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Porto What to visit

Porto (Portugal) – What to visit: 2 to 3-days itinerary (by a local)

Porto (Portugal) – What to visit: 2 to 3-days itinerary (by a local)

Table of contents

You can’t imagine how long I’ve been wanting to write this blog post! Born, raised and having lived all my life in Porto, it was about time I wrote this blog post 😊 Here you will find a 2 days itinerary (or 3 days for those who have an additional day available) to visit Porto.

Porto What to visit Cais de Gaia
View from Cais de Gaia

“Invicta”, as Porto is usually called, is the most special city in the world for me and I wouldn’t choose any other place to live 🥰 Therefore, sit tight and keep reading to find out why I love this city so much 😉

What is the best time of the year to visit Porto?

The weather in Porto is not always the best to be completely honest. Although the weather is quite mild, winters are cold and summer is never extremely warm.

Porto What to visit Aliados Avenue
Aliados Avenue

Porto is a beautiful city (I am not repeating myself, am I right? 😇) and it is worth a visit any time of the year – whether raining or not! However, in order to get more pleasant weather, I suggest visiting from May to September.

Special festivities to visit Porto

Although it is a good idea to visit Porto at any time of the year, there are some festivities that deserve special attention:

  • São João: celebrated on the night of the 23rd of June, when all people living in the city go out and have fun. Look it up online, you’ll be amazed at how cool it is!
  • Queima das Fitas: celebrated in the first week of May, this is a parade with university students from Porto. Each University has its colours, so it’s very colourful!
  • New Year’s Eve: fireworks are a must, and not even the cold weather makes people flee the city streets.

How many days do you need to visit Porto?

We easily manage to visit the main sights of Porto in 2 days! However, the ideal duration is 3 days so that you can visit some places more distant from the centre, like Foz, Matosinhos Beach, among others.

Porto What to visit Serra do Pilar
Serra do Pilar Monastery

However, if you have more days available, I suggest you take advantage of some day trips to other places near Porto, such as:

  • Braga
  • Guimarães
  • Viana do Castelo
  • Aveiro
  • Coimbra
  • Amarante
  • Douro Valley region

How to get to Porto?

Porto is the second largest city in Portugal and, as such, the accesses to get there are excellent. Besides the access by car that can be done from anywhere in Portugal or even Europe, Porto also has an airport – Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport.

Porto What to visit Luiz I Bridge VIew
View from Luiz I Bridge

This airport has direct connections from several European cities and also has some international connections (e.g. Brazil, United States). Some of the airlines that operate in this airport include British Airways, AirEuropa, AirFrance, EasyJet, Iberia, Ryanair, Lufthansa, Ryanair, TAP, Transavia, Vueling or Wizzair.

💡 EXTRA TIP: The city is also served by some Flixbus routes, so you may also consider this an alternative to reach Porto.

How to get from Porto’s airport to the city centre?

Without a doubt, the best way to get to Porto city centre from Porto airport is using Metro do Porto. The duration of the journey depends on where in the city you want to go, but on average it takes between 30 and 40 minutes.

Porto O que visitar São Bento
Area near São Bento Station

To go to the airport, you should take the metro at Trindade station, towards Aeroporto (line E, purple) and get off at the last station – Aeroporto. However, I suggest you try to plan your trip well since this line only operates every 30 minutes. You can check out all the most updated information about the timetables here.

You must buy the ticket for zone Z4 and the ticket costs 2€ (one way only). You can check the most up-to-date information regarding prices here.

💡 EXTRA TIP: There is also a bus service provided by GetBus – see more details here.

Is it necessary to use public transport in the city?

Although it is not a very flat city, with rare exceptions, I would say that you can easily visit the city on foot. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to use public transport (metro or bus). So, my suggestion is that you buy single journeys with “Andante Azul”. The price and duration of each trip depends on the zones that we will pass during the same trip (see more details here).

