The 13 Best Douro Valley Wine Tours From Porto [My Top Picks]

a selection of wines in douro valley portugal on a ledge wtih the river behind it

Portugal is known for many things: from its dramatic coastline to its decadent castles and its dreamy azulejos, it’s become a fan favorite in Europe for many reasons.

But there’s another big draw to Portugal for those in-the-know… its wines!

Just how good Portugal’s wine scene really is is a well-kept secret amongst wine geeks… mostly because Portuguese wine is still rather affordable, but it might not be once word gets out! 

However, there is one wine that Portugal produces that practically everyone knows: port, designated officially as Vinho do Porto. 

Table with wine and pastries in the view over the river in Porto, Portugal

Port is produced in the Douro Valley region, close to the lively tourist hub of Porto, Portugal’s second-most famous city… 

While Porto is a great city to spend one day or two days in, it’s also a great launching off pad for adventures to the Northern Portugal wine region.

So it should come as no surprise that there are so many Douro Valley wine tours from Porto (and tons of great day trips from Porto, generally).

While you could rent a car and tour the Douro Valley independently… that would mean you’d have to cut back on your tastings, and who wants to do that?

Especially when there’s so much tasty port to be had!

Port is a delicious and complex fortified dessert wine that will have even avowed “anything-but-sweet” wine lovers eating – rather, drinking – their words.

There are many sweet and fortified wines out there in the world, but there’s a reason port is practically synonymous with dessert wine: it’s iconic for a reason.

Generally, Port is made from red wine grapes, but if you explore the wine scene in Porto, you’ll also find some delicious white port that rarely makes it overseas!

Table with wine and pastries in the view over the river in Porto, Portugal

And if you’re not a fan of sweet wine, fret not – Porto is also close to the Minho region, where the ever-so-slightly effervescent Vinho Verde white wine is produced.

I’ve poured through (get it?) all the wine tours from Porto because trust me: there’s a lot out there and it’s quite overwhelming.

I’ve distilled it down (sorry, I can’t stop making port puns) to the ones that truly stand out amongst the crowd, either for being the most highly-rated favorites or for offering a unique experience that other Porto wine tours don’t. 

Here we go!

My Top 3 Picks: Douro Wine Tours from Porto

No time to read the full article about these wine tours and just want my top 3 picks and the highlights of each?

#1 TOP PICK

Image of two red wine glasses with vineyards in Douro Valley, Portugal on the background. Clinking glasses in celebration

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Douro Valley Tour with Wine Tasting, Cruise and Lunch
✔️ Visit two wineries
✔️ Scenic hour-long cruise on the Douro River

#2 PICK

woman in a sunhat and sundress holding a glass of red wine looking to the vineyards and the peaceful river in Douro Valley, Portugal on a sunny day

Douro Valley Vineyards Tour with Lunch
✔️ Visit three different wineries
✔️ Local-style lunch in a vineyard setting

#3 PICK

more glasses of wine to taste in the douro valley wine region, two reds and one white, next to grapes, in front of the douro river view

Douro Valley Private Full–Day Tour from Porto
✔️ Visit two incredible wineries
✔️ Sightseeing on the Douro River via a one-hour river cruise

The 13 Top Wine Tours From Porto

1.  Douro Valley Tour with Wine Tasting, Cruise and Lunch

Image of two red wine glasses with vineyards in Douro Valley, Portugal on the background. Clinking glasses in celebration

⌛ Tour Length: 9.5 hours | 🌟 Rating: 4.7/5 stars (1250+ reviews) | 🍷 Book Now

Unique Features:
-Trusted & top rated with 1,200+ reviews
-Two wineries visits, lunch & coffee break in Peso da Régua
-Scenic hour-long cruise on the Douro River


Read more about this wine tasting tour here!

This full-day Douro Valley wine tour from Porto pampers you for a full day, driving and cruising through the most scenic parts of Northern Portugal (while plying you with delicious port tastings to boot).

With well over a thousand ratings, this wine tour is one of the most popular Douro Valley day trips from Porto, and when you look at all that’s included, it’s not hard to see why!

Your day wine tasting in the Douro Valley starts with a trip to Peso da Régua, a charming town right in the heart of the winemaking region. 

This is a trip to definitely take. We had a great day in a small group and our guide Pedro was excellent. The different vineyards we visited gave a good learning experience of how Port wine is produced. The cruise was also really nice and relaxing. Everything fit so well, the views, the wine tastings and were not too overwhelming.

Read more reviews here!

You’ll have a quick coffee pick-me-up in town to perk you up after the drive, and then it’s time to get to tasting!

On the tour, you’ll get the chance to sample a variety of delicious ports at two port houses (quintas) while enjoying spectacular views of the vineyards.

And you’ll need something to soak up all that port, so don’t worry – lunch is also included in the tour. Fish, meat, and vegetarian options are all available.

After that, it’s time to get back to Porto. But the fun doesn’t stop there, because this tour saved the best views for last!

You can enjoy a one-hour cruise along the Douro River, the perfect chance to sightsee and get to know some of the other people on your tour!

2. Douro Valley Full-Day Wine Trip with Lunch

autumn grapevine in Douro River Valley with reddish and green leaves and hills in the background with fall colors changing shades

⌛ Tour Length: 9 hours | 🌟 Rating: 4.8/5 stars (645+ reviews) |🍷 Book Now

Unique Features:
Olive oil tastings & cheese pairing with port
-A scenic tour of the charming Pinhão
-River cruise in the middle of the day


Read more about this Douro valley wine tour here!

This is another popular Douro wine tour from Porto that comes highly recommended with over 600 reviews and a near-perfect rating.

Your first stop is Croft Vineyards, where you’ll learn the intricacies of producing quality port wine.

But of course, you learn best by doing, right? So obviously, you’ll need to do a little port wine tasting.

Plus, it sure doesn’t hurt to have an array of Portuguese cheeses accompanying your port wine tasting!

After your first tasting has gotten you feeling all warm and fuzzy, Next up is Pinhão, a scenic village in the heart of the Douro wine region.

“The vinyards were well chosen, lots to taste (including cheese, honey and olive oil) and great lunch. We were a small group of 5 and were never rushed, it didn‘t feel like a typical organised tour! Pedro was a wonderful guide and driver: funny, knowledgeable and overall a great guy!”

Read more reviews here!

This Porto wine tour differs from the first in that you do a scenic boat cruise between the two winery visits rather than on the way home.

It’s a nice way to sober up between tastings, and the light in the valley is beautiful at this time of day too! 

After a classic Portuguese lunch (vegetarian options included), it’s time to hit another local winery for some more tastings – this time, you’ll visit a small local producer who specializes in everyday table wines.

After learning about these regional wines, you’ll end the tour with some olive oil tastings for good measure!

P.S.: The drive back home as your day trip from Porto to the Douro Valley comes to an end is as scenic as it gets!

3. Douro Valley Vineyards Tour with Lunch

woman in a sunhat and sundress holding a glass of red wine looking to the vineyards and the peaceful river in Douro Valley, Portugal on a sunny day

⌛ Tour Length: 9 hours | 🌟 Rating: 4.9/5 stars (340+ reviews) | 🍷 Book Now

Unique Features:
Visit three different wineries, more than other tours
-Opportunity to compare family-run wineries and larger producers
-Local-style lunch in a vineyard setting


➜ Read more about this wine tour here!

This Douro Valley tour from Porto is for the wine overachievers: here, you’ll visit not two wineries like most Porto wine tours, but actually three!

With three tastings scheduled, here’s a lot of ground to cover in 9 hours, and your guide will help you make the most of every moment of your port wine tasting day trip!

The tour covers three premier wineries in the Douro Valley region, ensuring that you’ll get to experience the best wine tasting Porto has to offer.

Besides the unforgettable DOC and port wine, the first winery offers a thorough tour of its cellars too.

“Fantastic experience!!! The landscape of the Douro Valley is breathtaking and we tasted a lot of wines!!! The lunch was delicious and they accomodated for food intolerances. Steve was a great guide and not only was he full of information but quite the entertainer, so we were constantly laughing. I really enjoyed this full day experience.”

Read more reviews here!

On your visit to the second winery, you’ll get to try even more wines – but not before you also fill your belly, since this winery is where you’ll enjoy a delicious Portuguese lunch!

Your last winery is a big-name port producer, and it offers another cellar tour along with some prime countryside views.

By seeing all three vineyards, you’ll get to compare the differences between smaller, family-run quintas and larger-scale wine producers.

Before heading back to Porto, there’s an unforgettable drive along Route 222. It’s the perfect ending for photographers and sightseers!

4. Porto: Douro Valley Hike and Winery Tour w/ Tasting & Picnic

Pinhao train station with its azulejos and old clock

⌛ Tour Length: 10 hours | 🌟 Rating: 4.9/5 stars (10+ reviews) | 🍷 Book Now

Unique Features:
Active tour with less time in transit and more time out in nature
-A scenic hike through Douro Valley to reach Pinhão
-Tasting of three wines alongside a picnic lunch


➜ Read more about this wine & tasting tour here!

You’ll need a pair of sturdy shoes for this wine tour from Porto, since it also includes a hike in the Douro Valley!

If you prefer to be out and active rather than sitting in a van all day being shuttled from location to location, this is the perfect day trip to the Douro Valley for you. 

You’ll be hiking through the countryside and its vineyard-covered rolling hills to reach your first winery in Pinhão – and your reward is definitely worth it.

“I expected something harder as it was mentioned in other reviews, however for a hiker is easy, for a beginner might be a bit harder but super doable. Even expecting something more challenging, I have to say I really loved the day and the picnic was the highlight.”

Read more reviews here!

What better way to take a break from your hike than with a picnic? You’ll taste three wines –  both red and white – alongside a selection of charcuterie, bread, and cakes

You have 10 hours to work with and nobody to rush you, so feel free to explore the surrounding nature after the picnic!

And that’s not even in Pinhão! Once you actually reach the scenic village, you get to walk around at your leisure.

If you pay a little extra, you can even do a boat tour and immerse yourself in the heart of the river that gives the Douro Valley its name.

5. Porto: Douro Valley Wine Tour and Boat Cruise with Lunch with Locals

a election of wines in douro valley portugal on a ledge wtih the river behind it

⌛ Tour Length: 9 hours | 🌟 Rating: 4.9/5 stars (85+ reviews) | 🍷 Book Now

Unique Features:
-Meet small, family-run wineries producing red & white wines
-Boat tour of the Douro Valley
-Local lunch in a tasca in Pinhão

Read more about this wine tour here!

Often, we forget about all the hard work it takes to make the delicious wines we drink – but this tour focuses on the people behind the small family-run wineries in the Douro Valley.

This tour focuses only on small wineries, so you’ll get a more intimate experience than you would at larger wine producers. 

Besides red and white wines, your first winery includes olive oil tastings, as well as local bread, cheese, and jam.

Andre was an excellent guide! Shared lots of fun facts with us and had great energy. He ensured everything flowed smoothly and was an enjoyable day for all. Couldn’t recommend this trip enough!

Read more reviews here!

That’s not all you’ll be eating, though –  the gorgeous village of Pinhão is home to a lovely local tasca, where you can enjoy a two-course lunch.

Next up is the centerpiece, the boat tour of Douro Valley. It’s hard to resist a wine tour from Porto that includes a one-hour boat cruise!

One more scenic drive and winery visit later, you can head back to Porto with your heart and belly full!

6. Private Douro Valley 4WD Tour with Wine Tasting and Picnic

View from a miradouro above the Douro River with vineyards and quintas below and the river bisecting the valley

⌛ Tour Length: 10 hours | 🌟 Rating: 4.9/5 stars (10+ reviews) | 🍷 Book Now

Unique Features:
-Going off-road for a unique exploration of the Douro Valley
-Sampling Portugal’s finest port wines
-Enjoying a picnic at a scenic vista point


Read more about this wine and tasting tour here!

This private wine tour of the Douro Valley takes you off the beaten path – literally! – to explore the Douro Valley via 4WD.

As you make your way through the mountains, marvel at the gorgeous landscape and pass a series of charming wineries.

“Our guides, Diogo and Rue, were funny, entertaining and well-informed about not only the history of Douro Valley and port wine, but about the history of Portugal. My friends and I had an incredible time off-roading with these two, learning about the area, and sampling Croft port.”

Read more reviews here!

You’re in for a smooth ride despite the bumpy terrain, and your guides will share all kinds of interesting knowledge about Portugal and the Douro Valley.

After a small picnic at a scenic spot, you get to the main course – the delicious port wines over at a classic quinta!

The ride there is absolutely unforgettable, but wait until you’ve seen the Valley at sunset on your return trip!

7. Douro Valley: Private Premium Wine Tasting and Boat Trip with Lunch

Cruise ship at Foz do Tua, Douro Valley, Portugal, with the Port wine vineyards in the background

⌛ Tour Length: 8 hours | 🌟 Rating: New! | 🍷 Book Now

Unique Features:
-Two-hour yacht ride along the Douro River
-Lunch at a restaurant with a panoramic view
-Private experience with two winery tastings, including port & DOC wines


Read more about this Douro wine tasting tour here!

If any private wine tour from Porto deserves to be called premium, it’s this one! I mean, how many wine tours also include a yacht cruise?

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves – first you’ll get picked up at your hotel and brought to a prestigious Douro Valley winery, where you’ll get to try both regional DOC varietals as well as the star of the show, port wine.

That said, things really pick up when you hop onto the yacht and sail the Douro River!

Unlike other wine tours on this list, this is a two-hour cruise – meaning you have at least twice as much time on the water than any of the other tours!

The two-hour cruise includes food, wine, and countless fascinating stories about one of Portugal’s most distinguished regions.

“Terrific trip to Douro Valley. Antonio was an excellent guide and driver. He was accommodating, knowledgeable, and polite.”

Read more reviews here!

The Douro River played a big part in transporting wine from the Douro Valley to Porto back in the day, and having this knowledge in your pocket will definitely enrich your appreciation of the next tastings!

Before that, next up is a full-on lunch at a restaurant overlooking the river. Even more marvelous views for you to take in!

Topping things off is another winery visit for one last taste of DOC wines and delicious port before returning back to Porto.

Note that this is a private wine tour and there is a minimum of four participants in order to book the tour.

8. Private Douro Valley Premium Tour

a traditional rabelo boat that is used to transport wine on the douro river

⌛ Tour Length: 9 hours | 🌟 Rating: 4.5/5 stars (10+ reviews) | 🍷 Book Now

Unique Features:
-Boat tour in a rabelo, a traditional boat of Porto
-A private walking tour of a typical Douro Valley village
-Trying different varietals other tours don’t cover such as Moscatel


➜ Read more about this premium tour here!

If you want an intimate look into the Douro Valley, it doesn’t get any better than this private full-day Porto to Douro Valley day trip!

Once you’ve oohed and aahed your way through the scenic drive into the Douro Valley, you’ll arrive at the first vineyard, where a local producer will proudly have you sample some of his finest work!

After that, you’ll get some fresh air as you take a walk through a local Douro Valley village that’s begging to be explored. 

All that drinking and sightseeing will make you hungry, but this tour takes care of that with a feast at an 18th-century manor house!

“João is an exceptional tour guide. He has a deep knowledge of subject matter for his tours; food, history, culture, You ask a question and get ready for a very interesting and factual explanation. I highly recommend any of his excursionS and plan to use him again”

Read more reviews here!

If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a one-hour boat ride you’ll remember for the rest of your life

Because this is such an intimate tour, you’ll get the chance to ride on a traditional rabelo boat that was historically used to transport wine.

Most tours have you go on a larger river cruising boat, but this is the real deal.

Rabelos are to the Douro River as much as gondolas are to Venice, so it’s a truly iconic experience.

And since there’s no such thing as a bad view in the Douro Valley, you’ll admire the sunlight changing the colors of the hills as your driver takes the panoramic Route 222 back to Porto.

9. Douro Valley Private Full–Day Tour from Porto

more glasses of wine to taste in the douro valley wine region, two reds and one white, next to grapes, in front of the douro river view

⌛ Tour Length: 9 hours | 🌟 Rating: 4.8/5 stars (30+ reviews) | 🍷 Book Now

Unique Features:
Private tour bookable for individuals or groups
-Two fantastic tastings including port & a generous lunch
-A 1-hour boat tour before going back to Porto


Read more about this full-day tour here!

Here’s a private wine tour from Porto you can enjoy totally by yourself or just with your own group!

During your lovely drive to the Douro Valley, you’ll kick things off with some information on the region’s winemaking history.

“We were picked up at our apartment. Traveled to Duro Valley where we toured 2 Vineyards, took a boat ride on the Duro river and had a great lunch before we were brought back to our apartment. A tour worth taking!”

Read more reviews here!

You get to try wine from two incredible wineries, including port wine samples. You’ll be hard pressed to decide which one is better!

Naturally, a Portuguese lunch goes great with wine, and you definitely won’t be leaving the tour hungry!

After a full day of wining and dining, the cherry on top is getting to do some sightseeing on the Douro River via a one-hour river cruise.

10. Private Tour of the Douro Valley: Full-Day Boat, Train, and Lunch Tour

historic train going through the douro valley region

⌛ Tour Length: 8 hours | 🌟 Rating: 4.4/5 stars (15+ reviews) | 🍷 Book Now

Unique Features:
Traveling through a historic wine region by boat and train
-Enjoying lunch with the locals of Foz do Tua
-A wine-tasting session in the afternoon set to amazing views


➜ Read more about this private tour in Douro here!

Yeah, yeah, a lot of these day trips to the Douro Valley from Porto also include a boat cruise

But this tour takes it up a notch: if boat rides aren’t enough, this wine tour from Porto throws a scenic train ride into the mix!

The routes you’ll be traveling (both by river and rail) were once used to transport wine barrels from the Douro to Porto. Talk about an immersive tour!

“This is the best way to experience the Douro Valley. It is a journey through one of the most beautiful valleys of the world by boat and train. The local food and wine is superb while enjoying a stunning view. Our guide Pedro was extremely professional and gave us a lot more than expected. He loves his job and was the key for a perfect vacation day at the Douro Valley in Portugal. We will return!”

Read more reviews here!

After reaching Foz do Tua from Pinhão, you’ll take a short walk to a restaurant and have a local lunch.

Nearly everyone you meet is in the winemaking business, so you’re guaranteed to meet some interesting people!

The wine tasting comes at the end of the tour, and you’ll really be in the spirit of things by then!

Not to mention, the unique landscape of the Valley is a sight you’ll never forget.

What could be better than admiring nature with friends on a private tour?

11. Private Off the Beaten Path Douro Valley Tour

view of wineries of the douro valley from an overlook point

⌛ Tour Length: 8.5 hours | 🌟 Rating: 5/5 stars (85+ reviews) | 🍷 Book Now

Unique Features:
Enjoying wine samples from high-quality family wineries
-Eating a festive lunch for an added fee
-Seeing the hidden gems of the Douro Valle


Read more about this tour in Douro here!

This wine tour from Porto will show you a side of the Douro Valley you never knew existed!

Following the Douro River, you’ll make your way to a boutique winery in Sabrosa to start things off.

Peso Da Régua is next up with another great tasting, and you can even grab some lunch here at a local tasca, though it’s not included in the cost of the tour.

“So very enjoyable, relaxing, beautiful ride out to Douro Valley, great tastings, Joao was so very nice and very informative.”

Read more reviews here!

