Are you preparing a trip to the capital of Northern Portugal and still don’t know what to do? Don’t worry! In this article you’ll find the best day trips and activities in Porto but also in other amazing places you won’t want to miss.
Best activities and day trips in Porto
The capital of Northern Portugal has a lot to offer and it is not by chance that Porto has already been chosen for three times as the best European tourist destination.
Book this tour and set out to discover the history, culture, traditions and authenticity of Porto residents. Start with a walking tour of the historic centre of Porto, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. There you can admire the most beautiful monuments in the city, such as the tower Torre dos Clérigos and São Bento Train Station; make a stop at one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world, Livraria Lello, and go to the most charismatic place in the city, Ribeira.
Take the opportunity to cross the bridge Ponte Luís I that will take you to the Port wine cellars that store this world famous wine. Discover one of the cellars and discover, on a guided tour, the history behind the origin and production of Port wine.
This visit will end with the tasting of some varieties of this wine such as tawny, ruby and rosé. But this 9-hour experience will only be complete with dinner at a typical restaurant where you will have the opportunity to listen to fado live. Without a doubt, a unique experience!
Information: by clicking on the links in this article or on the photos, you will automatically be put in contact with the company that offers each activity. Just choose the dates you want and enter your details for the reservation to be validated.
If you’re staying in Braga or Guimarães, you can choose this 9-hour activity. Discover the beautiful historic centre of the “undefeated city” (cidade invicta), passing through places previously mentioned as well as the imposing Porto Cathedral, unique for its diversity of architectural styles such as Gothic, Romanesque and Baroque. Your morning will be completed with a guided tour to a Port wine cellar where you will have a wine tasting activity.
After having lunch in a restaurant with regional food, enjoy a cruise on the Douro river that will show you the beautiful six bridges and Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia in a different perspective. This experience will end with a stroll along the riverside, which will take you from the historic centre to the mouth of Douro river. An unforgettable moment!
Do you want to explore Porto, but in a shorter activity, with a duration of 4 hours? If that’s the case, book this experience and take a walking tour in the historic city centre. In the company of a local guide, you will visit viewpoints that offer breathtaking views, beautiful gardens and less touristy places, but also very beautiful.
During this tour, you will also have time to admire some monuments, the riverside area and, of course, feel the true authenticity of the inhabitants of this city.
There are several factors that make Porto a unique city and worth visiting and gastronomy is one of the essential aspects! Next, discover the best gastronomic tours you can take in this city.
Beginning in the morning, this tour will take you to some of the city’s corners and authentic sites and places where you can enjoy the best snacks and more. In this 3-hour adventure, you will have one of the best gastronomic experiences with the right balance between saltiness and sweetness. Try the pastel de nata, bifana, Portuguese beer and more!
Alternatively and leaving from the upper part of the city, in the area of Batalha, this activity starts at 11:00 so that you get hungry for what is coming. It will be a gastronomic tour to Ribeira, with stops along the way to enjoy the best Portuguese snacks and pastry such as codfish cakes, cheeses and natas. In addition to all this, you will also have the opportunity to enjoy the famous francesinha and taste wines.
Unlike the previous activity, this experience starts in the late afternoon and will have stops in five different locations during the 3 hours of activity. Among other things, savour the famous and tasty Port wine, enjoy a variety of cheeses and sausages and enjoy the refinement of a tasty Verde wine. In the company of an experienced guide, this will undoubtedly be a memorable experience.
Finally, you can choose this 4-hour gastronomic tour and choose whether to do it in the early morning or early afternoon. Adapted to the time you choose, this guided tour of the city will take you through the historic centre to places you can’t miss to try the best pastry, snacks and wines, such as natas, gizzards, Verde wine and more!
Discovering Douro Valley
As already mentioned, Porto is also known for its famous wine, Port wine. You already know that it is stored in the cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, but do you know where it is produced? The activities I suggest below will take you to discover the Douro Wine Region, a World Heritage Site and a place where Port wine is produced.
Let’s start the day with this activity with an estimated duration of 10 hours. A comfortable van will pick you up at your hotel in Porto or Vila Nova de Gaia and take you on an adventure along the magnificent roads that follow the Douro river. You will have the opportunity to admire the most beautiful views over the river as well as the terraces (socalcos) where the vineyards of the famous Port wine (among others) grow.
In addition to the fantastic lunch filled with regional products, this tour through the Douro Wine Region will stop at three wine estates. Here, you will be able to taste Port wine, but also a wine that has been increasingly recognised worldwide, the DOC Douro. Know that, before finishing this experience, you will still have time for a stop at the beautiful location of Pinhão to take some pictures and contemplate the landscape.
Alternatively, click here and do the previous activity, but instead of visiting three, visit two wineries and go on a cruise on the Douro river. Without a doubt, a different way to get to know this region and admire the landscape from another perspective.
