Wondering how many days to spend in Porto?
Is one day in Porto enough?
Maybe you are on a long layover in Porto or taking a day trip to Porto from Lisbon?
There are many reasons why you would need to see the best of Porto in one day.
Located in the Northwest of Portugal, Porto is often overlooked by tourists in favour of Lisbon or The Algarve region. However, those who do make it to Porto quickly realise that it is a fun, vibrant city with plenty to see and do.
I actually think that Porto is one of the best cities in Western Europe for a city break.
It is also a very budget-friendly city as there are many cheap and free things to do in Porto!
I recommend spending at least a day in this fab city or maybe even more if you truly want to experience all it has to offer.
In this post, I’ll show you what to see in Porto and all the awesome things you can do when spending one day in Porto, Portugal. Use the ideas below to create your own one day Porto itinerary!
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Why you should visit Porto
Porto, Portugal is an excellent destination, particularly for female solo travellers.
With its beautiful architecture and stunning views of the Douro River, this city offers plenty of sights to explore.
Porto also has a vibrant nightlife with plenty of bars and restaurants that offer delicious local cuisine. Plus, Porto is a very safe city with friendly locals who are always willing to help out visitors in need.
There are many budget-friendly options available when it comes to accommodation and transportation so you can easily enjoy your trip without breaking the bank.
How to get to Porto, Portugal
The quickest way to get to Porto is by flying into Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport located in the nearby city of Maia.
From the airport, it is just a 30-minute drive or 40 minutes by public transportation to reach downtown Porto.
Alternatively, you can take a bus or train from Lisbon (the capital city of Portugal) which will take approximately 3 hours.
You can also arrive in Porto via cruise ship as there are regular ports of call at Leixões and Ribeira neighbourhoods.
Lastly, if you’re already travelling around Europe then getting to Porto by car is an option too! The main roads leading into the city are Via do Infante, A26 and A1.
Getting from Porto airport to the city
The quickest way to get to Porto from the airport is by car or taxi. It’s a 30-minute drive (25 km) and should cost around €30 one-way.
Public transportation is also available, with buses taking around 40 minutes to reach downtown Porto.
How to get around Porto
There are several bus lines that run throughout the city, with tickets available for purchase at various kiosks located in metro stations.
Alternatively, visitors can also use the metro network which consists of four lines and has 37 stops throughout the city or you can travel on the historic tram line.
Taxis are also an option but can be costly if travelling long distances.
Personally, I found that the best way to get around is to just walk. Most of Porto’s attractions are easily walkable, just know that there are a lot of steep hills in Porto!
Is one day in Porto enough?
I think that if you only have one day in Porto then you can certainly see some most of the sites, as long as you are organised and have pre-planned your itinerary.
The itinerary below should give you a decent experience of all that Porto has to offer.
If you do have longer than one day in Porto then I recommend exploring Foz do Douro or even taking a day trip.
Porto in one day – 10 things to do
#1 Ride Porto’s historic tram
Start your day with a ride on Porto’s historic tram line.
Dating back to 1895, Porto’s trams are one of the oldest tram systems in Europe.
The old trams are beautiful and full of character. The Linha 1 route, in particular, is incredibly scenic as it runs alongside the Douro river all the way to the Foz district.
The trams are relatively frequent, and to ride the entire line takes roughly 20 minutes.
The trams are rather slow so I suggest that you don’t think of riding the tram as a way to get from A to B, but rather appreciate the ride as an experience in itself.
Address: Linha 1 (Porto one) runs from the Infante stop, in front of the São Francisco Church, and ends at the Passeio Alegre stop.
Price: €3.50 each way
#2 Climb the Clerigos tower
If you wish to see the best of Porto in a day then starting at Clerigos church and tower is a great choice.
The church and the Tower are part of a baroque-inspired building from the 18th century designed by Nicolau Nasoni, whose architectural influence can be seen all over the city.
Take some time to admire the beautiful church before climbing the 200 steps to the top of the tower to savour the incredible sweeping views across the city.
Address: R. de São Filipe de Nery, 4050-546 Porto, Portugal
Opening hours: 9am-7pm daily
#3 Porto free walking tour
After you are done soaking up the views from the tower it’s time for a walking tour of Porto!
You’ll see many of the best sights in Porto including the beautiful Sao bento train station, the famous harry potter library (livraria lello), UNESCO world heritage sites, Porto Cathedral and many more!
The free tour leaves from outside the tower every day at 11am.
The tour is free but very popular so you must book your space in advance. And of course, don’t forget to tip your guide! Our guide João was fantastic and really gave us a great insight into the city.
I always recommend walking tours, whenever exploring a new place, as they are a great way to get a feel for the destination before you start exploring by yourself.
