Are you looking for the best list of things to do in Porto, Portugal?

We have everything you need to know about visiting Porto, including things to do, where to stay, and where to find the best restaurants and cafes!

things to do in porto

Porto, also known as Oporto, is a charming city in northern Portugal. The town is famous for its port wine, historic center, and bridges over the Douro River.

We spent the last two nights of our 3-week Portugal Road Trip in Porto! You can follow our 3-week Portugal Vacation here.

Things To Do in Porto, Portugal

1. Try Port Wine

No visit to Porto is complete without trying some of the city’s famous Port wine! There are plenty of cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia across the Douro River that offer tastings of the unique, sweet, fortified wine.

Port wine is made exclusively in Portugal’s Douro region. It is regulated heavily by the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto.

Port tasting is one of Porto's major attractions. image show 4 different types of port cocktails
Port tasting in vila nova de gaia region. photo shows a menu with 5 port drinks.

Book: Port Wine Tasting!

Where to try Port Wine:

From Porto, you will cross over The Dom Luís I Bridge to Gaia. The walk across the bridge is about ~5-10 minutes, depending on how often you stop to admire and snap incredible photos of the river, Porto, and Gaia.

Instead of walking, you can hop on Metro Line D to cross the bridge to Gaia’s wine neighborhood.

We loved stopping at the riverfront Port Cellars in Gaia to try a variety of tasty Port cocktails. Make your way to the famous Sandeman Cellars, which is the center of the riverfront wine scene. Sandeman makes an incredible cocktail called the Summer Tawny, which is made with Port Wine, vodka, orange, lemon juice, and sparkling water. 

Directions to Vila Nova de Gaia Wine Area

Did You Know? Port wine made outside of Porto’s Douro Valley Region is not allowed to be labeled as a Port. In the same way, only bubblies from the Champagne region in France can truly be called champagne!

2. Wonder the Livraria Lello

Livraria Lello is one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world! It’s known for its grand red staircase, stained-glass skylight, and Art Nouveau design. If you are a book lover, the Livraria Lello is a must-visit spot in Porto.

The Livraria Lello Book Store
Stopped at Livraria Lello Book Store while we visited Porto. image is of girl standing on famous red staircase.

The bookstore sees 5,000 visitors daily, so book your ticket ahead of time! We highly recommend booking the first time slot of the day to avoid long entry lines. 

Book: 3-Hour Porto Walking Tour!

man posing on harry potter inspired book store stairs in central porto
The Livraria Lello Book Store ceiling

3. Bike Tour of Porto

If you’re looking for a unique way to explore the city of Porto, we recommend booking a bike tour!

We booked this bike tour through GetYourGuide.

About the tour: From the historic Riverside District to the iconic Douro River Bridge, follow your local guide on a leisurely cycle ride through one of Portugal’s oldest and most beautiful cities.

Also Read: Visit Évora – Chapel of Bones!

bike tour stop at luís i bridge porto landmark. man is standing by bike kicking his foot in the air. Girls is smiling back at camera holding on to her bike.
Bike tour with stops at são bento railway station, dom luis i bridge and são francisco church. image shows the group bikes lined up with blue sky in the backgroun

The major Porto attractions will be easy to see on this local bike tour

You’ll pass the iconic Luis I bridge, the historic Sao Bento train station, and the impressive Porto Cathedral. You’ll see the towering Clérigos Church before riding through the serene Palácio de Cristal Gardens.

This bike tour also offers breathtaking views of the Douro coastline, the picturesque Ribeira district, and the lively Gaia riverside.

Pack sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and snacks for this 4-hour tour. 

Staying the night? Your Porto Hotel Options 

man and woman off their bike to take photo by bridge on the organized Bike tour of portugal's history.

4. Admire the São Bento Train Station (translated to Saint Benedict)

The fully functioning Sao Bento Station is located in one of the most historic buildings in Porto. Built in 1916, this iconic train station is famous for its stunning azulejos (blue and white glazed tiles), which depict scenes from Portuguese history, including famous battles and religious moments.

Train: Check the train schedule & purchase tickets using Omio!

busy train station to use when visiting Porto for tourism, FC Porto games or the FC Porto museum
functioning saint benedict train station is top list of things to do in porto.
famous train station to get to Fc porto games and fc porto museum

Book Car:  Portugal Car Rental 

5. Enjoy a Sunset Walk Along the Ribeira Riverbank

The Cais da Ribeira is a lively riverfront street with colorful buildings lining the Douro River.

The area is brimming with cafés, bars, and restaurants offering traditional Portuguese dishes with stunning views overlooking Praça da Ribeira and across the river to the Vila Nova de Gaia neighborhood.

colorful homes and cobblestone streets along the cais da ribeira

The Cais da Ribeira is buzzing with energy throughout the entire day. However, you may see fewer crowds visiting either early morning or late afternoon. 

