PORTO 2-DAY ITINERARY | FIRST-TIME VISTOR TIPS

Porto blue tiles church

Find out why everyone is talking about Porto, Portugal! Here’s the perfect Porto 2-day itinerary for first-time visitors

Spend a day wandering the charming historic streets of Porto and inevitably climb up a hill….or two! Discover the city that’s the birthplace of port wine, and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Here’s all you need to plan the perfect trip to Porto, Portugal.

Porto 2 Day Itinerary Overview 

Dom Luís I Bridge

Porto Itinerary Day 1 

Start with a Historical Walking Tour

After fueling up with breakfast (we loved our breakfast at Na Travessa Suites) it’s time to discover Porto! With only 2 days in Porto, the best way to see Porto and learn about Porto’s rich history is on a walking tour

This is the best historical walking tour of Porto! Our guide was very knowledgeable about the rich history of Porto! You’ll cover over 900 years of history on this tour and learn the story behind Porto’s beautiful landmarks. Without the help of a guide, we never would have known the story about the beautiful landmarks we were walking by. 

A little over half way into your tour you’ll break for treats from a local bakery. During our tour, we visited Adoramus Porto. A small shop located near the Dom Luís I Bridge. At Adoramus you’ll find delicious cookies, honeys, marmalades, liquors and so much more that’s exclusively made by Portuguese monasteries and convents. There is no other shop like Adoramus in Porto! 

Porto is very walkable with all the main sights nearby. The city is known for being hilly – comfortable walking shoes are a must! 

Lunch in a Traditional Portuguese Tavern 

Taberna Santo Antonio is a small family-run restaurant that’s always packed with locals. Taberna Santo Antonio is where you go to find traditional Northern Portuguese cooking.

Prices are very reasonable and portions are generous! Order the cod fritters with a cold beer to start. Cod fritters are a staple in Portugal for a snack, but the cod fritters we tried at Taberna Santo Antonio were our favorite

They make a delicious francesinha – Porto’s famous dish! Try to make reservations ahead of time, or snag a table at their bar.

Visit the Beautiful Capela das Almas 

Porto blue tiles church

 The Capela das Almas, which means Souls’ Chapel, is Porto’s most beautiful church. Capela das Almas dates back to the 18th century, but the tiles weren’t added until 1929. Each tile is a remarkable work of art. 

The interior and exterior are decorated with over 15,000 azulejos (Portuguese tiles). With thousands of tiles covering the exterior the church facade, the church becomes an enormous canvas. 

See the Igreja de Santo Ildefonso

It’s impossible to not stop and stare at the gorgeous Igreja de Santo Ildefonso, or Church of Saint Ildefonso. 

igreja de santo ildefonso

This granite church built in Baroque style is decorated with over 11,000 classic blue and white azulejos. The tiles are painted  depicting the life of Saint Ildefonso and stories from the Gospels.

Try a Traditional Dessert at a Beautiful Café 

Café Majestic

Sip coffee in a café that used to be a meeting point of Porto’s elite. Writers, politicians, and artists flocked to Café Majestic to exchange ideas over a cup of coffee in a beautiful atmosphere. 

Even J.K. Rowling frequented Café Majestic when she lived in Porto when she was writing the first Harry Potter book!

Order Café Majestic’s signature dessert, a Rabanadas, the Portuguese take on French Toast, with a cup of coffee. Rabanadas is traditionally a dessert eaten around Christmas. However, it was so popular that Café Majestic brought it back all year long. Learn how to make Rabanadas here

However, beauty doesn’t come cheap, and neither do the prices as Café Majestic. Consequently, because of their high prices (around 5 for a cup of coffee). I recommend stopping by for a drink and sharing a Rabanadas.

Tour the Breathtaking Palácio da Bolsa

A must visit in your Porto 2 day itinerary is the Palacio da Bolsa. Palacio da Bolsa was built in the 19th century and served as Portugal’s Stock Exchange for many years. 

Today, the Palacio da Bolsa is utilized for concerts and prestigious events.  Kings, presidents, and ministers from nearly every country visiting Porto have been welcomed at Palacio da Bolsa. 