If you only have one day in Porto then the walking tour is your best option for seeing all the points of interest around the city.
Where: Outside Clerigos tower
When: 11am and 3pm daily
Price: Free but tips are expected – Book here
#4 Take the 6 bridges cruise
The 6 bridges river cruise is a very popular activity and for good reason! This Douro river cruise is one of the best things to do in Porto.
Enjoy a 50-minute boat ride along the Douro river, following in the traditional footsteps of the old wine merchants that transported port wine from the Douro valley to the wine cellars of Porto.
You’ll be treated to incredible views of six of Porto’s iconic bridges and the surrounding gorge.
Book your 6 bridges river cruise here
#5 Stop for a beer by the river
This one day in Porto itinerary has been jam-packed so far, so by now, you will probably want to relax for a while and grab some food or a beer by the river.
There are lots of great spots to stop for a drink. My favourite is Cafe do cais as it has exceptional views across the river, a great atmosphere and is the perfect spot to do a bit of people watching.
Address: Cais da Estiva 130-131, 4050-553 Porto, Portugal
Open: 10am – 11pm daily
#6 Port wine cellar tour and tasting in Porto
A trip to Porto wouldn’t be complete without a tour of one of the famous Port wine cellars.
There are numerous different port wine cellars to choose from, all of which are located across the river from Porto city centre, in the Gaia neighbourhood.
Nearly all the cellars offer tours and a variety of tastings. We visited Burmester and tasted two different varieties of Port, a white port and a tawny. Both were excellent!
If you have more time then you can also take a wine tour to the Duoro valley
Address: Largo Dom Luís I, 4400-111 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Open: 10am – 7pm daily
Book here: Port cellar tour with port wine tasting
#7 Find the Half rabbit street art
Now that you are on the Gaia side of the river, take the opportunity to hunt for the famous Half Rabbit street art.
Created by Portuguese street artist Bordallo II, this unique sculpture is made from recycled materials and trash collected from around the city and is intended as a reminder of the impact waste can have on nature.
To find the sculpture simply head away from the river towards WOW Porto. The sculpture can also be seen from the cable cars.
Address: R. Guilherme Gomes Fernandes 42, Vila Nova de Gaia, 4430-999, Portugal
#8 Walk across the Dom Luis I Bridge at golden hour
One of the best viewpoints in Porto is from the Dom Luis I Bridge.
Golden Hour, the hour before sunset, is the best time to grab some epic photos from the bridge, or you can simply stroll from one end of the bridge to the other whilst admiring the breathtaking views.
Just be careful to watch for the trams that pass over the bridge frequently.
Opening hours: 24/7, but golden hour is the best time to go for great photos
Address: Pte. Luiz I, Porto, Portugal
#9 Watch the sunset from Jardim de Morro
A day trip to Porto would not be complete without watching the gorgeous sunset over the city and the Douro river.
Jardim de Morro is a small park located a mere stone’s throw from the Dom Luis bridge. It consists of a hilltop garden and is the highest point in Gaia, which makes it the perfect place to watch the sunset over Porto.
I recommend grabbing some beers and snacks and heading up there early to grab a spot on the grass. This little garden is a super popular sunset spot so it fills up very quickly!
Opening hours: 24/7, the best time to go is at sunset
Address: Jardim do Morro, 4430-210 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
#10 Grab a drink at Guindalense Football Club
End your one day in Porto at the Guindalense football club.
Here you can enjoy cheap drinks and tasty bar snacks out on the terrace. The views from here are great especially as the light is fading just after sunset.
Address: Escada dos Guindais 43, 4000-337 Porto, Portugal
Open: 12 – 11pm, closed on Sundays
What to eat and drink during one day in Porto
When visiting Porto, it’s essential to indulge in some of the city’s most beloved dishes and drinks.
The local cuisine is heavily influenced by seafood since it is located on the coast of Portugal.
A must-try dish is Francesinha – a sandwich filled with steak, sausage and cheese served with a rich tomato and beer sauce. There are a few restaurants that serve vegan versions of this popular dish too.
Another must-try dish in Porto is the ever-popular Pastel de nata.
This traditional Portuguese custard tart is made from a creamy egg custard baked inside a flaky, buttery puff pastry crust. It is usually finished off with a sprinkle of cinnamon and icing sugar on top.
To get a vegan pastel de nata head to Pastelaria Tupi
Best restaurants in Porto, Portugal
At some point during the day, you are bound to get hungry and need to stop for a bite to eat.
Porto has plenty of great cafes and restaurants, As a vegan traveller, I found it relatively easy to find good vegan food in Porto.