The alheira (a special kind of Portuguese sausage) is exquisite, but there’s also chocolate cake served with pistachio ice cream if you have a sweet tooth.

Lamego is your last stop, where you can check out a family-run winery and taste some of their best stuff.

Also, your guide is the person to take you through the region. Feel free to ask anything about these lesser-known parts of the Valley!

12. Vinho Verde Wineries and Guimarães Tour with Lunch

Vineyards prepared for the collection of grapes, agricultural field in Minho Region, the biggest wine producing region in Portugal

⌛ Tour Length: 8 hours | 🌟 Rating: New! | 🍷 Book Now

Unique Features:
One of few tours that showcases Vinho Verde wines
-Getting to visit a historic manor
-Eating lunch in and exploring Guimarães


➜ Read more about this wine tour here!

OK, so we’ve focused a lot on red wines and port so far.

But let’s not forget that Northern Portugal is also where some of the country’s most popular white wines are produced!

This is a must-try wine tour from Porto if you want to taste some Vinho Verde, which is Portuguese for “green wine.”

This “green wine” is named so more for its youthfulness than its color, as it’s a young wine meant to be drank quickly after harvest rather than saved for posterity and aging.

On the tour, you start your tastings at a centuries-old manor, where you get to try Vinho Verde as well as Alvarinho, another delicious white wine varietal.

“Amazing day with our guide Hugo. Informative and entertaining with much food and great wine. We visited 2 excellent small vineyards with knowledgeable hosts and generous amounts of wine. We then had a lovely lunch in Guimaraes and Hugo guided us around this great town. Do not miss this.”

Read more reviews here!

You’ll also get a tour of the property, and there sure is a lot to see!

Next, another winemaker will welcome you to their lovely home and teach you about the production process.

Finally, there’s some culture to throw into the mix on this tour, as you’ll also pay a visit to the charming city of Guimarães.

Guimarães is the old capital of Portugal, and it’s a prime setting for a hearty lunch and even more wine before some sightseeing around this beautiful city  to let the food and drinks settle before returning to Portugal!

13. Private Vinho Verde Tour: Visit 2 Wineries with Wine Tastings & Lunch

Picking the grapes in a vineyard farm of Green Wine, Minho, Portugal

⌛ Tour Length: 10 hours | 🌟 Rating: 5/5 stars (10+ reviews) | 🍷 Book Now

Unique Features:
Tasting premier Vinho Verde from two high-end wineries
-A delicious lunch and crash course on the region
-Immersing yourself in the natural beauty of Minho


Read more about this wine and tasting tour here!

If you like the idea of trying lots of Vinho Verde, here’s another great choice for a wine tour from Porto for you

The tour covers the historic Minho region, of which Vinho Verde is a subregion.

This area is renowned for its quality wine, but in particular, its white wine shines the brightest.

This is an entirely private tour, so the whole experience feels very intimate and personalized.

“Our guide was amazing – picked us up at our hotel for a beautiful drive to Vinho Verde region. we visited two wineries, the first including lunch with a wonderful host.”

Read more reviews here!

The tour includes the chance to try Vinho Verde of the highest quality from two premier wineries and learn about its unique production method.

After some drinks, you’ll enjoy a mouthwatering Portuguese lunch as you listen to stories about what makes this region so special.

The tour is pretty long, but since it starts early in the morning, you’ll probably still have time for an evening out in Porto!

The Ultimate One Day in Porto Mini Itinerary

a beautiful cloister courtyard area in a religious building in porto

If your travel plans end up passing through Porto for one day and you’re looking for a quick adventure in this beautiful city, it can be done.

The trick is to have a thorough, detailed plan to make the most of it so you don’t miss anything! 

Luckily, we’ve got just the guide for you.

Porto is home to an incredible array of historical landmarks, gorgeous churches, and spectacular views of the Douro River.

While at least two days in Porto is ideal, it’d be a shame to miss out on sampling a bit of Porto’s best sights, even if you only have one day in Porto.

The view of the city of Porto from across the Douro River as seen from Vila Nova de Gaia

Foodies, contain your excitement: Porto is also the perfect place for a tasting of its signature port wine (no need to rent a car and go all the way to the Douro Valley for that — though it is worth it!), or to devour delicious Portuguese food. 

In this short guide, you’ll find a condensed but complete one-day itinerary to experience everything Porto has to offer in a short amount of time.

During the two years I lived in Portugal, I visited Porto on many occasions, almost every time on short trips of just a day or two. 

So, if I do say so myself, you’re in good hands when it comes to planning your unforgettable whirlwind trip through Porto!

In the guide that follows, I’ll take you through all the top highlights you can’t miss in this charming Portuguese city, even if you’ve only got 24 hours in Porto!

And if you have another day… you can either follow this two-day Porto itinerary or take a day trip to the Douro Valley for some wine tasting!

What to Know Before Visiting Porto

Pretty facade in the town of Porto with a traditional market

If you’re visiting Porto on a short trip, you can save time by sticking to the historical center and getting around everywhere on foot. 

This heart of the city is home to all of the most important landmarks, so you won’t need any public transportation. 

Be warned, though! Porto’s a city built on hills, so you’re in for a bit of a workout with all the climbing ahead of you.

Another thing to be aware of is the weather in Porto. Unlike the south of Portugal, or even Lisbon, Porto tends to get more rain. Like, a lot more.

Did you know Porto is rainier than London? Yes, that London.

During the winter months, the temperatures can be downright chilly, and it can rain for several days in a row. 

Allison Green standing in front of azulejos

The best seasons to visit Porto are spring and autumn, but you’ll want to avoid the Easter period due to holiday crowds. 

If you visit in summer, brace yourself for high temperatures and huge crowds of summer tourists, especially during the peak months of July and August. 

If you ask me, it’s best to avoid these busy times and visit when you’ll have a little more breathing room!

One Day in Porto Itinerary

Start with a delicious breakfast.

hand holding a cup of coffee in porto

Begin your day in the Vitória district, where you can have breakfast to fuel up for a busy day ahead!  

Wander over to Praça de Carlos Alberto and stop by one of the many nearby cafés.

You’ll have a ton of delicious options to choose from, but just trust your appetite, and I guarantee you’ll leave full and happy. 

Options in the area will cover a wide range of tastes, from a typically Portuguese breakfast or a tasty and filling brunch. 

Some of the best places in the area are Zenith, O Diplomata, and, for the coffee fiends among you, SO Coffee Roasters.

Admire the azulejos at Igreja do Carmo.

The lovely azulejos of Igreja Do Carmo

All right, now that you’re fed and ready to set off on your explorations for the day, let’s get to it! 

Just a short walk from breakfast, you’ll find one of the most iconic churches in Porto, Igreja do Carmo

The church’s most distinctive feature is the side façade covered in azulejos, so be sure to stop by and take a closer look.

These gorgeous scenes depict the foundation of the Carmelite Order on Mount Carmel. 

It’s also every Instagrammer in Porto’s favorite spot, so you will likely have to wait to snap a good photo here!

Igreja do Carmo is a church in the Baroque and Rococo styles,dating to the second half of the 18th century, and it’s located next to the existing Igreja dos Carmelitas Descalços

Interestingly, building two churches so close to each other wasn’t allowed, an ingenious solution had to be devised.

A house was built between them, turning them into a single building — or better yet — a twin church.

The house became known as Casa Escondida do Porto (Porto’s hidden house).

After admiring the beautiful church from the outside, you might think you’ve seen the best this church has to offer, but there’s so much more inside.. 

For just €4.50, you get access to the entire site, including the church, the Hidden House, the catacombs, the sacristy, and the library.

Enjoy bookstore heaven at Livraria Lello.

Interior of Livraria Lello, the famous bookstore with the red staircase in Porto

As if visiting an ancient church library wasn’t enough, the next stop on your journey through Porto is a bookworm’s paradise. 

Only a few steps from Igreja do Carmo, you’ll come across one of the world’s most famous bookstores, Livraria Lello.

This gorgeous old bookstore opened the doors of its current location in the early 20th century, but its history starts even earlier, in the second half of the 19th century. 

The iconic wooden staircase with the red steps became the defining  emblematic feature of the bookstore, and played no small part in giving it a reputation as the prettiest bookstore in the world.

The bookstore’s fame rose again when rumors spread that it inspired J. K. Rowling when writing Harry Potter (specifically that the staircase inspired the stairs inside Hogwarts), as she lived in Porto for much of her early writing career. 

bookstore in porto with famous staircase and stained glass ceiling

The author denied the claims, but the rumors had spread widely at that point, and the line between fact and fiction blurred, increasing the fame of this already-famous bookstore.

Livraria Lello is now so popular that you need a ticket to enter it.

The good news though, is that you can apply the entire value of the ticket voucher (€5) when you purchase anything from the bookstore. 

That said, the books are marked up quite a bit, so it isn’t the deal you think it is.

If you love books and need to pick up your next vacation read before continuing on your travels, why not pay a visit to this charming little bookstore? 

The rumors may not be true, but the charm of this place is undeniable.

Visit Clerigos Church and climb up its Tower.

View of Clerigos tower from a distance

From Livraria Lello, walk two minutes to Clerigos Church and Tower (see how insanely walkable Porto is?)

The architectural complex of the Clerics is a large one, consisting of a church, a tower, and even a museum. 

The entire complex dates back to the 18th century, and it became a National Monument in 1910.

At a breathtaking 75 meters tall (nearly 250 feet!), the Tower of the Clerics offers of the best scenic views in Porto. 

View from Clerigos tower over the rest of Porto city center

To get to the top, you’ll have to climb 225 steps, but once you get to the top (and catch your breath!) the view is worth the effort!

In addition to climbing the tower, you can visit the church and the museum dedicated to the Brotherhood of the Clerics housed in the House of the Brotherhood. 

The entire visit costs €8, or you can get a night pass just for the tower for €5.

Explore the Praça da Liberdade and Church of Saint Ildefonso.

the praca da liberdade area with the town hall of porto in the background

After you clamber down from the dizzying heights of the Clerigos Tower, walk to the Church of Saint Ildefonso, passing through Praça da Liberdade along the way. 

This is one of Porto’s most famous squares, surrounded by several important buildings, like Banco de Portugal, along with many restaurants and high-end hotels.

At the center of the square, you can see the statue of D. Pedro IV, king of Portugal (although just for a brief time), who was also first ruler of the Empire of Brazil. 

To the north end of the square, you can see Porto’s city hall and in front of it, the scenic Fonte dos Aliados.

the azulejo-covered church of ildefonso in porto with white and blue tiles and stairs leading up to the church

As you take it all in, keep walking east for a few more minutes along Rua de 31 de Janeiro, and you’ll reach the Church of Saint Ildefonso

Like many other churches in Porto, this charming little church features a striking façade decorated with blue and white azulejos.

The Church of Saint Ildefonso dates to the early 18th century, but its façade was only decorated as recently as the 1930s. 

A jaw-dropping quantity of roughly 11,000 azulejo tiles cover the façade, depicting scenes from the life of Saint Ildefonso, to whom the church is dedicated.

Admire the beautiful mosaics in São Bento Station.

Allison Green, the editor of Eternal Arrival, looking up at the azulejos in the sao bento train station

Stick with me here. I know a train station may be a bit of an unusual landmark to go out of your way to see.

But I promise you that São Bento Station is something special – it’s truly one of the most beautiful public transportation stations in the world. 

Step inside, and you’ll see why you can’t miss checking out this historical station while you’re spending a day in Porto. 

The interior of the station is literally covered floor-to-ceiling in stunning azulejos, depicting key events in Porto’s history. 

Among the many scenes depicted in the white and blue tiles, you can see the Battle of Valdevez and the Portuguese Conquest of Ceuta (yes, Portugal is really into their colonial history, but that’s a story for a different day…). 

people walking in the train station in sao bento

Fittingly for a train station, above the more traditional historical scenes, the multicolored azulejos depict Portugal’s various forms of transportation over the centuries.

São Bento station was built between 1904 and 1916 on the site of the former Benedictine Convent of São Bento da Avé Maria. 

The convent was in disrepair by the end of the 19th century, so it was demolished to make space for Porto’s brand-new central station. I think it’s quite the glow-up and I’m sure you’ll agree!

Admire the awe-inspiring Porto Cathedral.

the facade of the porto cathedral (se do porto) on a sunny day with two towers and a circular stained glass window

Just about ready for lunch? We’ve got one more stop first, and it’s a good one.

The last visit before lunch is to Porto’s Cathedral, known in Portuguese as the Sé do Porto. 

The Sé do Porto is one of the city’s oldest monuments, dating all the way back to the early 12th century when ground was first broken on the site. 

However, the completion of the church would be a lengthy affair, taking several centuries – it only finished in 1737. (And I think I’m a procrastinator.)

Unsurprisingly, given how long the  construction dragged on for, the cathedral features several architectural styles. 

These styles span a handful of centuries, the most prominent ones being Romanesque and Gothic. 

But that’s not all. Some striking Baroque elements were added during the last stages of construction in the 17th century.

Those elements include the silver altarpiece and the apse that replaced the prior Romanesque one that was looking a bit worse-for-wear.

the beautiful azulejo cloisters of the cathedral in porto

You can enter the cathedral free of charge, but there is a small fee to visit the beautiful Gothic cloisters, and trust me when I tell you it’s worth it for the azulejos alone!

For just €3, you can step inside the cloisters to admire the stunning azulejos decorating the walls of the cloisters depicting famous religious scenes.

As a bonus, despite this being one of Porto’s main sites, many people don’t know it’s worth paying the extra few euros for the cloisters, so these azulejos are among the least-crowded in Porto.

Take a lunch break.

portuguese codfish with chickpeas, egg, potatoes

By now I’m sure you’ll have worked up quite an appetite, so it’s a good thing that you’ll find many restaurants within a short walk from the cathedral. 

If you want to try the most traditional dish in Porto, have the Francesinha, but be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart! 

The Francesinha is a truly massive sandwich filled with various meats, from ham to fresh sausage, steak, and a Portuguese sausage known as linguiça. 

To add heart attack upon heart disease, all this is then covered in cheese, topped with a fried egg, and soaked in a traditional Francesinha sauce made with tomato and beer.

If that got your mouth watering, go ahead and try the Francesinha at Porto Escondido or Restaurante Fininho

If you’re a vegetarian but you want to sample the Francesinha, my vegetarian friend living in Porto swears by the Lado B Café (and we liked the meat ones there as well!)

However, if Francesinha sounds too intimidating for you (I get it – for me, once was enough!) you can find many great alternatives at these restaurants or others nearby. 

Other good options in the area are Em Canto and Impar Flores.

Wander through the lively Cais da Ribeira area.

one of the buildings in the praca da ribeira area with a government building next to some grass in a park

After lunch, make your way down to the riverbank in the area of Cais da Ribeira and just stroll around for a while to enjoy the lively atmosphere.

Cais da Ribeira is always buzzing with life, from locals to tourists and street artists performing for passersby.

As you pass through Praça da Ribeira and along the river, be sure to admire the stunning view of the massive Dom Luís I Bridge, one of Porto’s prettiest landmarks.

ravelo traditional boat in porto

Looking across the river to the opposite bank, you’ll see Vila Nova de Gaia with its port wine cellars. 

Along the river, check out the traditional Ravelo boats which were historically used to transport barrels of port wine along the Douro River. 

Nowadays, they’re a tourist attraction in and of themselves, and you can even go for a spin on the water in one of these boats!

Cross the beautiful Dom Luís I Bridge.

one side of the porto don luis bridge which was built by the same architect as the eiffel tower

From Cais da Ribeira, you can either cross the bridge on the lower level or make your way up to the upper level. 

Both options are good, but the view is more impressive from above, and it’ll take you straight to the next stop. 

If you’re dying for the full experience of seeing the lower level, don’t worry! You can cross the lower level on your way back.  

Dom Luís I Bridge was designed by a disciple of the renowned architect Gustave Eiffel, Théophile Seyrig.

Seyrid had already worked with Eiffel on another bridge between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, Maria Pia Bridge

With this history in mind, it’s not surprising that the two bridges have a similar design, and you can even see a striking resemblance between Dom Luís I Bridge and the Eiffel Tower – just think horizontal, not vertical.

A light rail connects the two cities on the upper deck, while the lower deck is dedicated to general traffic. 

Pedestrian walkways are available on both levels, so you can enjoy different viewpoints while crossing the bridge on its two levels.

Explore Porto’s “sister city” of Vila Nova de Gaia.

cable cars overhead in vila nova de gaia

As soon as you cross Ponte Dom Luis, you’ll be in Vila Nova de Gaia

Although technically, you’ve left the city of Porto proper, it is part of the greater Porto Metropolitan Area, and I couldn’t resist including it on this guide. 

Gaia is a must-see, especially for the views you get of Porto from some of the city’s main points of interest.

Besides, the city is Portugal’s wine hub, which means here’s where  you’ll find most port wine cellars (and caves), which are among the most popular tourist attractions for anyone visiting Porto.

Visit the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar.

a round church surrounded by trees in porto's monastery on vila nova de gaia side of the douro river

Just after crossing the bridge, you can take a left turn and climb to Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar for one of the best panoramic views of Porto. 

The monastery features a huge terrace overlooking the Douro River, Ponte Dom Luis, and Porto.

A part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Historic Centre of Porto, Luiz I Bridge, and Monastery of Serra do Pilar, the 16th century monastery’s most notable feature is the circular church.

The monastery is typically open to the public but as of 2023, it’s closed due to renovations.

However, it’s still worth a visit even during its closure period, as you can still walk to the terrace and check out the spectacular view.

Take in the views from Jardim do Morro.

mosteiro (monastery) in porto on the other side of the douro river from porto

Just across the street from Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, Jardim do Morro is a cute little park overlooking the river. 

It offers yet another great vantage point to enjoy the view of the candy-colored stacked houses of Porto’s historical center.

The park is perfect for a relaxing break after crossing the bridge, and is often filled with people checking out the view and listening to the occasional street artist playing music. 

The atmosphere is always lively, and the place turns outright magical at sunset when the warm colors wash over the city.

A cable car connects the garden to the lower side of Gaia, offering sweeping views of Porto and the river. 

The ride is very short, and a one-way ticket costs 7€ (€10 for a return ticket) – pricey for Portugal, so it’s perhaps not for the budget-conscious.

Luckily, you can also walk down in less than 10 minutes.

Enjoy a port wine tasting.

one of the port houses in the downtown area of vila nova de gaia, the famous sandeman cellar

I promised you wine tastings at the start of this guide, and here we are at last!

In the lower part of Vila Nova de Gaia, all along the riverbank, you’ll find several port wine cellars offering tours and wine tasting. 

You don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to enjoy a port wine tour, as they’re a fascinating experience where you’ll learn about the history of Porto’s famous wine.

The choice of cellars to visit is huge, so check out the various options. Just a heads up, you’ll definitely want to book in advance to make sure you get the tour that you most want!

trying a variety of port wines in porto

After trying several of these tours over my time in Portugal, I’ve got to recommend the Cálem Tour.

You can just have a cellar tour with wine tasting or go for the full experience and add in a ticket to see a Fado show (a traditional Portuguese music — it’s hauntingly beautiful).

Other popular tours are Graham’s Port Lodge Tour where you get to pair port wines with chocolates and cheeses, Burmester Cellars (also with chocolate tastings for an additional price), or Cockburn’s Cellar (also with tasting option).

You can also skip the tour of the cellar house and wine taste a la carte along the many port houses, such as Quinta do Noval.