In order to experience the beauty of Palacio da Bolsa, you need to take a guided tour. Palacio da Bolsa is open every day from 9:00 – 18:30. Guided tours last 30 minutes and are available in several languages. Tickets are  € 10 for an adult and € 6.50 for students/seniors. Advanced ticket purchase is not necessary with the frequencies of tours available. 

The two most beautiful locations at Palacio da Bolsa are the noble staircase and the Arab Room.

Sunset Cruise on the Douro River

sunset cruise porto

The best way to savor the beauty of a Porto sunset is sailing on a yacht along the Douro River. The skyline of Porto becomes even more magical when you’re viewing it from the river.

I recommend booking a private, or small group boat trip for the best experience. I love this small group sailboat tour here. Tours include local wine and snacks to savor while you watch the sunset. 

Popover Tip: Bring a light jacket! Even if the weather is warm in Porto you’ll be happy you have a jacket once you’re on the boat! 

Dinner at Bacalhau

Bacalhau is where you go for the best cod dishes Porto has to offer! In fact “bacalhau ” directly translates to cod in Portuguese! Restaurant Bacalhau is along the edge of the water with views of the Duoro River! 

Start with the crispy fried cod skins with a delicious garlic mayo dipping sauce. We shared a bottle of local white Portuguese wine with a delicious shrimp and cod dish with rice.

More Ideas for your 2 Day in Porto Itinerary – Day 1

Sunset at Jardim Do Morro

The most popular sunset spot in Porto is easily Jardim do Morro on the top level of Vila Nova de Gaia. From Jardim Do Morro the sun casts a beautiful golden silhouette over the city 

If you’ve spent the afternoon tasting port wine in the city of Gaia, you can catch the cable car from Gaia Lower Station up to Jardim Do Morro.  It’s 6 for a one-way ticket (9 return).

Professionals Photos in Porto 

The best souvenir you can bring back from your time in Porto is photos! In a city as beautiful as Porto, selfies don’t cut it! 

With the help of a professional photographer, you’ll bring home incredible photos of Porto that you’ll cherish forever. We booked a Photoshoot with Maria during our 2 days in Porto, and couldn’t recommend her enough! 

Tile Painting Workshop 

Beautiful tiles, or azulejos, are found across Portugal on monuments and houses. The word azulejo means polished stone in Arabic. Now is your chance to channel your inner artist and paint your own at this tile painting workshop! 

Learn about the history of these Portuguese tiles and keep your creative juices flowing as you paint your own tiles! In this tile workshop, an artist will teach you painting techniques that have been used on tiles by Portuguese artists for decades. 

Porto Itinerary Day 2 

Start your Day on a Food Tour 

Taste Porto

Skip the tourist traps and eat like a local.  Porto’s best and longest running food tour is Taste PortoIf you only have time for one recommendation in this 2-Day Porto Itinerary, take the Vintage and Port Wine Food Tour with Taste Porto

Your 3.5 hour foodie adventure on the Vintage and Port Wine Food Tour includes 14 different sweet and savory bites, 7 sips, and stops to 5 family-run tasting locations. All tour guides at Taste Porto are locals who are experts when it comes to the wine and food scene in Porto. 

The Vintage Port and Wine Food Tour is the best option for first-time visitors to Porto! On this tour, you sample Porto’s signature dishes that make this region a culinary destination. The Vintage Port and Wine Food Tour is €79 for adults and €45 for children 13 and younger.

Every stop on the tour is unique and off the beaten path. A few of my favorite stops were sampling local cheeses, meats, and wine at Mercearia do Bolhão and the spicy pork sandwich, called Bifana, at Taxca

On this tour you’ll visit Mercado do Bolhão, the most popular food market in Porto, to sample more delicious bites. The market dates back to 1839, and it’s where you’ll find fresh produce, meat, fish and flowers.

Reserve your spot on the Vintage and Port Wine Food Tour with Taste Porto here

Visit the Porto Cathedral 

Porto Cathedral

The Porto Cathedral was my biggest surprise in Porto – in the best way! The interior is covered with beautiful blue azulejos, and the views from the tower are gorgeous! 

