Porto is one of the prettiest cities in Europe with colorful tall buildings flanking a busy river and bright blue skies. In planning a trip to Portugal, you may feel the need to choose between the cities of Porto and Lisbon. The good news is that you can have it all. I created this 2 days in Porto itinerary so you can make the most of this enchanting city and still have enough time for all the other dreamy places in Portugal. I have to admit, I didn’t expect much from Porto other than wine and a pretty city, but it completely charmed me and I hope that you fall in love with it too.
Porto’s small historic center tourist sites are easily seen on foot in 1 – 2 days. Guided tours are another great option and I’ve included the best tours below. Since, you’ll only have 2 days in Porto, the first day is filled with a busy walking tour while the second day leaves time to slow down and enjoy. If you plan on going in the high season, book your hotels and tours ahead of time in order to ensure the best possible trip.
2 Days in Porto Itinerary – Day 1
Porto is set on 2 riverbanks with the Douro River running through the middle. Actually one side is called Porto and the other is Vila Nova de Gaia. The first day of this Porto itinerary will be spent on both sides of the river giving you a chance to see it from all angles. The itinerary below is laid out as a walking tour. The route is 1.9 miles (3 km). You can also see everything with the Hop On Hop Off Bus if you prefer. The ticket is €18 per person and runs every day except Christmas.
Stop 1: São Bento Train Station is the Start of Your 2 Days in Porto
The train from Lisbon to Porto takes less than 3 hours. You’ll arrive in Sao Bento station, Porto’s 20th century Beaux-Arts railway station decorated with 20,000 incredible, hand painted, blue ceramic tiles that will take your breath away. It’s the perfect entry point into the historic city center of Porto and a grand way to be welcomed by this fabulous town! Each image in the azulejo tile mural portrays some part of Porto’s history. Make sure to visit Sao Bento train station if you arrive in Porto another way.
Related Post: The Best 2 Days in Lisbon Itinerary
The first building you’ll notice outside of the bustling train station is Igreja de Santo Antonio dos Congregados church, covered in more amazing azulejo tiles. It’s a preview of coming attractions in a town that is filled with decorative exteriors, so unique to Porto. From São Bento you can catch a taxi to your hotel or walk if you are close enough.
Stop 2: Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto)
Porto Cathedral is a 5 minute walk from Sao Bento train station. The oldest Roman Catholic church in the city is also a national monument. There is no cost to enter the cathedral but €3 for the cloister. The halls are adorned with azulejo tiles. You can also get a sneak peak from the outside. Around the cathedral is a large square. During the Medieval Ages, commerce and trade would take place here. The crowds here can get very busy so make your way to the edge of the square overlooking the river for the beautiful view of the city shown in the photo above before making your way to the next stop.
Cross over the Luis I Bridge to Vila Nova de Gaia
It’s time to head over to Vila Nova de Gaia. The Luis I Bridge has an upper and lower deck. The lower deck is for cars and there is a sidewalk which will connect you to the Vila Nova de Gaia riverbank area where you can do Port wine tasting. The upper deck, where you will be on the way over, connects you to the hills overlooking the riverbank. This big open bridge is also used by the Porto Metro so keep an eye out for trains.
Right as you step onto the bridge, you will have incredible views of the city and Douro River. You can take amazing photos from the bridge but be careful with your camera, it’s very windy. I had a Marilyn moment with my dress!
Stop 3: Jardim do Morro
Walk straight forward from the bridge. On the right is Jardim do Morro and it’s the perfect place to stop for a little break and sit down. Jardim do Morro is a beautiful garden with exquisite views of Porto. If you are hungry, there’s a place where you can get coffee and a snack.
Stop 4: Monastery of Serra do Pilar
If you want and even bigger view, head across the street and up the hill to Monastery of Serra do Pilar. Even though it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s a little underwhelming until the lights go on in the evening. This is one of the highest viewpoints in Porto and worth the walk up. You can enter the cloister for €2 but the best thing to see here is the view.
Stop 5: Take a Port Cellar Tour & Wine Tasting in Vila Nova de Gaia
Walk down the hill to the Vila Nova de Gaia riverfront. This is where you will find all the the port wine cellars. You will be able to learn about the port making process and do tastings of the famous Porto wine. Port is a sweet, fortified wine and not something you’ll drink glass after glass. There are 4 different styles of port, going from lightest to darkest, white, rose, tawny, and ruby port. Cooks may be familiar with ruby port, used for a port wine reduction sauce.
It’s best to pick 2 quality guided tours that have tastings of Port that is aged and will let you experience the distinct differences between the 4 styles. Taylor is one of the most well known cellars but their tours are self guided with an audio headset. If you prefer a tour with a knowledgable human, I recommend Graham’s 1890 Lodge. It’s a working cellar with incredible Porto views. You need to make reservations and the price is €18.5 for the tour and tasting.
For the second tasting, I recommend the tour at Cálem and you can combine the Port Tour and tasting with a Portuguese Fado performance. The best part is that it’s €21, which is much less than doing both things separately. Reserve your tickets for the Cálem Cellar Tour, Fado Show & Wine Tasting here.