Have dinner in Gaia or Porto.

brazilian food in porto's vila nova de gaia area, served rodizio style

For dinner, you’ve got plenty of options. If you’re famished and can’t wait, you can stay in Vila Nova de Gaia for dinner before walking back to Porto. 

If you’re not quite ready for dinner yet,  walk back first and find something on the other side once you’ve worked up an appetite!. 

If you’re staying in Gaia, try Barris Do Douro Restaurante or Bacalhoeiro

I also love the Brazilian churrascaria experience in Restaurante Mineirão, where meat is served tableside rodízio-style.

There’s also the Mercado Beira-Rio which is great for small bites, perhaps if you want something small to eat before you have a larger meal in Porto proper.

Back in Porto, head to the charming Restaurante Cana Verde or try the tapas at Tapabento S. Bento

For something more unusual, you can try Mozambican food at Tia Orlando.

mozambican curries, rice, and fish set out at a table for three in porto

It’s hard to find this just anywhere, but since Mozambique was a Portuguese colony, you’ll be able to find some unique flavors in Porto.

For something traditional in Porto, try the Bacalhau à moda do Porto, just one of literally hundreds (yes, hundreds) of recipes for salted codfish that Portugal is famous for.

This Porto-style codfish dish comes with potatoes, onion, garlic, and black olives.

Have drinks along Rua da Galeria de Paris.

glass of white wine out in the street in porto

We’re almost, but not quite, at the end of our fabulous one-day trip to Porto!

The city has a vibrant nightlife scene, so if that’s your thing, head on over to Rua da Galeria de Paris

This popular street and the surrounding area are where you find most bars and clubs in the city. 

Whether you want to have a drink or dance the night away, you’ll find a place here for every mood.

Looking for a pub? Head to Bonaparte Downtown.

In the mood for an expertly-crafted gin cocktail? As you might expect from its name, The Gin House has you covered. 

To end your night in a truly unforgettable, one-of-a-kind spot, don’t skip Capela Incomum.

The name literally translates to Uncommon Chapel, and the club is located inside a renovated chapel!

Plus, it’s convenient: the club is not far from Rua da Galeria de Paris.

17 Cozy & Cool Things to Do in Porto in Winter

ravelo traditional boat in porto

When you think of winter vacation destinations in Europe, Porto may not be the first place that comes to mind, but the second-largest Portuguese city has plenty to offer that will surprise you. 

While Porto may not be the place to go for typical winter activities or the most impressive Christmas markets, it offers quite a few indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy even when the winter weather isn’t great.

Compared to Lisbon in winter, Porto is a bit colder and rainier, but winters are still generally mild, so you can still enjoy a pleasant stroll around town without freezing. 

 Planning your trip to Porto at the last minute?

Here are my quick picks on what to do & where to stay!

🍷 Top Porto Experiences:
1. Douro Valley Wine Tour with Lunch, Tastings & River Cruise
2. Cálem Port Cellar Tour with Wine Tasting & Fado Show
3. Porto Food and Wine Walking Tour
4. 2-Hour Pastel de Nata Baking Class

🏨 Best Porto Hotels:
1. Hospes Infante de Sagres (Small Luxury Hotel of the World member)
2. Laurear Guesthouse (cozy mid-range boutique hotel)
3. Zero Box Lodge (funky budget hotel with capsule concept)

✈️ Flying in? Book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups — they’ll greet you at the airport, help with bags, & bring you into the city, all pre-booked!
A tram in Porto in a scenic area of the city with azulejo-like design, advertising the El Corte Ingles department store

When the wind picks up and it starts raining, there are many places to hide away and stay warm while trying fun activities or enjoying beautiful art.

I lived in Lisbon for over two years and took several trips to Porto. I still occasionally travel back to the city, as it’s one of my favorites, so I tried nearly everything in every season. 

Even still, the city never ceases to surprise me. I’m so excited to share this list of cool things you can do in Porto in winter, from the most obvious to a few surprising and new activities and attractions.

The 17 Best Things to Do in Porto in Winter!

Explore the city’s best attractions without the crowds.

View of one of the most prominent places in Porto with a clear sky and no crowds

Winter is the perfect season to explore Porto without the crowds. 

Like most European cities, Porto gets quite crowded during the summer months.

In winter, on the other hand, you can enjoy the most popular spots in the city with fewer people.

To make the most of this chance, enjoy pleasant riverfront strolls in Cais da Ribeira and discover the lively Bolhão and São Bento districts.

Check out the many viewpoints and miradouros of Porto, and cross the upper deck of the Luís I Bridge for stunning panoramic views.

View of Clerigos tower from a distance on a clear day in the winter with not too many people crowding the area

Most of the city’s attractions will be less crowded in the winter, so you can check out places like Clerigos Tower or Livraria Lello without standing in long lines. 

Make sure you also check out the magnificent architecture around Aliados!

For more views, stroll around the Gardens of the Crystal Palace for stunning views of the Douro, and explore the area around the Porto Cathedral.

Check out the Christmas markets.

Red building face with Christmas lights in Porto in the winter with all the Christmas decroations in red and green and and gold

While Porto may not be the top place to go in Europe for Christmas markets, it still has quite a few of them open between December and early January.

In general, Christmas markets have been gaining popularity in Portugal in recent years, so there’s certainly more options than in previous years if you visit Porto in December.

One of the most popular Christmas markets is Mercado da Alegria (‘Market of Happiness’ in English) in Praça da Batalha, close to São Bento train station.

This festive little market boasts dozens of stalls selling arts and crafts, traditional Portuguese food, and hot mulled wine to keep visitors warm on chilly evenings!

If you’re interested in buying handmade souvenirs, you have to check out the Artes e Ofícios Christmas Fair on Avenida Dom Afonso Henriques, also close to São Bento.

Last, but certainly not least, the Praça de Natal em Gaia is just across the bridge from Porto, in Vila Nova de Gaia.

Warm up with Port wine in a historic cellar.

Allison Green visiting Porto and trying a variety of port wines in porto at Quinta do Noval

You simply can’t visit Porto and not try the famed Port wine, no matter the season, whether you visit for one day, a weekend break, or an entire week.

And luckily for you, winter in Porto is the best season to warm up with a glass of Port — it’s all more atmospheric if you do it while hiding away from the rain and wind in a cozy historic wine cellar!

You’ll need to cross over the bridge into Vila Nova de Gaia for Port wine tours and tastings.

Along the river facing the colorful Ribeira of Porto, you’ll find many wine cellars offering different tours and tastings.

one of the port houses in the downtown area of vila nova de gaia, the famous sandeman cellar

Some popular spots you can try are Caves Cálem, Taylor’s Port, Caves Ferreira, and Churchill’s Lodge. While Sandeman is the most famous, it’s also a bit of a tourist trap, so I suggest skipping it.

Tip: The founder and editor’s personal favorite port house is Quinta do Noval!

You can check out the websites for each winery, buy tickets on-site, or book an activity on GetYourGuide.

A couple of cool ones you should check out are the Cockburn’s Cellar Tour and the Cálem Cellar Tour. I took the latter at Cálem and I highly recommend it!

As a bonus, Cálem also offers a tasting with a Fado show so you can pair two must-have Porto experiences into one outing!

Take a day trip to the Douro Valley for more wine.

Two people doing the cheers movement in the Douro River valley while trying local wines

If you’ve gotten a taste of Port and you want more, you can’t miss taking a Douro Valley wine tour like this one, which includes lunch, wine tastings at two local quintas, and even a river cruise on the Douro!

Experiencing a Douro Valley wine tour is a great way to escape the cold of city sightseeing, as you’ll be transported in a minivan straight to the doorsteps of two wineries in the Douro Valley, with gorgeous river views along the way.

You’ll need to dress warmly through your tour through the vineyards, but you’ll warm up quickly once you begin your tasting!

This tour also includes a typical Portuguese lunch, made with local ingredients and recipes.

And even though it’s winter, a river cruise is still a big highlight, as it offers an entirely different vantage point of the breathtaking landscape!

It’s incredible to see the terraced vineyards that rise majestically from the river banks, with historic wineries and quintas nestled among the folds of the landscape.

This is the tour that I recommend, but I also have a post outlining several different Douro wine tours from Porto in case you want a different experience (more tastings, a different focus, etc.)

If you have more time, it might be worth saving a few days for an overnight in the Douro Valley, especially if you can stay in one of the epic wine hotels there, or visit charming towns like Pinhao or Peso da Regua!

Buy a book at Livraria Lello.

bookstore in porto with famous staircase and stained glass ceiling

The famous Livraria Lello is one of those places every visitor should see at least once. Whether you’re a bookworm or not, you’re sure to be enchanted by Livraria Lello. 

In winter, it’s even better, as you can usually avoid the huge line and admire the bookstore’s lovely design without the constant flow of people going up and down the stairs.

In fact, the stairway is among the bookstore’s most prominent features, made famous by rumors that it inspired J.K. Rowling in her description of Hogwarts.

By the time the author denied the rumors, it was already too late; Livraria Lello was already famous and attracting crowds of people from all over the world.

Nowadays, you need to buy a ticket and may even have to stand in line to enter the bookstore. But trust me, it’s so much more than just a regular bookstore!

Plus, you can use the 5€ ticket as a voucher to purchase a book or any other item sold in the bookstore, so it’s not wasted money.

Enjoy early sunsets over Ponte Luís I.

Bridge of Luis I at night over Douro river and Porto cityscape with the lights twinkling on behind it, on a beautiful winter night.

With winters in Porto being generally mild, there’s no reason not to wander around outdoors and enjoy the gorgeous city views!

Vila Nova de Gaia has a few spectacular spots to catch a beautiful sunset over the Douro River. 

One of my favorite places to watch the sunset in Porto is Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, a former 15th-century monastery with a terrace that overlooks Ponte Luís I, the river, and the colorful Porto.

In summer, the terrace gets packed with people at golden hour, but in winter, you’ll likely find it nearly empty. 

Jardim do Morro is another great spot to watch the sunset, right next to the upper deck of Ponte Luís I.

You get a different perspective on the bridge, but the view is almost as beautiful as the one from the monastery. 

Visit Porto Cathedral with fewer crowds.

the facade of the porto cathedral (se do porto) on a sunny day with two towers and a circular stained glass window

Porto’s imposing cathedral, known as Sé do Porto in Portuguese, is among the must-see attractions in the city.

Sitting at the top of the hill, the 12th-century cathedral is best known for its Gothic cloisters decorated with elaborate azulejos depicting religious and literary scenes.

While the cathedral exterior preserved the Romanesque style, the interior has been changed through many phases of renovation and is now mostly Baroque.

Be sure to check out the stunning rose window and the elaborate altarpiece — they’re exquisite!

the beautiful azulejo cloisters of the cathedral in porto

You can enter the cathedral for free, but for a small entry fee, you can also visit the Cloisters and the Museu do Tesouro da Sé do Porto, inside the Casa do Cabido.

Even if you’re not interested in religious art and artifacts, it’s worth paying the entry fee to visit the beautiful cloisters (and see the azulejos there!) and admire the architecture.

Indulge in tasty Francesinha.

a huge francesinha sandwich served in porto in a tomato sauce

The Francesinha is Porto’s typical dish, but it’s only for the brave — or the extremely hungry. 

The dish is quite hearty (and heart-attack-inducing) and consists of several cuts of meat, including steak, ham, and various sausage types.

If that wasn’t enough, it’s all layered between two slices of bread, covered in melted cheese, soaked in a tasty beer-based sauce… and with an optional fried egg on top.

As if that wasn’t enough, all of this usually comes with a side of fries to help sop up all that sauce, because why not?

The francesinha sandwich of porto covered in cheese, a fried egg, and surrounded by fries

If you feel brave enough to try the Francesinha, several places are renowned for this dish.

Santa Francesinha and O Afonso are among the most popular spots for Francesinha. 

Brasão is another nice restaurant with a few locations throughout Porto, where you can even get a vegetarian Francesinha. I tried it myself and loved it!  

Editor Tip: When the editor visited with a vegetarian friend who lives in Porto, we went to Lado B for their veggie Francesinha — she loved hers and my meaty one was also good!

Take a pastel de nata baking class.

Eating a pastel de nata in a bakery in porto, portugal

One of the most unique things to do in Porto in winter is take a baking class to learn to make the signature classic pastry of Portugal, the pastel de nata — the Portuguese custard tart.

Immerse yourself in the warmth of authentic Portuguese culinary tradition with a hands-on pastel de nata baking class in a local Porto residence (10 minutes from the center by Uber — transit is not included).

Here, you’ll delve into the art of making pasteis de nata (tip: pasteis is the plural of pastel in Portuguese), using a cherished family recipe passed down from the host’s own grandmother!

In their home kitchen, you’ll learn how to make this rich, delicate pastries from scratch, all while learning about the history of this dessert (did you know it made it all the way to China, by way of Macao, a former Portuguese colony?)

Best of all? Enjoying the end results at a communal table, eating the freshest pasteis de nata you’ll ever try, paired with coffee, tea, or juice.

Go on a Porto food walking tour.

portuguese codfish with chickpeas, egg, potatoes

One of the best ways to enjoy a winter day in Portugal is on a guided walking tour through the historic Old Town!

This 3-hour tour offers a whirlwind tour of the Portuguese classics, from bifanas (pork sandwiches) to bolinhos de bacalhau (tasty fried codfish cakes) to sweet treats like the famed pastel de nata.

The tour is interspersed with other tastings, including finger foods like sausages, cheeses, and olives.

You’ll enjoy those alongside a tasting of local wines, including three different types of Port and a Douro red wine.

Tour the splendid interiors of the Palácio da Bolsa.

the palacio da bolsa stock exchange, one of the buildings in the praca da ribeira area with a government building next to some grass in a park

The lovely Palácio da Bolsa, or the Stock Exchange Palace, is the headquarters of the Associação Comercial do Porto (Porto’s Commercial Association).

The 19th-century neoclassical building is rather beautiful though, so it’s not as dull as it sounds: the stock exchange is actually a National Monument, featuring spectacular rooms decorated in different styles.

The completion of the palace’s interior took several decades, so each architect and artist decorated it in their own style.

Interesting window feature inside the Palacio da Bolsa with a skylight in ornate glass and molding on the ceiling detail

The Arab Room, inaugurated in 1880, is the most important and impressive in the palace, but each area of the palace is stunning.

You can visit Palácio da Bolsa on a guided tour that lasts roughly half an hour.

Buy your tickets on-site or book this Palácio da Bolsa guided tour online.

Stay warm with drinks in Porto’s liveliest district.

glass of white wine out in the street in porto while enjoying a sunset

A great way to stay warm on a winter evening in Porto is to head to one of the many lively bars around Rua da Galeria de Paris, the city’s most renowned area for nightlife in Porto

The streets around this district are lined with bars, pubs, and clubs of all kinds. Whether you want an all-night party or a chill drink in a laid-back atmosphere, there’s something for every taste.

The Royal Cocktail Club is a great spot for cocktails, while Bonaparte Downtown is the place to go for a beer in a cozy atmosphere.

If you like gin, head to the Gin House for (what else?) a diverse selection of gins and cocktails. 

If you’re still up for more adventures, keep exploring the streets in the surrounding area to find even more cool bars and pubs.

Visit some of Porto’s beautiful churches for its azulejos.

The lovely azulejos of Igreja Do Carmo, which is covered in blue and white tiles on a sunny day

Porto is renowned for its many gorgeous churches — especially those featuring the stunning azulejos for which the city is so loved!

When it comes down to azulejos, Igreja do Carmo is among the most famous, right next to the University of Porto and around the corner from Livraria Lello. 

The twin church is separated from the Igreja dos Carmelitas by a narrow house also known as the Hidden House, now a museum that you can visit for a small entry fee.

the azulejo-covered church of ildefonso in porto with white and blue tiles and stairs leading up to the church

Not far from São Bento train station (itself a worthy site for azulejos — more on that in the next section) check out the beautiful Church of Saint Ildefonso.

This lovely church is known for its façade, covered in white and blue azulejos, which was added on in the early 20th century. 

From here, you can walk down the shopping street, Rua de Santa Catarina, and find the iconic Chapel of Souls, an 18th-century church entirely covered in azulejos!

Allison Green standing in front of azulejos at the Chapel of Souls in Porto

One last church worth checking out is Igreja dos Clérigos!

This particular church is better known for its bell tower that you can climb for a spectacular panoramic view of Porto.

But don’t skip the church itself — it’s worth peeking in to check out its gorgeous Baroque interior.

Though it’s not known for its azulejos like these other churches are, it’s still worth it!

Check out the azulejos in São Bento train station.

Allison Green, the editor of Eternal Arrival, looking up at the azulejos in the sao bento train station

The churches aren’t the only buildings featuring stunning azulejos. Porto’s central station, São Bento, is more than a train station — it’s an open air mosaic gallery, too! 

Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Historic Center of Porto, the train station is basically a museum open for everyone to admire.

The station’s main hall is covered in azulejos depicting key moments in Portugal’s history.

Above the classic white and blue azulejos on the walls, multicolored azulejos depict the various transportation means used in Portugal over the course of the centuries.

Given the central location of São Bento, you’ll likely pass by many times, but don’t forget to enter the train station and check out this wonderful work of art completely free!

Attend a concert at Casa da Música.

The casa da musica concert hall with modernist architecture style on a partly cloudy day in porto in winter

If you’re looking for an alternative way to spend a winter evening in Porto, check out the events at Casa da Música.

It’s a gorgeous gem of modern architecture that’s a striking counterpoint to all the historical charm in the rest of the city.

The modernist-design concert hall opened in 2005 and hosts important musical events, ranging from classical music to pop concerts and traditional Portuguese music.

Check out what’s on when you’re in town and buy your tickets in advance. You may even find some free concerts if you’re lucky. 

If you want to learn more about the concert hall, you can also join a guided tour.

You can’t book them online, but you can show up daily at 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM, and tour tickets cost €12.50 per person (free for those under 12) as of October 2023.

Enjoy delicious treats at Mercado do Bolhão.

A cup of ginjinha liquor in a typical chocolate cup, a traditional taste of Portugal

The gorgeous (and recently renovated) Mercado do Bolhão is Porto’s historic market, located in an emblematic 19th-century building close to Porto’s shopping street.

The market is best known for its fresh produce, from fruits and vegetables to meat and fish, but it’s also full of little snacks that make a great taste of Porto.

Don’t miss the chance to try ginjinha (pictured above), a Morello cherry liqueur characteristic of Portugal served in an edible chocolate cup!

The huge market houses dozens of stalls serving many other goods, including Portuguese pastries, wines, sweets, and souvenirs.

canned fish in porto with beautiful can detail

You can’t miss the adorable tinned sardines and other fish — they make the perfect Portugal souvenir!

You’ll also find stalls serving prepared foods, in case you want to enjoy a quick lunch. 

Furthermore, the market occasionally houses events like fado concerts and exhibitions, so be sure to check online and see if there’s any events on during your stay!

Visit the WOW Museums.

porto rose wine tasting with a view of the other side of the river

One of the most recent attractions in Porto, WOW Porto is a cultural district in Vila Nova de Gaia consisting of several museums, restaurants, and event spaces.

There’s a lot to do at WOW, ranging from visiting unique museums to enjoying a delicious meal or learning about wines.

A whopping 7 museums are currently part of WOW… you could easily spend a half-day here!