Porto What to visit Morro Garden
Morro Garden

If you are planning to make a few trips, I suggest you buy 10 trips at the start, because you’ll get the 11th trip for free.

Finally, if for some reason you are going to use public transport more than 10 times, you may consider one of the following options:

  • Andante Tour: ticket valid for 24 hours (7€) or 72 hours (15€) after first validation and valid on the entire public transport network
  • Andante 24: ticket is valid for 24 hours after the first validation, the price depends on the chosen zone
Porto What to visit Aliados Avenue
Aliados Avenue

💡 EXTRA TIP: I know that Metro do Porto may seem a bit confusing at first, but I suggest that you always consult before entering the vehicle which is the necessary zone to go to your desired destination. The zones are always displayed next to the machines where you can buy the tickets. Tickets must always be validated before each journey, including during any transfers.

What are the best areas to stay in Porto?

There are several options for accommodation in Porto, and I recommend these areas in particular:

  • Downtown (Aliados, São Bento): where everything happens and within walking distance to almost all the tourist spots.
  • Cedofeita: Cedofeita street is quite long, so proximity to the city centre depends on the location of the accommodation. However, it is an artistic area of the city and less crowded.
  • Ribeira/Sé: the most authentic part of the city (more traditional houses), but also where the narrower streets are located
Porto what to visit

However, given the excellent coverage of Metro do Porto, any accommodation that is close to a metro station on the yellow line (D) will be a good choice because in less than 15 minutes they can reach the city centre 😊

Accommodation in Porto

The truth is that there are many interesting accommodation options in Porto! A quick search and you’ll find something you like. However, I leave you here some suggestions:

  • Invictus Hostel: located in the heart of downtown Porto it offers rooms with private bathrooms and it also has breakfast available
  • MyStay Porto Bolhão: also centrally located, this accommodation is good value for money
  • Downtown Porto Mouzinho Studio Apts: very well-equipped flat (including kitchen) and also excellent location (next to São Bento)
  • D’Autor Apartments: despite a higher price, these flats are also equipped with everything you need and have a fantastic decor
  • Vincci Ponte de Ferro: although it is located on Vila Nova de Gaia, you only have to cross the Luiz I bridge to get to downtown Porto. The hotel was recently built and has a phenomenal view over the Douro river

💼 TRAVEL INSURANCE: Unexpected events happen anywhere in the world, so I always recommend getting travel insurance. I regularly use Heymondo, which offers some of the highest coverages on the market at very competitive prices. As well as covering medical expenses, Heymondo’s insurance also covers the loss or theft of luggage, electronic equipment and more. They also have a 24/7 customer service through their App. As A Ticket to Take Off reader, you get a 5% discount when purchasing Heymondo insurance. The purchase must be made using this link, and the price shown on the website already includes the discount.

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How to save money when you visit Porto: Porto Card

Porto Card is a card that offers discounts in many cultural venues and also restaurants and shops in the city. It can be bought at the airport and at the tourist offices of the city. There are various versions according to the validity of the card, and it is also possible to choose a version that includes discounts on public transport. For more information, please click here

Porto What to visit

Activities & tours in Porto

What to visit in Porto?

Before starting the list of places to visit in Porto, I leave here a map version of the main points of interest in the city so that you can better plan your visit.

What to visit in Porto – Day 1

» Porto’s Cathedral (Sé)

Having been built between the 12th and 13th centuries, Porto’s Cathedral is one of Porto’s most important religious monuments and, if not, in the country. Here you will find a mixture of architectural styles as several restructuring have been made over the years.

Inside, we can also admire its beautiful cloister – built in the 14th century – and also visit the sacred art museum.

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: Porto’s Cathedral is open from 9 am to 6.30 pm from April to October and from 9 am to 5.30 pm in the remaining months.

Porto What to visit Cathedral
View near Porto’s Cathedral

Take the opportunity to contemplate the building of the Episcopal Palace, almost annexed to the Cathedral. Finally, I suggest you take some time to explore the area around the cathedral and don’t miss the incredible views over the other bank of the Douro River or the viewpoint on Aldas Street.

