Porto (also known as Oporto in some languages) is the second-largest city in Portugal. It is one of the favorite travel destinations for globetrotters. Planing your Porto itinerary could be challenging because of how rich the city is. It is also a beautiful and vibrant place with some amazing historical secrets.
Porto is also the capital of food in the country and it is one of the cities that make Portugal special. Thanks to its abundance of restaurants and seafood. So without further ado, here’s the perfect Porto itinerary to help you experience the best of Porto.
Best time to visit Porto
Are you planning your Portugal trip? then don’t miss This ultimate Portugal Itinerary.
Porto has hot dry summers and cold wet winters. In winters (December-March), the temperatures drop down quite a lot and the wind picks up quite fast. it also rains quite frequently due to which, the weather is very chilly. So if you want to travel on a budget and want to avoid the crowd, you can definitely do it in winter. We visited Porto in December and it was just great!
But the more preferred period to visit is usually summer (June-August) or autumn (September-October). In summer the temperature is quite hot and dry which is not bad if you’ll be going to the beach. The temperature gets as high as 25 °C. However, this is the peak season and the place gets quite crowded and the hotels and flights are expensive too. If you want to avoid the crowd, autumn (September-October) is your best shot. The temperature will be around 21 °C and the streets will be lined with beautiful golden trees.
Getting around to do the Porto itinerary
Getting around in Porto is actually quite easy. It is well connected and is quite affordable. You can walk around if you love wandering, and you can take the metro.
Metro is your best option to get around Porto. Porto’s metro features six lines that are marked by letters and colors: A (blue), B (red), C (green), D (yellow), E (purple), and F (orange) lines. They run every day from 6:00 am to 1:00 am. These lines connect all the areas of Porto to the major tourist spots which makes it easier for travelers to get around from any corner of Porto. It is also an affordable means.
You can buy a Porto card which gives you unlimited transportation on the metro, buses, and funiculars for a period. It also gives you free access to some museums and discounts on selected museums and restaurants. These cards can cost you €10.50, €17.50, or €21.50 for one, two, or three days, respectively. Your next best option is to buy a rechargeable blue ANDANTE card to use in the metro. These cards cost €0.50 and vary depending on how many zones you travel through.
If you don’t mind being on your feet, you should definitely get around Porto on your feet for the most part. The streets of Porto are beautiful, narrow, and cobble making them best to be explored by feet. Most of the tourist places are quite close to one another, so it wouldn’t be a pain to walk around. And nothing can help you experience a place better than by walking around and exploring.
The bus is also another mode of transportation you can opt for to get around in Porto. Buses run regularly from about 6 AM to 9 PM. Porto Cards and ANDANTE passes can both be used for buses. The bus routes are also well connected.
Trams and Funiculars are another way to get around in Porto. Even though it might not be your best option, Porto’s trams (or cable cars) are a historic part of the city and hence should be traveled in, at least once!
The perfect Porto itinerary: 2 days
We’ve already established that Porto is a beautiful city, haven’t we? If you are not convinced yet, you will be after going through this amazing itinerary. Even though two days might not seem like enough time to explore Porto, it is. However, I must say, in the end, you’ll still wish you could’ve stayed more in this beautiful place.
All the places which are mentioned below are pinned on this map to make your planning easier!
Porto itinerary: Day 1
Start the day off with some delicious breakfast. You can obviously take advantage of the luscious buffet in your hotel but if you feel like eating out, I’ll let you in on a secret – have pastries for breakfast! Crazy, right? But if you’re in Porto I guess going crazy is acceptable. Nata Lisboa is a cute coffee shop in Porto which serves delicious puffs, pastries, and Pastel de Natas.
After a sweet breakfast, let’s head down for a walk in Ribeira.
A Ribeira walk
You can get to Ribeira by taking the metro or the bus or even by walking depending on your location. The Ribeira Square or Praça da Ribeira is a historic square in Porto. It has been declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Bein one of the kids-friendly activities in Porto, Ribeira is the neighborhood of your dreams with its beautiful colored buildings, cobblestone alleyways, and the smell of freshly baked Pastel de Natas infiltrating the air.
You can keep walking till you reach the riverfront square from which you can see the beautiful view of Ribeira’s colorful buildings as well as Gaia’s riverfront. You can take a seat by the riverfront cafes and enjoy the Duoro breeze along with a cup of hot coffee!
This library is every Potterhead’s fantasy world. It is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal. Livaria Lello is like a shrine for all the Harry Potter fans because this is where J.K. Rowling got her wizarding world inspiration from.
This bookstore has inspired Diagon Alley’s premium bookstore – Flourish and Blotts in Harry Potter. It is an eight-minute drive from Ribeira. Livaria Lello has a magnolias architecture. It has a very antique vibe to it with its wooden staircase and stained glass windows on the ceiling. It’s best if you go there early and avoid the crowd.