The Porto Cathedral (known as the Sé) was originally built between the 12th and 13th centuries and  is located in the oldest neighborhood in Porto.

 The cathedral is unique because its design incorporates several different architectural styles: romantic, gothic and baroque style. It’s incredible to visit the cathedral and see the unique blend of all these different styles coming together to create the final product. 

Currently the ticket to Porto’s Cathedral costs 3€ – that includes a visit to the church itself, the cloisters, the museum and the tower. 

Do not skip visiting the Porto Cathedral because it really represents the spirit and soul of Porto.

Stroll along the Dom Luís I Bridge

Dom Luís I Bridge

This stunning iron bridge straddles the Douro River, and connects Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia.If you don’t already go to the Dom Luís I Bridge bridge on your walking tour, be sure to visit it because it deserves a stop!

The Dom Luís I Bridge is famous in Porto because it was designed by a student of Gustave Eiffel, the engineer behind the Eiffel Tower in Paris.The 19th century engineering is truly one of a kind, and the views of Porto from the bridge are fantastic.

Popover Tip: From the Porto side, right before you walk on the bridge, there is a charming store you must visit! The store is called Adoramus, and it sells cookies, liqueurs, and other crafts made by nuns and monks from nearby monasteries. The owner of Adoramus, Filipe, is incredibly kind! He even let us sample a few of the homemade cookies before we purchased them!

Visit the São Bento Railway Station

São Bento train station

The São Bento Railway Station is arguably one of the most beautiful train stations in Europe – if not the world. Portuguese painter Jorge Colaço took inspiration from Portuguese history when he painted the tiles on the São Bento Railway Station.  

The train station has over 20,000 tin-glazed hand painted blue tiles that depict scenes in Portuguese history. It took  Jorge Colaço  over 10 years (between 1905 and 1916) to complete the mural.

Popover Tip: The best time to visit the São Bento Railway Station for less crowds is the morning. In the afternoon, it becomes more popular with tour groups.

Taste Porto’s Best Ice Cream

Our Taste Porto food tour guide raved about the ice cream from Gelataria Portuense so we knew we had to give it a try! His recommendation couldn’t have been more spot on because this ice cream was DELICIOUS

Gelateria Portuense

Gelateria Portuense has homemade flavors inspired from around the world. My favorite flavors were their stracciatella flavored with orange zest and a tawny port wine flavor! They’ll allow you to sample a few different flavors before you make your final decision!

Visit Bookstore Livraria Lello

livraria lello bookstore porto

Livraria Lello tops the list as one of the world’s oldest and most beautiful bookstores in the world.  Livraria Lello was opened by two brothers in 1906. Its Gothic interior and art deco staircase beauty quickly captured the hearts of everyone who stepped through its doors. 

The magnificent red staircase immediately catches your eye, and your gaze drifts up to the stained glass ceiling. The brightly colored stained glass ceiling reads “Decus in Labore”, which means “Dignity in Work”. 

However, if you’ve envisioned yourself having a relaxing day exploring Livraria Lello browsing the aisles – think otherwise. Livraria Lello has grown in massive popularity and welcomes over 4,000 visitors a day – and the store isn’t very large. 

Part of Livraria Lello’s popularity is due to the rumored connection it had for inspiring J.K. Rowling when she was living in Porto. J.K. Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter Series. 

J.K. Rowling has denied the connection, but one look at the bookstore you’ll second guess that answer. The grand floating staircase is almost identical to Hogwarts, and the depiction of Livraria Lello resembles the bookstore in the series, Flourish and Blotts.  

Best time of day to visit Livraria Lello?

The best time to visit Livraria Lello may not be what you think! Most sources will tell you to buy the first ticket right when they open at 9:30 a.m. – but they’re wrong! Even at 9:30 a.m., Livraria Lello will have a mad rush of visitors as soon as doors open.

Believe it or not, the best time to reserve  your entrance ticket is right before the store closes at 6:30 p.m. Purchasing the latest ticket will allow you to “browse” until the store closes at 7:00 p.m. 