A few of the most interesting are Pink Palace (with Rosé wine tastings with a view!), The Wine Experience, and Planet Cork (all about cork, as Portugal produces 65% of the world’s supply).

There’s also The Chocolate Story, The Bridge Collection (drinking-related artifacts and history), Porto Region Across the Ages, and Atkinson Museum (housing all kinds of world-class exhibitions).

With so many activities and museums, WOW is the perfect place to go when you’re out of ideas for things to do (as if that could ever happen in Porto…). 

Just a heads up: most activities revolve around wine. After all, WOW stands for World of Wine!

Where to Stay in Porto

View from Clerigos tower over the rest of Porto city center

Budget: Zero Box Lodge

The unique Zero Box Lodge is a great choice combining modern interior design and a social atmosphere, making it a favorite among budget travelers.

If you’ve heard of a capsule hotel, it’s somewhat of a similar concept, as each room is a private “box” with your space and en-suite bathroom. But you’re not limited to your own little pod! 

There’s also a lively bar and restaurant on site, as well as communal lounge spaces to socialize in.

Add in its prime location, and that’s why Zero Box Lodge is one of the best values in Porto.

Mid-Range: Laurear Guesthouse

For those with a bit more budget, Laurear Guesthouse is a great pick.

This guesthouse oozes contemporary coziness, with great design and reasonable prices.

Distinctive interior elements, such as exposed wooden beams and eclectic furniture, make this stand out compared to your standard, impersonal chain hotels.

Located near significant landmarks like Clérigos Tower and Mercado do Bolhão, Laurear Guesthouse is the perfect blend of comfort and location.

Luxury: Hospes Infante Sagres Porto

Opting for luxury in Porto is a great value, as 5-star hotels are far more affordable compared to other European cities.

A great example is the gorgeous Hospes Infante Sagres, part of the esteemed Small Luxury Hotels of the World group.

This historic hotel exudes quintessential Portuguese charm, with its intricate tilework and neo-Baroque flourishes like elegant chandeliers.

Perfectly situated near Aliados, Infante Sagres is in convenient walking distance of Porto’s key attractions.

17 Best Day Trips from Porto (& How to Get to Each One!)

Porto is a beautiful city well worth several days exploring, but it’s equally viable as a base to use for Portugal day trips.

Because it’s located in the far north of the country, the options for day trips from Porto are vastly different than the options for Lisbon.

From the wine region of the Douro Valley where Portugal’s best wines are made to the peaceful towns of Northern Portugal’s Minho region to the pilgrimage city of Fátima, there are countless places to visit using Porto as a base.

 Planning your trip to Porto at the last minute?

Here are my quick picks on what to do & where to stay!

🍷 Top Porto Experiences:
1. Douro Valley Wine Tour with Lunch, Tastings & River Cruise
2. Cálem Port Cellar Tour with Wine Tasting & Fado Show
3. Porto Food and Wine Walking Tour
4. 2-Hour Pastel de Nata Baking Class

🏨 Best Porto Hotels:
1. Hospes Infante de Sagres (Small Luxury Hotel of the World member)
2. Laurear Guesthouse (cozy mid-range boutique hotel)
3. Zero Box Lodge (funky budget hotel with capsule concept)

✈️ Flying in? Book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups — they’ll greet you at the airport, help with bags, & bring you into the city, all pre-booked!
Purple wisteria covering the walls of a Portuguese house, with a brown door and a blue door

Whether you’re basing yourself in Porto and traveling around by tour or rental car or even RVing through Portugal, these places near Porto are worth your visit.

Here are some of the best Porto day trips you can take!

Getting Around Portugal

Allison Green, the editor of Eternal Arrival, looking up at the azulejos in the sao bento train station

Getting around Portugal using Porto as your day trip base is quite easy, since the trains are well-connected to the entire country.

For some destinations, it may make more sense to take a guided tour, like for wine tasting in the Douro Valley (no need for a designated driver!) or to nature destinations like Arouca and Peneda-Gerês.

Otherwise, it can also be helpful to rent a car and explore these Porto day trips in that way!

Car rental in Portugal is cheap, easy, and you can often string together several destinations in one day.

I use Discover Cars to find the best price for my rentals, since it compares 500 different agencies (including smaller, local ones) to find the best rental price.

They also have great deals on full coverage insurance (just around $7 a day vs. typically a lot more at the rental counter!).

Check rental car prices in Porto here!

Best Day Trips from Porto

Douro Valley

Contributed by Stephanie Craig of History Fangirl

If you love wine (or if you just love checking off UNESCO World Heritage Sites), then a visit to northern Portugal’s Douro Valley is an absolute must.

Connected by a river, there are multiple ways to visit Douro from Porto.

The most delightful might just be to take a cruise up the river, watching the beautiful scenery unfold as you go,

This spectacular wine region is home to Portugal’s most famous wine – port!

While you can certainly tipple port to your heart’s content in Porto, in the Douro Valley you can visit the individual quintas (porthouses) where it is produced.

Besides visiting as many quintas as you can fit into your day, leave plenty of time to appreciate the views here!

There are many lookout points to stop at. If you’re interested in the history of Port production, you can also visit the Douro Museum in Peso da Régua.

How to Get There

The best way is to rent a car and drive, as its a truly breathtaking scenic route high in the hills above the valley.

The drive is a little under four hours, so if you get up early you’ll have plenty of time to hit a few quintas before you return to Porto at night…. or you can stay overnight in a quinta hotel in Douro!

Just make sure to plan who will be driving so you don’t overindulge while here!

Another option is to take a scenic train ride from Porto, leaving from the city’s famous Sao Bento station.

The train goes right along the river, and it takes less than three hours each way.

This is a great option for solo travelers and groups who are all keen to taste as much as possible.

If you do choose to go by train, I would suggest having a tour guide meet you in Douro so that you can easily get between the quintas.

This is because public transportation is not available to many of the places you will want to visit.

Perhaps the best way to visit is on a guided tour of the Douro Valley, as it makes visiting the quintas quite simple.

Plus, it means no one has to worry about being the designated driver — score!

Tour Recommendation: Full Day Douro Wine Tour, Lunch, + Boat Cruise
(4.8/5 stars with 1,250+ reviews)

This full-day tour is inclusive of hotel-pick up & drop-off, transfers between Porto and Douro Valley, an olive oil tasting, visits to two wineries (with 8+ wine tastings), a traditional Portuguese lunch, and a one-hour Douro River cruise.

Check tour availability and prices here

Pinhão

Pinhao train station with its azulejos and old clock

Editor’s Choice

While part of the Douro Valley, Pinhão is definitely worthy of a day trip from Porto all on its own if you want to do a more self-guided tour — without a rental car.

Easily connected by train — and what a gorgeous train station it is, with some of Portugal’s finest azulejos! — Pinhão is an utter charmer.

This small, traditional Portuguese village nestled among terraced vineyards is like stepping back in time.

A highlight of a Pinhão day trip is taking a leisurely boat ride along the Douro River, admiring the vineyards carved into the hillsides on each side, and the way the sunlight is changed by how deep the valley is.

The coolest way to take a boat ride is in a traditional rabelo, the local boat of the Douro region.

It was originally purposed to transport wine but they now also double as a tourist attraction! You can book a 2-hour rabelo cruise here.

Of course, no visit to Pinhão is complete without visiting a quinta or two! Port, with its velvety structure and sweet-but-complex taste, is the name of the game here.

But other local wines are also worth a try — and go well with the rich, local Northern Portuguese cuisine!

Quinta do Bomfim is busiest and most famous quinta, so you’ll want to make a reservation — you can book a spot for your winery visit here.

How to Get There

Train is the name of the game here — the roads of the Douro Valley are quite windy, so if you can skip them for a leisurely train ride, why wouldn’t you?

There are several daily trains from Porto São Bento, taking about 2 hours and costing between €12 and €20.

Matosinhos

the pergola do foz in the matosinhos area of porto

In terms of time spent in transit, the coastal town of Matosinhos doesn’t seem like a day trip at all.

Still, this small beach town is separate from Porto and offers a striking contrast from Porto just 20 to 30 minutes outside the city center.

Here, you can admire the sweeping Atlantic coastline, with intrepid surfers dotting the frigid waters and (saner) people enjoying the golden sand.

Of course, you’re in a coastal town, so you’ve got to try the local seafood. Portugal does seafood well already, but in Matosinhos, it’s next level!

Besides enjoying the beach, you can enjoy the Pergola do Foz promenade, admire the beautiful beachside chapel and the Farol de Leça, or explore the Matosinhos Fish Market for a sense of the local life.

How to Get There

This is the only day trip from Porto on this list that you can get to by metro! Line A (the purple one) will bring you Matosinhos in about 20 minutes.

There are also buses from Porto city center, which take about 30 minutes depending on traffic conditions.

Guimarães

Contributed by Fiona Maclean of London-Unattached

Guimarães the birthplace of Portugal is a charming and well-preserved UNESCO listed medieval town. 

It’s called the birthplace of Portugal as nearby is the site of the Battle of São Mamede, from which Portugal was founded.

Also, the first-ever King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques was born in the town! 

Today, apart from visiting some of the key buildings, you can wander through well preserved medieval streets and browse some of the charming artisan shops.

Spend some time on the main squares, Largo da Oliveira and Santiago, where you’ll find plenty of cafes to enjoy a coffee or glass of wine. 

Make sure you do visit the hilltop Guimarães Castle, the birthplace of Afonso Henriques. 

Built during the 10th century, it was restored in the 20th century and the grounds and part of the castle are now open to the public.  

And don’t miss exploring the splendid Dukes of Bragança Palace!

Originally built in 1420 by Afonso, Duke of Bragança, it was modified in the 16th century before being abandoned. 

It wasn’t until the 1930s that renovation started and controversially, the restored Palace now replicates a 17th century French chateau. 

It’s still worth a visit though, particular for its museum showcasing period furniture, tapestries, and weapons.

If you have time, then take the cable car to the Monte da Penha, the highest point in Guimarães to enjoy spectacular views across the city as far as the sea on a clear day. 

Do also visit the stunning Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães, which like many of the pousadas, was once a Monastery. 

In the grand dining hall, you can feast on traditional Northern Portuguese dishes like caldo verde or black pork (porco preto).

You’ll feel as if you’ve taken a step back in time when you visit Guimarães.

How to Get There

From Porto, it’s an easy train journey. The local service takes around an hour and a half while a direct train will take just over an hour.

Better yet, take a guided tour that combines Guimarães and Braga (next on the list) to make the most of your time and see two iconic sites in one easy day trip from Porto.

Recommended Day Trip: Guimarães and Braga Full-Day Tour
(4.9/5 stars, 240+ reviews)

This full-day tour is inclusive of hotel pick-up & drop off, transfers to Guimarães and Braga, fast-track entry tickets, and a full Portuguese lunch. You’ll also get to experience guided tours of Braga Cathedral, Guimarães Castle, and the Ducal Palace.

Check tour availability and prices here

Braga

A view of Braga at night with reflecting pool and downtown
Contributed by Jodie Dewberry of Alajode

Braga is a compact town that’s full of life, so it makes a great day trip from Porto.

The center is packed with cute cafés that serve a mix of traditional dishes from Northern Portugal and fusion creations, so make sure you arrive hungry!

For a traditional dinner that won’t disappoint, Cozinha da Sé is one of the best restaurants in town and popular with both locals and tourists alike.

Don’t miss Braga’s many churches and cathedrals, all of which offer an insight into Portuguese architecture.

A one-day pass for the hop-on/hop-off bus costs less than $12 USD.

It will be a worthy investment if you want to head out to the Bom Jesus de Monte historic funicular and take in the city from above!

How to Get There

Braga is just a 45-minute drive from Porto, which means it’s a perfect stopping point if you’re planning a road trip from Porto.

If you don’t have your own wheels, there is an hourly bus that costs 7-9 euros per person or an hourly train that costs 8-10 euros.

You can also take a guided tour that includes Guimarães (above) and Braga — read more below.

Recommended Day Trip: Guimarães and Braga Full-Day Tour
(4.9/5 stars, 240+ reviews)

This full-day tour is inclusive of hotel pick-up & drop off, transfers to Guimarães and Braga, fast-track entry tickets, and a full Portuguese lunch. You’ll also get to experience guided tours of Braga Cathedral, Guimarães Castle, and the Ducal Palace.

Check tour availability and prices here

Aveiro

boats in the town of aveiro with colorful buildings along the river

Editor’s Choice

Nicknamed the “Venice of Portugal,” Aveiro charms day trippers with its enchanting canals and colorful boats, as well as its architecture with its vibrant façades and old-world charm.

Be sure to wander along the canal and admire the traditional moliceiro boats, adorned with intricate hand-painted motifs — often with quite a naughty theme!

You can take a peaceful boat ride through the canals in one of these traditional boats, which function much like a Venetian gondola.

Other things you can do include admiring the Art Nouveau architecture and the 15th century Gothic Aveiro Cathedral, with its intricate stained glass.

Be sure to try the local pastries! The favorite Aveiro treat are “ovos moles,” sweet egg yolks wrapped in delicate casings.

For a nature escape from the city, the lagoon of Ria de Aveiro is nearby, as is the famous Praia de Costa Nova (which is the next spot on this Porto day trips list!)

How to Get There

There are frequent trains between the two main stations of Porto, both São Bento and Campanhã, and Aveiro.

The journey takes approximately 1 hour via the fast train (Alfa Pendular) or longer via the cheaper regional train.

There are also buses, but these take longer and are less comfortable.

You can also rent a car and drive, as it only takes about an hour to get there, depending on traffic.

Praia da Costa Nova

Red house with vertical white stripes, blue house with vertical white stripes, green house with horizontal white stripes

Editor’s Choice

One of the best Porto day trips to take in summer is a visit to Praia de Costa Nova: this beautiful beach and its candy-colored striped mini beach houses is something you’ve likely seen on Instagram!

This charming seaside destination, located just a short distance from Porto, offers a captivating blend of coastal beauty and whimsical architecture.

Arriving at Praia da Costa Nova, you’ll be greeted by a striking display of vibrant striped houses (called palheiros) that line the shore, emblematic of the beach.

Their playful bright striped paint job, combined with their pint-sized charm, makes this a favorite photo spot in Portugal.

Photographers also shouldn’t miss the picturesque Farol de Aveiro at the north end of the beach.

That part of the beach is called Praia da Barra (though the beaches stretch together along the shore and there is no physical demarkation between the two).

Stroll along the wide sandy beach, or lay a towel down and enjoy some sunbathing — though remember, occasionally the Atlantic winds can be quite strong!

How to Get There

To visit Praia da Costa Nova from Porto, take the train to Aveiro from either Porto’s São Bento or Campanhã train stations.

Once in Aveiro, local buses or taxis can transport you to Praia da Costa Nova, about 10 kilometers away.

Santiago de Compostela

The facade of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral with beautiful striking design elements

Editor’s Choice

The end of the road for many a pilgrim walking the Camino de Santiago, Santiago de Compostela in Spain has many charms.

Of course, the main draw of the city is the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral.

And of course it is: it’s the final destination for tired, dedicated hikers coming to the end of their Camino, a pilgrimage that can often take several weeks.

While the Cathedral is notable for the excitement that pilgrims feel when finally reaching their destination, it’s worthy of a visit even on a day trip from Porto.

It has a beautiful Romanesque exterior with striking Gothic elements inside. It also has the tomb of St. James, Spain’s patron saint.

Besides the cathedral, you should spend some time people-watching in the Praza do Obradoiro right in front of the cathedral.

You’ll also find some other beautiful architecture here like the Palacio de Raxoi and the Colegio de San Jerónimo.

Keeping with the religious theme, there’s also a stunning Baroque monastery in the heart of the city, the Monastery of San Martín Pinario.

While its exterior facade is stunning, inside is very interesting as well, with museums and art to spend time admiring.

Finally, wander around the Mercado de Abastos where you can pick up some local food and try some Galician cuisine (the food of this particular region of Spain).

How to Get There

You can get from Porto to Santiago de Compostela via public transit (bus or train), rental car, or guided tour.

The bus takes about 4 hours, and prices vary depending on company. The train is faster, via the Spanish national train service called Renfe. This only takes about 3 hours, and prices depend on what class you choose.

If you choose to drive, expect it to take about 2.5 hours without traffic; you’ll cover about 220 kilometers and cross a border in that time.

The easiest way is to take a guided tour — I’ll suggest one below.

⭐ Recommended Day Tour: Full Day Santiago de Compostela Tour ⭐ 
(4.7/5 stars, 250+ reviews)

This tour is inclusive of transfers between Porto and Santiago de Compostela (pick-up/drop-off optional), as well as a guide, all the monument entry fees included on the tour, and a lunch. You’ll get to explore Santiago de Compostela and attend mass there, and also visit the city and ancient walls of Valença do Minho in Northern Portugal.

Check tour availability and prices here

Fátima

Contributed by Priyanko Sarkar of Constant Traveller

While the question of Porto vs. Lisbon is a tough one, Porto is incredible.

But I also believe that Fátima is that rare place that promises to make you slow down.

It’s one destination that definitely deserves to be seen on a day trip from Porto!

Fátima is actually one of the great pilgrimage sites in Europe.

Barely a few hours from Porto, the place is revered as the place where three little shepherd children saw a vision of Mother Mary in 1917.

Ever since, believers have flocked to this place to seek blessings. Simply arriving in Fátima is a lifetime ambition for many Catholics!

The Basilica de Nossa Senhora de Rosario is where you need to first go to pay respects to the grave of two of the shepherd children. It is also the place where they first glimpsed Mother Mary.

A large modern crucifix on the other side signals the entry to the Basilica of the Holy Trinity, a more recent basilica with facilities where you can attend readings as per your schedule.

Take your time to visit the rest of the complex that makes up the Sanctuary of Fatima.

The scale of this sanctuary is something to behold as you find people of all ages praying fervently.

Many of them will walk with single-minded passion on their knees, others will offer large-sized candles while there are readings from the Bible in different languages almost on the hour under a small sheltered space.

Being in Fátima and spending time there is one of the best ways to get an alternate perspective of what Portugal is all about.

How to Get There

The best way to get here is by bus companies (Rede Expressos is recommended) for about 20 euros each way.

It takes a little over two hours to cover the 195-kilometer distance between the two cities.

Alternately, try trains that take about three hours each way between Porto and Fátima.

You can also do a guided day trip that combines Fátima and Coimbra.

⭐  Day Trip Suggestion: Fátima & Coimbra Full-Day Tour ⭐ 
(4.7 stars with 200+ reviews)

This tour takes you to both Fátima and Coimbra, Portugal’s university city. It includes pick-up & drop-off (if selected), a full day’s guide, all entrance fees, all transportation, and lunch with drinks (if selected).

Check tour availability and prices here

Leiria

the beautiful town of leiria with a medieval castle at the top of the hill and white architecture on the ground level

Editor’s Choice

The Central Portugal town of Leiria is a great, offbeat day trip from Porto — you won’t find many crowds here.

This town has the beautiful Leiria Castle perched like a crown atop the hill, overlooking the whole city — and impressively visible from the town, too.

The castle is well-preserved and worth a visit — you can explore its walls, towers, and courtyards for a mere €2.10!

The architecture in town is quite beautiful as well, with the Manueline-style Leiria Cathedral at its heart, and lively squares like Praça Rodrigues Lobo inviting you for a coffee and a pastry.

If you’ve rented a car and drove, you can also visit Leiria Pine Forest for a breath of fresh, Christmas-scented air!