By this time you might be getting hungry and would want to get some lunch to power up. You have to try the famous Francesinhas At Café Santiago F. The place gets usually crowded but it is worth the wait to taste the best sandwich in the world!
Next up is the Carmo and Carmelitas churches.
Carmo and Carmelita Churches
Igreja do Carmo or Carmo church is just a five-minute walk away from Livaria Lello. Even though it looks like a single building, Carmo church and Carmelita church are actually two different buildings. They are separated by one of the world’s narrowest buildings supposedly to separate the nuns and the monks.
Porto has lots of great architectures and Carmo and Carmelitas Churches are a prime example. It is a fantastic example of baroque architecture. The most unique part of the church is the signature east wall with blue and white Azulejo tiles. This wall attracts many tourists as it gives a very photogenic background!
Church Santo Ildefonso
The moment you lay your eyes on Igreja de Santo Ildefonso or Church Santo Ildefonso, it might just take your breath away because that is what happened to me. It is one of the most picturesque churches in the world with around 2000 blue and white Azulejo tiles covering the front.
These Azulejo tiles are unique to Portugal. You will find the church on top of a small hill and is built in a baroque style. It takes around 15 minutes to walk from Carmelita church to Church Santo Ildefonso.
Finally, the last destination for day 1 in our Porto itinerary is Vila Nova de Gaia.
Sunset at Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia or simply Gaia is a city on the other bank of the River Duoro. The Luis I Bridge connects Porto to Gaia. It is a fifteen minutes ride from our last stop, which is Church Santo Ildefonso. Since it’ll be evening by the time you reach Gaia, you can just sit at one of the cafes or restaurants on the riverfront and enjoy the picturesque sunset. It is also the best place to try local cuisines.
You can have dinner in Vinum, which is in Gaia near the riverfront. It has a beautiful view and very good ambiance. The food there is also quite commendable.
Passing by Coimbra on your way? Here is how to get and what to do in Coimbra
Porto itinerary: day 2
We will be starting the final day in Porto quite early since we have a long day ahead of us. The first stop of our day will be Jardins do Palacio de Cristal.
Jardins do Palacio de Cristal
Jardins do Palacio de Cristal is a beautiful botanical garden and is one of Porto’s best-loved escapes. You can get a breathtakingly beautiful panoramic view of Gaia, Porto, and the Duoro River. You can get there easily by trams or Hop on the bus. It features lots of peacocks which is the main attraction. A stroll in the gardens is a good way to start your day along with a breath of fresh air.
By the time you explore Jardins do Palacio de Cristal, you’ll probably be starving. You can have a delicious breakfast in Praia De Luz which is a few minutes away from Jardins do Palacio de Cristal. It has a beautiful view of the ocean and serves delicious seafood.
Enjoy the view of Porto from Miradouro Da Vitoria
Miradouro Da Vitoria is a viewpoint near Ribiera. Miradouro is Portuguese for viewpoint and the Miradouro da Vitória is one of the best viewpoints in Porto, and it is free! The city looks amazing at night with the city lights and the illuminated Luis Bridge, but it looks just as beautiful in the mornings.
You can get good Instagram pictures from up here. It takes only a few minutes to walk from Jardins do Palacio de Cristal to Miradouro Da Vitoria.
Walk across the Luís I Bridge
It takes fifteen minutes by car to get to Luís I Bridge from Miradouro Da Vitoria. The Luís I Bridge has a double-decker dome-shape. It spans over the river Douro, connecting its two banks. Walking the bridge is the best option. You can take photos and enjoy the scenic view from there.
On the way to our next destination, you should revive yourselves with some food. Treat yourself with delicious Bacalhau in Caves Da Cerveja.
If you still have energy and would love to get more of Portugal, get ready for a longer trip to those destinations near Lisbon:
Discover the beauty of Alfama
Get ready for a long ride since our next stop is about three hours away from Luis Bridge I. Alfama is a small but lively district in Lisbon. It is adorable with its cobblestone alleys, indigenous shops, and roadside cafes.
The best way to explore Alfama is to get lost. No, I’m not crazy. Alfama is a charismatic place with hidden viewpoints, beautiful buildings, and rich heritage. So you will explore it mostly on foot by walking to places and taking in its beauty.
The Baixa District
Our final stop will be the Baixa district in Lisbon. It takes about fifteen to twenty minutes by car to reach Baixa from Alfama. Baixa is popular among tourists because it has many famous tourist attractions (like Commerce square, Elevador de Santa Justa, etc.) along with good hotels and luxury.
You can find tourists roaming around Baixa at any time of the day. It has some grand architecture, magnificent plazas, and wide alleyways. You can shop in Baixa since it has lots of shops lined up in the squares.