» São Bento Train Station

We make our way to one of the most emblematic places in the city of Porto. Known for its interior covered in blue and white tile panels, the beauty of this station is undeniable. Designed by José Marques da Silva, the tiles depict scenes from the northern region of Portugal.

Porto What to visit São Bento Train Station

Opened in 1916 and still operating today, this is a must-see on your visit to Porto.

Porto What to visit São Bento Train Station

» Santo António dos Congregados Church

As soon as we leave São Bento station we are treated to the blue and white façade of the Santo António dos Congregados Church. Built in the 18th century, it is here that we find the tomb of the only Pope who is buried far from the Vatican – Pope Saint Clement.

Porto What to visit Congregados Church

» Flowers Street (Flores Street)

We continue our walk along Flores Street – a lively pedestrian street during the day. Its name comes from the flowers that existed on the land next to where the street was built. Nowadays, we find here several restaurants, some accommodations and even some local commerce. Also, take a look at some street art pieces along the street!

At the end of the street, arriving at São Domingos square, we come across Misericórdia do Porto Church, there perfectly fitted in the middle of the buildings of this street. Additionally, if you are interested, you can also visit the Misericórdia do Porto Museum, located in the former headquarters of Santa Casa da Misericórdia do Porto.

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: The ticket to visit Misericórdia do Porto Museum costs 10€ and the opening hours are from 10 am to 6.30 pm from April to September and from 10 am to 5.30 pm during the other months of the year. You can consult all the most up-to-date information here.

» Stock Exchange Palace

Next is the Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa) – one of the places that will certainly surprise you the most on this itinerary 😍 Built at the end of the 19th century, it replaced the Casa da Bolsa de Comércio (Trade Exchange House), where merchants discussed a wide variety of issues related to their business.

Porto What to visit Stock Exchange Palace

Nowadays, although it is still the headquarters of the Porto Trade Association, it is mostly used for cultural purposes. The building is unbelievably beautiful inside, especially its famous Arab Room.

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: The tours are guided and take place from 9 am to 6.30 pm, with several languages available. The price of the visit is 12€, but it is worth every penny, in my opinion. Find all the most up-to-date information here.

» Ferreira Borges Market

Right next to Stock Exchange Palace, we can visit another of Porto’s emblematic buildings. The Ferreira Borges Market was built with the purpose of replacing the Ribeira Market in 1885.

Porto What to visit Ferreira Borges Market

Although it has never been used for the purpose for which it was built, it is currently used for some occasional fairs and is also home to Hard Club – a cultural space where various events are held.

» Infante Dom Henrique Garden

Don’t forget to visit Infante Dom Henrique Garden, perfectly framed by these two buildings. Infante Dom Henrique was one of the most important figures in the Portuguese Discoveries and was born in Porto.

Porto What to visit Stock Exchange Palace

In fact, it is possible to visit Casa do Infante (Infante’s House), which is located at number 10 on Alfândega Street. The ticket costs only 2,2€!

» St Francis Church

Before heading down to Cais da Ribeira, nothing better than a visit to another iconic church in Porto. Built in the 14th century, St. Francis Church was part of a former Franciscan convent and is one of the largest religious buildings in the city.

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: Entry to the church is paid, and opening hours vary depending on the time of year.

💡 EXTRA TIP: If you have some time to spare, take a trip in the mythical trams (“elétrico” in Portuguese). Nowadays, they are almost purely touristy, but at the end of the 19th century, they were one of the main public transport services available. There are 3 lines (1, 18 and 22), and you can find out all about this service here. 

