A Weekend Guide to Porto

Travel Itinerary

0 ratings

Gonçalo Costa
Itinerary by: Gonçalo Costa
a month ago
Travel Writer
Duration: 2 days

Porto, or "the capital of the North", as the Portuguese call it, is a beautiful and vibrant city that will offer you the perfect weekend filled with stunning views, delicious cuisine, masses of culture and historic scenery. In this 2 day itinerary, I will try to show you how to see the two sides of Porto: the local side and the touristic side. On the first day, you will see the main districts and landmarks within the city, where the locals hangout and travel around the “Baixa”, the city center of Porto. On the second day, you will visit the Port Wine caves, travel by traditional boat on the beautiful Douro River and see other historical and cultural attractions, as well as enjoy the beautiful views that the city has to offer. HOW TO GET AROUND PORTO Personally, I prefer to walk when travelling around Porto (with a few exceptions). Walking can be tiring but you get to see the Porto in detail. You get a chance to talk with the locals, find interesting cafés and sometimes come back with some funny stories to tell! However, riding the Metro and the Bus around Porto are also great transportation options. Purchase the Andante Tour card (15€ for 72h of unlimited Metro, Bus or Train rides) or the Porto Card (20€ for 2 days and free admissions or 50% discount in some attractions) for some very reasonably priced transportation. The final ways of getting around Porto are via the historic tram ride (which unfortunately is not included in the above-mentioned cards), Taxis, Ubers and Bolts (in order of most expensive to least expensive). WHERE TO STAY IN PORTO My personal recommendation would be to stay in the city center, in Baixa or Ribeira! Here, you get good views of the city and you can reach many places of interest in only a few minutes, either by walking or by public transport. WHAT TO EAT IN PORTO Portugal may be a very small country but it’s rich in cuisine! Each region has its traditional dishes and in Porto, you can see it all. You can find dishes such as Pastel de Nata, Carne de Porco à Alentejana and plenty of options that include Codfish (Bacalhau). Traditional Porto food, such as the famous Francesinha or Tripas à Moda do Porto, are a must. You usually will not have a bad meal if you go to any traditional food restaurant! If you are vegetarian or vegan, you will find a great variety of restaurants that have food for you in Porto! Some traditional Portuguese dishes fit the veggie requirements, such as Vegetarian Alheira. As for tipping, in Portugal it’s optional, as the price already includes a contribution for the waiter. BEST TIME OF THE YEAR TO VISIT PORTO My recommended months to visit Porto would be May, June and September. During these months, the weather is fine and the tourist numbers are lower. These are also the months where you will encounter some of the city's traditions, such as Queima das Fitas (an academic tradition of all of Porto’s universities) or São João. Photo Credits: Photo by Everaldo Coelho on Unsplash

Day 1

DAY 1: Get to know Porto

On the first day of this two day guide to Porto, you will get to see some of the city's highlights. If you're planning on walking around Porto then you might find today's itinerary fairly high intensity - but if you have one of the transportation discount cards that I mentioned above then you can take the bus or metro reasonably cheaply. We’ll start in the center of Porto in Rua de Santa Catarina (Saint Catherine Street) and walk through all of the Baixa. Then we’ll go to Casa da Musica and catch a bus to Foz, near the ocean. After a spot of walking along the sea-front, we’ll catch the historic tram to the river and finish the day in Ribeira. Finally, if you have a little bit of energy left, you can go to the bars or nightclubs in the city center.
09:30 - 11:30
Rua de Santa Catarina
Rua de Santa Catarina, 4000 Porto, Portugal
Rua de Santa Catarina is one of the main streets in Porto. You'll still find the traditional cafés and stores here, along side the newer and more commercial stores. Rua de Santa Catarina has plenty of beautiful and historic buildings, such as the Chapel of Saint Catherine (Capela de Santa Catarina), the Porto Grand Hotel (Grande Hotel do Porto) or the Palladium Galeries, now harbouring stores like C&A and FNAC. The Via Catarina mall has maintained the historic façade of the 'O Primeiro de Janeiro' newspaper and is famous for replicating the beautiful buildings of the city center in its food section. The renowned Café Majestic is a must-see and and is considered a building of public interest by the town hall. Built in 1921, the café was a place for the intellectuals of the city to meet. It's not the cheapest café you'll find - so keep that in mind. The small shoes and clothes stores, haberdasheries and traditional cafés are picturesque and give an insight into life in the city. If you’re looking to participate in some shopping, there are plenty of big brand stores here, since this is the main commercial artery of the city. It's also famounn for being the place where the first Zara store opened outside of Spain, in 1988. You'll also find the popular Bolhão market on Rua de Santa Catarina. Bolhão market is where the locals often go to buy food from local producers! The architecture of the place is a site to behold and it's been designated as a Monument of Public Interest. At the time of writing, the market is being remodelled, but it will not lose its unique charm in the process. Photo Credits: Photo by Naira Babayan on Unsplash
Article By: Gonçalo Costa
Standard Free