Popover Tip: Before the store closes, I recommend you continue to browse and not get in line until the very last guest purchases their book. The shop will almost be completely empty and your pictures crowd free. 
How to skip the lines at Livraria Lello

In order to enter Livaria Lello, all visitors must have purchased a ticket online in advance. You can purchase a 5 or 15.90€ ticket online in advance that goes towards the purchase of a book. The book you select (that’s included in the cost of your ticket) also makes a great souvenir. 

The only ticket you should purchase is the 15.90€ “Romeo and Juliet” ticket that grants you priority access to skip the line. Walk right up to the front of the store and show the guard your voucher (printed or digital is fine) to be let inside. 

Can I change my Livraria Lello Tickets? 

Yes! I was surprised how easy it was to modify tickets for a different entrance date and time on Livaria Lello’s website.

Is Livraria Lello worth visiting? 

Yes! Livaria Lello is definitely worth visiting! The important thing is to plan ahead and be strategic about your visit. However, if you don’t like crowds, then I would not recommend visiting.

Have an Iconic Dish in Porto for Dinner 

francesinha porto

Daniel David de Silva, a returned French emigrant, tried to incorporate the croque monsieur to the Portuguese palate when he moved to Porto. What began as a croque monsieur evolved into the iconic Porto sandwich – a francesinha! 

A francesinha is a large heavy sandwich filled with layers of beef steak, cured meat, fresh sausages, topped with cheese, covered with a spicy sauce, and surrounded by French fries.

We were looking to try the best francesinha in Porto, and our Taste of Porto tour guide immediately recommended Gazela. This no-frills restaurant feels more like a diner! Expect a delicious, casual, and cheap dinner here! 

The francesinha was delicious and was made in the classic way. Everything at Gazela pairs well with Portugal’s signature beer – Super Brock.  If the tables are full, have a seat at the counter!

More Ideas for your 2 Day in Porto Itinerary – Day 2

Port Wine Tasting 

Gaia in Porto

Portugal is the birthplace of port wine. If you don’t have time to visit the Douro Valley on your trip, you’ll find plenty of port wine tasting rooms to visit! 

A common misconception is the port wine tasting rooms are in Porto! However, they’re actually across the Douro River from Porto in a city called Vila Nova de Gaia, or “Gaia” for short. 

The reason the port wines are aged in Gaia is due to an interesting story of religion and politics.

 In the 13th century, the church was the only institution to benefit from taxes on trade in Porto. The King then gave authorization to port wine makers to escape this tax by moving across the river to Gaia instead! 

Therefore, don’t be fooled if you hear that the reason the port wine ages in Gaia, and not in the Douro Valley, is because of the climate in Gaia.

For the best port wine tasting tour, I recommend booking this one that visits three different cellars in Gaia! 

Climb to the Top of the Clérigos Tower

The Clérigos Tower is an iconic baroque style Church that’s become a symbol of Porto.

If you want to climb to the top of the tower, it’s over 200 stairs and will take you around 30 minutes. However, I recommend skipping the climb because you’ll find better views of Porto at the Porto Cathedral. 

Popover Tip: There are several beautiful parks with shaded trees and cafés near the Clérigos Tower. Skip the climb to the top and  relax and enjoy the view of the tower at a nearby park. 

Take a Portuguese Cooking Class

If you love to learn about new cultures through food, take this Portuguese cooking class! In this specific cooking class, you’ll visit a local market before you prepare your multi-course meal! 

A cooking class is the perfect activity to learn about Portugal in an immersive hands-on way!

During your market visit, you’ll meet local vendors and shop for ingredients you’ll use in your recipes. You’ll make traditional croquettes, a cod dish, and a cream pastry for dessert. 

When you’re homesick for Portugal, you can bring back the memories by making these dishes in your own kitchen! 

When to Visit Porto 

Porto Portugal View

The best time to visit Porto for great weather and less crowds is April/May or late September/October. We did this 2 days in Porto itinerary during the first week of April, and the only place that felt crowded was the Livaria Lello bookstore (I’ll share more tips on visiting Livaria Lello later!). 

