Porto Travel Guide: 16 Top Things to do in Porto, Portugal🇵🇹
Porto is a coastal city in the northwest of Portugal, Porto is known for its colourful houses and port cellars. A 2 days trip would be perfect to see most things in Porto, but of course if you have more time then you can stay there longer.
Check 10 Top Things to Know Before Traveling to Portugal + Cultural Do’s & Don’ts
How to Get Your Visa for Portugal
You can get the visa by going to the embassy, or visiting the official website, or getting it with an agency like iVisa. iVisa provides 100% online travel documents such as: Visas, health declaration forms, embassy registrations, passport photos, passport renewals, tourist cards, and other travel documents. It is the simplest solution to process your travel visa.
Here’s why you should choose iVisa:
Speed and Simplicity - Easy, traveler-friendly application process. Simple and much less complicated than dealing with foreign governments.
Get Approved - All documents are reviewed by a team of immigration experts. Their staff is well-trained and offers years of experience.
Secure and Safe - World-class data centres and state-of-the-art security. Your credit card information will never be exposed to any government websites!
Awesome support - Their customer support is ready to help 24/7. They want you to enjoy your travels and avoid the stress of getting a visa!
How to Get to Porto
Porto has an airport with a lot of international flights arriving from different locations, so you can see if there is a flight available from where you are visiting. However most flights go into the capital, Lisbon, so it is also possible to get to Lisbon and then take a direct train or a bus from there to Porto.
Check Why You Should Visit Portugal: 10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Portugal
A train ride takes around 3 hours and it cost between 26€ and 60€, take the train from Gare Oriente. A bus ride takes between 4 to 5 hours and it cost between 25€ and 37€, take the bus from either Sete Rios or Gare Oriente. I love to use Omio to book most train or bus rides in Europe in general.
Check 5 Top Places to Visit in Portugal
If you are looking for an easy, quick, and reliable way to reach Porto by plane, train, or bus, then Omio is your best option! Omio are my favourite app/website to move around Europe, and they have been changing the world of travel by empowering customers to go on journeys that move them. Their pioneering and practical platform helps travellers worldwide explore Europe, the United States and Canada via train, bus, flight and ferry. Choosing them means saving time and money while loving the journey you’re on.
Omio is a unique platform on which users can book travel tickets by comparing trains, buses, and flights in Europe on one search. Compare and book tickets for trains, buses, and flights in Europe, the US, and Canada with multiple search filters and time estimates.
All your travel options in one place, with more than 1,000 trusted travel partners across trains, buses, flights, ferries, and airport transfers, so that you can focus on the journey.
Here’s why you should choose Omio:
Support on your journey
Tickets on your phone
COVID-19 travel info
Updates & reminders
If you are looking for an easy, quick and reliable way to get from the airport to your accommodation, then Welcome Pickups are the best way to arrive in Porto! Welcome Pickups are the safest way to travel as they provide airport and port transfer, sightseeing rides, and in-city rides. Welcome Pickups are one of the best, most trustworthy and convenient 5-star airport taxi companies for your airport transfer based on user reviews across various platforms such as Google, Tripadvisor and Trustpilot.
Welcome Pickups offers a great experience and safety to its travellers such as:
Local english-speaking drivers
Flat, pre-paid fee
Flight monitoring for delays
24/7 customer support
Here’s why you should choose Welcome Pickups:
20 minute gap between transfers - After each ride, their drivers have 20 minutes to clean the car and ventilate the cabin.
Contactless ride - You can request to have zero contact with the driver during the transfer with just one click.
Regular Car Sanitisation - They provide hand sanitisers and hand wipes for all their travellers and drivers.
How to Move Around Porto
When you make it Porto, it is easy to explore on foot as most sights are within a walking distance from each other so make sure to wear some good and comfortable walking shoes. Simply make sure to buy tickets for the trams and funicular railway in case you get tired of walking. Also, using Uber to get around Porto is a good idea as well as Uber is not expensive in Portugal in general.