11:40 - 12:20
Avenida dos Aliados
Av. dos Aliados, 4000 Porto, Portugal
The Avenida dos Aliados (Avenue of the Allies) honors Portugal’s allies in World War I and is considered the center of Porto. Here, you can see the Porto's impressive Town Hall, the statues of Portuguese writer Almeida Garrett and King Peter IV (or Emperor Peter I for the Brazillians) and the Imperial McDonalds (known as the world’s most beautiful McDonald’s). You will also see the stunning and historic granite buildings that line the Avenue. The Avenue is where the city celebrates special moments, such as Christmas and New Year, and is also the venue used to celebrate when Porto FC wins the national soccer league. At the end pf Aliados, you will find the São Bento Train Station, considered one of the city's premier monuments thanks to its ‘azulejos’. Azulejos is a traditional art form found in many types of traditional buildings in Portugal and Spain. The azulejos of São Bento re-tell moments from history, such as the conquering of Ceuta by the Portuguese, the evolution of transportation in Portugal, the Tournament of Arcos de Valdevez (an important part of the history of Portugal and the building of the nation) and many more. Photo Credits: Photo by Gustavo Soares on Unsplash Photo by Rostyslav Savchyn on Unsplash
Article By: Gonçalo Costa

Getting there

It's about 10 minutes walk from Rua de Santa Catarina to the main avenue of the city: Avenida dos Aliados.

Travel time
0 hours 10 minutes
12:30 - 13:15
Clérigos
R. de São Filipe de Nery, 4050-546 Porto, Portugal
Built in 1763 and considered National Heritage in 1910, the Church and Tower of Clérigos is one of the main architectural highlights within Porto. Clérigos consists of the Church, the Casa da Irmandade (House of the Brotherhood) and the Tower. The Church was built with 17th century Roman classicist traces and inside you will get to see its gorgeous altars with intricate details throughout. The House (Casa da Irmandade) is in a much more simplistic design in comparison to the Church and the Tower. Casa da Irmandade was used as a home for the clergy. Nowadays the house is a museum, where you can see how the priests used to lived in a place that was closed to the general population - as well as many interesting artefacts from the church. Originally, the Tower of Clérigos was built as a substitute for two bell towers. It went on to serve in many more functions, such as an audible time indication (a shot of dry gunpowder would be shot at midday), a telegraph station, an orientation landmark for the boats who drove on the Douro River, and many more. The town is 75 meters tall, has 6 floors and contains 49 bells. From the balconies of the tower you can enjoy a panoramic view of the whole city its surrounding area. Clérigos is definitely a must see in Porto! (Note: the price is 50% off if you have the Porto Card!) Photo Credits: Photo by Wendell Adriel on Unsplash
Article By: Gonçalo Costa
Standard 5.00 EUR
Group 7.50 EUR
Students 3.00 EUR
Kids 0.00 EUR Under 11
Seniors 3.00 EUR

