic fortress overlooking the ocean.

Caldas da Rainha : This charming spa town is known for its thermal springs and traditional ceramic pottery. Explore the town’s historic center, soak in thermal baths, and browse the local shops selling ceramics and handicrafts.

Home to one of Europe’s oldest universities, Coimbra is a picturesque city steeped in academic tradition and cultural heritage.

Visit the historic University of Coimbra , explore the medieval streets of the old town , and take in sweeping views from the hilltop of Coimbra Cathedral .

What else is near Coimbra?

Conímbriga : Just a short drive from Coimbra, Conímbriga is home to one of the largest and best-preserved Roman settlements in Portugal. Explore the ruins of ancient houses, thermal baths, and forum, and learn about daily life in Roman times at the Conímbriga Museum.

Tomar : Known for its rich Templar history, Tomar is home to the impressive Convent of Christ, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the medieval castle and convent, visit the beautiful Manueline-style cloisters, and learn about the Knights Templar at the Convent of Christ Museum.

Batalha : Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Batalha is famous for its magnificent monastery, Mosteiro da Batalha, considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Portugal.

Known as the “Venice of Portugal,” Aveiro is a charming coastal city famous for its colorful moliceiro boats , art nouveau architecture , and delicious seafood .

I first discovered this cute seaside town on my Contiki trip to Spain and Portugal. It was a quick stop, but it definitely left a really strong impression on me!

Must-do’s include taking a scenic boat ride along the city’s canals, visiting the historic Aveiro Cathedral, and sampling local specialties like ovos moles (sweet egg pastries).

What else is near Aveiro?

Costa Nova : A charming seaside village known for its colorful striped houses and sandy beaches.

Ilhavo : Known for its rich ceramic history and beautiful porcelain products. Visit the museum to learn about the town’s heritage, explore the historic Vista Alegre factory, and browse the shops selling traditional Portuguese pottery.

Vagos : A quaint rural town known for its natural beauty, Vagos is a great destination for outdoor lovers. Explore the Pateira de Fermentelos, Portugal’s largest natural lake, go birdwatching in the surrounding wetlands, and enjoy a picnic in the peaceful countryside.

Serving as the gateway to Portugal’s sunny Algarve region, Faro is a gorgeous city with a charming historic center, beautiful beaches, and lots cultural attractions.

Explore the medieval walls of Faro Old Town , visit the Cathedral of Faro , and relax on the pristine sands of nearby Ilha Deserta .

What else is near Faro?

Tavira : A picturesque coastal town known for its historic charm, whitewashed buildings, and beaches. Visit the 13th-century Tavira Castle, explore the ruins of the Roman bridge, and have a beach day.

Olhão : A traditional fishing town known for its bustling markets, waterfront promenade, and delicious seafood. Visit the Olhão Municipal Market, take a boat trip to the Ria Formosa Natural Park, and enjoy a meal at one of the waterfront restaurants.

Silves : A historic town with a rich Moorish heritage, Silves is home to impressive medieval fortifications, ancient ruins, and picturesque orange groves.

10 Cool Cities To Visit In Portugal For First-Timers

Porto   Travel Guide

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Courtesy of Sebastien Gaborit | Getty

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Why Go To Porto

Porto has long been a hot destination for wine lovers – it's the go-to place to find the best of that sweet, tasty port wine. But this city by the sea has more to offer than vinho . Porto (or Oporto, as it's sometimes called) is an attractive European minimetropolis on Portugal's northwestern coast where visitors can get their fill of culture and the outdoors. Travelers can visit the city's wealth of museums, admire its varied architecture, relax in its verdant parks and, of course, hit the beach .

The city earns its nickname Cidade das Pontes , or "City of Bridges," from the six arches spanning the Rio Douro (Douro River), which runs along Porto's southern edge. Views of the Douro River are best enjoyed from the Dom Luís I Bridge , the most iconic of Porto's six structures. From here you can get a sense of Porto's unique charm, from its colorful UNESCO World Heritage historic district to the north to the neighboring town of Vila Nova de Gaia just south, where you'll find the region's famous wineries . You could spend a long weekend or a week here strolling the city, discovering the contemporary art in the Serralves Foundation complex and appreciating the history behind Porto's old churches like the Sé and Igreja de São Francisco . No matter what you choose to see and do in this captivating city, you'll leave with an appreciation of Porto's diverse offerings, some great photos and, ideally, a bottle or two of its best wine.

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Porto Travel Tips

Best months to visit.