Another possibility to consider is this 9-hour experience. Start with a stop at the city of Amarante where you can admire the beautiful bridge of São Gonçalo as well as the church and convent Igreja e Convento de São Gonçalo. Afterwards, you will continue towards the first wine estate on this tour where you will have the opportunity to taste internationally awarded table wines and Port wines directly from the barrels.
After lunch, you will stop at Pinhão where you will board the typical rabelo boat that will take you on an unforgettable tour on the waters of the Douro river in order to admire the terraces that cut the slopes of the valley. To finish this experience, you will visit another wine estate where you will learn more about the techniques and history of wine production in Douro Valley. Given the location of this farm, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking views!
Another option to spend a great day in Douro Wine Region, this guided tour will take you to know this beautiful region through magnificent viewpoints offering amazing views. You will also have the opportunity to get to know more about the history of Port and other Douro wines during the visit you will make to two wine estates.
In addition to savouring the magnificent wine, know that during this tour you will have the opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the world, located between the locations of Peso da Régua and Pinhão. In this last one you will stop to admire the beautiful Pinhão station where you can find glazed-tile panels depicting landscapes of the Douro Wine Region and others.
Are you on holidays in Braga or Guimarães? If that’s the case, choose this option to have a comfortable van that will pick you up and take you on a unique journey to one of the most beautiful regions in Portugal. During this guided tour, you will visit two beautiful wine estates where, of course, you will have the opportunity to taste internationally recognised wines.
Furthermore, know that this adventure includes a cruise on the waters of Douro river in a rabelo boat and a lunch in a restaurant serving regional dishes. All of this, in a unique atmosphere, perfect for those who enjoy nature.
Discovering Guimarães and Braga
Would you like to know the birthplace of the Portuguese nation and one of the oldest cities in Portugal? If so, don’t wait any longer and book one of the activities below that will take you to the beautiful cities of Guimarães and Braga!
My first suggestion is a 9-hour activity that leaves from Porto towards the beautiful historical centre of Guimarães, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 2001. Here, you can admire the well-preserved medieval places of this city, including the beautiful castle and the palace Paço dos Duques de Bragança.
In the afternoon, go visit one of the oldest Christian cities in the world, Braga. Here, you will have the possibility to explore the historic centre and visit its beautiful cathedral. Afterwards and before returning to Porto, you will also have the opportunity to complement this activity with a visit to the sanctuary Santuário do Bom Jesus do Monte, also listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. A must-see!
Alternatively, you can choose this guided tour. Leaving from Guimarães or Braga, this tour will take you to two of the most beautiful cities in Portugal where you will learn more about the formation of the Portuguese nationality and more. Discover, in Braga, the oldest cathedral in Portugal, the medieval streets, the beautiful garden of Santa Bárbara and the aforementioned Bom Jesus Sanctuary.
In the birthplace of the Portuguese nation, Guimarães, in addition to the castle and the Paço dos Duques de Bragança, you can also lose yourself in the medieval streets of the historic centre and visit places like the squares Largo da Oliveira and Praça de São Tiago. Know that, during this tour, you will also have the opportunity to enjoy a magnificent lunch in a typical restaurant as well as try the best traditional Portuguese pastry.
Are you staying in Braga or Guimarães and want to get to know the city of the archbishops on a 4-hour guided tour? If so, don’t hesitate and choose this activity! During this tour through Braga, you will have the opportunity to discover the beautiful historic centre where the medieval and the modern exist in perfect harmony. However, the two places to highlight in this activity are, without a doubt, the cathedral and the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus, which offers some of the best views over the city. Don’t miss it!
Also departing from Braga or Guimarães, choose this 4-hour guided tour that will take you to the birthplace of the Portuguese nation. In Guimarães, you will have the opportunity to travel back in time until the 12th century and admire the castle that, for a long time, protected the population. Explore the most beautiful streets and squares, admire the gardens and enjoy the local pastry.
Other destinations and activities (south of Douro river)
There are many other places that are worth visiting during your stay in this region, so I will show you, next, the best options south of the Douro river.
Are you staying in Guimarães or Braga and would like to visit two of the most beautiful cities in Central Portugal? If that’s the case, don’t hesitate and click here for a unique trip to the “city of students”, Coimbra, and to the “Portuguese Venice”, Aveiro.
In Coimbra, you will have the opportunity to discover the oldest university in the country, where the world famous library Biblioteca Joanina is located.
You can also admire the beautiful palace Paço Real de Coimbra, go down the narrow streets and discover the cathedral Sé Velha de Coimbra, and discover the most beautiful and tragic love story of the Portuguese royalty, between D. Pedro and D.ª Inês de Castro. All of this in an atmosphere full of authenticity and which has earned this place the title of World Heritage Site.