» Cais da Ribeira

We finally arrived at the riverside area of the city – the famous Cais da Ribeira. Let’s face it, there is not that much to visit in Ribeira do Porto. In fact, I can quickly list the main points of interest:

  • Cube Fountain: a funny fountain with a cube “suspended” in the air
  • Ribeira Monumental Fountain: fountain where we can find a statue of Saint John the Baptist – patron saint of the city
  • Alminhas da Ponte: designed by Teixeira Lopes, this monument pays homage to the victims who died crossing an old bridge while fleeing from Napoleon’s invasions
  • Pillars of the former Pensil Bridge: currently a bar, we can still see the pillars of the bridge that connected the two banks of the Douro river

But what makes Ribeira so special is its colourful houses and the people who live there. Let yourself get lost in its narrow streets and alleys, where not even the GPS can find the right way. Have a rest in one of the terraces with one of the most privileged views over the Luiz I Bridge and the Douro River 😊

Savour this moment because this is one of the places where you can feel Porto at its best.

Porto What to visit Cais de Gaia
View of Cais da Ribeira from Cais de Gaia

💡 EXTRA TIP: Do you have some extra time? Then, here’s another recommendation: take advantage of the 6 bridges cruise in the Douro River. There are several stalls along Cais da Ribeira and Cais de Gaia selling tickets, but you can also pre-purchase tickets on platforms like GetYourGuide.

The tour takes about 1 hour and passes over the 6 bridges that cross the Douro River: Arrábida Bridge, Luíz I Bridge, D. Infante Bridge, Dona Maria Bridge, São João Bridge and Freixo Bridge. It’s a very touristy activity indeed, but I as a local already did it and loved it 🥰

» Cais de Gaia and Port Wine Cellars

Walk all the way along Cais da Ribeira until you reach the lower deck of the Luíz I Bridge and cross the bridge to reach the other side of the river – Vila Nova de Gaia. From this side, you can also walk along this waterfront and enjoy the “rabelo” boats, admire Cais da Ribeira from another perspective and, if you are a wine lover, you can visit the famous Port Wine Cellars.

I believe Port wine needs no introduction! But did you know that most of the cellars where this wine ages aren’t located actually in Porto, but rather on the other bank of the Douro River? There are several cellars and usually, a glass of Port wine is offered at the end of each visit. Here is the list of the main Port Wine Cellars:

  • Cave Ramos Pinto
  • Cave Sandeman
  • Cave Ferreira
  • Cave Cálem
  • Graham’s Port Lodge
  • Cave Taylor’s Port
Porto What to visit Cais de Gaia
View of Porto Wine Cellars from General Torres Street

💡 EXTRA TIP: WOW – World of Wine has recently opened right in the historic centre of Vila Nova de Gaia. It is a space with several thematic museums and also some restaurant spaces. You can find more details of what to visit in the WOW here.

» Morro Garden and Serra do Pilar

And to end this first day in style, I suggest you stay in Vila Nova de Gaia and go up to Morro garden to watch the sunset 🌇 Although this is one of the favourite places for locals and tourists to watch the sunset (and therefore very packed), I promise you it will be one of the most unforgettable moments of this trip!

And while you’re here, also take the opportunity to climb the nearby Serra do Pilar Monastery. The views are even better!

💡 EXTRA TIP: To save your legs from a strenuous climb up to Morro Garden, you can use the Gaia Cable Car to get there from Cais de Gaia. The one-way ticket costs 6€, but you can check all the updated information here.

What to Visit in Porto – Day 2

» Santa Catarina Street and Bolhão Market

I suggest you start the second day of this itinerary in a place that is a must-see in Porto. Santa Catarina street is probably the best-known street in the city and the place to go shopping.

Porto What to visit Santa Catarina Street

Even if a shopping spree is not on your agenda, I assure you that this busy street deserves your attention. While you’re there, make sure you also make a small detour to Bolhão Market.

Porto What to visit Santa Catarina Street Souls Chapel
Chapel of Souls

From there go on to one of the most beautiful churches in Porto, also covered by a showy panel of tiles – Chapel of Souls (Capela das Almas).

