The city of Porto gave the name to Portugal (Portucale) and to the world famous wine that goes by the same name. However, the city is not just names, it was also awarded with the prize of European Best Destination in the years of 2012, 2014 and 2017.
When you visit Porto, soon you’ll realize this is a cosmopolitan city where the ancient meets the contemporary. Porto is source of inspiration, where people visiting it will eventually want to return!
To help you plan your next trip to Porto, I’ve prepared this guide where you’ll find 2 itineraries that will show you the wonders of this city in two days.
Visit Porto: Itinerary Day 1
São Bento Train Station
São Bento train station is the perfect place for you to begin your visit to Porto. Whether you come from the airport or from another Portuguese city by train, this station is a great starting point, a place that will dazzle you even before you set foot in the city.
When you get to the train station, go to the main hall and admire the walls decorated with hundreds of glazed tiles depicting the daily life and Portuguese history.
When you visit Porto, you can’t miss the opportunity to get to know the most beautiful Portuguese café, founded in 1921.
This café is on the top 10 of the most beautiful cafés in the world. In Majestic Café you can have breakfast, lunch or dinner but beware of the prices! Prices here are higher than average, but you can relax and just have a cup of coffee.
- Site: www.cafemajestic.com
Bolhão Market (Mercado do Bolhão)
Continue your stroll through the pedestrian street Rua de Santa Catarina and then to Rua Formosa until you get to Mercado do Bolhão.
In this market, built in 1914, you’ll feel like you were in a small village. Here, you can admire the wooden newsstands, fountains, glazed tiles and, of course, you can also buy all sorts of fresh food and even eat at a small restaurant.
- Information: this market is closed until 2020 for renovations.
Aliados Avenue (Avenida dos Aliados)
Begin your visit to this place in the end of the avenue, where you can admire the wonderful city hall building. Then, go downwards to Praça da Liberdade and turn right to Rua dos Clérigos.
This is perhaps the most popular avenue and one of the main passage points for those visiting Porto and its historic centre.
Instead of visiting Porto and the places mentioned above all by yourself, you can choose to go on a gastronomic tour to savour the Portuguese culinary specialities, in general, and those from Porto, in particular, while discovering the history behind each dish.
Apart from getting to know the local gastronomy, you’ll also have the opportunity to explore the old Porto.
While preparing this travel guide, I’ve tested this gastronomic tour since I need to be sure of the quality of the activities I talk about and suggest.
This tour started with us going to one of the best places in Porto to try a Portuguese delicacy, the pastel de nata (an egg tart pastry) and a cup of coffee.
Next, we went to a local grocery shop that has many Portuguese products such as honey, olive oil, traditional sausages, cheeses, Port wine and others of exceptional quality!
When we entered this grocery shop, we had the impression of being in Ali Baba’s cavern due to its unique atmosphere and all the riches we could find there.
When I visited this place, I had the opportunity of savouring several cheeses, traditional sausages, olives and bread from this region – all of this accompanied by a wonderful glass of Port wine.
Apart from the quality of the products, what I liked the most was the presentation of each product (its origin, its region and its history).
The gastronomic tour continued through the streets of Porto, where we passed by some touristy places like Majestic Café.
Next, we stopped in a typical Porto café to savour some tasteful pastéis de bacalhau (cod fish cakes), drink a glass of verde wine – a type of wine produced in Northern Portugal. To know more about the history of verde wine, click here.
Afterwards, we went to a well-known Porto restaurant where we could savour a bifana, a spicy pork sandwich, famous all over Portugal, especially during Portuguese festivals ans football matches.
To conclude the gastronomic tour, we went to a specialised Port wine shop, close to Avenida dos Aliados, where we savoured three different brands of Port wine from small producers.
This shop is perfect for those who want to savour Port wine in a most welcoming and intimate place than those from the cellars, facing Douro river, which are always crowded.
Small advice: avoid having breakfast or lunch (depending on the hours of the tour) before going on this gastronomic tour so that you can better enjoy all the delicacies from all the different places you’re going to visit.
Personal opinion: I loved this gastronomic tour. I thought I was going to get bored since I already knew all these Portuguese delicacies but I was surprised with all the places I’ve discovered, the kindness of Porto people and the history of each product we savoured.
Do you also want to go on this tour and discover the Portuguese gastronomy while visiting some of Porto’s wonders? Click here to book your gastronomic tour! (affiliate link).
Lello Bookshop (Livraria Lello)
Considered as one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world, Lello Bookshop is one of those places you don’t want to miss when you visit Porto.
Inside, you’ll be amazed with its unique atmosphere and spectacular staircase. Know that you aren’t allowed to take any photos there, but with a little bit of luck and if you get there early, maybe they’ll make an exception.