How to Get There

Taking a train is the most convenient (and scenic!) way to reach Leiria from Porto.

You’ll find several trains leaving from Porto’s São Bento or Campanhã train stations, which take about 1.5-2 hours to reach Leiria, depending on the train.

If you’re already renting a car, this is a great stop — it’s about 1.5 hours from Porto and a 130 km drive.

Arouca

the rushing river in arouca near the wooden staircase walkway

Editor’s Choice

Want to escape into nature on your day trip from Porto?

Start in Areinho to take the Paiva Walkways, 300 steps that bring you a height of nearly 200 meters / 700 feet above the Paiva River.

From there, you’ll reach the 516 Arouca Bridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world.

After crossing, continuing on hiking alongside the spectacular Paiva River, which is home to several waterfalls like the Aguieira Waterfall for one.

Take a break at the river beach, Vau Beach, and then finish up in Espiunca where you’ll be picked up and brought for a delicious lunch.

How to Get There

Since this tour starts in one spot and ends in another, we highly recommend taking a guided tour so that you don’t have to backtrack with all that hiking… otherwise, it’s a really difficult day tour from Porto.

Take a guided tour like the one we recommend below.

⭐  Recommended Day Tour: Arouca 516 & Paiva Walkways ⭐ 
(4.9/5 stars, 50+ reviews)

This tour includes all transfers and entry fees to both the Arouca 516 and the Paiva Walkways, as well as bottled water and a delicious, authentic Portuguese lunch to celebrate all your hard hiking.

Check tour availability and prices here

⭐  Other Option: Aveiro + Arouca 516 & Paiva Walkways ⭐ 

This tour is the same as the above, but it also includes a trip to the beautiful “Venice of Portugal”, Aveiro, known for its molineiro boats and canals.

Check tour availability and prices here

Amarante

View at the Sao Goncalo monastery through the Old bridge over the river Tamega in Amarante ,Portugal

Situated along the banks of the Tâmega River, Amarante is a stunner with cobbled street, azueljo-covered churches, and natural beauty all around you.

Cross the famous Ponte de São Gonçalo, an iconic bridge with its stone construction and beautiful arches.

It spans the Tâmega river and leads you into the heart of the town, where you’ll find the Largo de São Gonçalo, a peaceful square in the town center.

Don’t miss São Gonçalo Church, with its striking Baroque façade and intricate azulejo tilework, a photographer’s delight.

Sweet tooths, don’t forget to try their local sweet: the “papos de anjo.” These golden-hued egg-based pastries are a favorite — try it alongside Port for extra indulgence.

How to Get There

To reach Amarante from Porto by train, you can take the Linha do Douro train, which takes approximately 1 hour and offers stunning views along the way!

You can also rent a car and drive and visit more towns in the area.

Viana do Castelo

Contributed by Halef and Michael of The Round The World Guys

Northern Portugal is like a world of its own.

It has a distinctively unique culture from the rest of Portugal – from the unique Northern Portugal wedding, traditional dress, to the dances and music.

It is believed that the traditional Portuguese fado music originated here in Northern Portugal’s Minho region.

One of the best places to experience Northern Portugal is the relatively unknown town of Viana do Castelo.

Viana’s old town is centered around Praça da Republica. You can find the charm of the city’s architectural treasures, as well as finding some great restaurants, cafés, and shops.

From the town center, you can hop onto the Funicular de Santa Luzia.

This incline railway will take you to the top of Monte de Santa Luzia, where you can find the magnificent landmark of Viana do Castelo: Sanctuario de Santa Luzia.

Food-wise, head to A Moda Antiga or Taberna do Valentim for their traditional Caldo Verde – kale and potato soup of the Minho Province.

Don’t miss the Pescada a Vianense – a delicacy of cod or other fish – baked in a mixture of potatoes, garlic, onion, and lemon juice.

How to Get There

The town of Viana do Castelo is well connected from Porto, either by an hour bus ride or train ride.

It costs less than 10 euros to travel to Viana do Castelo from Porto.

You can also go on a guided day trip if you prefer some context and convenience.

⭐  Suggested Day Trip: Private Day Tour of Minho Region ⭐ 
(New – Be the first to review!)

This private tour includes visits to three key places in the Minho region. It visits Viana do Castelo but also Ponte de Lima and Valença, other key places in Northern Portugal. It includes pick-up/drop-off and a guide, but you’re on your own for entrance fees and lunch.

Check tour availability and prices here

Peneda-Gerês National Park

view of peneda geres national park lake or reservoir on a sunny summer day

Editor’s Choice

Tucked quietly away in northern Portugal, Peneda-Gerês National Park is all about awe-inspiring views and peaceful hikes.

With mountains in the distance and meadows and forests at your feet, you’ll feel a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Porto.

You may even see a wild horse grazing freely!

There are dozens of hiking trails you can take, from easy walks to tougher climbs.

There are several waterfalls and lakes worth seeing in this national park: the Arado Waterfalla and the Tahiti Waterfall (also known as Cascata de Fecha de Barjas) are two favorites.

There’s also the serene Caniçada Reservoir which is a lovely place to spend some time.

How to Get There

Public transportation to and around Peneda-Gerês is limited, so this is a place best visited with a rental car or a guided tour.

This full-day guided tour is a fun option as you explore the park via 4×4!

Coimbra

Contributed by Maria & Rui of Two Find a Way

One of the things that makes Coimbra a great day trip is that it’s easily reachable from Porto using public transportation in about an hour.

Even though there’s plenty to see in Coimbra (which means that one day is not necessarily enough to see everything), the reality is that the city is quite compact, so it’s easy to explore the main sights in just a few hours.

While there, don’t miss the Old Town area, the University of Coimbra (especially the stunning Joanina Library), and the Botanical Garden, a place for tranquility and relaxation.

The beautiful riverfront is a great location for a leisurely walk, and a lot less crowded than Porto’s famous Ribeira.

How to Get There

You can either take a train (the fastest ones take around an hour), or the bus (runs almost every hour, and takes about an hour and a half).

You can also do a guided day trip that combines Fátima and Coimbra!

⭐  Day Trip Suggestion: Fátima & Coimbra Full-Day Tour ⭐ 
(4.7 stars with 200+ reviews)

This tour takes you to both Fátima and Coimbra, Portugal’s university city. It includes pick-up & drop-off (if selected), a full day’s guide, all entrance fees, all transportation, and lunch with drinks (if selected).

Check tour availability and prices here

Tomar

the exquisite knights of the templar castle in tomar, portugal, a great porto day trip, with medieval construction and walls

Editor’s Choice

As you arrive in Tomar, you’ll be transported back in time to the medieval era — when the Knights Templar once roamed these lands (and leaving behind many cool architectural sites behind!).

The two must-see places and they together form a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Convent of Christ and the nearby Castle of Tomar.

The convent’s exquisite medieval cloisters and stunning Manueline architectural elements are breathtaking.

Meanwhile, the 12th century castle (which is remarkably great shape!) is fun to explore, plus it has some incredible panoramic views of Tomar!

Back in town, don’t miss people-watching in Praça da República, a charming square and visiting the charming Igreja de São João Baptista

Taking a leisurely stroll along the river or through the picturesque Park Mouchão is also highly recommended!

How To Get There

There are no direct trains to Tomar, but it’s still not too difficult to get there by public transit.

Just take a train from São Bento or Campanhã to Entroncamento, then connect to Tomar (which takes about 20 minutes).

Nazaré

the beaches of nazare with crashing waves

Editor’s Choice

Known for its colossal waves and the crazy surfers that defy death to barrel down them each winter (making is a good day trip choice from Porto in winter), Nazaré is worth a visit for reasons other than its surf!

Of course, you ought to admire its epic Praia do Norte so you can see firsthand the sheer power of the waves that draw surfers from around the globe.

The harbor area of Nazaré is also rather cute, with its colorful fishing boats (bateiras) and local fishermen going about their daily business.

One of the coolest parts of Nazaré is the Sitio area, which is connected to the lower town by a funicular — the ride up has breathtaking coastal views!

There, you’ll find Sitio Square, home to the picturesque Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, with gorgeous tilework in the traditional azulejo style.

Also in Sitio, you’ll find the the Forte de São Miguel Arcanjo, a 17th-century fortress once used as a defense against pirate attacks.

Now, it’s home to a small museum, and you can walk around its historic walls and admire the views.

How To Get There

By train, you can head to Porto’s São Bento or Campanhã train stations and take a train to Coimbra, transferring at the Coimbra-B station where you can catch a connecting train to Nazaré.

Expect the train journey to take approximately 2.5 to 3 hours, depending on the schedule and connection length.

There are also three Flixbus routes in either direction daily (book tickets in advance), which takes about 3 hours each way.

As of June 2023, morning departures from Porto are at 7:45 AM and 10:40 AM, and afternoon return trips are at 4 PM and 7:50 PM.

Driving is also a possibility — it’ll take about 3 hours to cover the 235 km between Porto and Nazaré.

Vigo & Cies Islands

Contributed by Inma Gregorio of A World to Travel

One of the old continent’s main perks is how easy it is to country hop your way around it. You can visit Spain on a day trip from Porto!

There is a myriad of interesting and fun things to do in Vigo for you to choose from.

From flying over the city’s estuary to capture some memorable and Instagram-worthy moments to going for some tapas in the old town or simply enjoying one of the nearby city beaches; this city’s appeals are many.

If I had to pick one, though, that’d be a visit to Cies Islands – part of the Maritime-Terrestrial National Park of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia.

Already showcased in the early 2000s as a true paradise by the British media; during summer there’s basically no better plan to spend a sunny day in the South of Galicia.

You’ll be back in Porto sun-tanned and happy, promised!

How to Get There

Despite being two different countries, it’s easy to visit Vigo on a day trip.

Taking advantage of the many – and usually pretty cheap – transport options between them, it is possible to jump from Porto to Vigo in less than three hours.

In fact, a 7€ bus or 12€ train ride will take you from Porto’s city center to Vigo.

Lisbon or Porto: How to Choose (If You Have To!)

ravelo traditional boat in porto

If you are planning a small trip to Portugal, but you only have time to visit one city, you’re likely wondering: should I visit Lisbon or Porto?

I’ve visited Lisbon twice and Porto once and thought quite a bit about the differences between the two cities.

And while I have guides for both — check out this post on how to spend one day or two days in Lisbon and this post on how to spend one day or two days in Porto — I figured I’d break it down for people who have to choose.

(Have even less time? I have guides for one day in Lisbon and one day in Porto is forthcoming)

So this post puts the question of whether to visit Lisbon or Porto head to head!

In it, I’ll be comparing Lisbon vs. Porto so you can decide what the best city is for your personal travel style.

Another thing to consider if you’re traveling in winter is that Lisbon’s winter weather is considerably nicer than Porto’s winter weather (where it rains more often than London!), so keep that in mind!

So, Lisbon or Porto? Let me break it down.

Choose Lisbon if…

… You want that big city feel

While it may seem very obvious that Lisbon is the bigger city, being the capital, I was truly surprised by how small Porto feels in comparison.

While on paper, it’s about half the size of Lisbon, it really truly feels much smaller than that.

Lisbon has a compact and walkable center, but its edges sprawls on for ages. Belém, Oriente, Amadora, the city is simply huge.

That’s not to mention Almada, just on the other side of Lisbon’s Tagus River, technically another city but with many sights associated with Lisbon such as their imitation Christ the Redeemer statue from which you can get an epic view of Lisbon.

Simply put, you can spend weeks in Lisbon and never quite feel like you’ve seen the whole city.

I’ve spent nearly 3 weeks in Lisbon by now and still am discovering new neighborhoods.

On the other hand, Porto doesn’t quite have that big city feel. I spent 3 days there and felt like I had a pretty good feel for the city’s layout and neighborhoods in that short amount of time.

After Lisbon, Porto feels like a small town in comparison. This is actually great if you have a limited time to visit one city in Portugal and want to get to know it well.

However, if you’ve always been pulled towards big cities, Porto may feel a little small for you, as it has a vibe more similar to towns and villages in Portugal.

… You’re a major foodie

Porto is definitely no slouch when it comes to good food, but it’s a little more staunchly traditional than Lisbon when it comes to food.

Meanwhile, Lisbon is the culinary powerhouse of Portugal, excelling at not only Portuguese food but food from all around the world.

I had everything from Cape Verdean food to Chongqing-style hot spot in Lisbon, and not a single plate missed the mark.

For some tips on where to eat in Lisbon, I defer to my friends Daryl & Mindi, two food bloggers who have made their home in Lisbon.

They’ve shown me a few of the best restaurants in Lisbon and many of my favorites are indebted to them!

… You love street art and everything hipster

Porto is more traditional, whereas Lisbon has more of an upstart, hipster vibe to it.

After all, Lisbon is home to LX Factory, the mecca of all things hipster and Instagrammable, where you can ogle street art, shop in one of the world’s prettiest bookstores (hint: it’s not Porto’s Livraria Lello, which is now an Instagram hellscape), dine, and sip fantastic specialty coffee all in one former textile factory turned multifunctional urban development.

There’s also the fun nightlife district of Bairro Alto and a seemingly innumerable amount of cute cafés all over Lisbon serving up delicious coffee in gorgeous surroundings (my personal favorite is Augusto Lisboa in Alfama).

… You can’t imagine not going to Sintra

Sintra is not technically part of Lisbon, but it might as well be, since for many people, visiting Pena Palace and the Quinta da Regaleira is essential.

As such, Lisbon is the much more obvious choice as a day trip to Sintra (or even a full Sintra itinerary) couldn’t be easier.

While Porto has awesome day trips of its own, which I’ll get into shortly, if you’re into gorgeous colorful castles and beautiful castle grounds, Sintra (and thus Lisbon) is the choice for you.

Choose Porto if…

… You want the (slightly) less touristy option

I am definitely not claiming that Porto is not touristy – that would be patently false.

However, compared to Lisbon, which is nearly bursting at the seams with mass tourism, Porto is less crowded and oversaturated with tourism.

You will certainly encounter crowds at popular places, such as the Porto Cathedral and the port house on the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the river.

However, overall I had more of a feeling that Porto was maintaining its distinctly Portuguese identity a little better in the face of tourism than Lisbon.

… You lust after azulejos

While Lisbon certainly has its share of tiles… it’s truly nothing compared to Porto, which is one of the best places to hunt down azulejos anywhere in the country.

From the petite Capela das Almas to the most beautiful train station on the planet, São Bento, to the stunning wall of Igreja do Carmo to the inner courtyard of the Porto Cathedral’s cloisters… yeah, Porto’s definitely got the edge on Lisbon on this one.

While Lisbon has the excellent azulejo museum, which is interesting for getting to understand the history of the artwork, nothing beats seeing the large-scale works in person out in the urban landscape the way they are in Porto.

… You’re a wine geek

While Lisbon is for foodies, Porto is for winos. And why not? After all, it is the namesake for port wine, one of the greatest gifts to man.

It’s worth exploring the touristy-but-well-worth it port houses along the banks of the Douro River on the Vila Nova de Gaia side.

Better yet, take a day trip to the Douro Valley to try Portuguese wines in their natural settings.

There are countless excellent Douro Valley wine tours from Porto to choose from!

Regardless of how you experience it, wine lovers will surely freak and geek out on Portuguese wines in Porto.

While port is definitely what the region is best known for, you’re also not far from the Minho region where they produce the country’s best ‘green wine’ aka vinho verde, aka one of the best summer wines on earth!

… You want a more walkable city

Although Lisbon’s center is quite small and walkable, Porto is undoubtedly much smaller and I found it extremely easy to cover the city by foot in just a matter of days.

While yes, it is quite hilly, just as Lisbon is, I found it a little more easy to navigate whereas I was constantly getting lost in Lisbon.

The sights are more clustered together, to the point where you can really easily do a quick walking circuit and tick off many of your top Porto sights in a few hours.

If you only have a few days in either Lisbon or Porto and you really want to feel like you “know” the city by the end of your stay, Porto would be the more logical answer as it’s a lot more compact and easy to visit in a short time.

Choose either Porto or Lisbon for…

… Their proximity to incredible beaches

Both Lisbon and Porto are really close to some incredible beaches. Porto is way closer, as you can literally take a city bus and be on the lovely beach of Matosinhos in a matter of some 20 minutes or so from the center.

From Lisbon, you can easily access Cascais, which is not without its charms, though it can get quite crowded!

Better yet is to rent a bike in Cascais and bike down the coast a bit until you find a stretch of beach you like. There are other gorgeous beaches near Lisbon more off the beaten path (I liked Praia das Maçãs near Sintra).

Of course, Porto’s beaches are a little colder being further north, though I found the water in the beaches near Lisbon to be quite cold as well, even in August!

The Algarve has warmer waters and can be added to a Lisbon trip by taking a Lisbon to Algarve road trip if you rent a car, but visiting the Algarve is not really doable unless you have at least a week to enjoy Portugal.

… A budget-friendly getaway

Whether you pick Lisbon or Porto, either way, your wallet won’t have too much to complain about.

While Lisbon is marginally more expensive, in my opinion, it’s also a very wallet-friendly destination by Western European standards.

I typically paid about 6-10 euros for a full meal with wine, sometimes a little more when eating at nicer places or opting for seafood.

Accommodations set me back a fraction of what they would in similar destinations, and public transportation and Uber are similarly affordable compared to the rest of Western Europe.

While it’s gotten more expensive recently due to the tourism boom, there’s no denying that a trip to Portugal – whether it’s to Porto or to Lisbon – will cost a fraction of a trip to Spain, Italy, or Greece, some other popular Southern European destinations.

… Life-changing pastéis de nata

No matter where you go in Portugal, be sure to try their delicious pastel de nata, a delicious egg custard tart best enjoyed with a dusting of cinnamon on top fresh, and preferably fresh out of the oven.

Personally, my favorite comes from Pastéis de Belém, a place I was willing to write off as too touristic but ending up blowing my mind (and maybe it was the fact that I visited Lisbon in March, but I only had to wait about 10 minutes for piping hot fresh pastéis!).

However, Manteigaria in Lisbon is a close second, and there’s one in the Time Out Market near Cais do Sodré that is less of a schlep than Belém.

In Porto, I was there for a shorter amount of time so I didn’t exactly get to hone my hunt for pastel de nata there, but I’ve heard the best are at the Porto branch of Manteigaria or one of the two outposts of Nata Lisboa in town.

***

So, there you go: the complete Lisbon vs. Porto rundown! I hope I’ve helped you decide where to spend your next trip, but feel free to drop any questions you have in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Or, just let me know – which are you leaning towards, Porto or Lisbon?

2 Days in Porto: Itinerary for a Perfect Weekend in Porto (2023)

looking across the water at porto's sister city on the other side

I had a feeling I would love Porto, the Portuguese city famed for its port wines and beautiful tiles… and after 2 days in Porto, I knew I was right.

This city on the Douro truly lives up to all its hype. Its azulejos were stunning, its food incredible, and its vibe enchanting.

Everything was so supremely walkable that we barely hopped on transportation at all during our 48 hours in Porto.

That was except for the occasional Uber when we got lazy, as we stayed a bit outside of the city center (something I probably wouldn’t do on a repeat trip).

doorway in porto with traditional archit

In the end, I was surprised by how much we were able to do with just 2 days in Porto.

If you’d like to snag my Porto itinerary, I’ve made it quite easy for you — just follow it below.