The best time to visit Porto is from May to September when the weather is often sunny and warm. Overall, Porto experiences a moderate climate. Summertime temps are high but bearable, and the breezes and nearby beaches will help you stay cool. The fall brings lower temperatures and occasional drizzle, while in the winter you'll certainly encounter some rain. Springtime also sees showers (though fewer than in the winter) and moderate temperatures.

Weather in Porto

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

What You Need to Know

Speak Portuguese Yes, Spain and Portugal are neighbors and the languages are similar, but it's rude try to communicate in Spanish instead of Portuguese. Learn some Portuguese phrases like por favor (please), obrigado (thank you) and desculpe (excuse me).

Eat great, even late Do as the locals do and plan to eat dinner a little later in the evening, between 7:30 and 11 p.m.

Beware the appetizers As soon as you sit down at a table, a waiter may bring you a plate of olives, sardines, bread or cheese. These snacks are not free and will be added to your bill if you touch them.

How to Save Money in Porto

Purchase a Porto Card This card will give you free or reduced price entrances on select museums, discounts at restaurants and unlimited access to public transportation. Porto Cards range in price from 13 to 33 euros (around $14.50 to $37) depending on the length of their validity and whether or not they cover transportation.

Sightsee on Sunday Many museums, such as the Serralves Foundation and the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis , offer free entry on select Sunday mornings and early afternoons. Plan to squeeze in your sightseeing then to save some cash.

Dig for deals Check Porto's tourism board website for deals on accommodations, restaurants, city tours and more.

Culture & Customs

Porto has long been known for its production of wine. The Douro Valley region's unique landscape of mountains and valleys paired with a warm, dry climate makes the soil here challenging but unique. The harvest process is similar to that in other wine regions, but here, they add some grape brandy during the fermentation process and then transfer the mixture to casks for aging. The result is a sweet (typically red) port, which is consumed with (or sometimes as) dessert.  

Aside from its famous wine roots, the city is experiencing a tourist boom thanks to its newer museums and its historic center's designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Culture hounds have their hands full with everything from art and architecture to history and religious sites. Plus, the city appeals to leisurely folk with its abundance of activities and sights on land and sea like biking, boating and swimming.

The people of Porto are warm and hospitable, often greeting locals and visitors alike with a hearty bom dia , boa tarde or boa noite (good morning, good afternoon or good evening). Portuguese is the language spoken in Porto, so you'll hear words like por favor (please), obrigado (thank you) and de nada (you're welcome) – which are also good to know for yourself. Try your best to learn some Portuguese phrases before you arrive as English is not as widely spoken in Porto as in Lisbon .

The official currency in Porto is the euro. Since the euro to U.S. dollar exchange rate fluctuates, be sure to check what the current exchange rate is before you go. Most major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the city, though some restaurants or small cafes will only accept cash so make sure you always have enough on hand. An appropriate tip for a meal is 5% to 10% at a restaurant, and tips for taxi rides are usually 10% or just rounded to the nearest 5 euros.

What to Eat

Porto's local cuisine features lots of seafood (because of its seat along the Atlantic Ocean) accompanied by plenty of wine. Traditional dishes in Porto range from the Francesinha (a toasted meat, cheese and beer-based gravy sandwich served with fries) to tripas à moda do Porto (tripe cooked with white beans, sausage and vegetables). You can find appetizing tripe dishes at many restaurants, but travelers say the best places for Francesinha are Bufete Fase (which sells nothing else) and Café Santiago (just southeast of Mercado Bolhão). Cod (or bacalhau ) is also a popular main dish in Porto – a common saying is that there are more than 365 ways to cook cod. It can be served with potatoes and chickpeas ( bacalhau com batata e grão) , with scrambled eggs, potatoes and olives ( bacalhau á Brás) , or boiled with tomatoes and garlic ( bacalhau á portuguesa ), among other variations.

The city's namesake sweet dessert wine, port, is especially popular in the region, so be sure to sample some . Meanwhile, visitors with a sweet tooth should try the pastries, gelato or reqeijão com doce de abóbora (a ricotta pie-like dessert with pumpkin jam) at any of the bakeries.

If you're on a budget, you should still be able to find a great meal in Porto. Many restaurants feature pratos do dia (or plates of the day) for lunch, with the daily specials typically including fresh fish or meat dishes (and sometimes even a glass of wine and dessert) for a set price starting around 5 euros (about $5.50). Keep in mind, meals are served a bit later in Porto, with diners sitting down for lunch between 12:30 and 3 p.m. and eating dinner between 7:30 and 11 p.m.