- Site: www.livrarialello.pt/en
Clérigos Tower (Torre dos Clérigos)
Facing the bookshop, some metres away, you’ll find Clérigos Tower. Here, you’ll get one of the best views in the city but first you’ll have to climb the 240 steps to get to the top of the tower.
Church of Nossa Senhora da Vitória Viewpoint
After Clérigos Tower, go down to Rua de São Bento da Vitória and admire the Church of Nossa Senhora da Vitória. Before you head down to Palácio da Bolsa, take a minute to enjoy the beautiful view over Douro river, Luis I bridge and the Cathedral.
Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa)
If you visit Porto you must go to Palácio da Bolsa, otherwise it would be like going to Paris and not go to the Eiffel Tower. Built in 1862 in a Neoclassical style and inspired in a Neo-Moorish style, this monument will be worth your while! During your visit, you must go to the amazing pátio das Nações and the magnificent Arab Room.
St. Francis Church (Igreja de São Francisco)
Next to Palácio da Bolsa’s building you’ll find St. Francis Church. It is probably the most beautiful church in Porto, in part because of its gilded wood interior. After visiting the church you can visit the museum and the crypt where many people are buried.
My suggestion for the end of your first day tour would be the square Praça da Ribeira, in Douro’s riverfront, and the alleys around it.
Here you can admire the amazing Luis I bridge, designed by the engineer Théophile Seyrig, Gustave Eiffle’s disciple; in addition, be amazed by the rabelo boats, once used to transport the wine barrels down river, from the wineries to Porto (over 100 km distance). Some of these boats are now used to take tourists on a Douro river tour.
Visit Porto: Itinerary Day 2
Serra do Pilar Monastery
If you want to visit Serra do Pilar monastery, take the metro, yellow line (D), in São Bento metro station, Santo Ovídio direction, and get off at Jardim do Morro station, right after Luis I bridge.
At this monastery you can admire the church and cloister built in 1538. Its round shape construction is a replicate of Santa Maria de la Redonda in Rome, and one of a kind in Portugal; it is also the most beautiful viewpoint where you can best gaze at the historic centre of Porto.
- Site: www.culturanorte.pt/en
Porto Cálem Cellars
Head down to Porto Cálem cellars to discover the history of one of the biggest port wine companies, founded in 1859. During your visit, you’ll discover the history of Porto Cálem and of Douro region.
Afterwards, you’ll have the privilege of going to the cellars where port wine is maturing and, finally, the opportunity to savour the well known port wine. At the end of the tour you can purchase some of the wines produced by Porto Cálem – I wouldn’t recommend it though!
Prices are higher than in wine stores that sell the same port wine. Some of the cellars take advantage of the tourists to increase the price of their products.
- Site: https://tour.calem.pt/en
6 Bridges Cruise
Cross Luis I bridge on foot and head to Praça da Ribeira to go on a 50 minute cruise – this cruise will give you the opportunity to admire the six bridges over Douro river. This tour is made on a rabelo boat, once used to transport the barrels of wine from the wineries to the cellars.
Ferdinand Wall (Muralha Fernandina)
From Cais da Ribeira go to Guindais funicular which is facing the lower deck of Luis I bridge. Here, climb up the stairs that will take you to the Ferdinand Wall, built in the 14th century. This wall protected the city of Porto that had expanded by that time.
Santa Clara Church
Just next to the Ferdinand Wall you’ll find the amazing Santa Clara church, built in the 15th century. It truly is a real Baroque master piece that will astonish you with its decorative exuberance.
Cathedral of Porto (Sé do Porto)
Just 200 metres away from Santa Clara church you’ll find the magnificent cathedral of Porto, built between the 12th and 13th centuries. One of the characteristics of this cathedral is that it was fortified to protect the inhabitants of the city during raids.
While you’re in the cathedral, take the opportunity to go to the treasure room, to the dispensary and to the cloister where you can admire biblical scenes depicted on the glazed tiles. In front of the cathedral you can enjoy the magnificent views over the downtown and Douro river. Make sure you go to this monument when you visit Porto!
- Site: www.rotadascatedrais.com
Porto Tram City Tours – Line 1
If you’re not going to Lisbon, then you should go on a tram city tour when you visit Porto. Try the historic tram that will take you from the historic centre to Foz do Douro, where Douro river meets the Atlantic Ocean. The line 1 of the tram goes from St. Francis church to Passeio Alegre in 25 minutes, along Douro river.
If you stay in Porto for another day, know that you can enjoy Luz beach in the warmest days – it’s just 750 metres from the tram station in Passeio Alegre.
- Site: www.portotramcitytour.pt
Are you going to visit Porto? Then don’t hesitate to book your hotel room and your car by clicking the links below. This way you are helping me in the development of my blog and I’ll be able to offer you free tips and travel guides so that you can better prepare your visit to Portugal. Thank you!
What will also interest you:
- https://gotoportugal eu/en/visit-porto/
- metro porto plan
- visit porto