This guide to what to see in Porto in one day it's perfect for your first day in the city or for travelers who only have 24 hours and want to make the most of their time.
The first thing to keep in mind is that although only one day is short, the historic center of Porto is quite small and all points of interest are quite close, so it can be easily explored on foot, which will save a lot of time. .
In this itinerary, in addition to visiting the historic center, I also included one boat trip on the Douro River because it is one of the things to do absolutely and the visit of at least one winery in Porto.
Based on the time spent in the city during my trip to Porto, I've written this guide to help you know what to see in Porto in one day.
FREE TOUR in ENGLISH
A good way to start your visit to the city and learn about its interesting history is book this free tour of Porto without obligation!
If, on the other hand, you are looking for something more in-depth here you will find a private tour of Porto
- How to go from the airport to Porto
- Where to sleep in Porto
- Tips for a trip to Porto
- How to get around Porto in one day
- What to see in Porto in one day: Morning
- What to see in Porto in one day: Afternoon
- What to see in Porto in one day: Dinner and evening
- What to see in Porto in 2 or 3 days
- Map of Porto in 24 hours
How to go from the airport to Porto
THE Porto airport it is located 12 km from the city. To make the transfer from Porto airport to the city center or to your hotel, you have these options:
Subway: Line E, which operates from 6:00 am to 1:00 am, will take you to the Trindade stop, located in the center, in half an hour, for less than 2 euros.
Bus: the Terravision bus will drop you off in half an hour downtown (Avenida dos Aliados) for 5 euros. This option is faster because the buses (lines 601, 602 and 604) are synchronized with flight arrivals.
Taxi: the taxi has a rate that varies from 20 to 30 euros, depending on where your hotel is located.
Private transfer: it is the most comfortable and cheapest option of a taxi. The driver will be waiting for you at the terminal, holding a sign with your name, and will accompany you directly to the door of your hotel. You can book the transfer here.
Where to sleep in Porto
A great accommodation in Porto, well connected by metro and bus to the airport, is theHotel Universal.
We stayed here and besides being located on the famous Avenida dos Aliados, the Hotel is only a 5 minute walk from the Torre de los Clérigos.
The hotel, in addition to its magnificent location, perfect for discovering Porto in one day, features a 24-hour reception, a delicious breakfast buffet and one of the best value for money in the city.
Alternatively, check out the recommended hotels below:
- Hostel -> The Passenger Hostel, a great option inside the São Bento train station
- Budget hotel -> Moov Hotel Porto Centro, an excellent low cost option just two minutes from São Bento train station
- Mid-range -> Ribeira do Porto Hotel, first-rate selection in the heart of Ribeira
- High-end / luxury -> Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel, a superb choice in Ribeira overlooking the Douro River
For more information on Porto hotels you can read my full post on best neighborhoods and hotels to stay in Porto.
Tips for a trip to Porto
In this part of the article you will find a series of useful tips for visiting Porto in one day.
If this is your first time in the city and you want to know its interesting history, we recommend you book one of the best free tours of Porto like this one where you visit the historic center with a English guide.
If you don't feel like walking, a great choice is to book an electric bike.
Find out if you should buy the Oporto Card offering discounts of up to 50% at various tourist attractions and unlimited public transport.
La Oporto Card it's a great option if you're planning on using public transport or visiting several museums and attractions. For a base price starting from 6 euro, the Card allows you to travel for free on the subway and bus, offers free admissions to numerous museums, discounts on various other admission prices and a 15% discount in partner restaurants.
If you want to visit Portugal on the road, then read mine here advice on how rent a car in Portugal, or compare the rates of the various companies here.
How to get around Porto in one day
Although Porto stretches over 11 kilometers, most of the best things to see in Porto are within the center which is not so big and very very hilly.
Ideally, the best way to see Porto and discover its many hidden gems is walking. While downtown may not be the most pedestrianized area in the world, you will truly appreciate its charm.
Some parts of the Ribeira are steeply uphill and downhill, which can make walking tiring, especially if you have weak knees or foot problems.
A large part of Porto's sidewalks are made of cobblestones - better wear a comfortable pair of flat shoes rather than heels as they can get stuck between the cracks in the floor.
Most things to see in Porto in one day they can be easily reached on foot. However, if you feel tired you can use Porto's public transport which consists of a network of metro, buses, trams.
Porto in one day: Morning
1 - Bolhao Market
Our one day itinerary in Porto starts early in the morning starting with a visit to the Bolhao market, which opens at 7 am: here you can enjoy a two-storey market from the beginning of the XNUMXth century, where you will find numerous stalls around its central courtyard to buy fresh produce, flowers, plants, souvenirs, wines and cheeses.
And have breakfast trying the delicious pasteis de nata, one of the things you absolutely must try.
2 – Avenida Dos Aliados and Stazione São Bento
When you come out of the market, you can do a walk along Avenida dos AliadosWhich, together with Liberty Square, constitutes the main square of the city. This large space is surrounded by modernist buildings, in which the town hall and the curious McDonalds stand out, which has kept the architectural style of the street.