Travel time
0 hours 10 minutes
14:15 - 15:40
Livraria Lello
R. das Carmelitas 144, 4050-293 Porto, Portugal
The most iconic bookshop in Porto is Lello Bookshop - the building itself being considered a Monument of Public Interest. Some believe that this bookshop was the place where J.K. Rowling took inspiration for Hogwarts’ stairs. Rowling herself has denied this, but there are many other Porto and Portugal inspired aspects within Harry Potter - since the author lived in Porto during her writing. There are Harry Potter Free Tours in Porto if you are interested. The bookshop has a magical feel that is indeed reminiscent of the world of Harry Potter. The shop has been architected in a Neo-gothic style and is considered by many as one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. A little outside of Lello, you can find the old building of Porto University, the Fountain of the Lions (also said to have inspired the Gryffindor house mascot) and the stunning churches of Carmo and Carmelitas, with their incredible exteriors decorated with azulejos. In that small square you may be lucky to find some university students in their traditional garments, who also inspired Hogwarts’ vests. (Price is redeemable if you buy a book) Photo Credits: Photo by Ivo Rainha on Unsplash
Article By: Gonçalo Costa
Standard 5.00 - 16.90 EUR
Kids 0.00 EUR Under 3

Travel time
0 hours 5 minutes
16:15 - 17:10
Rotunda da Boavista
Praça de Mouzinho de Albuquerque, shopping center Brasilia, Praça de Mouzinho de Albuquerque 113 lj-41, 4100-359 Porto, Portugal
At Rotunda da Boavista (Boavista Roundabout), you can find Bom Sucesso Market, which, along with Bolhão, is one of the most important markets within Porto. It has modern architecture and is composed of two distinct sections: the market section and the restaurant section. In the restaurant section you will find plenty on offer - from snacks to full meals. At Casa da Música (House of Music), a concert house that is a landmark of Porto, you can grab a coffee, but for 10-12€ you can get a guided tour. Photo Credits: Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash Photo by Catarina Monteiro on Unsplash
Article By: Gonçalo Costa

Travel time
0 hours 25 minutes
17:35 - 18:40
Foz do Douro
Porto, Portugal
Foz do Douro is considered to be an upper-class neighbourhood within the city of Porto. Here, you can find historical mansions with character as well as smaller more affordable homes - especially in the Foz Velha section. After taking in the beautiful homes, take time to visit the beach, have a coffee or walk around the Avenida Brasil. I would advise you to see the Passeio Alegre, with its palm trees and, on some weekends, market stalls, as well as the traditional cafés and newsstands. Photo Credits: Photo by Ana Teixeira on Unsplash Photo by Linda Gerbec on Unsplash
Article By: Gonçalo Costa

Getting there

Take a bus ride along Boavista Avenue, the 5,5km Avenue that connects the center of the city with the seaside, to arrive at Foz do Douro (Mouth of the Douro).

Travel time
0 hours 25 minutes
19:00 - 22:00
Ribeira and Bars
Ribeira, Porto, Portugal
This Ribeira district of Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is famous for picturesque houses, its bars and its restaurants. The historical homes transport you back to times gone by in the city of Porto. The scenic view of Gaia and the Luís I Bridge provide a perfect for a restaurant dinner. I would recommend the Galerias de Paris (Paris Galleries), near Clérigos. These streets are filled with bars and bustling with people. You are guaranteed to find a place that accommodates your style. The BASE Porto or the Yeatman Hotel is a great spot to enjoy a more relaxed drink, with a stunning view. Remember that nightclubs open at around midnight in Portugal (and people usually only arrive around 1 or 2AM). But if you want to keep the party going, Porto has clubs for all tastes! So have fun! Photo Credits: Photo by Adelio Zanotti on Unsplash
Article By: Gonçalo Costa

Getting there

Travel to Ribeira from Foz using the tram, Line 1. You can catch it at the end of Passeio Alegre and it finishes near the famous Luís I Bridge.