Note: Another option is to do one day in Porto and spend the other on a day trip to the Douro Valley for wine tasting, or you can rent a car and go on a road trip!

Where to Stay in Porto

view over the city of porto in portugal, a great place for a weekend in porto

For our trip to Porto, we opted to stay near the train station at Campanhã as it was close to where our friends live.

While it was good for our stay, I wouldn’t recommend it to other travelers who only have a few days in Porto.

We stayed across from Quinta Bonjoia and the walk to the metro was about 20 minutes on a street more meant for cars than people – meaning we ended up using Uber basically the entire time we were in Porto!

It wasn’t expensive (rides into the city from Campanhã are only about 4-5 euro) but it wasn’t exactly optimal. We stayed at Bonjoia Apartments and it was fine, but nothing too special.

I’d recommend instead staying somewhere in the center on the Porto side, as accommodations in Porto really aren’t that expensive and there’s no need to stay so far away.

person walking in front of a church in porto

Budget

For a unique place to stay on a budget in Porto I’d opt for Zero Box Lodge. This hipster hotel has a unique design, fun vibe, and rave reviews.

Its design reminds me of a capsule hotel, but with far more privacy as each ‘box’ is quite large and private and comes with their own en-suite bathroom (no sharing!) and air conditioning in summer.

The location is ultra-central, as São Bento train station and Mercado do Bolhão are only a short walk away.

At the property, you have a fun bar and restaurant as well as several public lounge areas that you can relax in if your room is feeling a bit too basic. For the price and location, it’s hard to beat!

Check out reviews, photos, and prices here.

view of the douro river in porto looking to the porto side of the river

Mid-Range

If you have a little more to spend and want a more traditional hotel experience I recommend staying at Laurear Guesthouse. It’s cozy, modern, and ultra-aesthetically pleasing without breaking the bank.

I love the wooden beams in many of the rooms, the natural light, the funky furniture and unique vibe of the place – this is no cookie-cutter Hilton, for sure.

Prices are surprisingly affordable given the quality of the room and the location – it’s near Clérigos Tower and Mercado do Bolhão, so it’s quite literally in the center of everything.

The more affordable rooms tend to book up early, so check out reviews, photos, and prices here.

stairs and old church in porto

Luxury

Porto is much more affordable than other European cities so when you opt for luxury you’ll often end up getting a great deal, as luxury properties cost perhaps half of what you’d pay in places like Barcelona or Paris.

One great example of this is Infante Sagres, a 5-star luxury historic hotel that’s a member of one of my favorite hotel groups, Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

Renovated in 2018, the hotel features antique chandeliers and a sundeck with a plunge pool for cooling off on hot days.

The design is quintessentially Portuguese with touches like tilework and neo-Baroque detailing that will make you swoon. Rooms are massive, soundproofed, and offer gorgeous views over Porto, and the location near Aliados couldn’t be more perfect as you’re a short walk from virtually everywhere in Porto.

The hotel has a variety of rooms that suit a range of budgets, so check out photos, reviews, and prices here.

Best Time to Visit Porto

beach in porto with sunset view

Porto is a beautiful city to visit any time of year, but there are certainly some times to visit that are better than others!

Porto has a long and protracted rainy winter. Friends who live in Porto say that it often rains more than half of the days from October through March, so winter in Porto is a mixed bag!

Personally, I visited in mid-March and had beautiful warm and sunny weather — but March is still very much a crapshoot month when it comes to rain.

April through June is one of the best times to visit Porto. The summer rush has not begun, the rain has subsided quite a bit, and it won’t quite have the crowds of July and August.

July and August can be quite hot and humid, and as Europeans travel the most during the months of July and August, Porto can get incredibly busy during this time.

If you’re wanting to swim and sunbathe, though, this might be the only time that it’s hot enough to enjoy the freezing cold water at Porto’s beaches!

In September and early October, Porto again experiences a shoulder season with pleasant weather and fewer crowds, making it another good time to visit Porto.

Two Day Porto Itinerary, Day 1

Start your day at the azulejo-covered Chapel of Souls

allison standing in front of a wall of azulejos

While Porto has no shortage of beautiful tile-covered buildings, one of my favorites is the small but stunning Chapel of Souls (Capela Das Almas).

While its interior is rather plain (it’s free to enter!), just your standard church, its exterior is absolutely stunning.

In fact, I’d bet its exterior wall is one of the most photographed walls in all of Porto. It’s also a great location to start exploring Porto’s center by foot.

Love azulejos, Porto’s distinctive blue-and-white tile work? Here are more of the best places for azulejos in Porto.

Visit the (temporarily-located) Mercado do Bolhão

people walking in a produce market in porto

Normally, the Mercado do Bolhão is one of Porto’s most famous landmarks!

Unfortunately, its neoclassical building which dates back to the early 20th century is currently being renovated, and it’s now housed in a temporary location on the basement level of the La Vie Shopping Center.

Update: This was true during my 2018 visit, and I just checked, and the renovations are still incomplete and it’s still in the same temporary location.

Despite its temporary location, I was actually still really impressed by the market and would highly recommend it to travelers anyway.

Sure, you won’t get to see the historical building, but I loved sampling port and ginjinha (a cherry liqueur best enjoyed out of an edible chocolate cup), window-shopping for colorful canned fish, and photographing the market.

Check out the traditional shops near Mercado do Bolhão

While the market itself is closed, there are several cute stores which exemplify the turn-of-the-century aesthetic of the market — all of which are open during the renovations.

My favorite was the insanely photogenic A Pérola do Bolhão, which is basically a Wes Anderson dream come to life.

The other one nearby, Mercearia do Bolhão, is not quite as photogenic but well worth a wander regardless.

Stroll past the tiled Church of Saint Ildefonso

Not the most beautiful of Porto’s azulejo-covered churches but still so centrally located that it’s worth a quick gander, the Church of Saint Ildefonso is located right near Batalha Square, one of the busiest squares in Porto.

The church dates back to 1739 and has proto-Baroque architectural detailing. The façade was added in 1932 and features Porto’s quintessential azulejos.

historic church building with azulejos in portugal

Both times I walked past it, the Church appeared closed, but it’s apparently open to visitors and free to enter.

Gape at the most beautiful train station in the world

I love me a gorgeous train station, and boy, does Porto ever deliver!

Covered floor to ceiling with full-scale azulejo murals (seriously, look at me to get some perspective on how huge they are), São Bento is an unmissable stop on any Porto itinerary.

allison standing in in the famous sao bento train station in the heart of porto

It was completed in 1916, made with tiles from the famous Sacavém factory near Lisbon, one of the best factories for ceramics and tilework in all of Europe.

The ‘paintings’ of the train station are composed of around 20,000 tiles, all created between 1905-1916 by the azulejo artist Jorge Colaço.

The paintings represent important moments and battles throughout centuries of Portuguese history, from the 1140 Battle of Valdevez to the conquest of Ceuta (the first Portuguese colony) in 1415 and beyond.

Note: This place can get quite crowded, so watch your belongings! Pickpocketing isn’t as rife in Porto as it is in Lisbon, but you need to be mindful nonetheless.

While travel in Europe is safe, pickpocketing is a major issue. Thwart would-be pickpocketers with a chic, sleek backpack with double-interlocking zippers, slash-proof construction, & RFID blockers! I’ve carried this PacSafe backpack to 30+ countries with me, and it’s my #1 travel companion. Pick from one of seven colors — I have and love the classic black one!

Walk past the lovely Town Hall

city hall of porto with lots of people walking on the main avenue

As you cross the main boulevard in Porto, Avenida dos Aliados, you’ll notice the Câmara Municipal (Town Hall) front and center.

Its beautiful structure dates back to 1957 and it’s a symmetry-lovers dream.

While you could certainly go inside (entrance is free), I was feeling rather hungry and just wandered past it on my walk to lunch… which is up next on this Porto itinerary!

Eat delicious Portuguese food at a churrasqueira

a piece of codfish with beans and potatoes and an egg

I was visiting Porto with my Brazilian boyfriend, and naturally, getting some churrasco (Brazilian BBQ) was on the agenda… seeing as it can be a bit hard to find in Bulgaria, where I was living at the time.

Halfway through a fit of hanger, I was delighted to find a place on Google maps serving up churrasco – or so I thought, as I accidentally led us to a churrasqueira and not a churrascaria. Whoops?

As far as mistakes go, it was a delightful one, because we ended up eating one of the best Portuguese meals of our trip.

I was in love with the bacalhau with chickpeas and potatoes (and a whole boiled egg, because #Portugal), and the BBQ half chicken we got was also fantastic.

If you want traditional Portuguese food that’s not a tourist trap, I highly recommend Churrasqueira Moura Lda.

Just don’t tell your boyfriend you found a Brazilian restaurant.

Visit Harry Potter heaven / Instagram hell at Livraria Lello (or don’t)

interior of a busy but beautiful bookstore livraria lello with stained glass and an ornate staircase

I’m a bit conflicted as to whether to include Livraria Lello on my Porto itinerary as I had mixed feelings about this place. I decided to include it just because others probably will want to go.

My two cents? While the bookstore is absolutely beautiful (and you can see why it inspired J.K. Rowling while she was living in Porto), it’s basically a melee of Instagram vultures all angling for ~the shot~.

And unless you visit at the exact opening, you likely won’t get “the shot,” because it’s just so freaking crowded and full of people selfie-ing. Entrance is 5 euros and you have to buy it down the street.

You can use that 5 euros towards buying something, but honestly, I was halfway to an anxiety attack in there because it was so crowded and left without wanting to make a purchase… and everything in there is about 5 euros more than it should be, anyway, so it’s not even a good deal.

So, it’s on this Porto itinerary just because I know so many people feel like they need to see it, but if you have any reservations about it or any crowd-related anxiety or claustrophobia… just skip it, trust me.

Marvel at the azulejos at Igreja do Carmo

azulejos on the side of a church building on a sunny day in porto portugal

Once you’ve survived the Instagram Hunger Games… err, I mean Livraria Lello… head towards the stunning Igreja do Carmo.

While it’s also a popular photo spot, it’s immensely more enjoyable here, probably because you can actually move without getting glared at.

Of all the azulejo-covered church facades, this and Capela das Almas are tied for my favorite, and both are absolutely worth going to.

Ascend the lovely Clérigos Tower

skinny but tall tower with lots of interesting stonework in porto

The Clérigos Tower is quite popular amongst travelers and even in March we had to wait about 20 minutes in line to ascend the tower.

I didn’t mind the wait as it meant that it wasn’t too crowded at the top as they did a good job managing the crowds!

The stairwell up to the top viewing platform is extremely narrow, and sometimes there are other people coming down as you’re coming up and vice versa, so it’s definitely not for the claustrophobic.

If you can stomach the stairs and the tight fit, though, the views are entirely worth it.

view to a tower, the river, and many different buildings in porto and vila nova de gaia

The museum that you can walk through before climbing Clérigos Tower is rather interesting and I really loved the beautiful rose-pink interior of the attached church you can visit.

Entry to the museum and tower costs 5 euros, but you can buy a combined ticket which includes other Porto sights which may be worth it depending on what you want to see.

interior of a church attached to clerigos tower

Take the bus (or Uber) to the Castelo Do Queijo

For those who speak Portuguese… unfortunately, no, the Castelo do Queijo is not indeed made of cheese.

It is, however, a really interesting fortified structure right on one of Porto’s beautiful (but frigid) Atlantic beaches, so it is well worth a visit.

It’s especially lovely if you can time your visit so that it’s close to sunset as we did… but that’s easier to do in March when we went than in summer when most people visit Porto.

stone fortress overlooking a beach and lots of tall condo buildings

The fort’s current structure dates back to 1661 and entry is just 50 cents! It closes at 5 PM, so we just missed visiting inside it, but it was worth walking around the area and checking out the nearby beaches anyway.

If you have time, you can walk up the beach a bit towards the art installation in the neighborhood of Matasinhos, called anémona by locals for its resemblance to a sea anemone.

The real name of the art piece is She Changes and it was created by Janet Echelman in 2005, in deference to the fishing heritage of Porto and Matasinhos.

You can get here by bus (the #500) which leaves from Praça da Liberdade, and it costs €2 per ride.

Walk down the beach to the Pérgola da Foz for sunset

outdoor pergola at sunset with view of ocean

There’s something amazing about exploring a city all day and getting to watch the sun sink into the ocean’s horizon later that evening.

It’s something I loved about growing up in California, and it’s something not many other cities in the world can boast.

We watched the sunset from Pérgola da Foz and it was the perfect way to say goodbye to the sun on our first day in Porto.

Head back to the center for a delicious Mozambican meal

overhead shot of different delicious mozambican dishes, a unique african cuisine you can eat in porto

I’ll forgive you if you want to eat Portuguese food during your entire time in Porto – I mean, it is delicious.

But one of my favorite things about traveling in other cities is getting to understand the demographic makeup of the city and its immigrants by exploring the ethnic food scene.

Portugal is a great place to try obscure African cuisines that are hard to find elsewhere.

This is due to Portugal’s linguistic and historical relationship with its former African colonies that have led many Angolans, Mozambicans, Guineans, and Cape Verdeans to settle in Portugal.

While I’ve tried some African cuisines in New York and California — mostly Ethiopian, Moroccan, and Nigerian — I had never tried Mozambican food before!

I was delighted to get to know it during my recent trip to Porto, and it was really delicious.

If you haven’t tried Mozambican food before and you’re an adventurous eater, you really ought to!

Head to Tia Orlanda, where you can eat delicious curries and stews with a variety of meats and vegetables.

My favorite dish was the curry with beans and mushrooms. However good it sounds, it tasted 100 times better!

If you’re worried about spice, don’t be afraid – the food is relatively mild (this is Europe, after all) and you can add spice to your liking.

Two Day Porto Itinerary, Day 2

Start the day at Igreja do São Francisco

stairs and church on a sunny day on a porto itinerary

Whereas most of the churches in Porto are known for their azulejo-covered exteriors, the Igreja do São Francisco is not much to look at from the outside.

At first, it appears to be just another Portuguese church. However, the inside of it is spectacular with gold-plated everything.

And when I say everything, I mean everything – an estimated 300 kilos of gold were used for the interior.

In fact, there is so much showiness that it was literally closed for a few years, as it was believed too ornate that it was actually in-your-face for the poverty surrounding the church’s area!

Admission costs €6 and includes entry to the church, museums, and catacombs, which has thousands of human bones you can see through a glass floor.

You can save 25% of the cost of admission if you have a Porto card. Keep in mind that photography is not permitted at all inside the church.

Cruise down the Douro in a traditional port boat

boats in the douro river on a sunny day looking over to the porto side of the river

Porto is known for its gorgeous river which bisects Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia (the city on the other side of the river), with six beautiful bridges including the impressive Ponte Luiz I which spans the Douro.

A Douro river cruise through Porto is inexpensive and takes you on a quick 50-minute tour of the Douro, passing Porto’s six bridges, on a traditional boat.

The Douro River is the heart of Northern Portugal’s wine region — going up it would lead you straight to Portugal’s famed Douro Valley wine region.

This tour has departures every 30 minutes between 10 AM and 6:30 PM, so you don’t have to commit to a time in advance.

It’s right by the Igreja do São Francisco, so it’s great to do after you’ve visited the church.

Click here to easily pre-book your ticket!

Check out the Porto Cathedral and its cloisters

people gathering in front of the porto cathedral

You’d be easily forgiven for thinking I’m a religious zealot for how many churches, chapels, and cathedrals I’m having you visit on this Porto itinerary… but really, I’m not trying to convert you to Christianity (far from it), but rather to my azulejo mania.

While so many of the churches in Porto have gorgeous azulejos, my favorite were in the cloisters of the Porto Cathedral.

Entry to the Cathedral itself is free, but the cloisters have a small 3 euro charge which is entirely worth it.

Personally, I preferred the cloisters to the cathedral as the entry fee dissuaded many tourists from entering (I have no idea why, as 3 euros is quite reasonable) and it was really peaceful and beautiful.

interior of the porto cathedral cloisters with azulejos

While at the Cathedral, be sure to check out the impressive views literally every way you look!

You’ll have a great angle of Porto’s bridges and its sister city on the other side of the Douro, Vila Nova de Gaia, from this vantage point.

Cross Porto’s most famous bridge

seagull flying over a metal arch bridge that corrects two sides of porto and vila nova de gaia

From the cathedral, you’re just a short walk from one of Porto’s most famous bridges, the Ponte Luiz I.

It’s a wonderful bridge to walk across as it drops you off at one of the nicest viewpoints in Vila Nova de Gaia.

On a sunny day, I can’t think of any better way to enjoy Porto, as the views are absolutely incredible. Just have a jacket because it can get windy up there!

Relax on the grass, have a coffee, or check out the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar

people sitting on the grass in front of the mosteira da serra

After crossing the bridge into the Vila Nova side of the Douro, there’s a large grassy area with lots of benches and a coffee shop with spectacular views.

If your feet are tired or you need a little pick-me-up, this is a great place to pause for a beat and take in some of the best views of Porto’s skyline.

Alternately, you can walk about 10 minutes up to the Mosteiro da Serra, which has an even better view of the bridge.

You can also enter the cloister area for an extra charge. I opted to do this and paid the €3 entry fee, but to be honest, I didn’t feel like it was worth it.

fountain with pillars making an arch around it

Stroll down to the Market Beira Rio

From the Mosteiro to the Market Beira Rio is about a 20-minute walk.

It’s relatively easy, but if you’re feeling lazy or have limited mobility, you may want to take the gondola.

It is a bit pricy at 6 euros per person (an Uber would literally be cheaper)… but if you want to do it, go for it.

If you’re looking for an interesting place to walk around in Vila Nova before you make your way to the port houses, I recommend the Beira Rio Market.

It’s a good place to get a meal if you want to try a lot of different things!

people in a busy marketplace

We strolled through here (though after we had gorged on Brazilian food, so we weren’t hungry) and it looked awesome.

They even had brigadeiros – one of my favorite Brazilian sweets!

brazilian sweets covered in sprinkles in different colors

If you want to go for Brazilian food, we ate at Restaurante Mineirão nearby, which offered rodízio, which is basically Brazilian BBQ all-you-can-eat style.

You can get a mini rodízio which means they go around once with each kind of BBQed meat (be sure to ask for extra of the picanha, the last meat at the end – it’s incredible!) or just plain rodízio where you can ask for more of anything at the end.

We were happy with the mini, but if you’re a real meat lover, you’ll want the full deal.

I think we paid around 12 euro each for the mini rodízio which included something like 7 types of meat, greens, coleslaw, beans, rice, and other sides. The full rodízio was around 17 euro, if I recall correctly.

happy man's face eating brazilian food in porto
This is the face of a Brazilian reunited with rodizio

End the afternoon with a port wine tour

sandeman port house with people drinking in front of the building

If you’re at all interested in wine, you really ought to make time for a tour of Porto’s wine houses on the banks of the river, on the Vila Nova de Gaia side of Porto.

I wished I could make time for a visit to the Douro River valley for a proper wine tasting day trip, but I only had 2 days in Porto, so I had to settle for tasting port in the city itself. Luckily, it was pretty delicious!

You can either do a self-guided port wine tour if you have specific wineries you’re interested in, or if you’re clueless when it comes to port you can check out a guided port houses tour.

I’m a wine geek with a fixation on port, so I wanted to cater my own experience. I went to Quinta do Noval because it’s one of my favorite port producers and I wanted to really cater my own experience.