A few meters from this square is located the beautiful neoclassical train station of São Bento, famous for its fantastic murals consisting of more than 20.000 tiles, not to be missed as it is also one of the most beautiful stations in the world.
3 – Libreria Lello e Irmão
After the walk you can continue the itinerary by visiting the Lello and Irmão bookstore, defined for several years as The most beautiful in the world.
This over 100-year-old library consists of two floors connected by an impressive staircase, which inspired writer JK Rowling to create some Harry Potter scenes.
Aim to arrive 15 minutes before the store opens for a less crowded experience as well book tickets online before arrival.
Entering the library is like entering a fairytale. You can't miss the stunning, sinuous and bright red art nouveau staircase that leads to even more books and an amazing stained glass ceiling.
The shop was opened in 1906 by brothers Lello and Irmão, and has been a popular haunt for writers and readers ever since.
Admission costs 5 euros, but will be discounted on the purchase of a book. A nice idea to make the bookshop less crowded with curious tourists and to take home a souvenir of your holiday in Porto.
4 - Clerigos Tower
Leaving Lello and Irmão and taking Rua das Carmelitas, you will arrive in less than 5 minutes at the best viewpoint in the city, the Clerigos Tower. This 76 meters high tower is another of the essential places to visit in Porto.
If you like to enjoy those views that remain in your mind forever, I assure you that it is worth climbing the 240 steps that take you to one of the best viewpoints in Porto.
It's possible book in advance the entrance to the tower here.
Lunch time? Where to eat
Before the next stop you can make a stop to recharge the batteries at the recommended rate restaurant I would come back, trying the traditional (and fantastic) bacalhau a brás or the typical francesinha, a sandwich filled with meat or sausage, covered with cheese and tomato sauce, typical of this area.
What to See in Porto in One Day: Afternoon
Once refreshed after a good lunch it is time to leave for the Porto itinerary.
5 - Cathedral of Porto
In the afternoon, the Porto in one day itinerary continues with a walk in the Batalha neighborhood to visit The Self o Porto Cathedral, a national monument and one of the oldest buildings in the city, where I recommend you to enter, to discover this XNUMXth century church and see the beautiful decorated cloister.
An interesting way to learn about the history of this cathedral and the most important places in the city is book this guided tour which includes entrance to the cellars o this most complete tour that includes the cruise and the visit to the cellars.
Leaving the church you will enter directly into the Cathedral Square which has a decorative column in the center and where criminals were once punished.
Here you will also find a terrace with a excellent view over Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, located on the other side of the Douro.
6 - Barredo and La Ribeira districts
From the Cathedral you can continue with a walk through the narrow streets of the old quarter of Barredo, passing through enchanting places such as the Escadas do Barredo and the Torre do Barredo.
In this neighborhood of old buildings, balconies with hanging clothes and local shops, you will find the authentic essence and soul of Porto which, as happened to me, will become one of your favorite places in the city.
7 - River cruise
At this point you will finally get to The Ribeira, the district located on the banks of the Douro and one of the most popular with tourists. One of the best things to do in Porto is to do a boat trip on the Douro River crossing many of its beautiful bridges.
A typical way to take this cruise with a fantastic view of the buildings on both banks is the sorrel, an old ship that was used to transport barrels of wine from the vineyards of the Douro Valley to the cellars of Vilanova de Gaia.
These boats depart from the dock near Ribeira Square, from eleven in the morning until evening, depending on the time of year, and last between an hour and three, depending on whether they include dinner.
During the tour, in addition to the view of the beautiful colored facades of the Ribeira district, you will cross the bridges that connect Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia, such as the Arrábida bridge, the Infante don Enrique bridge, the María Pía bridge or the most famous, the Don Luis I bridge.
And as the icing on the day and taking advantage of the location, after almost an hour on the boat, you can take a break and enjoy a glass of wine on one of the charming terraces of La Ribeira, overlooking the river and Vila Nova de Gaia.
This is one of the most popular tours in Porto, so if you don't want to run out of seats, especially in the high season, it is advisable to book it in advance.
- Six Bridges Cruise from Vila Nova de Gaia
- Sailboat ride
- Dinner Cruise with Live Music
8 - Don Luis I Bridge
At this point, if you have followed this Porto itinerary in one day, you are less than an hour away from sunset: a perfect option is go up to the second floor of the Don Luis I Bridge from where you can see the best sunset in the city.
This iron bridge, built in 1886 by Théophile Seyrig, partner of the famous Gustave Eiffel, it is the most famous and one of the symbols of Porto.
9 - Port cellars
Fun fact: actually there are no port wine cellars in the city of Porto.
They are all located across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia.
That's why you need to cross the bridge!
Another funny fact: I didn't think I liked I liked the port before going to Portugal. But between my tour in the Douro Valley and the visit to the cellars of Porto I think I've become a tasting professional.
A tour to a port winery is one of the absolute best things to do if you have a day in Porto and will give you a much deeper understanding and appreciation for Portugal's iconic drink.