Porto What to visit Santa Catarina Street

Depending on the time you visit this street, you can also watch a show on the most famous clock in the city. Every 3 hours the clock goes off and 4 illustrious figures of the city come out of it: São João, Infante D. Henrique, Almeida Garrett and Camilo Castelo Branco. You can find it at the intersection of Passos Manuel Street and Santa Catarina, in the building that currently houses the Fnac and C&A shops.

💡 EXTRA TIP: You can’t miss the Majestic Café, even if it’s just to take a peek at the city’s most emblematic café. Additionally, I recommend a short diversion off Santa Catarina street to check out Pérola do Bolhão – a century-old traditional grocery store.

» Santo Ildefonso Church

We leave Santa Catarina street behind and enter Batalha. This is where you will find the Church of Santo Ildefonso – another spectacular building covered in blue and white tiles.

Porto What to visit Santo Ildefonso Church

» São João National Theatre

Right next door is the São João National Theatre. Declared a National Monument since 2012, the current building is the result of a reconstruction in the 1920s after a serious fire destroyed the building originally built in the early 18th century.

Porto What to visit São João Theatre

Who knows if there isn’t a show you might like, and you can even visit the building inside. You can check out its cultural agenda here.

💡 EXTRA TIP: Although the next stop isn’t Cais da Ribeira, if you want to go there again, you can use the Guindais Funicular that takes you quickly from Batalha to Ribeira (especially useful for those who do this route the other way around). The ticket costs only 2,5€.

Porto What to visit Funicular Guindais
Guindais Funicular

» Guindais Stairs

We continue towards São Bento, where we were the day before. But first, I suggest you stop by Guindais Stairs for a few photos with the Luiz I Bridge perfectly framed.

Porto What to visit Escadas dos Guindais

You can always take the opportunity to visit the terrace of the famous café Guindalense – known for its regular parties and one of the best views of the city 😊

» Luiz I Bridge and Fernandine Wall

The next stop needs no introduction. The Luiz I bridge is the main landmark of the city of Porto and probably the most photographed place in the city. If you are following this itinerary, you have already glimpsed it from various points in the city and have even crossed its lower deck.

Porto What to visit Luiz I Bridge
Luiz I Bridge

For that reason, I recommend now that you cross its upper deck to let yourself be admired with what is the best view of the city 🥰 And, while you’re here, why not also observe the Fernandine wall? Although there’s only a part of the old city wall left, it’s on Luiz I bridge that we can observe it better!

Porto What to visit Fernandine Walls
Fernandine Walls

» Aliados Avenue

From there we walk up to Aliados Avenue, where we find the most beautiful buildings (mostly belonging to banks), the City Hall and even one of the city’s most historic cafés (Café Guarany).

Porto What to visit Aliados Avenue

In this not-so-long avenue, I suggest you walk through the two “squares” existing in its centre: Liberty Square (Praça da Liberdade) and Humberto Delgado Square (Praça General Humberto Delgado). Another point not to be missed is also the McDonald’s located here! I know this may seem like a strange suggestion, but this was considered one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world of the American chain 😉

» Clérigos Church and Tower

At the bottom of Aliados Avenue, following Clérigos Street, we arrive at the church that gives the street its name. After the Luiz I bridge, this is probably the second most iconic place in the city.

Porto What to visit Clérigos

The building itself is incredibly beautiful, and the best part is climbing to the top of the tower for what is probably the best viewpoint in the city (it is 70 metres high).

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: The ticket to climb the tower and visit the Clérigos Museum costs 6€ (all the latest information here).

Porto What to visit Clérigos
Historical buildings near Clérigos Tower

» Livraria Lello & Irmão

It’s time to head for another of the city’s main tourist attractions – Livraria Lello & Irmão. Why a bookshop? This bookshop has become quite famous in recent years, as it was rumoured that it was here that J. K. Rowling was inspired to write the Harry Potter saga. Even though she has already denied it, the truth is that the bookshop still has long queues to visit its interior.