I did a flight tasting of 5 wines, plus a 20-year-old tawny port, for around 25 euros, then added on about 15 euros of additional tastes that I was interested in (a colheira and two white ports).

a row of four different glasses of port

Our host at Quinta do Noval was great at explaining the wines to me and their characteristics, and I loved the personalized 1-on-1 experience.

If you’re really interested in port and have previous experience, I recommend picking your own port houses that you love and visiting independently as you get a more individualized experience.

However, if I was a novice to port wine, I think I would have benefited more from a proper tour and tasting, explaining the process of how port is created and stored and what all the different kinds of port are.

This port house tour is inexpensive and covers quite a bit in three hours.

It is actually cheaper than my DIY option, as I spent over 50 euros on tasting at one quinta… but I have pretty expensive taste when it comes to port and wanted to sample some older vintages that I don’t usually have access to.

On this tour, you’ll get to see one of the largest and oldest port houses in Porto and sample three distinct kinds of port.

Afterward, you’ll check out two traditional wine houses, try some dry wines from the Douro Valley, including one of Portugal’s best wines – a vinho verde, alongside some cheeses and meats.

It’s a great option that provides great value for money, so if you decide to do the tour, leave your afternoon free as it begins at 4 PM.

Check out reviews, prices, and availability of the tour here.

Sop it all up with a francesinha

a cheese covered sandwich in a light-colored reddish orange sauce.

The most famous sandwich of Porto, a francesinha is a must-eat once in your life.

Literally, probably better off just once, as this is probably the most artery-clogging sandwich known to man.

A francesinha is basically a grilled cheese meets a trio of sausage, ham, and steak, meets a heavy tomato-beer sauce on top.

If that’s not enough calories, you can opt for it with an egg on top and fries to really bust your belly.

We ate at Lado B (B-Side), as my boyfriend’s best friend who we were visiting doesn’t eat meat, and they have a vegetarian option that she likes.

My francescinha was delicious…. but I literally never need to eat one again, as I think it took 3 months off my life in a single sandwich.

Worth it? I’ll let you know at the end of my life.

More Than 2 Days in Porto?

rows of vineyards next to the douro river in the douro valley of portugal, a wonderful wine region

Time for a day trip from Porto, then!

The obvious answer if you’re a wine drinker is to take a Douro River cruise and wine tasting tour.

This tour includes a coffee stop at Peso da Régua, transit to the Douro Valley where you can enjoy two vineyards (quintas) and delicious wine tastings full of delicious port and other Portuguese wines.

You’ll also get to enjoy a lunch at a local restaurant in the Douro Valley, where you can eat your choice of fish, meat, or vegetarian.

After that, you’ll then be taking a boat cruise from Pinhão (after stopping at the beautiful azulejo-covered railway station there), with one final photo stop in scenic Sabrosa on your way back to Porto.

Book your Douro River Cruise & Tour here!

white sanctuary of bom jesus do monte in braga portugal

If you’re not a wine drinker, then I would suggest this historical and cultural tour of Braga and Guimarães, two beautiful Northern Portuguese small towns with some of the most beautiful churches in the country.

Guimarães is considered to the the “birthplace of Portugal” as it was home to the first-ever king of Portugal. There’s a beautiful medieval castle there, and the entire city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Braga is another gem, rich with history with its cathedrals, historical city centers, and sanctuaries. The Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary is especially stunning and makes for some unforgettable photos!

Book your Braga and Guimarães tour here!

Want to know the best things to do in Porto, Portugal? This Porto itinerary is for people who have only a weekend in Porto. In just 2 days in Porto,  see all the best places to visit: photography & Instagram spots like Livraria Lello, gorgeous rooftops, delicious food & bakeries, shopping for Porto souvenirs, visiting the beach! You can’t forget port wine at the port houses or a boat cruise on the Douro! Here’s what to do Porto on your first trip to Portugal!
Want to know the best things to do in Porto, Portugal? This Porto itinerary is for people who have only a weekend in Porto. In just 2 days in Porto,  see all the best places to visit: photography & Instagram spots like Livraria Lello, gorgeous rooftops, delicious food & bakeries, shopping for Porto souvenirs, visiting the beach! You can’t forget port wine at the port houses or a boat cruise on the Douro! Here’s what to do Porto on your first trip to Portugal!

13 Perfect Things to Do in Porto at Night [2023 Nightlife & Activity Guide]

Porto, Portugal old town skyline on the Douro River with rabelo boats.

Porto is Portugal’s second-most popular city, right after Lisbon, and as such, it offers plenty of tourist attractions, museums, and exciting nightlife options. 

The charming Portuguese city sits on the bank of the Douro River and is best known for its colorful historical center, Port wine cellars which bring in delicious wine from the Douro Valley, and the iconic Dom Luis I Bridge.

I traveled to Porto many times while living in Lisbon and absolutely loved learning about Porto’s history, visiting its most iconic landmarks, and experiencing its vibrant nightlife. 

In all honesty, in some ways, I think Porto is even more charming than Lisbon, with its beautiful Ribeira, impressive bridges, and stunning miradouros.

 Planning your trip to Porto at the last minute?

Here are my quick picks on what to do & where to stay!

🍷 Top Porto Night Experiences:
1. Cálem Port Cellar Tour with Wine Tasting & Fado Show
2. Sunset Sailboat Cruise on the Douro
3. Guided Evening Tuk Tuk Tour of the Historical Center

🏨 Best Porto Hotels:
1. Hospes Infante de Sagres (Small Luxury Hotel of the World member)
2. Laurear Guesthouse (cozy mid-range boutique hotel)
3. Zero Box Lodge (funky budget hotel with capsule concept)

✈️ Flying in? Book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups — they’ll greet you at the airport, help with bags, & bring you into the city, all pre-booked!
The old town of Porto with the river Douro after sunset, lit up and colorful with golden light and bridge in the background

If you’re looking for things to do in Porto at night, you’re in the right place.

After spending many nights out in the city, I put together a guide to the best activities in Porto at night, and it runs from sunset until sunrise for you night owl travelers!

Whether you want to explore the city without crowds, visit quirky museums, join guided tours, or party until morning, you’ll find plenty of options for things to do in Porto at night here!

The Best of Porto at Night: 13 Top Things to Do

Discover the lively Cais da Ribeira.

the colorful houses of cais de ribeira in porto at night with the sun setting in the west with orange hues coloring the douro river as the sun sets

Cais da Ribeira is among Porto’s liveliest neighborhoods, especially at night!

The district, with its colorful houses, runs along the Douro River and is dotted with bars and restaurants where people gather in the late afternoon and stay until late at night.

Cais da Ribeira is particularly charming around sunset, when the atmosphere turns magical in the soft light and street artists play music on the riverside promenade.

You can enjoy a stroll along the riverside, watch the traditional boats (rabelos) float on the river, or sit on a terrace for a drink.

Enjoy a glass of wine with petiscos (appetizers) at Wine Quay Bar or Bacchus Vini, or try a delicious seafood dinner at Terra Nova.

When the night falls, you can admire the view of the illuminated Dom Luis I bridge reflecting in the river — it’s absolutely stunning.

Have a traditional Francesinha for dinner.

porto's signature sandwich, the francesinha, covered in cheese, filled with meat, and in a tomato beer sauce.

Francesinha is Porto’s most traditional meal, but be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart. 

This indulgent dish contains several types of meat, from sausage to ham and beef steak, all layered between two slices of bread covered with melted cheese and the traditional Francesinha sauce made with beer.

It usually comes with a side of fries and an optional fried egg on top if you want to go all out.

You can have Francesinha in many restaurants around Porto, and it’s hard to go wrong.

Café Restaurante O Afonso is one of the most popular spots for Francesinha, although it’s a bit far from the historical center.

Brasão is a great alternative, with multiple locations across Porto.

The great thing about Brasão is that it also has a vegetarian Francesinha, so you can still try this traditional dish if you’re not a meat eater.

For a vegetarian take on the Francesinha, try Lado B Café, which has both meat and veggie options.

Watch the sunset from Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar.

Porto Old City, Douro River and Dom Luis Bridge (Ponte de Dom Luis I) night scene, from Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, Porto, Portugal

Porto is known for its many scenic viewpoints, or miradouros in Portuguese.

Since it’s built on several hills, the city provides several stunning spots to enjoy panoramic views of the city and the Douro River. 

However, I would argue that Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto’s sister city just across the river, offers even more spectacular views, as hard as that might be to believe.

At sunset, cross the bridge and head to Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, a 15th-century monastery with a terrace overlooking the river and the colorful Porto.

This is one of my absolute favorite spots to watch the sunset in Porto since you can have a nearly 360 degree view of both cities, the Dom Luis I Bridge, and the river.

The monastery is not open for visits at night, but you can still access the outdoor area for free. 

Just cross the bridge and turn right on the uphill street. 

Expect to find a crowd there just before sunset, but the area is pretty big, so you’ll manage to find a spot.

Just get there a bit before sunset so you can settle in!

Enjoy a Port wine tasting.

trying a variety of port wines in porto

No trip to Porto would be complete without a Port wine tasting.

The city is famous for its fortified wine production, which is now renowned worldwide.

Many cellars are just across the river from Porto, in the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, bringing in delicious Port from the vineyards of the Douro Valley.

Each cellar offers tours with wine tastings, so you’ve got multiple options to choose from. 

Caves Cálem, Taylor’s Port, Caves Ferreira, Quinta do Noval, and Sandeman are all great cellars to visit, and you can check their websites for different tour options.

Alternatively, you can book an experience like this Cálem Cellar Tour with a fado show or this Graham’s Port Tasting with Pairing and Tour, which offers tastings perfectly paired with chocolate, cheese, and pasteis de nata, the traditional custard tarts of Portugal.

Watch the sunset from one of the miradouros.

Aerial view of Ponte da Arrabida and the famous Crystal Palace garden design in the spring season in Porto City, Portugal

If you want to admire some beautiful views while getting a workout in, you should set out to explore Porto’s many miradouros.

These scenic viewpoints are mostly located in the upper part of the city, so you can expect to walk uphill a lot.

Close to Porto’s cathedral, check out Miradouro da Rua das Aldas for a charming view over the city’s rooftops.

You can enjoy an even more scenic view from Miradouro da Vitória, one of the most popular viewpoints in Porto.

If you want to avoid the crowds, head to Jardim dos Sentimentos and check out the view from Torreão do Jardim do Palácio or Miradouro da Ponte da Arrábida.

The gardens are stunning and the perfect place for a relaxed walk, especially right before nightfall.

Sail on a Douro River sunset cruise.

Sailboat with two sails and a few people on board in front of the scenery of Porto skyline around sunset while on the Douro River

If, on the other hand, you’re tired of walking up and downhill and just want to enjoy a chill evening in Porto, consider joining a sunset or evening Douro River cruise.

This Sunset Sailboat Cruise is a wonderful chance to sail along the Douro and watch the city from a different perspective.

You can choose between a shared cruise or a private booking, departing from the Douro Marina in Vila Nova de Gaia and sailing along the river to the Douro estuary. 

If you’re really lucky, you may even spot some dolphins once you get closer to the ocean, making your cruise truly unforgettable!

The cruise lasts roughly two hours and includes a complimentary drink to enjoy while sailing past some of the most iconic sights in Porto at night.

The knowledgeable crew will make your stunning trip even more memorable by sharing stories and interesting facts about the city!

Party all night in the heart of Porto.

Man's hand serving an orange drink with crushed ice and mint

Although Lisbon is considered more of a party city with a lot more nightlife, Porto has a vibrant scene too, with plenty of party options.

In particular, the area close to Porto University is notorious for its nightlife — perhaps not surprising that students like to party!

You’ll find that Rua da Galeria de Paris and Rua de Cândido dos Reis are buzzing with life from the late afternoon all the way until sunrise. 

Here, you’ll find all kinds of bars, clubs, pubs, and restaurants — whatever kind of nightlife vibe you want, it’s here.

Whether you want to enjoy a beer in a chill atmosphere or plan on dancing all night long, you’ll find a spot that’s just right.

Some of the most popular clubs here are Plano B, Moreclub, and Lust Porto

If you prefer to relax and have a drink, try The Gin House, The Royal Cocktail Club, or Casa do Livro.

Many places may also have live music on the weekends!

Enjoy a night tuk-tuk tour.

Blue tricycle tuk tuk waiting for tourist on the street of Porto, Portugal

A unique way of exploring the city in the evening is on a tuk-tuk tour!

Of course, you can find tuk-tuks in Porto at any time of day, but when night falls and the crowds fewer, driving around in a tiny tuk-tuk is an even more delightful experience!

This Guided Historical Center Tuk Tuk Tour lasts around two hours, during which your guide will drive you around the charming streets of Porto while telling you stories about the city.

You can choose between a sunset and a night tour (there’s day options too, but this is a post all about Porto at night, after all).

The sunset tour is a more romantic option and will allow you to enjoy gorgeous city views as the day gives way to night, but the night option is ideal if you want to avoid crowds and have a more relaxed experience.

Note that these tours are for a minimum of two people, unfortunately for any solo travelers!  

Stroll across Ponte Dom Luis I.

Porto, Portugal old city skyline from across the Douro River at sunset with views of the old town of Porto from the side of the river that Vila Nova de Gaia is on

If you enjoy panoramic views, you shouldn’t miss out on the spectacular view of Porto from the upper level of Dom Luis I bridge.

You can also walk on the lower level, but the best views are from above!

The bridge connects Porto do Vila Nova de Gaia and was built in 1886 by an engineer who had previously worked with Gustave Eiffel on another bridge in Porto.

In fact, the bridge does somewhat resemble the famous Eiffel Tower.

History geeks, take note: Ponte Dom Luis I has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.

The iconic bridge is always crowded, but most people walk on the upper level around sunset. However, it’s an experience you shouldn’t miss!

Go there later in the evening if you want to avoid the crowds. The view at night, when the city is all lit up, is just as beautiful!

Listen to an intimate fado concert.

"fado" - performer playing a tradicional portuguese guitar in the dark

Although fado was born in Lisbon, on the streets of the charming Alfama neighborhood, the music genre is now popular all over Portugal.

Listening to a fado concert is a lovely way to spend a night in Porto and immerse yourself in a historic part of Portuguese art and culture.

This intimate fado concert experience offers a few different concert options, including a meet-and-greet.

Every day, you can listen to traditional fado music, while on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, they play tributes to historic fado musicians, focusing on different themes. 

On top of listening to the concert, you can learn all about the tradition of Fado while enjoying a glass of Port wine — the most iconic Portuguese duo!

You can also pair a fado concert with a short tour of Porto’s historical center and a traditional dinner.

This 3-hour Porto night tour with fado show & dinner includes a tour of the Ribeira district and a Portuguese dinner with a fado show in a local restaurant.

Join a pub crawl.

night club vibe

If you want to party and experience Porto nightlife but are traveling solo or are with a group but just looking to meet more people, why not join a pub crawl?

This is one of the best ways to experience Porto’s nightlife, discover new places, all while meeting other travelers.

This guided Porto Pub Crawl lasts over four hours, during which you’ll check out some of the city’s most popular bars and a nightclub.

The experience includes five drinks and free entrance to the nightclub, which makes it an affordable way to spend a night out!

The experience is available in multiple languages, but you’ll likely meet people from different countries.

Just note that the tour only includes drinks, and no food, so be sure to have dinner before (did I mention that you’ll be getting five drinks?).

Experience a gastronomy tour.

glass of white wine out in the street in porto

If a pub crawl isn’t your scene, there are other shared experiences you can try that still allow you to get to know the city while also meeting other travelers.

This Petiscos Crawl is one such option, allowing you to experience traditional food and drinks in local restaurants with a group of people, in a far more laid-back setting (while still enjoying some local drinks).

The culinary tour focuses on sampling different petiscos, which are Portuguese appetizers similar to Spanish tapas, expertly paired with local wines. 

You’ll visit traditional restaurants outside the main tourist areas, learn about Portuguese cuisine, history, and architecture, and savor delicious food and wine.

The tour includes a combination of iconic spots like the Clérigos Tower and Livraria Lello, along with several places off the beaten path.

You can expect to try dishes like codfish and Portuguese sausages and sample the unmissable Port wine along with other delicious Northern Portuguese wines, like Vinho Verde.

Visit a museum dedicated to rosé wine.

Wine in glass on window sill with cityscape of Porto, Portugal. Cityscape with river Douro and historical areas.

WOW is a complex of museums in Vila Nova de Gaia, including unique spots like The Chocolate Story or Planet Cork.

For wine lovers, Pink Palace is one of the most recent additions to the WOW museums, dedicated entirely to rosé wine.

If you like the color pink, this museum is made for you!

Not only do you get to sample five lovely rosé wines on your visit, but you’ll also find several highly Instagrammable rooms, from a pool of pink balls to a pink Cadillac.

This eccentric museum is a great way to spend a fun evening (or a cold winter day in Porto).

On Fridays and Saturdays, the museum stays open until 10 PM, while it closes at 7 PM the other days. 

Book your tickets on the WOW website and get ready to visit this quirky pink palace.

A Fun 3-Day Lisbon to Porto Road Trip Itinerary

the beautiful town of leiria with a medieval castle at the top of the hill and white architecture on the ground level

If you’ll be visiting Portugal with a car and you plan on driving from Lisbon to Porto, you might as well make it a fun road trip and have a few stops along the way.

Portugal’s two biggest cities are just over three hours apart, but there’s a lot to be discovered between them.

During the two years and change I spent living in Portugal, I explored most of the Central Portugal region and discovered gorgeous cities, coastal towns, and impressive landmarks, all worth exploring on a road trip from Lisbon to Porto. 

View of central Lisbon from the River looking onto the city's yellow toned buildings and hills covered in buildings and trees

You could easily spend four or five days visiting Central Portugal, but you can also have a couple of overnight stops and see the main sights if you’re a little short on time.

This Lisbon to Porto itinerary is for a three day trip, and it covers the most important cities on the drive between Lisbon and Porto. 

You can follow it step by step to take in all the beauty Portugal has to offer, or skip some stops and shorten the itinerary to only two days.

However, if you’ve got the time, all the places included in this guide are absolutely worth visiting.

Of course, you can also do this itinerary in reverse, a Porto to Lisbon road trip, just by following the itinerary backwards.

Things to Know Before Doing a Road Trip from Lisbon to Porto

Before diving into this road trip itinerary from Lisbon to Porto, let me tell you a few things that will help you have a great experience.

Driving from Lisbon to Porto

Curving road next to vineyards and houses on a sunny day in Portugal

Driving in Portugal is pretty easy, especially if you stick to the main roads, so lucky for you, this Lisbon to Porto drive itinerary does exactly that. Some small towns may have narrow streets, but you’ll mostly avoid those!

Unlike in other European countries, if you’re a US citizen with a license, you don’t need an international driving permit for Portugal. 

However, if you also plan to drive in other European countries, like Spain, you may need one, so check in advance. European travelers can drive freely in Portugal with their license.

One thing to be aware of is that you may need to pay some tolls. 

If you rent a car in Portugal, you usually have the option of including a Via Verde transponder in your car, which allows you to pass through dedicated toll gates while paying automatically by a linked credit or debit card. 

Alternatively, you can pay the toll at the toll gates. 

Most of them have the option to pay by card, but bring some change just in case, as some international cards may not work.

Best Time for a Road Trip Between Lisbon and Porto

Purple wisteria covering the walls of a Portuguese house, with a brown door and a blue door

Honestly, any time of the year is great to visit Portugal. 