In the afternoon, this tour will take you to the beautiful city of Aveiro and its beautiful canals. Part of the visit will be made on board of a moliceiro, the traditional boat of this city, which was used to collect seaweed and transport salt. For an hour, explore the canals and enjoy the beautiful buildings, some of which in art nouveau style. A unique and memorable experience!
As an alternative, visit Aveiro and the Paiva Walkways! In this 9-hour activity leaving from Porto, you will start the day with a walk on one of the most beautiful walking routes in the world and prize-winner several times at the World Travel Awards. Take your camera and get ready for an adventure in nature, on wooden walkways that follow the Paiva river in a unique valley that is worth exploring!
After lunch in a typical Portuguese restaurant, you will continue to Aveiro where you will have the opportunity to stroll through the streets. This will be followed by a moliceiro tour to see the city’s canals and admire the buildings from a different perspective. To finish this guided tour, nothing like a last stop in the Costa Nova location, well known for its houses painted with horizontal or vertical stripes.
If you want to escape the main tourist destinations and discover the Paiva Walkways as well as the surrounding area, there is nothing like choosing this activity. Leaving from Porto, this tour will take you to the Geopark of Arouca, recognised for its vast and rich geological heritage. What stands out the most in this place are, without a doubt, the 8 km long walkways that are a delight for hiking and nature lovers.
After a morning walk, know that you will enjoy a divine lunch (try the tasty arouquesa steak), as well as other regional products. Before finishing this tour and return to Porto, you will still have time to savour a delicious local liquor.
Have you hired a car and want to discover the Portuguese countryside? If that’s the case, don’t hesitate and book this activity that will take you on a unique tour with a shepherd through the green hills of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park.
Perfect for nature and hiking lovers, this is a unique experience in which you will accompany a shepherd and his flock, hear stories about this park and also have the opportunity to admire the beautiful landscape of this region. Don’t miss it!
Other destinations and activities (north of Douro river)
To the north of Douro river there are also plenty of options to choose from. Next, discover the places you can’t miss!
If you want to visit the only national park in Portugal, book this guided tour to Peneda-Gerês National Park. Leaving from Porto, discover the most amazing and authentic places in the park, always surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes you can find in the country.
But it is undoubtedly the fauna and flora that make Peneda-Gerês a place that you cannot miss on your visit to Northern Portugal. It is no accident that this park is listed by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve.
With the information provided by an experienced guide, this tour will show you the native species and more! You will also discover viewpoints that offer breathtaking views over the park as well as the most beautiful waterfalls where you can cool off. A tour you won’t forget!
Another experience you can consider if you are staying in Braga or Guimarães is one that will take you on a tour to Alto Minho. In this part of one of the most authentic regions of Portugal, you will have the opportunity to start by discovering the beautiful city of Viana do Castelo.
There, take a walking tour to get to know the historic centre and admire the beautiful buildings as well as the medieval streets. The visit to this city will end with a stop at the sanctuary Santuário de Santa Luzia from where you can enjoy the magnificent views over the city and the Atlantic Ocean.
Next, this experience will take you to what is known as the oldest town in Portugal: Ponte de Lima. After lunch, get to know the unique atmosphere of this town and be sure to cross the landmark that gave the name to this place, the beautiful Roman and medieval bridge.
To end your tour to Alto Minho, you will also follow the Lima river through the mountains of the Peneda-Gerês National Park where you will have a last stop at a village where you will savour the tasty Verde wine.
In a 10-hour tour, you can consider this visit to the beautiful Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. Leaving from Porto, this will be an unforgettable trip to one of the largest Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world.
Start by exploring the historic centre, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and head to the magnificent cathedral, undoubtedly a unique monument where architectural styles such as Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque stand out.
But your visit does not end here! In the afternoon, continue this experience in Portuguese lands, with a walking tour to the citadel of Valença which is next to Minho river, natural border with Spain. Here, you will have the opportunity to contemplate the walls and the houses, and you will have time to taste the magnificent Verde wine and admire the local handicrafts.
If you have hired a car and want to experience something different, then head to Fafe, located about 65 km from Porto and 15 km from Guimarães, for a 5-hour visit to an animal farm. Here, you will have the opportunity to see animals such as sheep, goats and pigs, but you can also stroll through an orchard and a vegetable garden. It is a great activity to do as a family and a special occasion to enjoy the best that nature has to offer.
In a 9-hour activity, leave from Braga or Guimarães and go discover the demarcated Verde wine region, one of the best wines from Portugal. During this experience, you will visit two wine estates where you will savour this wine and learn more about the production process. You will also have the opportunity to enjoy regional cuisine in a typical restaurant and admire the beautiful landscapes that characterise Northern Portugal.
Information: all links to these activities in Porto and surrounding area are affiliate links to local companies, that is, if you book one of the mentioned activities, I will receive a small commission. You won’t pay more for accessing these links.
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