Visiting Porto is a real good idea for a trip in Portugal. Are you looking for information to visit Porto in one day or a weekend? Looking for what to do in Porto? You are in the right place!
- 1. The docks of Ribeira
- 2. Vila Nova de Gaia
- 3. Visit a traditional wine cellar
- 4. The Gaia Cable Car
- 5. Sao Francisco Church
- 6. Tower of Clerigos
- 7. The Lello & Irmão bookstore
- 8. Palace of Bolsa
- 9. Sé do Porto
- 10. Luis Bridge
- 11. Mercado do Bolhao
- 12. The Azulejos of Porto
- Where to eat in Porto?
- FAQ & Useful resources
1. The docks of Ribeira
This is where you will go for a drink in the evening or for a bite to eat. It is the authentic Port that makes you want to take a walk and simply sit and watch life pass by along the Douro. Stroll along the quays and indulge in a stroll through its medieval streets with colorful facades. Ribeira is the most picturesque face of Porto thanks to its countless cafes, its adorable little shops and the many artists who perform at the end of the day by the river. A true concentrate of local life.
2. Vila Nova de Gaia
Located on the other side of the Douro, you have Gaia, to get there, nothing could be simpler, you just have to cross the Douro via the Luis E bridge. The district of Vila Nova de Gaia is a high place of manufacture of this famous Portuguese wine: Vinho do Porto!
3. Visit a traditional wine cellar
You can visit several moreover, among the most popular wineries, you have Cálem, Ferreira, Sandeman, Taylor’s Port and many others! Appreciated for centuries, Port wine has greatly contributed to the reputation of the city. Several wine cellars are open to the public, Graham’s Port Lodge, a very beautiful cellar, offers interesting guided tours in French among its 2000 barrels. The house is particularly famous for its collection of old Ports (some dating from 1882), the selling price of which can reach €8,000.
Visiting the Porto cellars can be, for some, the main reason for a trip to the capital of northern Portugal, for others, one of the many activities to fit into the weekend. Either way, it’s a must!
The Poças Cellars offer you a tasting of 3 Port wines, old Tawnys, or even 4 Premium wines.
With BI Heritage Tours, discover the Douro Valley by boat.
Visit the Douro vineyard with Douro Best Tours.
Savor a lunch accompanied by a wine tasting on the Douro Valley thanks to Living Tours.
Or live a private experience with Oporto Sensations Tour.
4. The Gaia Cable Car
The cable car located, as you have understood, on the quays of Gaia will allow you to climb the Ponte Luis. From up there, the view is breathtaking, it is also a beautiful place to have a drink. It is the meeting place for many locals to meet at the end of the day, the atmosphere is really very friendly! Ideal for sunsets elsewhere!
This will also allow you to reach the monastery of Serra do Pilar, a former monastery with a circular cloister, it served as a fortress in the 1830s during the Siege of Porto.
5. Sao Francisco Church
The beautiful Cathedral of Porto and its baroque interior entirely covered in gold, with its beautiful view of the Ribeira district. Admission costs €7.50.
The visit is mainly divided into 3 parts:
- The church itself
- The museum
- The catacombs located underground
6. Tower of Clerigos
It’s really to do and there panoramic view at the top of the tower is magnificent! From its height of 76 meters, it offers a marvelous 360° view over the red roofs of the city. To get there, you will have to climb 225 steps. Claustrophobes and those prone to vertigo will need to take special care, as the stairs and the platform at the top are very narrow. Moreover, at the bottom of the tower you have the famous Librairie Lello (also called Librairie Chardron), it would be a shame to miss it!
7. The Lello & Irmão bookstore
The Lello & Irmão bookstore was founded in 1869, today it is considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world! Admission costs €5, deductible from the purchase of a book. Among the wide selection of books, there are books in French and many shelves dedicated to the Harry Potter universe. The Lello bookstore even went so far as to acquire the first large-format version of the first volume, for the modest sum of €70,000.
8. Palace of Bolsa
The Palais de la Bourse and its famous Arab lounge (a stone’s throw from the Dom Luis bridge). They offer tours in French that last 35 minutes. It contains two splendours: the Salon Doré, all dressed in gold, and the Salon Moorish, inspired by the Alhambra in Granada.
9. Sé do Porto
The cathedral, called Sé do Porto, is one of the city’s must-see places of interest. Even without being a great lover of churches or cathedrals, it seems difficult to visit Porto without going through this monument. Beyond a classic cathedral, the cloister clearly justifies the visit. Its cloister decorated with azulejos is clearly the highlight of the visit. You can also climb to the top for a view of the Gothic-style cloister. The square where the cathedral is located, the Terreiro da Sé, offers a superb panorama of the city.
10. Luis Bridge
It would be a shame not to cross the Douro by going over the Luis bridge. If you cross it, stop at the Esplanada bar for a welcome drink! From Vila Nova de Gaia you have the cable car allowing you to go up to the bridge.
11. Mercado do Bolhao
Stroll along Rua do Almada, a small shopping street near Santa Catarina Street, as well as the large market “Mercado do Bolhão”. It’s a real village market, where you can find real locals, which is what makes this market so charming.
It would be a shame to visit Porto and not push on to the Douro Valley. If like us you like wine, and even if you don’t know much about it, it’s a must as the landscapes are incredible!
12. The Azulejos of Porto
The church of Santo Ildefonso, the hall of the Porto station, the church of Santo António dos Congregados, the Sé cathedral and the church of Carmo are covered with it. These last two house very beautiful sculptures in gold leaf from Brazil.
Where to eat in Porto?
