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Plan Your Trip to Porto: Best of Porto Tourism

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Porto, Portugal

Portugal’s second-largest city, and the one that gave the country (and port wine) its name, Porto is the perfect blend of classic vibes and modern energy. First off, it's a fantastic walking city. Stroll the winding cobblestone streets and take in 18th-century townhouses alongside chic shops, restaurants, and design-forward boutique hotels. And be sure to check out the port wine cellars across the Douro River at Vila Nova de Gaia. Porto's also a hotspot for contemporary art, from the Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Serralves (a modern art mecca) to the galleries on Rua Miguel Bombarda. But to deep dive on the city’s history, head to its old town—the vibrant Ribeira district. A UNESCO World heritage site, it shows centuries-old architecture (its 14th-century São Francisco church is a main attraction) against a backdrop of some fantastic views of the Douro River. There's a lot more to see and we've got all your recs below.

Travel Advice

Essential Porto

How to do Porto in 3 days

Art galleries, trendy restaurants, and tile-colored landmarks
Read on

7 best day trips from Porto

An underrated creative city, Porto is the perfect home base for exploring northern Portugal. On my first trip, I took a Viking cruise up the Douro River, but I couldn’t resist returning to see the area’s other surprising sights. From ancient castles and regal palaces to rugged national parks and picturesque vineyards, here are my favorite detours from Porto.
  • Casa de Mateus
    1,079
    The 18th-century Casa de Mateus is a baroque treasure, designed by Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni. Inside, you’ll discover carved chestnut ceilings, antiques, period paintings, and a handsome library with a rare edition of the Portuguese epic, Os Lusíadas. The estate is equally stunning, with a reflecting pool, a chapel full of religious relics from the Vatican, and immaculate gardens of boxwood hedges, rose bushes, and cypress tunnels. Tip: Have your camera ready for the scenic hour-long journey there.
  • Peneda-Geres National Park
    111
    Drive 90 minutes northwest to Peneda-Gerês, Portugal’s only national park, which spills into Spain. Here, rivers cross oak-and-pine forests, granite mountains, and verdant valleys, where roe deer (the park’s mascot), wild Garrano ponies, and Iberian wolves roam. My favorite hike is the Geira Roman road, featuring 2,000-year-old ruins, medieval bridges, waterfalls, and crystal-clear lagoons. On other trails, you’ll find castles (once occupied by the Spanish, Moors, and Portuguese), monasteries, megalithic dolmens, and espigueiros (stone granaries on stilts).
  • Università Di Coimbra
    3,586
    Follow the Atlantic Coast 90 minutes south to the University of Coimbra, a UNESCO site overlooking Mondego River. Founded in 1290, it’s one of the world’s earliest academic institutions, where classes are dismissed by the bells in a 17th-century tower. Look familiar? Students shrouded in black cloaks seem like they’ve popped straight out of Harry Potter’s pages. Don’t miss the colorful ceilings in Capela de São Miguel and the gold-leaf bookshelves in Biblioteca Joanina.
  • Bom Jesus Do Monte
    94
    An hour's train away, Braga is a popular pilgrimage site. It’s home to the country’s oldest cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace (bordering the colorful Santa Barbara Garden), and the crown jewel: Bom Jesus do Monte. This neoclassical church sits atop a dramatic baroque stairway that zigzags 17 flights (about 580 steps) up the slopes of Mount Espinho. There’s also a funicular to make it more accessible. Tip: Stay until dusk to see it light up.

Porto Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips or experiencing Porto

lasersailor_8

Best of all was the full day boat trip up the Douro to Pinhao, this is a must for all visitors to Porto. A visit by bus to Braga with its fountains and to see 'Bom Jesus' cathedral, take the funicula if you want to save yourself a lot of walking as there is plenty of that once at the top. In Braga I had the best Francesinha ever, you visit Braga then you must have one of these.

cara f

Eating is one of the best parts of being in Porto so don't fill up at the first place you come to — learn to graze! Remember: The little appetizers that are brought to your table when you sit down are not free — if you are not interested don't touch them or ask your server to take them away.

Andre Parente

There are lots of nice guesthouses in Porto, operating within converted traditional houses. If you fancy a genuine local feeling, stay in one of these instead of a conventional hotel.

GIOVANNI R

One could wander around for days without ever getting bored. Not to mention the fabulous eating and drinking places at very reasonable prices, the local wines and, of course, the Port wine. The local people are extremely friendly and willing to help.

Andre Parente

Porto is a vibrant city of picturesque streets, grey buildings, honest smiles, and a romantic aura. In three days it’s possible to visit and see its main and most obvious attractions, not only in the historic center, which is listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO, but also some of the more modern neighborhoods.

cara f

Porto is, to many, the most romantic city in Portugal. The river Douro, endless ancient churches, lovely green spaces, elegant eateries, quirky landmarks, and the inescapable seduction of Port wine all come together in one easy-to-love town.

What is the best way to get there?

flying

The city is served by Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (Porto International Airport).

train

Porto has two train stations: the ornately decorated Sao Bento station for local trains and Campanha station, from which trains to the rest of the country and other European destinations depart.

Do I need a visa?

If you’re visiting from overseas, see if you need a visa using the following website.

When is the best time to visit?

Porto generally experiences a moderate climate that provides optimum conditions for exploring the city on foot. The best months to visit are May, June and September, when skies are typically dry and blue, and the crowds associated with summer are less-concentrated. Expect average daily temperatures those times of year to be highs around 74° F (23° C) and lows of 58° F (14° C).

For more information on Porto’s weather and when to go, check out some tips here.

Get around

metro

Porto’s metro features six lines that run from around 6 a.m. until 1 a.m. There are more than 80 metro lines throughout the city, which are marked with large blue letter Ms.

See timetables here.

bus

Throughout Porto and the surrounding regions of Vila Nova de Gaia and Vila do Conde, you’ll find more than 75 STNP bus routes. Porto Cards and Andante can be topped up with cash and purchased at most bus stops.

tram and funicular

There are three tram routes in Porto; Line 1, 18, and 22. Line 1 runs along the west coast and the Douro River, making for a truly scenic journey. There’s also a single track funicular that runs from Porto’s Ribeira area to Batalha Square.

On the ground

What is the timezone?

Western European Standard Time (GMT).

What are the voltage/plug types?

The standard voltage in France is 230V and the standard frequency is 50Hz. The standard voltage in Porto is 230V and the standard frequency is 50Hz. There are two associated plug types: type C, with two round pins, and type F, which has two round pins with two earth clips on the side.

What is the currency?

Euro (EUR).

Are ATMs readily accessible?

Yes.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Yes.

Is it easy to find a bank?

Yes.

How much do I tip?

Tipping isn’t customary in Porto and service isn’t generally added to the bill at restaurants and bars. However, if you’ve had particularly good service then a tip is always appreciated.

Are there local customs I should know?

Drinking

The federal legal age for buying and drinking alcohol is 18 years old.

Try to speak the language

Learn a few basic phrases as a sign of respect. Locals will often switch to English for your ease and comfort but they appreciate the effort.

Public Transport

Allow others to disembark before boarding, don’t take up more than one seat, and stand to offer seating to pregnant women or someone with a disability.

Frequently Asked Questions about Porto


Some of the most popular restaurants in Porto include:

Porto is known for some of its popular attractions, which include:


If you're a more budget-conscious traveler, then you may want to consider traveling to Porto between September and November, when hotel prices are generally the lowest. Peak hotel prices generally start between March and May.