If you’re planning your Porto trip for a different month, here’s what you can expect: 

November – February: This is the low season for tourism! November – February is a great time to save money on hotels and airfare. High temperatures tend to hover between 50°F – 60°F with lows only dipping into 40°F. November and December are the rainiest months.

March – May: Temperatures warm up, flowers are blooming, and the crowds are still moderate! Spring is my favorite season to visit Porto. 

June – August: Summer has the warmest temperatures which brings the crowds to Porto. July and August are the hottest months with the least amount of rain. 

Nevertheless, June is the best time to visit Porto because of all the festivals! Festas Santos Populares (Popular Saints Festival) events start on the 13th and last for 9 days! During this time, the city is filled with street parties, delicious food, traditional music and dancing. 

September – October: Fall sees less tourists, and the weather is still great! Plan for the crowds to reduce around the end of September. Fall is also the best time to visit the Douro Valley for harvest season.

How to get to Porto 

By Plane: Porto is served by the Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO). You’ll find the most nonstop flights to Porto from Lisbon on TAP Portugal. Several low-cost carriers from major cities within Europe (easyJet, Ryanair) fly into Porto. 

By Train: You can opt to take a high-speed train, the Alfa Pendular, from Lisbon to Porto that’s around just under 3 hours! 

By Car: Driving from Lisbon to Porto is scenic and takes around 3 hours. If you have extra time on your drive the towns of Obidos, Fatima, Tomar or Coimbra are beautiful  cities to stop in along the way! 

Getting Around in Porto 

Porto is compact enough where you can easily walk the main highlights of the city center in a day. However, don’t let that fool you because the city is known for being very hilly! Bring comfortable walking shoes and allocate extra time between landmarks!

Porto Portugal Viewpoint

Do you need a car to get around Porto Portugal?

You do not need a car in Porto! The city is very walkable, and there are plenty of taxis available if you need a car. However, if you plan on taking taxis, bring cash. 

Do Porto have Uber? 

Yes, Uber is in Porto! However, depending where you are, it might be faster to hail a cab. 

How to get from the airport to Porto’s city center?

The easiest and fastest way from the airport to the city center is to take a taxi/Uber. Plan for your trip by car to be anywhere from €20 to €30. Alternatively, you can take the metro from the airport to the city center for just €2! By car it’s around a 15 minute drive, and by metro it’s roughly 30 minutes.

Tipping Etiquette in Porto 

Tips are not included as part of the bill. If you’re paying by credit card, there usually isn’t a way to add in a tip.  If you want to leave a tip, it’s best to leave cash on the table. For exceptional service, 10% is a perfect tip. 

Where To Stay For 2 Days In Porto

Porto is a gorgeous city with breathtaking views! Therefore, I recommend choosing a hotel that has a view to appreciate the beauty of Porto. 

Na Travessa Suites

na travessa suites

I adored our stay at Na Travessa Suites! With only 8 rooms, you have a cozy bed and breakfast feel in the heart of Porto! Without a doubt, if you appreciate a boutique hotel experience, Na Travessa Suites is for you! 

The location of Na Travessa Suites is fantastic! You’re less than a 5-minute walk to the São Bento Station, and a 10-minute walk to the Clérigos Tower. 

The balcony views from the “Superior Plus Room” are incredible overlooking the Clérigos Tower and the Porto Cathedral! The room has modern updated amenities with fast WiFI. When booking your room at Na Travessa Suites, the Superior Plus Room is the room to book! 

A delicious homemade breakfast is included with your stay. Breakfast includes local cheeses, jams, fresh fruit, and homemade pastries. Fresh eggs and coffee also await you! The fresh squeezed orange juice with oranges from the algarve region of Portugal was fantastic.  

Mariana, the owner, is so welcoming and kind. She makes you feel like you’re visiting the home of a close friend, as opposed to staying in a hotel. 

Reserve your room at Na Travessa Suites here!  

The Yeatman Hotel

Any local will tell you that the best views of Porto are across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia, or Gaia for short. If you’re staying at the Yeatman Hotel, you won’t have any trouble crossing the river for this beautiful hotel.