To end this beautiful Porto Itinerary, have mouth-watering Portuguese cuisine in Cervejaria Pinóquio. It is walking distance from Elevador de Santa Justa and serves really good seafood.
However, if you still have some free time and you got enough sightseeing, think about making some day trips from Porto to discover neighboring attractions.
Although it is a big city, you could visit the main places in Porto in 1 day. There are a few attractions out there that are a must, such as the Ribeira and Livaria Lello.
Where to stay in Porto?
Porto has many hotels, apartments, or hostels to accommodate its tourists based on their budgets. Some recommended accommodations are:
Budget for Porto itinerary
There is a wide range of hostels or apartments that provide accommodation for the budget traveler. If you are traveling solo, these are the best option.
Supernova Hostel is a beautiful and well-furnished hostel. It provides a great service and has a nice coffee shop. The hostel is very affordable and hence is a good option for a solo traveler on a budget.
For people who don’t want to spend loads on hotels yet want a comfortable stay, there are several mid-range hotels in Porto.
NH Porto Jardim is a new hotel that opened in 2019. It has some well-furnished rooms and is located near some tourist attractions like the Bolhao market and the historic Ribeira area, as well as the Alfandega do Porto Congress Center.
There are many luxury hotels in Porto, some independent while some are from chains.
Casa do Cativo is a gorgeous 19th century themed guest house. A Portuguese couple owns The Casa do Cativo and people recommend this place for its excellent service, good location, and beautiful interior.
The place is very near to some tourist spots like San João Theatre, Sao Bento Station, and Sé Cathedral. And to top it off, breakfast is complimentary.
Best places to eat in Porto
There are so many food varieties that you can try in this cool city. I have selected some of the great places that are worth visiting. But you could also check other inspirations about where to eat in Porto.
NATA Lisboa has the best Pastel de Natas in town! It is an adorable café in Porto with delicious puffs, tarts, and sandwiches.
Praia De Luz has an amazing ambiance with the restaurant facing the beach. They serve some delicious shellfish and Balcalhaus.
Café Santiago F has the best Francesinhas in town. Francesinhas are a kind of sandwich that is moist and tasty. The place become usually very crowded at the time, so go for an early lunch if you can!
MUU Steakhouse is one of the most recommended places to eat in Porto. They offer some delicious steaks. Apart from steaks, they also have a list of Portuguese food.
Vinum is situated in Gaia, near the riverfront. It has a beautiful ambiance and some commendable food. The place has an outdoor sitting area which is perfect for a beautiful night.
Cervejaria Pinóquio serves good seafood and has a wonderful ambiance. It has some mouthwatering seafood platters that we highly recommend. The prices are also quite reasonable.
What budget to plan for Porto?
Every traveler needs to budget their trip. The budget for a trip is unique to every person depending on their preferences. So we listed three types of budget to fit into everyone’s preferences.
For the budget traveler who doesn’t care about luxury and would like to save up a little, they should plan to spend around €55 daily on an average. It should cost €9 for meals, €5 for local transportation, and €41 for hotels for one day.
For people who don’t want to spend a lot on the trip but also want it to be comfortable, they should plan to spend around €148 on an average daily. It should cost around €22 for meals, €12 for local transportation, and €114 for hotels for one day.
If you don’t mind spending a few bucks and like to go a little fancy you should prepare yourself to spend around €322 daily on an average. It should cost €51 for meals, €30 for local transportation, and €241 for hotels for one day.
How to get from Porto to Lisbon?
Once you are done with your Porto itinerary, the best option to travel from Porto to Lisbon is by train. It is the fastest means, quite comfortable and also quite reasonable. The train journey takes about 2 hours 45 minutes.
Tickets and schedules can be found and booked on CP’s website up to 2 months in advance. You can get a promo ticket in second class for around €10 one way. However, this offer may be difficult to get as it is only available for fares during certain hours and booked 5 or more days in advance. Anyways, regular ticket costs around €25 to €32 one way.
You need to read this if you want an inspiring guide about your stay in Lisbon
The bus journey from Porto to Lisbon takes about three hours and 30 minutes. Buses run every 90 minutes throughout the day. Actually, keep in mind that the company Rede Expressos / Renex takes care of this bus service.
The bus station in Porto is about 10 minutes’ walking distance from Bolhão. In Lisbon, you will arrive at either Sete Rios bus terminal (metro’s blue line) or Oriente station (metro’s red line).
Tickets cost about €17 one way. Actually, all trips can be booked on Rede Expressos’ website for up to one month in advance.
Finally, the Porto Itinerary comes to an end. You’ll enjoy the beautiful and magnificent architecture and lip-smacking seafood of Porto. And you’ll always be wishing to spend some more time in this beautiful city when it’s time to leave.
Going somewhere else in Portugal? Check Planning your Portugal itinerary post here.