Travel time
0 hours 20 minutes

Day 2

DAY 2: Exploring the Touristic Porto

On this second day, we will dig even more into Porto's must-do touristic experiences. We will see the main Palaces and Churches, the Medieval Walls, take a trip through the Douro in a traditional boat, see the Port Wine Caves and much more.
09:30 - 10:30
Praça da Batalha
Praça da Batalha, 4000-101 Porto, Portugal
Praça da Batalha ("Battle Square" in English), is named after a battle that is said to have taken place between the Moors and Porto’s population. The square has an abundance of bars, cafés and restaurants.You will also find here see the beautiful Saint Ildefonso Church, with the ‘azulejo’ illustration in its façade. The São João National Theater and the Batalha Cinema are also to be found on the square. Photo Credit: Photo by Luca Dugaro on Unsplash
Article By: Gonçalo Costa

Notes

Why not grab some breakfast at the square - such as Pastel de Nata.

10:40 - 11:10
Sé do Porto
Terreiro da Sé, 4000 Porto, Portugal
A significant landmark, Porto Cathedral dates back to the 12th Century. It was built in the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque styles - depending on when each of its sections was built. The religious sculptures and azulejos, the altars and ornaments in the Cathedral will inspire a sense of wonder. Within the cathedral, you also have the Chapel of Saint Vincent and the tombs of several bishops. You can further explore the surroundings of the Cathedral, including the Episcopal Palace. (Price is 2€ with Porto Card) Photo Credits: Photo by Wendell Adriel on Unsplash
Article By: Gonçalo Costa
Standard 2.00 - 3.00 EUR
Kids 0.00 EUR Under 10

Travel time
0 hours 10 minutes
11:15 - 13:00
Rua das Flores and Jardim Infante D. Henrique
Jardim do Infante Dom Henrique, 4050 Porto, Portugal
Along the Rua das Flores, you'll discover a wide and beautiful avenue filled with cafés, stores and hotels built in a traditional style. You'll also encounter some eye-catching palaces. Don't miss Jardim Infante D. Henrique, a beautiful square and garden to be found at the entrance to Ribeira. Here, you'll find the Ferreira Borges Market and the incredible Palácio da Bolsa (palace). The market is renowned for its metallic architecture and as a cultural space. It in fact never fulfilled its original mission as a market. The market houses book fairs, concerts and exhibitions along with a restaurant. Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace) is a 19th century palace designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Neoclassical palace is known for its art and architecture and its magnificent interior. The Arab room, the highlight, is still used as a reception hall for various personalities and heads of state that pass through the city. Photo Credits: Photo by Victor Martin on Unsplash
Article By: Gonçalo Costa
Standard 10.00 EUR
Students 6.50 EUR
Kids 0.00 EUR Under 12

Travel time
0 hours 15 minutes
14:00 - 15:25
A View of Porto, Gaia, the River and Ocean
Jardins do Palácio de Cristal, R. de Dom Manuel II, 4050-346 Porto, Portugal
The city walls, Muralha Fernandina, were built when the city became overgrown and too big for the old Roman walls. They are worth a visit. A walk away can be found Jardins do Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace Gardens). These beautiful gardens have various resident animals and birds that are free to roam. Check out the park's collection of sculptures. At times book fairs and other activities are hosted within the Gardens. Take a seat and a rest and enjoy the view of the city, of Gaia and of the river and ocean beyond… Nothing better! Photo Credits: Photo by Gustavo Soares on Unsplash
Article By: Gonçalo Costa

Travel time
0 hours 20 minutes
16:00 - 17:00
Douro Cruise in Porto
Cais da Ribeira, 4000 Porto, Portugal
No visit to Porto is complete without a boat ride along the river Douro. The highly enjoyable boat ride gives an alternative perspective of the city and provides some not-to-be-missed views of both Porto and Gaia. Your trip can even be accompanied by glass of Port Wine. If you have more time available, you will find cruise options that offer to sail you further along the Douro River to see where the vineyards. These excursions are more time consuming and come at additional cost. The traditional boats (‘Barco Rabelo’) that were used to transport the Port Wine from the vineyards until the Caves in Gaia, are now mostly used for tourism and boat trips. Photo Credits: Photo by Weronika Janas on Unsplash
Article By: Gonçalo Costa
Standard 15.00 EUR
Kids 0.00 EUR Under 14