Below is a selection of my favourite eateries, all of which offer at least one vegan option.
Zenith is a great spot to stop for brunch or cocktails. I ordered the vegan shakshuka and loved it!
Another excellent spot for brunch is Nicolau Porto. This is a great option if you are looking to eat something a little more healthy during your trip.
Árvore do Mundo
This cosy little vegan restaurant offers daily menus and excellent burgers for really good prices. Everything here is vegan but my non-vegan travel companion also enjoyed the food here very much. They also do a great selection of craft beers.
If you are just looking for something to eat quickly on the go then I highly recommend Divan to grab a tasty kebab, burger or falafel.
Porto by night
Porto has great nightlife. When I visited I really enjoyed the laid-back vibe of the wine bars and street cafes. There are also plenty of great clubs too if you want to go dancing.
Aduela is a unique and cosy bar offering great drinks and even better vibes. They also have a cool outdoor seating area with a great atmosphere.
The Royal Cocktail Club is one of the most popular bars in Porto. The decor is very swish and sophisticated but don’t worry the drinks are surprisingly cheap! Downstairs there is a fun ‘speakeasy’ secret bar.
If you’re looking for something a bit more lively then I recommend checking out Pérola Negra, Porto’s top techno club. With its huge sound system and funky lights, it’s no wonder why this club is always packed
What to Buy During Your Visit to Porto
Porto has no shortage of unique souvenirs for you to take home with you. Here are a few of the quintessential items to buy in Porto
Azulejos, or Portuguese hand-painted tiles, are one of the most beautiful souvenirs you will find in Porto. The tiles are traditionally blue and white but you can find them in an array of colours.
Portugal is famous for its cork products and Porto has no shortage of them. From cork purses, laptop cases, wallets and even wine stoppers, you are sure to find the perfect cork souvenir for your loved ones.
Porto is the birthplace of port wine so it would be a shame not to buy some! Look for touriga nacional and tinto cão, the two most popular red wines from the Douro Region.
Fish themed souvenirs
You’ll find fish-themed souvenirs all over Porto. The fish motif features heavily in Porto due to the fact that fish and fishing is an important part of Portuguese culture. From ceramics to t-shirts, you’ll spot fish all over Porto!
More than one day in Porto?
If you have more than one day to spend in Porto then there are plenty of other great sites that can be added on to your itinerary.
Igreja do Carmo
Igreja do Carmo is a stunning baroque church located in the heart of Porto. Built in 1739, this magnificent building has a beautiful interior adorned with frescoes, carvings and sculptures.
The Porto Cathedral is an impressive gothic-style church located in the city’s historical centre. The exterior of the building is beautiful.
Chapel of Souls
The Chapel of Souls is a small chapel located in the São Francisco Church. This intricately decorated chapel is renowned for its beauty, featuring intricate paintings, sculptures and altars.
Miradouro da Vitoria
The Miradouro da Vitoria is a great spot to take in views of Porto. Situated on top of a hill, the Miradouro offers stunning views of the city. At sunset, it is even more breathtaking.
Igreja de São Francisco
Igreja de São Francisco is a beautiful old church near the centre of Porto, built in the 13th century. The interior is incredibly ornate, featuring intricate gilded wood carvings and artwork.
The Ribeira Promenade is a great place to stroll along the riverside. It’s a picturesque spot, lined with colourful houses and small restaurants. At night, the promenade is lit up by lights making it even more magical.
Palácio da Bolsa
The Palácio da Bolsa is a stunning neo-classical building located in the old town of Porto. The interior of the building is magnificent, featuring intricate paintings and sculptures. The Palácio da Bolsa is a great spot to marvel at the architecture.
Gardens of Palácio de Cristal
The Gardens of Palácio de Cristal are located near the Douro River. These stunning gardens feature a beautiful rose garden, an
Gaia Cable Car – Teleférico de Gaia
The Gaia Cable Car (Teleférico de Gaia) is a unique and thrilling experience in the city of Porto. Both tourists and locals alike enjoy this exciting cable car ride as it takes them to a spectacular view of the Douro River. The cable car starts at the Cais da Ribeira and ends at Monte Aguda.
Livraria Lello is one of the most iconic landmarks in Portugal. Located in the city centre of Porto, this historic bookshop has been an integral part of the city’s cultural life for over a century.
Liberdade Square McDonald’s
Probably one of the most beautiful McDonalds in the world! This stunning old-style McDonalds is located in the Liberdade Square and it’s a great spot for people watching and simply admiring the gorgeous architecture.
Live fado performance
One of the best things to do in Porto is to experience a live show of Portuguese traditional Fado music.
