๐Ÿท Porto Guide: 3-Day Itinerary + 11 Great Things To Do

A high up view of a city with many clay, orange rooftops.

Porto, Portugal’s second most visited destination, is a unique, charming city on the country’s northern side.

Three days is enough time to enjoy the picturesque areas next to the Douro River, Port wine cellars, and buildings adorned with ceramic tiles.

My sister and I separately visited Porto, and here, I share our practical travel tips and ways to optimize your itinerary. This post covers:

  • โญ๏ธ Top things to do in Porto
  • ๐Ÿ—“๏ธ 3-day optimized itinerary
  • ๐Ÿ“ Porto map with key places
  • ๐Ÿš™ How to get around Porto
  • ๐Ÿ  Where to stay

Planning a trip? Here’sย what to know about Portugal.

Lists By Lukiih is readers-supported. If you buy through an affiliate link on this post, I may earn a small commission. Thanks!

Porto at a Glance

Before getting into the itinerary, hereโ€™s some general information on Porto to help you plan your trip.

๐Ÿท What Is Porto Known For?

Porto is known as a beautiful city in Portugal. It’s known for the vibrant Ribeira district next to the Duoro River, its historic architecture, such as the Livraria Lello, and the production of Port wine.

Livraria Lello is a world-famous bookstore that some claim is the inspiration behind the Hogwarts Library in Harry Potter. However, author J.K. Rowling has not officially confirmed this.

๐Ÿ“ Where Is Porto Located?

The second-largest city in Portugal, Porto, is located on the country’s northwestern coast. It’s approximately 200 miles (or about a three-and-a-half-hour train ride) north of the capital city of Lisbon.

Most visitors to Porto first fly into Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS), Portugal’s primary international airport in Lisbon, and then take the state-owned CP train to Porto.

You can also fly into Porto’s international airport, Francisco Sรก Carneiro Airport (OPO).

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ How Long To Spend in Porto?

Spending two to three days in Porto will give you enough time to cover the city’s highlights and top attractions.

Porto is not as sprawling as the capital city of Lisbon. If you stay for five days or longer, you can do more unique and off-the-beaten-path things.

See how to spend a week in Portugal.

โ˜€๏ธ Best Time To Visit Porto

Porto has a Mediterranean climate and is known to have pleasant, mild weather year-round.

Porto’s peak season is during the summer months, from June to August. The best time to visit is spring and fall to avoid the crowds and enjoy the nice weather.

Here’s a quick overview of Porto’s four seasons:

SeasonMonthsTemperatures
SpringMar-May50-70 ยฐF
SummerJun-Aug60-85 ยฐF
FallSep-Oct50-80 ยฐF
WinterNov-Feb46-60 ยฐF
Porto’s Seasons and Temperatures

I visited in May, and my sister visited in September. We were both mostly wearing light, long jackets and long pants.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Is Porto Expensive To Visit?

For being Portugalโ€™s biggest and most visited city, Porto is semi-affordable to visit.

  • Mid-range budget travelers can expect to spend about $100 a day in Porto.
  • Budget travelers can expect to spend about $65 a day in Porto.

See my budget breakdown for my trip to Porto.

Getting Around Porto

Once in Porto, you can get around by taking public transportation, calling a taxi or Uber, walking, or renting a car.

Porto is a relatively compact city, so you can get to many attractions by public transportation or on foot.

๐Ÿš‡ Option 1: Public Transportation

The best way to get around Porto is by public transit, which includes the metro, train, bus, and tram. Porto’s public transportation is clean and easy to navigate.

A single metro ride costs less than $2. You may also want to consider getting the Porto Card, which offers other tourist benefits.

๐Ÿ‘Ÿ Option 2: Walking

Porto’s city center is a pedestrian-friendly area that’s easy to explore on foot. Without making any stops, you can walk through most of the city center in under an hour.

Like many other cities in Portugal, Porto is incredibly hilly, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes. I was happy in my running shoes and sneakers, while my sister wore Converse and had foot pain from all the walking.

A woman standing on a hill in a narrow street with colorful buildings.
Walking up a hill in Porto.

๐Ÿš• Option 3: Taxi or Uber

Uber and taxis are widely available in Porto. Both will be significantly more expensive than public transportation but will get you to places that are not accessible by transit or walking.

๐Ÿš— Option 4: Rental Car

Given Porto’s great public transportation and compact streets, renting a car makes sense only if you’re doing a more off-the-beaten-path itinerary.

Unlike in some other countries, tuk-tuks in Portugal are used primarily as vehicles for giving tours, not as transportation between points A and B. This is why Porto tuk-tuks are fairly expensive, costing around $30 an hour.