Check Why You Should Visit Porto: 10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Porto, Portugal
Best Time to Visit Porto
Porto is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year but during the winter it rains a lot there. The best times to visit would be late spring or early autumn as it is sunny and the temperatures are much cooler, and also it won't be as crowded as during the summer as there are less tourists during these times.
Check Porto Travel Guide: The Best 3 Days Travel Itinerary
Accommodation in Porto
If you want to be by the riverside then stay at Ribeira, but if you prefer the hill and that view then stay near Igreja do Carmo. I stayed at an Airbnb, but you can also find a lot of hotels in those areas.
Check Porto Travel Guide: 24 Hours in Porto, Portugal - A Complete 1 Day Itinerary
Best Cafes & Restaurants in Porto
Mesa 325 (Gluten-free options, vegan friendly, European)
Hungry Biker (Gluten-free options, vegan friendly, European)
Noshi Coffe & Healthy Food (Gluten-free options, vegan friendly)
Restaurante Chama (Vegan friendly)
Check Portugal Travel Guide: The Ultimate 1-Week Travel Itinerary
16 Top Things to do in Porto
1. Rio Douro (Douro River) and Cais da Ribeira (Ribeira Pier)
The riverbanks of Douro in the Ribeira district is the probably the first thing to be done when visiting Porto. You can have breakfast there and start your day from that famous area in Porto. The specific area of Cais da Ribeira is the most visited location in Porto for the best river side view.
The colourful townhouses are great to look at which are lined at the banks of the river. In that area you will find restaurants with terraces to enjoy the view while having a meal. This area is the heart of the city so it will be crowded most of the time. You can take a boat ride through the Douro River and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Porto. This can take you around 30 minutes depending on much time you have, just enjoy the view and wander around.
Check Lisbon Travel Guide: 15 Top Things to do in Lisbon, Portugal
2. Praça da Ribeira (Ribeira Square)
The Praça da Ribeira Square is one of the oldest squares in Porto as well as one of the most famous. This location will be crowded most of the time as well so you can visit early in the day before the crowd and also take a walk around the area. This can take you less than 15 minutes.
3. Ponte Dom Luís I (Dom Luís I Bridge)
Dom Luís I Bridge is in the Cais da Ribeira area, it is a double-deck metal arc bridge over the Douro River between the city of Porto and the Vila Nova de Gaia. Take a walk across the bridge and enjoy the views, you can take a walk either under the bridge or over the bridge where you will enjoy the view from the top. The bottom level of the bridge is made for cars but you can still walk along side, and the top level of the bridge is for the tram/metro and pedestrians. This can take you less than 15 minutes to see.
Check Sintra Travel Guide: 7 Top Things to do in Sintra, Portugal
4. Teleférico de Vila Nova de Gaia (Vila Nova de Gaia Cable Car)
I keep mentioning in this blog post the beautiful views in Porto, getting on the cable car is the best thing to do to enjoy the views even more. I enjoyed this ride so much even though I am scared of highs and I was on my own, but still I enjoyed it so much and I would recommend it.
It was opened back in 2011, the route between Vila Nova de Gaia Pier and the upper deck of Dom Luís I Bridge allows to have the best view from a unique angle. This can take between 30 minutes and 1 hour, depending on how busy it is.
Check Cascais Travel Guide: 8 Top Things to do in Cascais, Portugal
5. Escada dos Guindais (Guindais Staircase)
As I mentioned multiple times in this blog post how amazing the views and the scenery are in Porto, there are plenty of climbs in Porto which allows for better views of the city beside the others I mentioned before. Porto is famous for the availability of street stairs and the most famous one if the Escada Guindais, this is the main staircase which leads aways from the district of Ribeira and walking up those stairs you will get a great view of the city of Porto. On your way up those stairs, you can also enjoy the medieval walls and you can see the Douro River and the Dom Luís I Bridge. This can take less than 30 minutes.