Even during the winter months, the temperatures are mild and pleasant. The only downside is, it can get a bit rainy, especially in the north of Portugal.

If you’re looking to avoid crowds, beware! 

Summers can get pretty busy, as this is when most Europeans travel to Portugal. 

Although Central Portugal is usually less crowded than the south, you’ll still find huge crowds in Lisbon and Porto.

To avoid these crowds (and higher prices, and higher temperatures!), try to visit in spring or fall, when Portugal is at its dreamiest. 

April to early May (excluding the Easter period) and late September to October are generally good months for a road trip between Lisbon and Porto.

Renting a Car in Portugal

road sign when entering portugal

Tip: I have a full guide to renting a car in Portugal here — but here’s the the quick tips

When looking for a rental car, I always use Discover Cars to search for the best deal for multiple reasons.

I also always search from the airport as my pick-up destination, because the prices are usually the best here… inside the city center, it can be a lot pricier.

It’s also best to plan to return to your original pick-up point via car to avoid hefty one-way fees!

Tip: Make sure you book your car rental with full coverage insurance for peace of mind — it starts at only $7 per day, cheaper than you’d get at a rental agency!

🚗 Best Portugal Rental Car Prices: Discover Cars

This search engine not only looks at the typical rental car agencies (which can be $$$), it also looks at local, small Portuguese rental agencies that may offer better deals. Their pricing is straightforward (no bait-and-switches) and they offer free cancellation if you need it.

➜ Check rental prices in Lisbon with Discover Cars here!

How Long Does it Take to Drive from Lisbon to Porto?

Aerial view of the road from above, ocean on one side, cars driving on a highway

If you were to drive straight from Lisbon to Porto, it would only take a little over three hours, but you’d miss so much! 

While the actual Lisbon – Porto driving time is short, you really ought to stretch it out and enjoy the Central Portugal region as much as you can.

The drive between Lisbon and Coimbra is particularly stunning!

Central Portugal is so rich in natural landscapes, beautiful cities, and lovely coastal towns and small Portuguese villages.

You could even spend one week on the road getting from Lisbon to Porto and barely scratch the surface of this incredible region.

Three days is the perfect amount of time to stop by the most important cities and check out historical landmarks if you stretch out the Lisbon to Porto drive into an actual vacation, not just a transit!

The university of Coimbra

Along the way, you’ll see UNESCO World Heritage Sites, spectacular coastal towns, and gorgeous cities such as Coimbra, Tomar, and Aveiro.

If you can, I really recommend taking your time and including all the stops mentioned in this Lisbon to Porto itinerary. You’re on vacation, after all! 

However, if you are short on time, you can skip some stops and only spend the night in Coimbra. 

Even a two-day road trip Lisbon to Porto itinerary can still allow you to discover spectacular places. 

If you absolutely have to shorten your trip, I recommend shortening this list of places to visit between Lisbon and Porto.

Prioritize Ericeira, Nazaré, Batalha, Tomar, Coimbra, and Aveiro, and skipping the rest.

Day 1: Lisbon to Nazaré

Drive from Lisbon to Ericeira

View of the beach in Ericeira as well as the houses of the town along the coast on a sunny day in Portugal

After you’ve spent a day or two in Lisbon, it’s time to head out. Ready to hit the road? 

Start this Lisbon to Porto road trip by driving north from Lisbon toward the coast to reach your first stop for the day, the beautiful seaside town of Ericeira

On your way to Ericeira, you can also stretch your legs with a short stopover in Mafra to visit Mafra National Palace.

The Palace-Convent of Mafra and the Royal Building of Mafra, simply known as the Palace of Mafra, is an impressive palace and monastery combining Baroque and Neoclassical styles. 

The landmark became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019, and is considered Portugal’s most important monument of Baroque architecture.

View of the yellow and gray palace, with an ornate facade and two towers with clocks on them, on a sunny day with no one around in front of the palace.

While you’re there, admire the magnificent façade before exploring the palace interior to discover its lush royal apartments, beautiful basilica, a convent with its lovely cloisters, and the wonderful library.

From Mafra, you only need to drive around 15 minutes to Ericeira

The lovely town is a popular surfing spot and, since 2011, Europe’s only World Surfing Reserve! 

Every year, a round of the ASP World Tour Surf Championship takes place on Ribeira d’Ilhas beach.

Wander around the charming center of Ericeira, grab a coffee, and stroll on the wonderful Praia dos Pescadores, or even just admire it from above. 

Even if you’re there in winter and it’s too cold to enjoy the water (well, it’s Portugal where the beaches are freezing year-round, so that’s no great loss), you’ll enjoy gorgeous sea views.

Stop for lunch in Peniche

Lighthouse in Peniche on the coast of Portugal with the wild atlantic ocean on the other side

From Ericeira, hop back in your car and keep driving north along the coast until you reach Peniche, another charming seaside town. 

Peniche is better known for the small archipelago just off its shore, the Berlengas, home to the Berlengas Nature Reserve.

Between May and October, you can find regular boat service from Peniche to the Berlengas

In the off season, you may still find small boats offering to take you there, but they won’t be quite as cheap. 

Fort in Berlenga island in Portugal with teal and dark blue ocean waters and mist on the horizon

Of course, even without a trip to the unspoiled nature reserve on the Berlengas, Peniche is still worth exploring.

You should get to Peniche in plenty of time for lunch, so you can enjoy a traditional Portuguese meal at a charming restaurant like St. Pedro Peniche or Entre Amigos

A must-try when in Portugal, especially in a seaside location, is bacalhau (codfish). 

The recipes are countless, so it’s hard to go wrong with any dish that features this local delicacy!

After lunch, take a walk along the paths around Ilhéu da Papôa to enjoy spectacular sea views and visit the Church of São Pedro

The Cabo Carveiro light house which is white and red on the rocky outcropping near the sea on the coast of Portugal near Peniche

Then, walk to the Miradouro da Cruz dos Remédios to enjoy the view, admire the beautiful azulejos in the nearby Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, and check out Cabo Carvoeiro Lighthouse.

All around Peniche, which covers a small rocky peninsula, you can find many more beautiful views, so be sure to bring a camera.

If you visit in summer, you can stretch out and soak up some sun on the wide beach Praia do Molhe Leste, or watch the surfers do their thing on Praia dos Supertubos.

Stop by Óbidos

Streets of Obidos, Portugal, known for its distinguished architecture and history. Pink flowers and whitewashed town with blue stripes on some of the facades.

Before driving to Nazaré, the last destination for the day, stop by the medieval walled town of Óbidos, just half an hour from Peniche. 

Though small, the town hosts many events throughout the year, from the Medieval Market in July to the Christmas Village in December and the literary festival Fòlio in October.

As though a literary festival wasn’t enough, the bookish town of Óbidos features several charming bookstores, earning the town the UNESCO recognition of the City of Literature in 2015.

For my two cents, the best thing to do in Óbidos is to simply wander around the narrow streets and walk along the city walls to take in the lovely views. 

Stone masonry Castle of Obidos and wall ruins or Castelo de Óbidos is a well-preserved medieval castle, with taupe stone brick construction

Afterwards, you can check out the medieval Castle of Óbidos, which is now home to an exclusive luxury historical hotel or pousada, and visit the tiny Church of Saint Mary.

For a delightful local treat to finish up your visit, you can’t leave without trying a sample of the local sour cherry liquor, Ginja de Óbidos, also known as Ginjinha. 

The best way to try it is in a tiny chocolate cup that you can then eat. But remember, it packs a bit of a punch, so stick to the one sample if you’re planning to keep driving on after this stop!

Have dinner and spend the night in Nazaré

View at the end of the day over the town and beach of Nazaré with lights on over the city and the beach looking peaceful and quiet

You will likely get to Nazaré by the late afternoon or evening, so you won’t have much time to explore the town.

Spend the rest of your day strolling around town before heading out to enjoy a delicious dinner.  

You can save the gorgeous beaches and scenic views for the morning after you’ve had a good night’s rest!

You’ll be spoiled for choices here, especially if you’re looking for a traditional Portuguese dinner in Nazaré

Some of my favorites are Tabernassa, specializing in meat but also serving fish and some vegetarian meals too, Maria do Mar for traditional fish and seafood dishes, and A Tasquinha, an unassuming small tasca (Portuguese restaurant) with outsized local charm.

Day 2: Nazaré to Coimbra

Explore Nazaré

View of the Farol de Nazare lighthouse, high waves, Nazare, Portugal, Europe.

Ready for another exciting day on the road, taking the scenic route from Lisbon to Porto?

You can spend some more time in Nazaré in the morning before continuing to drive north toward Porto. 

This small seaside town is known for the giant waves that attract many big-wave surfers!

Nazaré’s waves are some of the largest in the world!

Surfers on the giant wave in Nazare with a large crowd watching

While you may not always get to see the giant waves that Nazaré is famed for, you absolutely have to check out the view from Forte de São Miguel Arcanjo, the best spot to watch the waves. 

The fort, and most other landmarks in Nazaré, are located in the upper town, which you can easily reach via the mountain cable car.

Another great spot to check out is Miradouro do Suberco, with stunning views overlooking the huge Nazaré Beach

Nearby, visit the Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, a lovely church in the heart of town. 

Memory Hermitage, also known as the Chapel of Our Lady of Nazaré

The beautiful interior is decorated with the typical Portuguese azulejos (painted ceramic tiles), paintings, and sculptures.

Closer to the sanctuary, check out Baloiço da Ladeira, a cute swing overlooking the town and the sea from Miradouro da Nazaré

Once you get back to the lower part of the town, stroll along the beach and enjoy a coffee, or indulge in delicious ice cream at Gelatomania before getting back on the road.

Drive from Nazaré to Batalha

The large ornate facade of the Monastery de Batalha, the battle monastery, with lots of architectural detailing and arches and spires

From Nazaré, you only need to drive for around half an hour to reach Batalha

This small town is famous for the grandiose Monastery of Saint Mary of the Victory, also known as the Monastery of Batalha.

This spectacular monastery is among Portugal’s most important Gothic landmarks and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. 

The historic monastery was built following the historical Battle of Aljubarrota, in which the Portuguese won against the Crown of Castille, preserving Portugal’s independence.

The town of Batalha was founded along with the monastery by King João I of Portugal, who led the Portuguese army to victory in the battle nearby. 

The monastery was dedicated to the Virgin Mary to thank her for the victory against the Castilians.

Monastery of Batalha (Mosteiro da Batalha) ceiling inside with a star-shaped pattern of beams and stained glass windows

This monastery is truly massive, so plan to spend between one and two hours visiting

While you’re there, be sure to admire the interior of the beautiful church with its vast nave and stained-glass windows and check out the tombs of Portuguese royal members in the Founder’s Chapel.

You should also leave some time to wonder at the marvelous Unfinished Chapels (Capela Imperfeitas – literally, ‘imperfect chapels’), and stroll around the gorgeous Royal Cloister.

Stop by Fátima

Massive sanctuary of our lady of Fatima in Portugal, a white church building with a gold jesus statue in front

Less than half an hour from Batalha, the town of Fátima is a renowned pilgrimage site drawing thousands of visitors every year to see the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima

The town is famous for the Marian apparitions of 1917 when three children witnessed the appearance of the Virgin Mary.

Following the apparitions, a small chapel was built on the site in 1919.

 The town quickly became a famous pilgrimage site, and the shrine you can see today was built to enclose the chapel along with two minor basilicas.

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima is pretty much the only reason to visit Fátima, so you can skip this stop if you’re not interested or just want to save a bit of time. 

However, the sanctuary is quite impressive, and it’s only a short detour on the way to the next destination, Tomar.

Have lunch in Tomar

Tomar city center, with a cobblestone-style street, people walking in the distance, and white buildings.

Tomar is an absolutely cannot miss a stop on your way from Lisbon to Porto! 

The medieval town was the last Templar town built in Portugal in the 12th century. 

The Grand Master of the Knights Templars at the time, Gualdim de Pais, ordered the town’s construction within the walls of the Convent of Christ, a former Templar stronghold.

Before exploring Tomar and visiting its landmarks, stop in town for lunch in a real-life medieval restaurant. 

Taverna Antiqua takes the medieval theme to a whole new level with an unmatched eye for detail.

 The tables are made of raw wood, the plates and cups are all traditional pottery, and the whole place is candle-lit. 

Needless to say, the food is delicious and heartwarming.

After an unforgettable medieval meal, it’s time to explore the charming Tomar. 

The convent of christ building in tomar portugal with stone work and bells

The Convent of Christ and the nearby Castle of Tomar are the two must-see places in Tomar, together comprising a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The convent features beautiful medieval cloisters and Manueline architecture elements, and the castle boasts stunning views of the convent and the town of Tomar. 

Other places worth your time are Praça da República and Igreja de São João Baptista, right by Taverna Antiqua, and Church Santa Maria do Olival on the opposite riverbank.

If you’re looking for some time outdoors, you can also spend some time strolling along the river and through the lovely Park Mouchão.

Stop by Leiria

Central square in Leiria, Portugal, white buildings with a hillside town and a castle atop it all

From Tomar, you’ll need to drive back toward Batalha and slightly north to Leiria for one last stop before heading to your final destination for the day. 

Leiria is the second largest city in the Central Region of Portugal after Coimbra.

The most important landmark in Leiria is the medieval hilltop castle, which is connected to the lower city by a free lift. 

The castle combines Romanesque and Gothic elements, with distinctive Gothic arcades overlooking the city. 

The visit also includes access to the beautiful gardens and the impressive halls and rooms.

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, also called Leiria Cathedral, a white church with a few people in front

Other places you can visit in Leiria are Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, a small but beautiful church.

Other nice places in Leiria include the Luís de Camões Garden, and Mercado de Sant’Ana.

For film fanatics, a trip to the Museu da Imagem em Movimento is the perfect way to round out your time in Leiria.

Drive to Coimbra for the night

Beautiful and historic Coimbra cityscape with university at top of the hill in the evening

You’ll likely get to Coimbra in the evening, just in time for a short walk around the historical center before you head out for dinner. 

There is plenty to see in Coimbra, but you can thoroughly explore the historical center and the key landmarks in the morning.

For dinner, you can choose between several options. Zé Manel dos Ossosi is a quiet, unassuming little spot, but it’s a traditional Portuguese tasca serving heartwarming traditional food, so it’s worth a try. 

Other great options are Solar do Bacalhau and A Cozinha da Maria.

Day 3: Coimbra to Porto

Visit Coimbra and its famous university

Red building and yellow building in the old town of Coimbra

Spend the morning exploring Coimbra and visiting some of its impressive landmarks.

A must-see in Coimbra is, of course, the university!

Coimbra is Portugal’s university city, home to one of the oldest universities in the world.

The university was founded all the way back in 1290 in Lisbon but moved to Coimbra in 1537.

In 2013, the University of Coimbra became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

One of the oldest buildings in the University of Coimbra, with stairs, a clocktower, and white stone architecture and a tiled roof

You can visit many university areas, including the Science Museum, the Cabinet of Curiosities, the Royal Palace, Saint Michael’s Chapel, and the Joanina Library.

A ticket for the full visit is €17.50, but you can also choose just a few areas you are interested in.

Even just from the outside, the university is truly impressive and offers sweeping city views from the main square, Paço das Escolas.

Other must-see landmarks in Coimbra include Coimbra Cathedral (Sé Velha), the Church of the Holy Cross, housing the tombs of Portugal’s first two kings, and the university’s Botanical Garden, which is free to visit. 

Mermaid Garden, situated in the center of Coimbra, Portugal

Another lovely park for a stroll is Sereia Garden if you find yourself wanting to stretch your legs a bit more on this Lisbon to Porto drive!

If you have any extra time, take a walk along the Mondego River, explore Parque Verde do Mondego, and cross the pedestrian bridge Pedro e Inês to Parque do Choupalinho to admire Coimbra from afar. 

On this riverbank, you can also visit the archaeological site Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha.

Stop for lunch in Aveiro

Aveiro city center with teal and red boats in the canal with pastel colored buildings on the other side of the river

Your last stop before getting to Porto is Aveiro, also known as the Portuguese Venice. 

While the comparison may be a bit of a stretch, Aveiro is a lovely city known for its canals and the colorful boats called moliceiros, which resemble the Venetian gondolas.  

Aveiro’s moliceiros were traditionally used to harvest seaweed (moliço) but are now mainly used for boat trips along the city’s canals. 

While you’re there, make sure to take a closer look at the paintings on the moliceiros.

The subject matter ranges widely, but there’s more than a few that are funny or even downright raunchy! 

Funny raunchy details of the subjects on the moliceiro boats

Joining a Moliceiro boat trip is a great way to explore Aveiro and learn about its unique history. You can book it in advance or just play it by ear and find a tour on the spot. 

Aside from the boat ride, you can stroll around the small but charming city center and along the canals, visit the Cathedral of Aveiro, and go for a walk in quaint Infante Dom Pedro Park.

Have lunch in Aveiro before you get back on the road to Porto. 

If you’re just looking for a simple meal, Restaurante Picota and Taberna do Arco both offer cheap and tasty Portuguese dishes. For more refined dishes that are still affordable, check out Restaurante O Bairro.

Before you leave Aveiro, make sure you pick up one of the traditional desserts it’s famed for, such as ovos moles and tripas

Top view of traditional portuguese egg yolk sweets called Ovos Moles de Aveiro on portuguese tiles background

Ovos moles look like eggs and are filled with an egg yolk and sugar cream, giving them the name “ovos” (Portuguese for eggs).

Tripa de Aveiro is a sort of undercooked waffle, traditionally filled with the same cream of the ovos moles. 

Before driving north toward Porto, you can take a short detour to the coast to check out Praia da Costa Nova.

The area is famous for its traditional colorful striped houses!

Tip: Stop by Zé da Tripa for the best Tripa de Aveiro.

Finish your road trip driving from Aveiro to Porto

View of Porto from the other side of the river

From Aveiro, you can get to Porto in under an hour – yes, the end of this Lisbon to Porto road trip is in sight! 

On your way, you can stop by Vila Nova de Gaia to take in the wonderful views of Porto. 

The two cities are separated by the Douro River and connected by the famous Ponte Luís I, and it’s a great vantage point to see all of Porto and its hills laid out in front of you.

It’s easy to think that Vila Nova de Gaia is a part of Porto, but it’s a different city, better known for the many Port wine cellars all along the riverbank.

Check out the spectacular views from Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar and Jardim do Morro

Last but not least, you just need to cross the Douro River to finally get to Porto, where you’ll wrap up your road trip. 

More Places to See in Central Portugal

Typical stone architecture at Talasnal Schist Village in the mountains of Serra da Lousã

If you have more than three days for your road trip from Lisbon to Porto, you can spend more time in Coimbra.

This is a good jumping-off point to explore the nearby Serra da Lousã Mountains, wander around the charming schist village of Talasnal, discover the wonderful Serra do Açor, or visit the sleepy but lovely village of Piódão.

Other places worth discovering in Central Portugal are Caldas da Rainha, Alcobaça, Castelo Branco, Viseu, and Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park.

You could also spend a few days after you reach Porto exploring the Douro Valley with this 2-day Douro Valley itinerary or embarking one some of the great day trips from Porto if you want to use Porto as your home base.

Tired of driving yourself but want to explore Northern Portugal’s wine region? Check out these wine tours from Porto that cover both the Douro Valley and Minho regions.

Not that you needed any more ideas!