A view of a cobble stone hill with a tuk tuk driving up it.
A tuk-tuk going up a hill in Porto.

Porto Itinerary Map

This map has all the recommended places in the Porto travel itinerary below.

3-Day Porto Itinerary

Below is a great way to spend three days in Porto while incorporating a day trip to the famous Douro Valley.

This Porto itinerary efficiently sequences attractions and activities the city is famous for.

Iโ€™ve also included suggested times for each activity based on my and my sisterโ€™s firsthand experiences.

The Portugal trip planner below has this itinerary prefilled.

Day 1 in Porto
๐Ÿš†Arrive in PortoMorning
๐Ÿ‘ŸExplore the city center’s top attractions12โ€“5 pm
โœจCheck out the Ribeira riverfront5:30โ€“6:30 pm
๐ŸŽตWalk through Rua das Flores at night7โ€“9 pm
Day 2 in Porto
๐ŸทGo on a Duoro Valley wine tourAll day
Day 3 in Porto
๐ŸฆšVisit Crystal Palace Garden for peacocks10 amโ€“12 pm
๐ŸทCross the Luรญs I Bridge to Gaia12:30โ€“4:30 pm
๐ŸŒ…End your day at Parques da Virtudes5โ€“6 pm

With More Time: 4 Days in Porto

If you have extra time or days in Porto, consider adding these day trips to the itinerary:

  • Aveiro โ€“ If you’re a nature lover, consider visiting Aveiro, a coastal town known for its picturesque canals. This full-day tour of Aveiro provides transportation and also visits the beautiful Paiva Walkways.
  • Guimarรฃes โ€“ If you can’t get enough history, take a day trip to Guimarรฃes, which has a well-preserved medieval center.

Great Things To Do in Porto

Having collectively spent a week in Porto, I share my and my sisterโ€™s recommendations and honest opinions on the top attractions and activities below, listed in rough order of priority.

All prices mentioned here are in USD ๐Ÿ’ต .

1. See Portoโ€™s Top Attractions in the City Center

๐Ÿค” Why: Porto’s city center has many of the city’s main historical attractions. The city center is a great introduction to Porto on your first day. The area is also known for its charming narrow streets that you can spend hours exploring.

One of the best things about Porto is that it’s compact enough to reach all the main attractions on foot.

โญ๏ธ Top Attractions: Below are the main sites of Porto’s city center.

๐Ÿ“ Livraria Lello

Lavishly decorated, Livraria Lello is considered one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores. It has a stained-glass ceiling and intricate woodwork.

Many Harry Potter fans visit it since it is believed to be the inspiration behind Hogwarts Library.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: โ‚ฌ5 (roughly $5.50)

Due to its popularity, the Livraria Lello always has a long line despite the entrance fee. I had to wait an hour when I visited in the spring.

The interior of an intricate bookstore with a golden staircase and ceiling.
Livraria Lello in Porto.

๐Ÿ“ Clรฉrigos Tower

Also known as Torre dos Clรฉrigos, this iconic bell tower offers a panoramic view of the city and the Douro River to visitors willing to climb its 225 steps. The tower is connected to the Clรฉrigos Church.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: โ‚ฌ8 entrance fee (roughly $9)

The Clรฉrigos Tower entrance tickets are timed. If you plan to visit the tower during sunset, when it’s most popular, make sure to buy tickets in advance online or at the ticket office.

A high up view of a city with many clay, orange rooftops.
View from Clรฉrigos Towers.

๐Ÿ“ Sรฃo Bento Station

The historic Sรฃo Bento Train Station is considered one of the most beautiful train stations in Portugal. It’s covered with over 20,000 blue ceramic tiles known as “azulejos,” which the country is known for.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: Free

Sรฃo Bento is the train station you arrive at when traveling to and from Lisbon, so you can easily take a look at it upon arrival or before departure.

The interior of a large building with many blue ceramic tiles decorating the walls.
Sฤo Bento train station.

๐Ÿ“ Carmo Church

The Igreja do Carmo is another well-known building because it also has a facade covered in azulejos.

If you love seeing the azulejos, you can walk 20 minutes east to see the Chapel of Souls, which is also famous for its blue-and-white exterior.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: Free

An old church decorated with blue, ceramic tiles on its facade.
Igreja do Carmo. (Photo by my sister, Kat.)