If the cuisine of Porto has long been associated with the francesinha, a massive croque-monsieur covered with sauce and cheese, it has benefited from an incredible culinary revival in recent years. Fabulous restaurants are popping up all over the city, which has become a paradise for foodies. Go dine at Antiqvvm, from the garden, the view overlooking the river reminds us that Porto is the gateway to the Douro Valley, a region that produces the most renowned Portuguese wines.
And for the snack break, go to the Café Majestic in Porto, it overflows with elegance and attracts a motley crowd of politicians, intellectuals, artists and writers. This is where J.K. Rowling worked on the first installment of the Harry Potter saga. Accompany your coffee or hot chocolate with a local sweetness such as the delicious pastel de nata, a small round flan on typically Portuguese puff pastry. Then make a stop at the nearby grocery store, A Pérola do Bolhão, where an incredible variety of Portuguese products are piled up behind the magnificent art nouveau facade.
In Portugal, the art of “petiscos” is as popular with locals as it is with visitors. These are small portion dishes, a sort of Portuguese interpretation of tapas or mezze. They have the advantage of being ordered in bulk, allowing you to taste a whole range of flavors to share. La Cantina 32 offers a la carte petiscos from Portugal and elsewhere: tuna tataki with sesame, braised cod, baked black pudding, stuffed mushrooms…
Among the crowd of good restaurants in Porto, Mito stands out thanks to its extremely gourmet cuisine served in a simple and warm atmosphere. His slogan ? A restaurant for friends, a restaurant for friends.
Extend the evening in an emblematic place of Porto’s nightlife: the Galeria de Paris, which houses a succession of bars popular with local young people at the end of the week. Among them, the Café au Lait is a cult address in Porto. Halfway between a bar and a club, it wins all the votes thanks to its relaxed atmosphere, its low prices and its quality programming.
Enjoy your trip to amazing Porto!
FAQ & Useful resources
What to visit around Porto?
Take an excursion to the towns where the Douro passes (Amarante, Pinhão, Lamego), with tasting of local products, breakfast with a panoramic view. And a visit and tasting in the “Quinta do Tedo” vineyard.
Visit Aveiro, this city is a bit like the Venice of Portugal (located 30km south of Porto). It is known for the beauty of its natural water channels along the Portuguese coast.
Some of the things to do in the Douro Valley include:
– Walk in the historic center of Amarante (near the valley and on the road)
– Take the N222 road which borders the Douro between Peso da Régua and Pinhão which is the most beautiful part of the valley
Discover Pinhão, a charming village in the Douro
– Visit of a Port wine vineyard, a complementary discovery to that of the Port cellars. You can see the vines here but also enjoy a guided tour to learn more about the winemaking process. You can for example visit the Quinta do Seixo which is the estate of Sandeman wines. There is also a restaurant offering a superb view of the terraced vineyards and the Douro.
– Take advantage of the many viewpoints around the valley
– The small village of Tua, another charming place to walk around
Where to sleep in Porto?
We advise you to stay in the Ribeira district (old Porto), near the D metro line or near the Luis bridge to be clearer. The Carris Ribeira hotel is an ideally located address, perfect for going out and visiting Porto on foot. The House Ribeira Porto is also a good address well located, that is to say a stone’s throw from the Luis bridge in the Ribeira district. The prices are higher, but sometimes they offer discounts, so take a look, you never know! Located just 5 minutes’ walk from the Ribeira quays, you have the Being Porto hostel which has a good quality/price ratio. You also have the BlueSock hostel which is even better placed.
Where to go shopping in Porto?
Do you want to do some shopping while enjoying the atmosphere of the city? So, go to Rua Santa Catarina, the street to visit in Porto to make some nice finds. Take it from Batalha square, to admire the Santo António dos Congregados church on the way. As you stroll, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to shops.
And for a well-deserved break, sit down at Café Majestic. This cafe is a real institution in Porto, to visit without delay!
How to reach downtown Porto from the Airport?
Getting to Porto from the Airport:
The airport is called “Francisco Sá Carneiro”, once you arrive there, the E metro line, connecting the airport to the rest of the network, will allow you to get to the center of Porto. Ticket price: €1.60 for approximately 40 minutes of travel. The ticket is valid for 1 hour, so you can still use the “Andante” ticket to take another bus/metro.
Single ticket: from €1.60.
Metro timetable: 06:00 a.m. and 01:00 a.m.
11-trip booklet: from €12.
The price depends on the destination. 3-day pass: €15.
The ticket is recyclable, i.e. it is rechargeable.
How to get to Porto?
Traveling to Portugal from the US or European destinations is not a problem if you wish to reach the city of Porto – You’ll find many direct flights to the International Airport Fransisco Sà Carneiro Airpor; which is located 11km away from Porto’s city center. Once in Porto, you can travel easily around by public transportation (bus, metro, train, taxi, uber…).
How many days to visit Porto?
This is the question that we inevitably ask ourselves before going to a city that we are discovering for the first time. Visiting Porto in 3 days seems like a good compromise. It is in any case the minimum duration to seriously discover the city and its many places of interest.
When to go to Porto?
Clearly, Porto is a city that can be visited all year round. Of course, discovering the city in spring or summer will be more pleasant than in the middle of winter. But you should know that the temperatures remain mild in winter and that the sun can also be present!
The best months to visit Porto are from April to October. In general, in the afternoon, the temperature oscillates between 20 and 25 degrees. However, if you prefer to avoid the heavy tourist traffic, going there in the middle of winter remains a very good alternative. Daytime temperatures rarely drop below 10°.