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2 Days in Porto Itinerary

One of the best cities in Portugal, there is so much to do in Porto.

We covered all the great things to do in Porto in this guide, but not everyone has unlimited time in Portugal’s second-largest city.

Whether it’s a cheeky weekend in Porto or a snappy Porto city break, this 2 day Porto itinerary ensures you see the best of Porto even if you only have 48 hrs.

 

giant blue letters spelling Porto in the city of Porto Portugal

2 Days in Porto Itinerary

Day 1

Sunrise from the Dom Luís I Bridge

Porto is called the City of Bridges for a reason, and the Dom Luís I Bridge is probably the most famous of the cities six bridges. An architectural marvel and worth visiting any time of day, sunrise presents a unique outlook on the Douro and Porto.

Sunrise over the Douro and Porto old town with the Dom Luis I bridge in the foreground.

While the view from the bridge itself is stunning, consider some different vantage points for some unique sunrise photos. 

Dom Luís I Bridge best views:

  • On the bridge itself looking down the Douro across Ribeira
  • On top of the Lift Lada Ribeira for a great view of the bridge
  • From the Miradouro da Serra do Pilar for the best view of Porto and the Douro with the bridge in the foreground and the Ribeira square in the background

If the thought of sunrise is too much, sunset from the Dom Luís I Bridge is just as beautiful. 

Breakfast

After sunrise, breakfast is in order. Typically, Portuguese don’t have a large breakfast; usually, a coffee with toast or a pastry or something similar. So, don’t expect to find too may full English breakfasts on offer at that hour.

Head back over the bridge where you will find lots of cafes and bakeries doing the morning trade.  If you can wait until a little later in the morning, cafe’s such as Miss Pavlova, only 15 minutes from the bridge, has a good breakfast/brunch offering including a heart big breakfast with the lot. 

Restaurants line the waterfront in Ribeira Porto

Explore the Ribeira Neighborhood

After breakfast, explore one of the most famous areas of Porto, the Ribeira neighbourhood. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ribeira is renowned for its colourful houses & facades.

Washing hanging from the windows in the narrow streets of Ribeira in Porto

Take the time to explore the neighbourhood and stroll in the narrow streets. Head to the Praça Ribeira for the famous kaleidoscope of facades.

The colourful houses in Praça Ribeira Porto. A place that is easy to see in 2 days in Porto

Visit the Palácio de Bolsa

Porto is full of beautiful monuments but none more impressive than Palácio de Bolsa (the Stock Exchange building). 

Take a tour of the Palácio de Bolsa, a grand Moorish inspired building that will most definitely take your breath away with its impressive rooms. The Arab Room, the most impressive in the building, took its inspiration from Spain’s Alhambra. 

Tours take 45 minutes, and the first arrival determines the language of the tour – so be early. Open from 9.00 AM. Entry is €10 (50% off with Porto Card)

The shimmering golden Arab Room at the Palacio de Bolsa, the Porto Stock Exchange.

Enjoy the View From the Miradouro da Vitoria

Finish your morning with a sweeping view of Porto. After visiting the Palácio de Bolsa, walk 5 minutes north, away from the river towards the Miradouro da Vitoria. The elevated viewpoint offers views over the city and the Douro river to give you a good appreciation of the old city. 

Rooftops across Miradouro da Vitoria over Porto

Lunch

Porto is renown for its food and its hills. So it’s not hard to work up an appetite.  Search out one of the many traditional restaurants in Porto to try some typical Portuguese cuisine. Keep an eye out for signs with a “Prato do Dia” out the front.

The daily menu is usually a very good value way to eat good quality Portuguese food. Although, if you only have a short time in Porto, you should try Porto’s signature dish, the Francesinha. This Croque Monsieur on steroids has been aptly dubbed “The Layer Cake of Meat”.

Not all Francesinha’s are created equal, so choose wisely. Make sure you are wearing stretchy pants and have an afternoon of walking planned. 

Francesinha is a sandwich typical to Porto. For lunch during your 2 days in Porto itinerary

Visit the Porto Cathedral

No visit to Porto would be complete without visiting its cathedral: the Sé do Porto. Take the time to visit inside the cathedral (free entrance), and to visit the cloister for 3€ (well worth it).

Stone walls and dual staircase at the entrance to the Porto Cathedral

Discover the São Bento Railway Station

If you didn’t arrive in Porto by train, São Bento Railway Station is a must-see in Porto. The station is famous for the beautiful decoration you’ll find inside: no less than 20,000 ceramic tiles creating intricate representations of Porto’s history.

The interior of Sao bento Railway station with the famous blue painted tiles.

Porto Airport Transfer Tip

If arriving in Porto by plane instead of by train from Lisbon, pre-book a shared transfer from the airport to the city centre or your accommodation from as little as €10 ( taxi will cost approx. €20–€30). Find out more here

Take the Views From the Torre dos Clérigos

A 5-minute walk from São Bento station is the Torre dos Clérigos. The tower is one of the most prominent landmarks in Porto, and at 76-meter high, it’s the tallest bell tower in Portugal.

Visit the Clérigos Museum, the church, and then go up the 240 steps to the top of the tower, where you’ll see the 49 bells, as well as a fantastic view of Porto.

The Torre dos Clérigos on the skyline of Porto with classic colourful buildings framed to the right.