๐Ÿ“ The Bolsa Palace

Palรกcio da Bolsa is a bit further out but still within walking distance. It used to be the Stock Exchange palace, but now it’s mostly renowned for its stunning architecture.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: โ‚ฌ12 (roughly $13)

โฐ Suggested Duration: Half a day to walk around the city center. It took my sister about five hours to see all the attractions back-to-back, with a few food stops. For more downtime, you can spend a full day exploring the city center.

You also take a Porto city center guided tour to learn more about each attraction.

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: Despite the crowds, I enjoyed walking around Porto’s city center. It has a more authentic atmosphere than Lisbon’s city center, and I love how pedestrian-friendly it is.

Return to itinerary โ†‘

2. Drink Port Wine in Gaia

๐Ÿค” Why: Northern Portugal is the origin of Port wine, a sweet, red wine. The city of Gaia, or Vila Nova de Gaia, is known for its Port wine cellars and is a five-minute walk from Porto’s city center.

Port wine, cured ham and bread meal overlooking a water view with European buildings in the background.
Port wine on the riverfront of Gaia.

๐ŸŒŸ Top Things To Do: Here are the top things to do in Gaia:

  • Walk through the entire stretch of Gaia’s riverside and admire the scenery. It only takes about 15 minutes to walk from one end to the other.
  • Enjoy a snack by the riverside and look across the water towards the charming Ribeira district. I had a cured ham and Port wine sampler at Uva by Cรกlem (about $5 per glass) just so I could sit by the river.
  • Walk up to Jardim do Morro to get spectacular views of the Duoro River.

A 10-minute walk from Jardim do Morro is Mosteiro da Serra, the highest point in Porto.

Two women sitting on a lookout ledge overlooking a body of water flanked by orange roof buildings.
View from Jardim do Morro.
  • Sample some wine at a Port wine cellar or restaurant along the riverfront.
  • Ride the Gaia cable car to get a beautiful view of the river and Gaia from above.

๐Ÿš— Getting There: From Porto, you can walk across the Dom Luรญs I Bridge to Gaia. It’s a short, scenic walk that takes about five minutes.

โฐ Suggested Duration: 2 hours to half a day. I did all the activities mentioned above, and it took me roughly four hours.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected Cost: Budget at least $20 to ride the cable car and taste Port wine in Gaia.

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: Exploring Gaia was one of my favorite parts of Porto. I especially enjoyed climbing up the hill to Jardim do Morro and finding a riverfront restaurant that served Port wine.

Return to itinerary โ†‘

3. Take a Wine Tour in the Douro Valley

๐Ÿค” Why: Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the exclusive producer of Port wine. This is not only one of the top day trips from Porto, but it’s also one of the best places to visit to escape the city.

A view of a green, lush valley with a river running through it.
Duoro Valley during my sister’s Port wine tour.

๐ŸŒŸ Top Thing To Do: Enjoy Port tasting sessions while learning about the Port wine-making process and appreciating the Douro Valley scenery.

This highly-rated Douro Valley wine tour includes visits to two vineyards and a cruise ride down the Douro River.

๐Ÿš— Getting There: The Douro Valley runs along the Douro River, beginning near Porto and extending towards Spain. You can enjoy the valley by taking a road trip along the National Highway 222, taking a train, or booking an organized tour.

For most visitors, taking a Douro Valley wine tour is the most convenient way to visit the valley.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected Cost: A group tour starts at around $100, and a private tour will cost a bit over $300.

โฐ Suggested Duration: Full day

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: If you enjoy sweet wine like I do, a Douro Valley wine tour is a great way to spend a day and immerse yourself in Port wine tasting. It’s an upgraded experience from sampling Port wine in Vila Nova de Gaia.

Return to itinerary โ†‘

4. Relax and Eat at the Ribeira Riverfront

๐Ÿค” Why: The Ribeira riverfront, also known as the Cais da Ribeira, is a photogenic district of Porto. It’s not only lined with shops and restaurants, but it’s also a very lively area, especially at night.

Buildings with orange rooftops lining a river.
Ribeira in Porto. (Photo taken by my friend, Alison Lau.)

๐ŸŒŸ Top Things To Do: Walk by the riverfront and look across the Douro River to enjoy the scenic view of Gaia. Leisurely look at the shops or restaurants and see if any pique your interest.

๐Ÿš— Getting There: To get to the Ribeira riverfront or district, simply walk south or east of Porto’s city center. Here’s a good spot to start your riverfront walk towards the Luรญs I Bridge.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: Free

โฐ Suggested Duration: 30 to 60 minutes

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: There’s no reason not to stop by the Ribeira riverfront for a quick view given how accessible it is from Porto’s city center. I went both in the daytime and nighttime and enjoyed it more in the nighttime when it felt more romantic.

Return to itinerary โ†‘

5. See Free-Roaming Peacocks at Crystal Palace Gardens

๐Ÿค” Why: Jardins do Palรกcio de Cristal is a great place to take a breather away from Porto’s city center. Enjoy a more tranquil atmosphere with garden views and free-roaming peacocks.

A peacock wandering around without a cage.
Peacock at the Crystal Palace Garden.

๐ŸŒŸ Top Things To Do: Walk around the lush, green spaces and leisurely people watch, look for river views, and be amused by the free-roaming peacocks.

๐Ÿš— Getting There: Jardins do Palรกcio de Cristal is a 20-minute walk, 15-minute bus ride, or 10-minute Uber ride from Porto’s city center.

If you take an Uber, make sure to type in “Crystal Palace Garden” as your destination. Do not make the same mistake as I did, and type in “Crystal Palace.” That will take you to a bakery.

A woman looking sad in front of a bakery with the sign, Crystal Palace.
Arriving at the wrong Crystal Palace.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: Free

โฐ Suggested Duration: 1 to 2 hours

If you’re hungry, get a snack or meal before getting to the garden. There are a few vendors near the entrance of the garden, but the food is expensive and mediocre.

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: I mostly went to the Crystal Palace Gardens to see the peacocks, and I was not disappointed. I saw about 20 of them, and it’s a unique experience.

Return to itinerary โ†‘

6. Walk Through Rua das Flores at Night

๐Ÿค” Why: Rua das Flores, which translates to “Streets of Flowers,” is a notable landmark street in Porto. It’s lined with picturesque shops, cafes, and restaurants and filled with live music at night.

Fรกbrica da Nata on Rua da Flores is one of my favorite places that sell pastel de nata (Portuguese egg custard), one of Portugal’s most famous foods.

Two plates with waffles, salad, and fruits.
Brunch along Rua das Flores.

๐Ÿš— Getting There: The start of Rua das Flores is located here, a short walk from Sรฃo Bento train station.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: Free

โฐ Suggested Duration: 30 to 60 minutes

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: I stayed near Rua das Flores, and walking through it every day was a joy because of the bustling and lively environment. I especially loved the live music at night, which made the atmosphere feel intimate.

Return to itinerary โ†‘

7. Enjoy the Local Vibe at Parques da Virtudes

๐Ÿค” Why: Almost all activities and attractions mentioned in this list will have at least a hint of tourism, but Parques da Virtudes will let you experience a much more local and relaxed atmosphere. It’s also a perfect place to catch the sunset.

A beer and sandwiched covered in sauce on an outdoor table.
Francesinha at the Parques da Virtudes before sunset.

๐ŸŒŸ Top Things To Do: Visit Parques da Virtudes for the sunset view and grab a francesinha, a Portuguese sandwich, and one of Portugal’s most famous foods.

Passeio das Virtudes has several bars, cafes, and restaurants that cater to locals. They’re local enough that they don’t show up on Google Maps.

๐Ÿš— Getting There: Walk up a hill to Passeio das Virtudes to enjoy the view and have a bite to eat.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: Free

โฐ Suggested Duration: 30 to 60 minutes

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: A visit to Parques da Virtudes is a nice, relaxing way to close your Porto trip after doing a lot of sightseeing and tourist activities.

Return to itinerary โ†‘

Where To Stay in Porto

Porto has several areas to choose from on where to stay:

  • Baixa โ€“ Baixa is Portoโ€™s city center and the best place to stay if you want to be within walking distance of all the top attractions. I stayed a bit south of Baixa and could get to the Sรฃo Bento train station in ten minutes, which was convenient.
  • Ribeira โ€“ Located near the river, Ribeira is a good place to stay if you want to maximize Portoโ€™s historic charm.
  • Gaia โ€“ Vila Nova de Gaia is technically outside of Porto, but itโ€™s within walking. Stay here if you plan to drink a lot of wine and want to be near the river.

I stayed at an apartment rental near Baixa, about a ten-minute walk from Rua das Flores, for $162 per night. It was located within walking distance of Porto’s city center, which was convenient.

Portugal Trip Planner

To make your travel planning easier, download the trip planner below and use it as a starting point. The planner has country-specific travel information, an itinerary, a packing list, and a map with key places pinned.

The trip planner is built on Notion, which I use for all my travel planning (I genuinely love this tool). If you don’t have Notion, creating an account is free.

Three Notion template screenshots are shown: travel information, itinerary, and map + packing list templates.
Preview of Portugal trip planner.

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