Porto What to visit Livraria Lello

Although the interior is actually quite interesting, I believe that it doesn’t justify the huge queuing time that usually exists. However, if you have plenty of time available, I don’t see why not visiting the bookshop 😉

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: Although you have to pay to visit it (5€), the full price can be discounted if you opt to buy a book. Tickets can be purchased in advance here.

» Lions Square (Leões Square)

Gomes Teixeira Square, more commonly known as Leões Square, is another busy square to visit in Porto.

Porto What to visit Leões Square

Besides the Lion’s Fountain at its centre, you can find two more adjoining churches in this space: Carmo Church and Carmelite Church. For those who love taking photos for Instagram, here’s a tip: take a look at the tile mural outside these churches!

» Carlos Alberto Square and Joana Vasconcelos Mural

From there, I suggest visiting Carlos Alberto Square, where we found several very nice cafés and where a market is held every weekend.

Porto What to visit Carlos Alberto Square
Carlos Alberto Square

Take the opportunity to visit Actor João Guedes Street and admire the colourful mural of the Steak ‘n Shake restaurant, designed by the artist Joana Vasconcelos!

Porto What to visit Mural Joana Vasconcelos
Joana Vasconcelos Murals

» Lisbon Square/Oliveiras Garden

We continue towards Clérigos to take a look at Oliveiras garden. This space has a terrace service – BASE – interesting for those who want to rest a bit and have a drink.

» Crystal Palace Gardens (Palácio de Cristal)

And to end the day beautifully, I suggest you walk to the Crystal Palace Gardens. Despite being further away from the historic centre, for me this is a must-see on the list of places to visit in Porto.

Porto What to visit Crystal Palace

Although the Crystal Palace that gave the name to the gardens no longer exists, the surrounding gardens still exist. And how beautiful they are! Enjoy the space according to the available time, but don’t miss the “Torreão do Jardim do Palácio” and the Feelings Garden (Jardim dos Sentimentos).

💡 EXTRA TIP: If you don’t have much time left to go to the Crystal Palace, another option has equally excellent views. The place is the Virtudes Garden, where many young people meet to watch the sunset and have a drink. The space is much smaller, but well worth it!

» Galerias de Paris

And if you still have energy left after such a busy day and are looking for some fun, then this part was written thinking of you 😊 I recommend you to go through Galerias de Paris street or Cândido dos Reis street, which are two of the best places for those looking to go out at night in Porto. These two streets are usually filled with people who enjoy the various bars (and even some clubs) that exist there!

Porto What to visit Galerias Street
Galerias de Paris Street

Another popular place for drinks and socializing in the evening is next to the mythical Café Piolho and Cordoaria Garden. 

Porto What to visit Cordoaria
Cordoaria Garden

Visit Porto: other ideas for a third day in the city

If you have additional time to visit Porto, apart from the trips to other cities as I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, you can also:

Porto What to visit Centro Fotografia
Portuguese Photography Center
  • Visit one of the most beautiful gardens in the city at the Botanical Garden
  • Go to Foz do Douro, walk along the promenade, passing through “Praia dos Ingleses” and the photogenic “Pérgola da Foz” to the City Park (one of the largest in the city)
  • If time allows it, perhaps a surf lesson at Matosinhos beach or even a visit to the long beaches of Vila Nova de Gaia
  • Walk from Cais de Gaia towards Afurada Harbour always alongside the Douro River, having views of Porto on one side and the best panoramic views over the Arrábida Bridge

Disclaimer: this post may contain some affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you buy something through my links. This doesn’t represent any additional cost to you and you’ll be supporting my work here on the blog😊

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about me

A Ticket To Take Off About Me

I am Mariana from Porto, Portugal. I am truly passionate about traveling and all things travel related. And that’s exactly what led me to create this page: so I can inspire others to travel and help plan all those trips with my tips and itineraries.





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