The port "cellars" have been in use for centuries and are filled with rows upon rows of barrels of all sizes.
Some wineries require tickets in advance.
I spent a whole day trying to visit them all (in total I saw 7!) But in the end, thanks to the fact that each visit includes the tasting in the price, I went back to the hotel on my elbows.
Among the wineries that I recommend, I would focus on Burmester winery which has a visit (the others are in English, Portuguese and sometimes in Spanish)
What to see in Porto in one day: dinner and evening
After enjoying the view and tasting a glass of Porto, I recommend you take a taxi or walk Mariquinhas House o Cafe Guarany, two excellent restaurants where you can eat while listening to fado, the most typical melancholic song of Portugal.
1 - Tour with dinner and Fado show
Another option is to book this night tour with a guide that includes dinner and good fado.
To finish and put the icing on this Porto in one day, nothing better than a romantic walk under the light of the street lamps along the banks of the Douro.
What to see in Porto in 2 or 3 days
Ideally, a single day in Porto is very little, if I can advise you I would tell you to do at least two, if not 3.
There are many great places that you will be forced to exclude from your one day itinerary in Porto, such as the Soares dos Reis National Museum, Serralves Contemporary Art Museum it's a cruise on the Douro River.
1 - Cruise in the Douro Valley
Although Porto is a beautiful city with a lot to explore, its surroundings are also worth exploring. From Porto there are some great day trips in the lesser known regions of Portugal.
The Douro Valley with numerous natural parks, vineyards, wineries, historic towns and cities, is another of the best day trips from Porto.
In this area, thanks to the climate and nutrient-rich soil, they proliferate the vineyards that produce the grapes of the famous Port wine and arriving at the cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia.
In addition to enjoying the beautiful landscapes of the cultivated terraces that surround the cities of Pinhao e Ruler, in this area it is possible to visit one of the main cellars of the Douro and make a magnificent one wine tasting.
Other essential stops in the valley are the city of lamego, of Roman origin and with numerous historical monuments, and the town of Amarante, located on the banks of the Támega River and with a magnificent medieval bridge.
Although you can get there by train and bus, the best option is to rent a car or book some of these recommended excursions in Porto:
- Tour of the vineyards and cellars in the Douro Valley
- 1 day cruise to Régua
- Tour of the Douro region
- 1 day cruise to Pinhão
2 - Aveiro
Another of the best day trips from Porto is a visit to the coastal city of Aveiro, known for its beautiful canals which give it the nickname of "Portuguese Venice".
Among the unmissable things to do there are a walk through the historic center, taste the ovos moles, typical egg sweets, and above all take a walk through the canals in "Moliceiros", a traditional boat similar to gondolas.
Near Aveiro you also have several kilometers of beaches where you can take a relaxing bath like Bar e Costa Nova.
In order not to miss anything important, we recommend that you complete this list of must-see places in Aveiro.
To go from Porto to Aveiro you can take the train at São Bento station, which takes less than an hour, although another more convenient option is Book this minibus excursion to Aveiro and Costa Nova which includes a guide and hotel pickup.
3 - Fado show
Listening to fado, a song in which life's moments and moods are expressed through singing, is another of the best experiences you can have in Porto.
To hear a good fado concert in which there is usually only one singer, accompanied by an acoustic guitar and Portuguese guitar, you can choose between traditional taverns and more touristy places.
Some of the most famous places are Mariquinhas House, Guitar House, Cafe Guarany, Typical Fado, although you can also find taverns where people from the neighborhood sing the most authentic fado, while having a drink or eating.
Some of the shows and gods best known tours in Porto to listen to fado I'm:
- Fado show at the Casa da Guitarra
- Night tour, dinner and fado show
- Fado show at the Cálem cellars
4 – Foz do Douro
This was, without a doubt, the great surprise of the trip. 2 days in Porto are few but try to find space to spend a few hours in Foz do Douro.
The second day I was in Porto, I decided to go to this coastal area at the mouth of the Douro River. A succession of beaches, lighthouses, fortresses and unforgettable maritime landscapes.
5 - Church of San Ildefonso
The construction of Iglesia de san ildefonso it was completed in 1730. It did not initially have its two bell towers but were added later in 1739. The facade has around 11.000 blue and white tiles. They were created by Jorge Colaço in 1932, an artist who is also the author of the tiles for the São Bento station.
This church was one of the places I wanted to see in Porto, as I had seen it in many photos. I was not disappointed at all, it is impressive and beautiful.
6 -Iglesia do Carmo
Another church that I found particularly beautiful was the Iglesia do Carmo. It is very close to the Lello e Irmao bookshop, so don't hesitate to drop by.
La Carmo church it is located in Gomes Teixeira square, a square to visit in Porto, as it is one of the most beautiful. It is a fairly quiet square and has a fountain right in the center, where you can sit and watch passersby as you rest your feet!
Map of Porto in 24 hours
Below you will find the map with the itinerary of the things to see in Porto in one day.