Travel time
0 hours 10 minutes
17:00 - 18:10
Explore Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Gaia is a district that is found south of the Duoro river, within the Porto area. Here you can stroll along the river and get introduced to many varieties of port wine. You can also enjoy the historical houses and businesses. In Gaia, you'll find the Monastery of Serra do Pilar, a National Monument and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a wonderful architecture that offers a stunning view of the city. Photo Credits: Photo by Mathis Bogens on Unsplash Photo by Wendell Adriel on Unsplash
Article By: Gonçalo Costa

18:30 - 19:45
Port Wine Caves
Av. de Diogo Leite 344, 4400-111 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
When people think of Porto, the Port wine caves often come to mind. Funnily enough, the Port wine caves are not to be found in Porto itself. Rather, they are located in Vila Nova de Gaia (or, simply "Gaia"). There are an abundance tours to choose from where you will learn how the wine is made, what the different types of wine are, and sample their flavours. You'll even get to see how and where they are stored. Some of the vineyards offer tastings accompanied with a show, such as the Fado show or culinary experiences. A visit to Porto's wine caves is a must-do experience - and one that you will love, especially if you’re a fan of Port wine! Photo Credits: Photo by Marvin L on Unsplash
Article By: Gonçalo Costa
Standard 15.00 - 50.00 EUR

21:00 - 22:00
Jardim do Morro
Jardim do Morro, Jardim do Morro, 4430-210 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Jardim do Morro (Hill Garden) is best reached by taking the cable car that links the Douro riverside to the garden. If you're visiting into evening, you can enjoy a drink and see the stunning night-time view over Porto with the beautiful city lights. Enjoy the walk around the gardens and see the caves and the lake within the park. (Price is the cost of the cable car) Photo Credits: Photo by Helder Burato Berto on Unsplash
Article By: Gonçalo Costa
Standard 6.00 - 9.00 EUR

Getting there

The best way to get to the gardens from the Douro River is via the cable car. To return to Porto, can catch the metro from there and go through the Luís I Bridge back to the center of Porto.

Travel time
0 hours 5 minutes
Privacy: public
About the author

Besides all the beautiful landscapes and man-made wonders, I'm fascinated by the cultures and humans that one can find while discovering our incredible world.

Sign in and get started

  • Contribute to the community
  • Enable likes, reviews and bookmarks
  • Follow your favorite contributors
  • Promote your business

Related itineraries

Sofia Abrantes
a month ago
Rebecca Cetta
9 days ago
Michelle M
a year ago

Recommended itineraries

Sofia Abrantes
a month ago
Lily Crossley-Baxter
2 months ago
Zoran Trifunovic
3 months ago
Vicente Quintero
a month ago
Laura R. Godoy
a month ago
Freya Godfrey
24 days ago
Alex Dryjowicz
15 days ago
Rose Winter
15 days ago
Pavel Revenkov
11 days ago
Katie Baldwin
11 days ago
Madeleine Nicholson
2 days ago
Dan Hill
2 months ago
Dan Hill
25 days ago
Dan Hill
a year ago
Scott McGlynn
a year ago
Scott McGlynn
a year ago
Lily Crossley-Baxter
a year ago
Dan Hill
25 days ago
Matt Lynch
10 months ago
Pavneet Lobana
3 months ago
Haz Mapz
3 months ago
Design Your Italy
3 months ago
Rebecca Cetta
9 days ago
Anne Renaux
a month ago
Gonçalo Costa
a month ago
Kerri Somers
9 days ago
Oksana Petersen
9 days ago
© 2021 Peak Cadence ApS | About | Promote Your Business | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions