10 Things to Do in Porto in 2 or 3 Days

Let’s discover things to do in Porto in 2 or 3 days, 10 spectacular places of this important port city on the Douro River, a few kilometers from the mouth of the river into the Atlantic Ocean.

Famous for its sweet wines, its colorful tiled buildings and its spectacular ribeira for walking. It is worth spending a couple of days to see all the sights to see in Porto, and in case you have more time, it is an ideal starting point to visit some other towns in the north of Portugal.

📷 If you have several days to visit Porto, we recommend that you take a tour of the Douro region.

Most of the streets in Porto are cobblestone and there are prominent and tiring ups and downs. The good news is that it has a good metro and streetcar system to bridge distances, and some funicular to save heights. They have tried to make it comfortable for tourists.

Our favorite area to tour Porto was along the Douro River, which divides the city into two parts: the north bank where the city center is located and the south bank where Vila Nova de Gaia is located. The river flows into the Atlantic Ocean just a couple of kilometers from there.

The old town also has its charm. It is an area of residential houses on the upper floors and stores on the ground floor that have an aspect of neglect and neglect, which at times it is not known if it is inhabited or not, but with the great suspicion that it is all in abandonment.

Porto Portugal

Things to do in Porto in 2 or 3 days – updated 2023

If you are traveling to Oporto, you should know that there are free tours in Spanish that you can take. It is one of the best ways to tour the city.

📷 Book your free tour of Porto in English here.

📷 Also consider getting the Porto Card, with free admission to various tourist attractions and transportation, as well as discounts..

1. Douro River, the river banks on both sides, the Luis I Bridge and the spectacular viewpoints.

Dividing two large cities and flowing directly into the Atlantic, the Douro River meanders along. It is the must-see of Oporto and Vila Nova de Gaia: walk along the banks of both cities, cross the mythical Luis I Bridge and for more beauty, see all its splendor from one of the viewpoints (the best, in our opinion, are from Gaia).

So, to get a better location, the north bank of the river is where the historic center of Porto is and the south bank is where Vila Nova da Gaia and the wineries are.

📷 Book here the cruise of the six bridges, sailing along the Douro River from the Arrábida Bridge to the Freixo Bridge.. A must to do in Oporto.

a) North Rivera

On the north shore there are any number of restaurants and bars where you can sit and enjoy the tourist and Portuguese life, because right there, if you look up, you can find colorful buildings with clothes hanging where the locals live. The photogenic Plaza de la Rivera is the nerve center of this movement. From there, you can see the beautiful Luis I Bridge, which you can cross up or down to Vila Nova de Gaia. Undoubtedly, one of the most popular places to do in Oporto.


b) Luis I Bridge

The Luis I Bridge dates back to 1886 and is one of the emblems of Porto. There are two ways to cross it, because it has two trays or two paths, one above the other. From above, coming from the Sé Cathedral or from the São Bento Station, or from below, if one comes walking along the river. Pedestrians can cross it at either place, but only the electric streetcar crosses at the top and cars and buses at the bottom.

On a hot day like ours, teenagers can be seen walking along the “railings” of the bridge and jumping into the river before the astonished gaze and cameras of tourists.

It is also worth a visit at night: breathtaking! Undoubtedly one of the musts to see in Porto.


c) Vila Nova de Gaia Viewpoints

Crossing the Luis I Bridge from above, you reach the upper part of Vila Nova de Gaia from where you have access to the cable car that can take you down to the cellars area and also to the viewpoint of the Serra do Pilar Church and Monastery, dating back to the 16th century and having served for several centuries, between 1828 and 1834 it was occupied by the liberals during the Portuguese Civil War, leaving it in abandonment. It is now one of the monuments declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

🔘 Check out the rest of the World Heritage Sites we have visited.

Whether from the bridge itself, from the entrance to the cable car or from the church, the views of Porto are breathtaking and well worth spending a few minutes to take pictures and simply contemplate.

Things to do in Porto in 2 or 3 days

d) South Rivera

On the south bank of the Douro River are the wine cellars and from there you can see the view across the river. Let’s walk along its shore taking some pictures. We will talk about the wineries and wine later.

2. Cathedral of Porto o Sé do Porto

It is colloquially known as Sé Cathedral but in reality it is like saying “church church”. The Cathedral of Porto is the most important and oldest in the city. Construction began in the early twelfth century and during the following centuries it has undergone several modifications in terms of extensions and changes of style, but in general it remains austere and simple, although imposing in size.

The main altar and the cloister are not to be missed during a visit to this cathedral, the latter of which you have to pay a separate entrance fee.

Things to do in Porto in 2 or 3 days

But we also had a more practical reason to visit the Cathedral of Oporto: we had to get there the credential to follow the Camino de Santiago Portuguese along the coast. Although it starts in Lisbon, the most popular is to start it in Oporto or at the border between Portugal and Spain (as we have done).

If you want to know how to do the Camino de Santiago Portuguese along the coast, read here.

3. São Bento train station

A train station as one of the places to see in Porto? Yes, the entrance hall of the São Bento station with its walls decorated with delicate blue painted tiles, depicting battles or scenes of Portuguese life, is a delight.