The Yeatman Hotel is arguably, one of the best hotels in Porto, thanks to its panoramic views of the river and incredible sunsets. Wine lovers will appreciate being steps away from the best port wine tasting rooms in Gaia – not to mention the pool that’s in the shape of  a decanter! 

Pestana Vintage Porto & World Heritage Site

The Douro River is an iconic landmark of Porto – imagine waking up to it everyday! The Pestana Vintage Porto & World Heritage Site hotel has stunning views of the Douro River, the Gaia Cellars, and Dom Luís Bridge. 

Are 2 days in Porto enough?

Porto can easily be explored in 2 full days! With this Porto 2-day itinerary, I’m giving you everything you need to experience a little history, culture, and the best food in Porto. 

With 2 days in Porto, I recommend carving out extra days to visit the Douro Valley after for wine tasting. The Douro Valley is more than wine tasting, it’s an immersive introduction to Portuguese viniculture. 

Is it possible to spend one day in Porto?

With proper planning, you can visit the highlights of Porto in one busy day. Porto is a small city, and most of the top sites are located within the historic city center, which makes it easy to get from place to place. 

However, if you’re coming from Lisbon, I do not recommend only spending one day in Porto. Lisbon is a 3-hour train ride to Porto. Even if you leave early in the morning, over six hours of your day will be spent traveling.

 

Best Tours in Porto – A Recap! 

​​ Below are tours in Porto that I recommend making a reservation in advance, plus the links to make your planning a little bit easier. 

Porto 2 Day Itinerary – A Map! 

To help you navigate, I created a map with all the best things to do, eat, and stay in this Porto 2 day itinerary! You can use it during your trip – you only need internet access.

Final Thoughts: Porto 2 Day Itinerary

No matter what you choose to do in Porto, you’ll leave with an appreciation of the city’s architecture, beautiful photos and a bottle or two of its best port. Porto truly captures your heart like no other place, and you’ll find yourself longing to return. 

Read More About the Best Places to Visit in Europe!

 

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Porto 2 Day Itinerary

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32 Comments

  1. Great suggestions! So much of the architecture in Porto is so beautiful and I would love to see it all, especially the cathedral and Livraria Lello bookstore. The tile painting workshop is a fun idea, too.

  2. Such a stunning town. From the architecture to the food… it looks like an amazing trip. I’ve been wanting to see more UNESCO World Heritage sites. Adding this to the list. Thanks!

  3. Loved this post! I’m planning a trip to Porto for next April so this post came in handy. I’ll be doing a food tour and a cruise for sure!

  4. I drove through Porto too quickly. Your list is so long that I think I would spend way more than 2 days.

  5. I love Porto and try to visit every year! Bolds is gorgeous and always up for a good Francesinha! Thanks for the great itinerary.

  6. This is literally everything you need to know about Porto! I definitely will go some day and refer to this guide.

  7. Ah, this is a great itinerary! I’ve been to Portugal twice but yet to make it to Porto. Hoping to head there within the next year. Saving this for my trip.

  8. Your photos are stunning!! What an amazing trip. Portugal is definitely on my bucket list of places to visit. A boat cruise there would be incredible!

  9. I would love to try port wine. I have never had it before, and I heard it is amazing! I love all the colorful architecture in Porto. That blue and white wall is so “Instagrammable,” haha. Thanks for sharing this comprehensive guide!

  10. We didn’t have enough time to visit Porto when we were in Portugal in February but I want to focus on Porto and the Duro Valley next time. This is such a comprehensive guide, it will make a great resource. I definitely want to visit the bookstore so good tips there.

  11. I visited Lisbon for the first time this year but didn’t make it to Porto despite it being top of my list! This was such a GREAT and helpful guide, I’ve saved it for my future planning because I’m dyinggg to visit Porto.

  12. I love food, wine, AND I am a bit of a history nerd! Definitely need to get going to Porto – what an incredible place!

  13. This info is amazing and very thorough. We were in Porto in 2019 and did all of these things you mentioned. It was like I was reliving every moment. 😊 Thank you.

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