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 short Porto city break, this two day Porto itinerary ensures you see the best of one of Portugal’s most beautiful cities, even if you only have 48 hrs.
2 Days in Porto Itinerary
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.
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.
After sunrise, breakfast is in order. Typically, the Portuguese don’t have a large breakfast; usually, a coffee with toast, a pastry, or something similar. So, don’t expect to find too many full English breakfasts on offer at that hour.
Head back over the bridge, where you will find many 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.
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.
Take the time to explore the neighbourhood and stroll in the narrow streets. Head to the Praça Ribeira for the famous kaleidoscope of facades.
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)
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.
Porto is renowned 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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: Peak season isn’t always the best time to visit Europe. Read our guide on the Best Time to Visit Europe based on where you want to visit and experience.
Capela do Senhor da Pedra
We recommend another sunrise start for this one, but it is 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.
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 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.
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 marketplace 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.
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, the entrance is free so take time to look inside.
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.
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.
Go Back in Time at the Tram Museum
From the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal, walk back to the bank of the Douro river (a 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 and historic cars maintained in working order for use around the city.
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 two 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 famous 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.
About the Author
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.