Porto is a coastal city in the northwest of Portugal, Porto is known for its colourful houses and port cellars. A 3 days trip would be perfect to explore both Porto and Aveiro as they are right next to each other, but you can of course stay longer if you want to.
1. How to Get Your Visa for Portugal
5. Best Time to Visit Porto
2. 10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Porto
6. Accommodations in Porto
3. How to Get to Porto
7. Best Cafes & Restaurants in Porto
4. How to Move Around Porto
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.
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10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Porto
1. Breathtaking Landscape
Porto has some amazing viewpoints, and you will never be tired of its landscape. You can explore by foot and climb up a hill and enjoy the view, you can also go on a boat tour like I did and try to take it all in, or you can even go on a cable car ride like Teleférico de Vila Nova de Gaia and enjoy the views even more; which again I did. I just couldn’t get over how beautiful Porto is.
2. Its Beautiful Streets
Besides the landscape, Porto has amazing and beautiful streets filled with colourful houses and amazing architecture. The old buildings are what gives the city its charm and colourful environment, so you can enjoy walking around the city in places such as Cais da Ribeira or Cais de Gaia. There is a lot of walking involved but trust me it’s worth it.
3. Its Historic Centre & Monuments
Porto’s historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and there you will see monuments such as Palácio da Bolsa, Torre dos Clérigos, Sé do Porto, and many others including churches. I always find it amazing to learn about the history of the places I’m visiting, and this is the perfect place to learn everything about Porto.
4. 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 is a must visit when in Porto.
5. Classic Transportation
When visiting Porto, another fun and great way to explore the city is by using the old trams that goes around the streets. It is sad that now there aren’t as many as before, but there is still a few that you can use. There is also a tram museum called “Museu do Carro Eléctrico” that you can visit and be able to see the entire tram collection and their history.
6. The Beaches
Porto has an amazing coastline with some beautiful and quality beaches that you can go to, but be aware that the water is cold because it’s the Atlantic. Watching the sunset while at the beach is just beautiful and it is a must.
7. Budget Friendly
Portugal in general is a budget friendly destination as it is one of the cheapest destinations in Europe, and Porto is one of the cheapest in Portugal. When I say cheapest, I don’t mean that it is not worth visiting, the fact that it is not expensive just makes it even better, because it is such an amazing place, you will be able to enjoy your time there while saving money as well.
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8. Rio Douro (Douro River) and Cais da Ribeira
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.
9. Livraria Lello
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.
10. It is Pedestrian Friendly
Porto is a great place to explore on foot, and the fact that everything is within walking distance and it is pedestrian friendly; just makes it even better. The sidewalks are wide and the traffic is good, and there are a lot of areas made for pedestrians to explore.
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.
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.
I like to use Omio to find either buses or trains in Europe, and if I am looking for a flight I would use WayAway to find cheap flights. You can also use this promo code - TP-385219 - for WayAway Plus or you can directly visit this link! (You will get 10% off WayAway Plus subscription!)
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.
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.
Accommodations 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.
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)