Porto is a fairly safe city with a low crime rate. However, you should always be aware of your surroundings and belongings, especially if you're a solo traveler. Pickpockets tend to lurk around the touristy areas and on public transportation, so keep a hand on your purse or wallet. Be especially careful after dark and avoid walking through any alleys, where the homeless and some gangs congregate.

Getting Around Porto

The best way to get around Porto is by metro, by bus or on foot. Porto boasts an extensive public transportation system operated by the Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos do Porto (which includes the metro, buses and trams) that helps visitors reach the top attractions in and around the city. The metro lines are identified by different colors and letters, plus many of the lines travel above ground and offer splendid views of the city. Porto's extensive bus system can be a bit confusing, and the metro reaches most major attractions, but the bus is a nice alternative to get to some harder-to-reach places, including Foz, the Serralves Museum and Vila Nova de Gaia. Once you're in the city center, you can explore on your own two feet.

Porto's nearest airport is Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO), which is located on the northwestern edge of the city. (It's often simply referred to as Porto Airport.) You can get from the airport into Porto by taking the E (purple) metro line toward Estádio do Dragão; the Lapa, Trindade and Bolhão stops are nearest the city's center. Various shuttle services also ferry travelers between the airport and the city. Or, you can get a cab to or from the airport, but it'll cost you about 20 to 30 euros ($22 to $33); and on the weekends it may cost you nearly 20% more.

Set along the Douro River in northwestern Portugal, the city of Porto is known for its stunning river views and port wine.

Explore More of Porto

Sé do Porto (Porto Cathedral)

Things To Do

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  1. The Ultimate Guide to Porto: Porto Travel Guide

    Travel Guide to Porto & Northern Portugal. What are some activities for kids in Porto, Portugal? Porto has plenty of stuff to do with the kids, catering to locals and tourists alike. A great thing to do in Porto is visiting Sea Life, an experience the whole family will enjoy. Sea Life has over 30 displays and 3,000 sea creatures.

  2. 13 things to know before traveling to Porto

    13. Be mindful of petty thievery. Porto is generally a safe city, and the crime rate is low. Still, pickpocketing and bag snatching are the main concerns to keep in mind, especially when traveling on the trams and Metro. Avoid moving around during the crowded peak times, and don't zone out on your phone wherever you are.

  3. Porto travel

    Portugal, Europe. Opening up like a pop-up book from the banks of the Rio Douro, edgy-yet-opulent Porto entices with its historic center and sumptuous food and wine. Best Time to Visit.

  4. 15 of the best things to do in Porto

    8. Seek out Porto's Insta-worthy tiles (azulejos). Portuguese design is epitomized by the walls of colorful tiles known as azulejos, traditionally adorned with repetitive, intricate patterns or mural scenes executed in blue and white.Some of the most impressive tile art can be found inside São Bento train station, where stories of Portugal's past stretch from floor to ceiling.

  5. Porto, Portugal: All You Must Know Before You Go (2024)

    Porto is a charming city in northern Portugal, famous for its wine, bridges, and culture. Whether you want to explore its historic center, enjoy its riverside views, or taste its delicious cuisine, Porto has something for everyone. Find out why Porto is one of the best places to visit in 2024 with Tripadvisor, the world's largest travel platform. Read reviews, compare prices, and book your ...

  6. Porto Travel Guide (Updated 2024)

    Porto Travel Guide. Last Updated: January 8, 2024. Sitting at the mouth of the Duoro River, Porto is Portugal's second-largest — and second-most-popular — city. It's the home of Port wine, which became popular after the 17th century, and you can find plenty of places to sample this popular dessert wine all around the city.

  7. PORTO Travel Guide

    10+. Porto is a perfect getaway destination. Its gastronomy and wines are of the upmost quality. It is the most prominent city in northern Portugal, and the second most important in the country, after Lisbon, the capital. Awarded in 2020 as Europe's Leading City Break Destination, Porto is a small, pleasant and walking-friendly city.

  8. Perfect Porto Itinerary: How To Spend 1 to 5 Days in Porto, Portugal

    North to Braga, Portugal. Travel north of Porto to the historic and beautiful town of Braga. The Bom Jesus do Monte hilltop church - and it's stunning staircase - is a top attraction. The Braga Old Town also boasts numerous opulently decorated churches, including the Braga Cathedral (which is the oldest in Portugal).

  9. 5 Days in Porto: Itinerary, Tips, and More!