Check Sintra & Cascais Travel Guide: 24 Hours in Sintra & Cascais, Portugal - A Complete 1 Day Itinerary
6. Funicular dos Guindais (Porto Funicular Railway)
Another great way to enjoy the views of Porto is to take a ride on the Porto Funicular Railway. This railways climbs the hill located between the Ribeira district and Batalha district. The railway is open from 8:00 to 22:00 during most days of the week, and on Fridays and Saturdays from 8:00 until 00:00. The ticket costs 2.50€. This can take you less than 30 minutes.
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7. Sé do Porto (Porto Cathedral)
This gothic cathedral marks all the pictures of the city of Porto, it is possible to glimpse the two towers from the entire city and the rosacea that characterises it. Its interior houses the Chapel of St. Vincent, the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. The Treasure of the Cathedral can still be visited in the room of the Cabido next to the cathedral.
It is free to enter the cathedral, but you will have to pay to enter the cloister where you can find the room of Cabido for 3€. It is open between April and October, from 9:00 to 18:30, and from November to March, from 9:00 to 17:30. This can take you between 30 minutes and 1 hour.
8. Torre dos Clérigos (Clérigos Tower)
The Clérigos architectural complex, classified national monument since 1910 is for its church and its towers, which is one of the main sights in Porto. The Clérigos Tower is the highest tower in Portugal, with 76 meters of height and also with more that 200 steps to reach the top for the best panoramic view of Porto. This can take you less than 15 minutes.
9. Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace)
Palácio da Bolsa is located in the historic centre of Porto built in 1842, this national monument is now the headquarters of the Commercial Association of Porto. You can visit the Palace and enjoy the Arabian Hall or the Nations' Patio where the decorative stuccoes and heraldic representations stand out.
The ticket cost 10€ and it is open from 9:30 to 18:30 from April to October, and from November to March from 9:30 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 17:30. This can take between 30 minutes and 1 hour.
10. Igreja de Santa Clara (Church of Santa Clara)
The interior of the Church of Santa Clara is covered with gilded carving which makes this church one of the most visited places in Porto. Anyone who visit this church is always left impressed and mesmerised by its decorative exuberance. This can take less than 30 minutes.
11. Estação de São Bento (São Bento Station)
The São Bento Station was opened back in 1916, and it is considered as one of the most beautiful railway stations in the world. The atrium is covered by 20,000 tiles which would leave anyone impressed. You can also attend a Tile Making Workshop where you can create your own and also learn about the history. This can take less than 10 minutes.
12. Largo da Pena Ventosa (Pena Ventosa Square)
This is one of the most charming squares in Porto, you will find a lot of beautiful and colourful houses surrounding the square. There are a few cafes there where you sit there and relax. This can take less than 30 minutes, enjoy walking around.
13. Livraria Lello (Lello Library)
If you are a fan of Harry Potter, then you will love this place. This is a beautiful bookstore which was made famous from the Harry Potter stories of JK Rowling, the story is that when JK Rowling used to live in Porto, she had got her inspiration from that bookstore for her novels. Also, this bookstore is known for being the most beautiful bookstore in the world. You can also book a tour at the library to skip the lines as there will always be lines outside as it is very popular, and also because they allow a limited number of people to enter. The best thing to do is to buy tickets in advance through their website or simply book a tour. This can take you between 30 minutes and 1 hour, depending on how busy it is and how much time you have.
14. Igreja do Carmo (Church of Carmo)
This is a beautiful church where you can see azulejos tiles of Porto, this building is compromised of two churches that are separated by a narrow house, and this house was put in the middle of these churches by the nuns and the monks. Its huge exterior is beautiful and captivating. This can take you less than 30 minutes.
15. Festas de São João (Festivities of Saint John)
If you love festivals then you will enjoy this one, the whole city celebrates on the 23rd of June and it is called the festivities of St. John, patron saint of Porto. It is characterised by music, snacks, popular dances, fireworks, plastic hammers, and the liberation of the famous Saint John balloons.
16. Day Trip to Aveiro
If you are traveling through Portugal and make it to Porto, then you have to visit Aveiro. It is known as the "Portuguese Venice" and it is famous for its beautiful canals.
Check Aveiro Travel Guide: 13 Top Things to do in Aveiro, Portugal