Browse the Famous Livraria Lello

You’ve probably heard of the Livraria Lello (or at least seen pictures). The bookstore with the iconic red staircase that allegedly inspired JK Rowling’s Harry Potter stories.

Thanks to the vague Harry Potter association and its Insta worthy stairs, Livraria Lello draws a crowd all year round. During the day, long queues are inevitable but visit as late in the day as you can – 1 hr – 45 minutes before the 7.00 PM closing, and you have a better chance of browsing in the beautiful bookstore without the crowds. 

Harry Potters magical staircase at the Livraria Lello Porto.

End the Day with a Fado Show with Port Wine

To end your first day in Porto, immerse yourself in Portuguese culture with a Fado Show, with a complimentary glass of Port wine before dinner. Shows start from 6.00 PM and cost €15 pp.  

Plan Your Trip to Europe

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Day 2

Capela do Senhor da Pedra

We recommend another sunrise start for this one but still beautiful even if it is as early as you can muster. For your second morning in Porto, head south, a little out of the city.

Capela do Senhor da Pedra is a chapel built on rocks on the sea. A beautiful place to enjoy the sunrise or even just a morning on the beach.

Capela do Senhor da Pedra amongst the waves and red skies.

Maybe even sneak a picnic breakfast from the hotel to enjoy on the beach as the sun comes up. 

Capela do Senhor da Pedra is a 20-minute drive from the centre of Porto. If you don’t have a car, take the train Linha de Aveiro to Miramar (approx. 40 minutes)

Visit the Beautiful Alentejo Region

Discover some of Portugal's most beautiful and historic regions starting in Evora, the capital of the Alentejo.

Visit the Igreja de Santa Clara

After a morning at the beach, head back to the city to visit the Igreja de Santa Clara, a National Monument built in 1457.

One of those unassuming finds in Porto, what Igreja Santa Clara lacks on the exterior, the church makes up for in spades inside. The Baroque interior is as fascinating as the order of nuns behind the church. 

Exterior stone work of Igreja de Santa Clara in Porto

Lunch

Looking for somewhere easy and relaxed to enjoy lunch with a great atmosphere? Head downhill to the Mercado Municipal da Beira Rio in the Vila Nova de Gaia port wine district.

The historical market place has been revamped with chef centric food stalls where you’ll find several fresh food stalls where you can try all kinds of Portuguese dishes. 

The Mercado Municipal da Beira Rio is a great spot for lunch if you are spending 2 days in Porto

Check Out the Azulejo Tiles at the Church of Saint Ildefonso

Head back into town to see Igreja de Santo Ildefonso, a beautiful baroque church built-in 1739. The twin-towered Baroque church stands alone on Praça da Batalha but rarely fails to turn heads.

The facade boasts over 11,000 Azulejo tiles by the same artist responsible for the stunning work on Sao Bento Station. The church took more than 30 years to build. While the facade is the churches main feature, entrance is free so take time to look inside. 

Blue tiled exterior of one of Porto's most popular attractions, Church of Saint Ildefonso in Porto.

Igreja do Carmo

Haven’t seen enough of Portugal’s famous tiles yet? Possibly the most photographed church in Portugal, the Igreja do Carmo has the most renowned tiled-facade in Porto.

Look closely, and you will realise, Igreja do Carmo is not one, but two churches. The one on the left is the Church of the Carmelites. Look even closer, and you will see a tiny house is wedged between the two ensuring the churches do not share a common wall — an obscure law from back in the day. 

The famous blue tiles of Igreja do Carmo.

Enjoy Nature at the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal

Spend the afternoon at Porto’s largest and most popular park; Jardins do Palácio de Cristal. Wander the mosaic of landscaped gardens and enjoy views over the Douro river and the Ponte da Arrábida.

Porto from Jardins do Palacio de Cristal a must see on a 2 day Porto itinerary

Go Back in History at the Tram Museum

From the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal, walk back to the bank of the Douro river (15-minute walk), to the Tram Museum.
The museum is a tribute to Porto’s transport history.

The museum has an extensive collection of historic trams dating back to the first horse-drawn cars as well as historic cars maintained in working order for use around the city. 

The old trams of Porto are part of the cities charm.

Sunset from Vila Nova da Gaia

Jump on a tram and head back to town to Vila Nova da Gaia. The area along the waterfront offers not only beautiful views of the sun setting over Ribeira and the Douro, but is also home to over 50 port wine cellars.

Finish your 2 days in Porto, enjoying the drink that took Porto to the world as the sun sets on one of Portugal’s most beautiful cities. 

Enjoy a Port Wine Tasting

Enjoy a port wine tasting and guided tour of the Cálem caves, one of Porto’s most historic and popular wineries. Learn everything you need to know about Port Wine, from grape to the glass, in a guided tour that includes an interactive museum tour and a wine tasting for as little as €13 pp. Get full tasting and tour details here

Old town of Ribeira in Porto with the glow of the sun setting over the river

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About the Author

Kevin Mercier
 
Kevin is a French photographer living in Paris, and the founder of the travel blog Kevmrc.com. He travels the world without too many expectations, finding the beauty in everything he discovers.
He loves photography, and one of his biggest joys is inspiring people to travel to a location through the pictures he shares. If you want to discover more destinations through Kevin’s beautiful photography, read more on his blog. 
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