    Sé do Porto (Porto Cathedral) Location: Terreiro da Sé, 4050-573 Porto, Portugal. Hours: Every day: 9 AM - 6:30 PM. Tickets: 3 EUR. Begin your journey at Sé do Porto - a magnificent Romanesque cathedral dating back to the 12th century! Its strategic hilltop location offers sweeping views of Porto and the Douro River.

  10. 23 Best Things to Do in Porto

    Kyle McCarthy|Sharael Kolberg December 4, 2023. Ranking of the top 23 things to do in Porto. Travelers favorites include #1 Dom Luís I Bridge, #2 Sé do Porto (Porto Cathedral) and more.

  11. 18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Porto

    6. Ponte Dom Luís I Ponte Dom Luís I . The grandiose Dom Luís I bridge is one of the most iconic structures in Portugal. Spanning the mighty River Douro to link Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia on the south bank, the bridge's majestic sweep and two-tier aspect is a binding component in the city's proud, social fabric.. The heavily riveted charcoal-grey ironwork has Gustave Eiffel written all ...

  12. The Ultimate Porto Travel Guide • The Blonde Abroad

    The trains run from 6 AM to 1 AM and a single ticket costs EUR 1.20. Bus: There are plenty of bus routes throughout Porto and some that travel to nearby destinations like Vila Nova de Gaia. The service runs every day from 6 AM to 1 AM and single tickets cost EUR 1.85. Tram: The tram is an iconic way to explore Porto.

  13. The Ultimate Travel Guide to Porto, Portugal (2024 Guide)

    The most famous of these is the Dom Luis I bridge, which when it opened in 1886 was the longest arched bridge in the world. This is one of the most famous landmarks of Portugal and is such a stunning place to visit. Today it acts as one of the main focal points in the city. Another of Porto's bridges worth talking about is the Maria Pia ...

  14. 3 Days in Porto, Portugal: The Ultimate Porto Itinerary for First-time

    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.

  15. An expert travel guide to Porto

    A short (but steep) walk up the hill behind, the museums of WOW Porto (Rua do Choupelo, 39; 00 351 220 121 200) offer a spectacular showcase of Portuguese wine, the regions of Portugal and history ...

  16. Beautiful Porto: Things To Do, See, And How To Travel in Porto, Portugal

    Travel In Porto And Around Portugal: Regional flights are plentiful and fairly inexpensive, but you can get to most places on the mainland cheaper and in a similar timeframe with the extensive train and bus options. Porto's metro (subway) and bus lines are fantastic; clean and inexpensive. But you can walk most places, assuming you don't ...

  17. Best Places to Eat, Drink, and Shop in Porto, Portugal

    A Photographer Captures the Rich Art Deco Heritage of Porto, Portugal This Coastal Town in Portugal Is a Hidden Gem — With Scenic Beaches, Beautiful Architecture, and Few Crowds

  18. 3 Days in Porto, Portugal: The Most Perfect Porto Itinerary

    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 ...

  19. 19 Incredible Things to do in Porto, Portugal

    #19 EXPLORE BEYOND PORTO. Portugal, for a country so small, is magnificent. Wonderful coastline, gorgeous towns, epic natural landscapes, and above all, a world-class food and wine scene. ... It is possible to travel to Porto from other city hubs in Portugal and surrounding countries; however as there's no one main bus line servicing all areas ...

  20. Top Things to Do in Porto, Portugal

    R. Dom João de Castro 210, 4150-417 Porto, Portugal. Phone +351 22 615 6500. Web Visit website. If you like modern art, then the Serralves Modern Art Museum is a must-see. This museum has rotating exhibitions and amazing gardens for when museum fatigue sets in — don't miss the art deco villa in the garden.

  21. 10 Cool Cities To Visit In Portugal For First-Timers

    Planning a trip to Portugal for the first time? Get excited, because Portugal is truly amazing. Portugal's got it all — stunning azulejo tiles, fado music, petiscos (Portuguese tapas), pastéis ...

  22. Porto Travel Guide

    Porto (or Oporto, as it's sometimes called) is an attractive European minimetropolis on Portugal's northwestern coast where visitors can get their fill of culture and the outdoors. Travelers can ...

  23. ying.C

    35 likes, 6 comments - ying_lo2o on July 7, 2024: "The color red in Portugal @pasteisbelem @lisbon.travel @explorar_lisboa @portugal.explores #lisboa #lisbon #葡萄牙 #里斯本 #波爾多 #porto #portugal #portugal ".