If you prefer to have someone coordinate everything for you, take the Porto: Wine Tour. This is a 3 hour tour beginning in the afternoon. You will be taken to two wineries and can try Port wine, green wine and some cheese!
- Cost: €29.90 per person
- Duration: 3 hours
- Starting time: 4:00pm
- Meeting point: Dom Luis I Bridge in Porto’s side
Stop 6: Walk Back Over the Bridge to the Cais de Ribiera (Porto Riverfront)
To head back to the Porto side of the river, walk back across the lower portion of the Luis I Bridge. When you reach the lively riverbank, it’s a great time to get something to eat. At some point during your two days in Porto, you have to try a francesinha sandwich. It’s one of the most famous foods in Porto and it’s definitely for meat lovers. The most well known sandwich is at Café Santiago but you can find it all over. If you want to do it right, you have it with fries and a beer. I’ll be honest, I didn’t love it, but you have to try, right! Share with a friend. The portions are huge.
Stop 7: Palácio da Bolsa, the Former Porto Stock Exchange
The iron and glass dome in the Hall of Nations shown above is only one of the incredible areas of the Palácio da Bolsa, the former Porto Stock Exchange. On the guided 30 minute tour you will see multiple rooms that make a visit here worthwhile, especially the moorish Salão Árabe (Arab room) with painted ceiling.
- Cost: €11 Adults, €7,50 Students and Seniors, Kids under 12 free
- Hours: 9:00am-6:30pm
Clérigos Tower and Church
A Roman baroque style church, Clérigos Church has a very tall (249 foot) prominent bell tower, which you can see from all around the city of Porto. You’ll find quite a bit of tourist traffic coming to see the view from the top. If you get here at the end of the day, you may be able to catch a beautiful sunset.
- Cost: €6
- Hours: 9:00am-7:00pm
2 Days in Porto Itinerary – Day 2
The architecture in Porto is magnificent. The first half of the day will take you buy many notable buildings. If you want to enter, you should make choices about what places are most important because some are very crowded. Choose between Livraria Lello Bookstore or Clérigos Church Tower as your starting point so you don’t get stuck with a ton of waiting time.
Start Day 2 of Your Porto Itinerary at the Livraria Lello & Irmao Bookstore
Livraria Lello also known as the Lello Bookstore is a wildly popular attraction in Porto. The design of the bookstore is unlike any other. It is believed that J.K. Rowling used to work in this shop and that it was the inspiration for Harry Potter Hogwarts. The biggest tip I will give you is to get here at least 15 or 20 minutes before it opens. People will queue up outside Livraria Lello, especially Harry Potter fans, and the lines get long very quickly. Purchase a €5 entry ticket at the bookstore.
- Cost: €5
- Hours: 9:30am-7:00pm
Stop 2: See Some of The Beautiful Tiled Buildings During Your 2 Days in Porto
Walk approximately 2 blocks from Livraria Lello to Igreja Do Carmo. Carmo Church definitely has a starring role on Instagram and might have been the beautiful building that drew you to Porto in the first place. The azulejo tile, for which Porto is well known, is just one type of beautiful exterior. For a modern example of tile clad buildings in Porto, check out this mural of 8,000 colorful tiles by artist Joana Vasconcelos at Steak & Shake, one block from Carmo Church.
Stop 3: Igreja Do Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas are Porto Itinerary Must Sees
The ornate decor extends to the interior of buildings too. Right next to azulejo tiled Carmo Church, you will find Igreja dos Carmelitas, a baroque style church that is very large and architecturally magnificent. As you can see in the photo above, the interior of Carmelitas Church is very ornate and well worth a step inside.
Stop 4: Coffee at Majestic Café During Your 2 Days in Porto
Majestic Café is another great place to tap into Porto’s exquisite architecture. This Art Nouveau cafe dates back to 1921 and you can just visualize what it must have been like over the years. This is a perfect place to stop and recharge for the sightseeing day ahead. It’s a little on the expensive side, but definitely worth the experience. Get a coffee and some pastels de nata, the delicious Portuguese custard pastries.
Afternoon Option 1: Take a 6 Bridges Cruise
Even though it’s super touristy, after a day of touring buildings, it’s fun to get an open air perspective of Porto from the water on the Porto: 6 Bridge’s Cruise. It’s a 50 minute tour and you will get to see the 6 bridges, Vila Nova de Gaia, the historic center of Oporto and more. It’s a nice way to wrap up your time in Porto out on the water.
- Cost: €15 per person
- Duration: 50 minutes
- Meeting point: Cais da Estiva
Afternoon Option 2: Head to the Beach Like a Local
If you want to get out on the sand and into the surf, catch an Uber to Praia de Matosinhos, 13 km from Porto. There are places to rent surfboards and stand up paddle boards. There are also some great seafood restaurants in the area. You can also visit the Fort of São Francisco do Queijo at the of the beach.
Restaurants to Try During Your 2 Days in Porto
Here are a few other notable Porto dining options to add to your itinerary.
- Euskalduna Studio – A cozy yet pricey restaurant in the center of Porto. If you are looking to go all out, you definitely don’t want to leave Porto without coming here. The food is beautiful and delicious, and the wine pairings top off the meal perfectly.
- Porta 4 – A tapas bar with only 4 tables in the whole restaurant. Definitely book ahead of time because the food here will not disappoint.
- Farinha – A more casual pizza & pasta restaurant with outdoor and indoor seating. The pizzas here are definitely the most popular; try the honey pizza for a more unique experience!
- Tapabento S.Bento – A smaller restaurant in the heart of Porto that serves Portuguese food. The seafood is to die for, but make reservations ahead of time as it can get quite busy.
Best Day Trips to Add an Extra Day to Your Porto Itinerary
Get out of the city to the terraced hillsides of the Douro Valley for Port wine tasting with incredible vistas.
If you’re looking for a longer wine tour, I recommend trying the Full-Day Douro Wine Tour with Lunch and River Cruise. This is a 9 hour tour that takes you to 2 wineries and tastings of port, red, white and rose wine within the Douro Valley region. The tour also includes a traditional Portuguese lunch and Douro river cruise.
- Cost: €80 per person
- Duration: 9 hours
- Meeting point: picked up at specified hotel
Related Post: One Day in Sintra Itinerary: Best Day Trip from Lisbon
2 Days in Porto Itinerary Recap
- Day 1 – São Bento Train Station, Porto Cathedral, Luis I Bridge, Jardim do Morro & Monastery of Serra do Pilar, Vila Nova de Gaia Port Tasting, Douro River, Ribeira District, Francesinha Sandwich,
- Day 2 – Livraria Lello, Carmo church, Majestic Café,
Where to Stay for 2 Days in Porto
There are some absolutely stunning hotels in Porto whether you’re looking for a boutique experience or more luxurious stay.
- Pestana Palácio do Freixo – A gorgeous and totally luxurious hotel on the Douro River. This baroque style hotel includes a Turkish bath and infinity pool
- Maison Albar Hotels Le Monumental Palace – A classic luxury hotel located in the heart of Porto including 2 restaurants, a bar and an indoor swimming pool.
- Flores Boutique Hotel & Spa – A quaint 18th century boutique hotel that provides room service, bike rentals and a wellness center.
- The House Ribeira Porto Hotel – S.Hotels Collection – A colorful, contemporary hotel in the heart of Porto. The staff is wonderful and breakfast is delicious!
Well Located Airbnbs at a Great Price
If you prefer to make yourself more at home, these Airbnbs will give you more of a local experience and the convenience of extra space, full kitchens and WiFi. Use this code to get $55 off your first rental.
- Porto Penthouse Duplex at Rua das Flores – Light and spacious penthouse apartment with a balcony and stunning 360 degree view of the city. This apartment includes one bedroom and a bathroom.
- Lovely Apartment in the heart of Porto – A colorful, quaint apartment including 1 bed, 1 bath and a washer and dryer available for use
- Inn Oporto Downtown – New Apartments – A nice 2 bedroom 1 bath apartment in the heart of the historical center in Porto.
Best Time of Year to Visit Porto
While Porto never reaches very low temperatures during the year, it doesn’t reach incredibly high ones either. This is why the most popular time to visit is during the warmest months, June through September. Highs are generally in the 70’s and lows in the low 60’s. The shoulder season in Spring and Fall are definitely good times to visit as well if you are okay with the cooler temperatures. Winter has a lot more rainy days.
How to Get to Porto
Porto has an international airport called Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport or Porto Airport (OPO). The cheapest airlines to take into Porto Airport are RyanAir, EasyJet and Vueling. With that said, TAP Portugal is a great airline to fly all over Portugal or internationally. If you are flying into Porto from an international destination, you will generally have a layover in Lisbon as it is the biggest city in Portugal.
Being that Porto will likely not be the only destination on your Portugal itinerary, there is a good possibility you will be coming from Lisbon. Although you can fly from Lisbon to Porto, I would recommend taking the train. There are trains almost every 45 minutes and they are relatively cheap. The total trip duration is about 2 hours and 50 minutes on average. Click here to get more information and check out the train schedule.
- Cost: $30+ per person
- Duration: 2hr 50min average
- Departure Station: Lisboa santa apol & Lisboa oriente
- Arrival Station: Porto campanha
Getting Around Porto
Porto is a very walkable city. You don’t need to rent a car unless you are taking a Portugal road trip. Ubers and taxis are readily available but walking can be faster especially when it comes to crossing the bridge. Just pack some good walking shoes for your 2 days in Porto and you’ll be set!
This 2 days in Porto itinerary is busy but doable. Extending to 3 days will make it a little more relaxed and let you enjoy more restaurants. I have no doubts that you’ll enjoy this city filled with rich history, culture, great food and shopping! If you have any questions, leave a comment below and we will reply as soon as possible. Porto truly is such a picturesque city and I don’t think you can get a full Portuguese experience without visiting.