Porto’s hop on hop off bus
The hop on, hop off bus is one of the most convenient ways to experience Porto and pack in as many sights as you can. It is especially handy if you are short on time.
Foz do Douro
Foz do Douro is a stunning area of Porto located at the mouth of the Douro River. Here, visitors can admire the beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean and take a stroll along the long sandy beach.
Day trips from Porto Portugal
If you have more time to spare and are planning on spending more than one day in Porto then I highly recommend taking a day trip. There are a number of fantastic places you can visit only a short distance from Porto.
Some of the best tours in Porto are:
Douro valley wine tour – The best option for a Douro valley tour
Surfing at Matosinhos beach – We had a great time doing this activity!
Aveiro, ‘the Venice of Portugal’
Tours in Porto, Portugal
Where to stay in Porto
I highly recommend staying at Selina Porto. This boutique hostel is beautifully designed and features a range of private rooms and dorms, so there is something to suit everyone. It is in a perfect location in the heart of the city and the food in their onsite restaurant is delicious!
Alternatively, use the box below to search for places to stay:
Porto travel tips
Porto travel tips:
- When visiting Porto, it is best to plan your trip in advance. Be sure to book a hotel or Air BnB before you go as the city can be quite busy during peak season.
- Be aware of pickpockets, especially when visiting crowded areas. As always, keep your belongings close to you at all times.
- Don’t forget to carry cash with you in Porto since some places may not accept credit cards.
- Wear comfortable shoes when exploring Porto as the cobblestone streets can be a bit tricky to navigate.
- Enjoy some of Porto’s traditional dishes such as Francesinha, bacalhau and tripas à moda do Porto.
Summary of one day Porto itinerary
As you can see, Porto is a fantastic city with plenty to offer and lots to do. I highly recommend adding it to your Portugal itinerary and if you only have one day to spend in Poro then I hope this one-day itinerary can help you to make the most of your time there.
Are you planning to spend one day in Porto? Let me know in the comments below!
Happy travels xo
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Portugal has been on my travel list for so long! I’ve heard many beautiful things about Porto. I definitely want to visit together with Lisbon. Thank you for giving me the inspiration!
P.S. Dom Luis I Bridge looks amazing! :O
Looks as though you enjoyed the research for this post! Great options for visiting Porto.
Porto seems like a fabulous place to spend time while in Portugal. I love walking tours, and that it is free is a bonus. Time on the water too sounds great. Thanks for all the tips.
A little off subject but I’m obsessed with your hair! Sign me up for the river cruise, tram tour, walking tour and relaxing by the riverfront! never heard of Porto but I’m adding it to my Portugal list.
Porto looks so beautiful, I could definitely spend more than one day there but these are awesome suggestions if that’s all the time you have. Thanks for sharing
This is interesting, I didn’t know we can do this many things in one day. I will keep them in mind. Thank you for sharing!
I love walking tours, I think they are the best part of the trip! I’ve always wanted to visit Portugal, but now I definitely want to go to Porto. It looks like a beautiful place.
Nice tips, Thank you. But I think one day is not enough! We travel too fast and if we want to travel sustainably, it’s better to go slow. With all of your tips, I think it’s worth staying a week!
Such beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing your journey!
I’ve always wanted to go! Wow looks amazing and the 6 bridges cruise is certainly something I’m going to have to check out! And the sunset over the river… ughhh love it! Ok I’m suffering from such wanderlust right now… I’m going to have a book trip ASAP!
I’ve always wanted to go! Wow looks amazing and the 6 bridges cruise is certainly something I’m going to have to check out! And the sunset over the river… ughhh love it! Ok I’m suffering from such wanderlust right now… I’m going to have a book trip ASAP! ❤️❤️
I truly enjoyed reading this article! My grandparents are from Portugal and I have always wanted to visit. After reading this I have some great ideas and planning to get to 😉
Portugal has long been on my bucket list, and I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to visit Porto either! Thanks for this comprehensive list for whenever I make the trip. I always love a good, free walking tour too :). Just did several of those in Scotland and Belgium! Xx Sara
I’m looking forward to visiting Portugal and a day in Porto looks great. Thanks so much for the tips and inspiration!
My mouth is watering over that vegan restaurant. It’s so hard to find restaurats we can eat at sometimes. I mean other than “house salad.” It’s great places are starting to broaden their menus to be more inclusive.
Oh what great memories you brought back of Porto. I agree with you that you really need more than one day in Porto. The beautiful tile work was a big treat for us. Great to see this city from the water. And you shouldn’t miss on port wine tasting. Can’t wait to go back.
Definitely can’t wait to visit Porto on my next trip to Portugal. Will keep this post as a resource. Thanks!