Also Read: The Cutest Fairytown Village of Portugal

cais da ribeira- cobblestone streets lined with boat and food tour. near the porto bridge
2 drinks sitting on table at one of the wine cellars along riverfront up to porto bridge

Meals in this area are a bit more expensive, but the breathtaking views were worth the splurge!

6. Porto Cathedral

The Porto Cathedral, also known as Sé Porto, is one of the city’s oldest and most iconic landmarks in Porto. Located in the heart of the city, the cathedral dates back to the 12th century and is an excellent example of Romanesque architecture!

outside of the Porto Cathedral next to casa da música and part of Unesco World Heritage site. Shadow of people standing in front of the porto cathedral with the cathedral itself it up.

Book: Top Porto Day Tour

7. Dom Luis I Bridge

The Dom Luis I Bridge is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Porto. The double-decker metal bridge spans the Douro River, linking the cities of Porto (lively Ribeira district) to the Vila Nova Gaia (port wine scene).

Dom bridge over the douro river

The Dom Luis I Bridge offers stunning views of the city and the river below. You can walk across the bridge’s top level or take the metro across. The lower level is dedicated to those passing over via car.

man standing next to the dom luis I Bridge over river douro lined by colorful buildings and hosues
birds eye view of the Bridge walk over the river douro next to cais da ribeira

Don’t Miss the breathtaking Beaches of Portugal

8. Igreja do Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas

The Igreja do Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas are two churches that stand almost side by side. The two churches are separated by a super small house that is 1 meter wide, named Casa Escondida (“the hidden House”).

the side wall of the Igreja do Carmo- church similar to rua santa catarina with famous blue tile work.
Churches of Porto include Igreja do Carmo, Igreja dos Carmelitas and Church of São Francisco, and church of santa clara
best porto churches are Igreja do Carmo, Church of São Francisco, and church of santa clara

Legend has it that the hidden house, Casa Escondida, was built to separate the nuns of Igreja do Carmo from the monks of Igreja dos Carmelitas. Other legends suggest the small home was built for aesthetic purposes to close the gap between the 2 churches.

The Igreja do Carmo church is famous for its stunning blue and white tile work, which covers the entire side façade of the building!

Check out the beautiful Church of São Francisco!

9. Palácio da Bolsa or Bolsa Palace

The Palácio da Bolsa is a neoclassical building constructed between 1840-1911. The Palácio da Bolsa initially functioned as a Portuguese stock exchange, but nowadays, it is mostly visited by tourists due to its magnificently decorated interiors!

The ticket fee to the stock exchange palace is €10 Euro. However, if you book in advance, you can add a tour guide for €3 more!

Book: Purchase your €13 Palacio da Bolsa entry ticket and guided tour here!

Arab Room at porto's commercial association also known as Palácio da Bolsa
Front of the Palacio da Bolsa or palacio da bolsa to see the arab room

10. Douro Valley Wine Tasting & River Cruise

A day trip to the Douro Valley is one of the best things to do while visiting Porto. Most day trips include visits to local vineyards and wine tastings, as well as stops at some of the region’s most beautiful villages.

We highly recommend booking this full-day tour through the famous Wine Valley!

One of the famous port cellars on the River Douro
Recommend you to leave city center for a river cruise and wine tasting on your next Porto trip. This picture is of our favorite guide in Porto.

Book Our Favorite Douro River Cruise & Wine Tour:

We booked a full day (9 am-6:30 pm) group wine tasting and boat trip!

Visit Porto: A small group tour for tasting port wine

Buy Tickets: Douro Valley Port Wine & River Cruise!

About This Tour:

A knowledgeable guide will pick you up from the meeting spot in Porto and take you to an incredible panoramic viewpoint overlooking the Douro River. Next, you will head to the first winery for a port wine tasting. Learn about wine-making and enjoy some of the region’s best port wines.

After that, it’s time to relax on a private boat trip with snacks and your choice of wine or cocktail, taking in the stunning views of the Douro River by boat.

You will then head to the second winery for a traditional Portuguese lunch paired with regional wines. Savor the flavors of local cuisine while enjoying the stunning landscape of the Douro Valley, before your guide takes you back to the meeting spot in Porto.

11. Dinner with Fado show

Fado is a traditional Portuguese music genre that originated in Lisbon and Coimbra. Don’t miss the chance to have a remarkable and unforgettable experience in Porto with dinner and Fado show!

Book: Your Fado Dinner Show!

Fado show in city center
porto food tour with fado music guitar

The city has many restaurants and wine-tasting rooms that offer Fado entertainment, where you can indulge in Portuguese cuisine and wine while listening to live Fado music.

How to Visit Porto

Getting There

Most international visitors will fly into either Porto or Lisbon international airports. The Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, or Porto Airport, is the international airport in Porto, Portugal. 

We flew into Lisbon and rented a car for our time in Portugal. Follow along with our 3-Week-Portugal Vacation!

Porto by Car

You can get from Lisbon to Porto by car in about 3 hours (~195 miles or 135 kilometers).

Book Car:  Portugal Car Rental 

Porto by Bus

The bus from Libson to Porto takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes, costing €10-€30 each way.

Purchase: Your Bus Ticket Here

Getting Around Porto, Portugal

Porto is super walkable! However, parts of the city are very hilly, so pack good walking shoes. We opted to take Ubers a few times when our feet were sore, or we had a long distance to walk.

There is also the metro and the funicular railway that you can use to get around Porto!

Porto By Metro:

The Porto metro has 6 lines that are identified by letter and color.

  • Line A (blue)
  • Line B (red)
  • Line C (green)
  • Line D (yellow)
  • Line E (purple)
  • Line F (orange)

These lines connect the city from the north to the south. The most popular stop is Trinadade Metro, where all six metro lines stop.

Top Rated Porto Tours:

Where to Stay in Porto, Portugal

Porto offers a wide range of accommodations for visitors. Whether you are looking for luxury hotels or budget-friendly options, plenty of choices will suit your needs.

Porto Neighborhoods & Hotel Options:

1. Ribeira:

This is the historic center of Porto, and it’s a great location for those who want to be close to the main tourist attractions. Ribeira offers plenty of hotels, apartments, and guesthouses with stunning views of the Douro River.

2. Cedofeita:

This neighborhood is known for its trendy shops, cafes, and restaurants. It’s a great option for those who want to experience the local lifestyle and stay in a vibrant area.

3. Boavista:

Boavista is a residential neighborhood ~10 minutes from the center of town. There are quite a few notable attractions in this area, including Casa da Musica and Casa de Serralves. The Boavista neighborhood is a good option for those who want to stay in a quieter area, away from the crowds.

4. Vila Nova de Gaia:

This neighborhood is located across the Douro River, famous for its port cellars. It’s a great option for wine lovers who want to taste different types of port wine. This neighborhood is a short walk to Porto via the Dom Luis Bridge.

Eating and Drinking in Porto, Portugal

Eating and drinking in Porto is an experience in itself. Various traditional and modern restaurants and cafes are located throughout the city.

One of the must-try dishes in Porto is the “francesinha,” a sandwich with several types of meats covered with melted cheese and a spicy tomato beer sauce. We had the best francesinha at Cafe Santiago!

famous francesinha meal along river douro
Zenith Brunch near city center

Favorite Porto Restaurants:

melted cheese on toast at Obido cafe
cafe Santiago and casa guedes restarurants in cais da ribeira

Check out this Duoro Port Wine Tasting Tour!

Porto Portugal FAQs

What is Porto, Portugal known for?

Porto, Portugal, is known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and delicious Portuguese cuisine. The city is famous for producing port wine, made from grapes grown in the Douro Valley, just a few miles from Porto.

The historic center of Porto, Ribeira, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its colorful houses, narrow streets, and picturesque riverfront. The city also has several iconic landmarks, including the impressive Clérigos Tower, the grand Aliados Avenue, and the beautiful Palácio de Cristal gardens.

Planning a Portugal Vacation? Read our 3-week Portugal Vacation Guide!

cais da ribeira

Is 2 days enough in Porto?

While seeing many of Porto’s main attractions in two days is possible, it may feel rushed and leave you with limited time to explore the city’s hidden gems. If you have more time, it’s highly recommended to extend your stay to fully immerse yourself in Porto’s rich history, art, and culture.

On our 3-week Portugal vacation, we spent 4 nights in Porto. This gave us enough time to explore Porto’s Unesco World Heritage Site, along with other main attractions like the Sao Bento station, the luís I bridge, the city’s stock exchange, the palácio da Bolsa, and the famous Art Deco villa, Casa de Serralves!

Did JK Rowling write Harry Potter while living in Porto?

JK Rowling recently shared her writing story on Twitter, confirming that she had written at the Majestic Café on Rua Santa Catarina. She tweeted: “If it cheers up the people who’re disappointed about the bookshop in Oporto, I wrote in here sometimes. This was probably the most beautiful café I ever wrote in, actually. The Majestic Cafe on Rua Santa Catarina.”

Despite the hearsay claiming Livraria Lello bookstore served as an inspiration for J.K Rowling’s renowned Harry Potter series, the author dispelled this narrative on Twitter- denying any connection between the two.

man standing outside of the majestic cafe potter inspired cafe
twitter copy of Jk Rowling majestic cafe on rua santa catarina

This post is all about the best things to do in Porto, Portugal.

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