There are an estimated 20,000 tiles, so you can imagine the importance. The outside of the building is also impressive, especially with the Church of the Congregates in the background.

📷 To learn more about the history of Oorto, book the free tour of the tiles, the typical decoration of the place.


4. Tower of the Clerics

The Clérigos Tower is located in the upper part of the old town of Oporto and therefore can be seen from many points or viewpoints in the city.


It is a baroque style tower of about 75 meters high that is part of a small church, or at least it seems that way next to such a tower. It has 6 floors, spiral stairs and can be climbed upon payment of 3 €. Admission to the church is free.

📷 Book here the free tour of mysteries and legends in Porto. Out of the ordinary facts that will amaze you and that have as protagonists emblematic sites of the city.

Things to do in Porto in 2 days

5. Churches and chapels of Porto

At least 84% of Portuguese are Catholics and you can see it in every city you visit: chapels, churches, cathedrals, monasteries everywhere. Many of them have a characteristic that identifies them from the rest of European churches: the tile.

We have already mentioned the Cathedral, the monastery and church at the Pilar do Serra viewpoint, the Congregados church and the Clérigos church and we are only at point 5! We will briefly comment some of the churches that you must see in Oporto to make your visit complete:

  • Church of San Francisco: it is a convent church, this time without tiles on the outside, but very ornate and ostentatious on the inside. It served as a convent and has in its basement some catacombs that can be visited.
  • Church of San Ildefonso: it is located at the foot of Batalha Square, where Rua de Santa Catarina ends. It was rebuilt in the middle of the 18th century and the tiles on its façade recreate scenes from the life of San Ildefonso.
  • Chapel of the Souls: in each of my visits to Oporto has welcomed us, and is that in this area there are many hotels. At the exit of the Bolhao subway, you will find this neoclassical temple from the end of the 18th century. Its façade is entirely covered with tiles, which represent scenes from the life of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Catherine.
Things to do in Porto in 3 days

6. Bolhão Market

This market is where the locals stock up on fresh merchandise and therefore, most of the action happens early in the morning and the rest of the day remains closed.

Inside, vendors are distributed on two floors and by sections (fishmongers, greengrocers, greengrocers, etc.). It is a neoclassical style building that occupies a complete block and has access from its four sides. Something very curious to do in Porto.

🔝 Thinking of doing a tour in Portugal? Read this article about things to do in Lisbon.


7. Port wines and wineries to visit

On the Vila Nova de Gaia side and next to the Douro River are most of the world-famous Port wine cellars, many of them in the hands of English families.

The wine-growing area where the grapes used to make the wines are grown is located near the city in the Douro Valley. In the past, the grapes were transported in rabelos, traditional boats that sailed down the Douro River to the winery. On the river, some of them can be seen moored at the dock as an exhibition.

📷 Book a guided tour to Calem, one of the most renowned wineries in Porto, including wine tasting. If you prefer, you can book a tour of Vilanova de Gaia and its wineries, which also includes a wine tasting.


With Juan we did not enter any of the wineries on this occasion to make a visit, we preferred to sit on the terrace of one of them to taste some of their wines.

From what we saw, tickets to visit them are from 10 euros depending on the popularity of the winery. If you are going to do other activities in Porto, be attentive because many times when you book an activity you get a free ticket for one of them, for example, when you buy a river tour or a ride on the tourist streetcar.


8. The viewpoint of the Crystal Palace and its gardens.

We went a little away from the historic center of Porto to visit the Crystal Palace and see what its viewpoint had to offer. While the gardens are nice and pretty to spend some time relaxing there, the Crystal Palace is not like anything we imagined, besides that “crystal” little, it was quite neglected and abandoned.

We learned that the palace had been demolished in the middle of the last century and in its place was built this round pavilion where all kinds of sports and leisure events are held.

From the viewpoint there are two views: a very cool one of the river and the wineries and another of the Douro River flowing into the Atlantic Ocean behind the modern Arrábida bridge.


9. The beaches of Porto

On our visit with Juan it was summer and we could have taken the opportunity to go to the beach, but we decided to take a more city tour. We would leave our date with the Atlantic for a later date.

On my previous visit with Maria, we took the tourist streetcar and went to Matosinhos Beach, sandy, wide and with several seaside beach bars. There you can breathe a relaxed air, ideal for sunbathing even out of season.

10. Walking around the city of Porto

And finally, let yourself be seduced by the architecture of the city, its government buildings, its various churches, its squares and markets.

Things to do in Porto in 2 or 3 days

Rua de Santa Catarina is a long street, which is most famous in the 3 or 4 blocks that are pedestrianized. There you will find clothing and souvenir stores, cafes and restaurants, among them, one of the most legendary is the Majestic Café, in the best “belle époque” style.

The “art nouveau” decoration inside is exquisite, with marble, mirrors, beautiful hanging chandeliers, carved sculptures on the wall and carved wood. Although inside it is a bit crowded because, despite its high prices, no one wants to miss one of the best places to visit in Porto.


Another must-see in Porto is the traditional Lello Bookstore, located at rua das Carmelitas 144, very close to the Clérigos Tower. It is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, not because I say so, but because it always appears among the first 3 positions in books and blogs specialized in travel.

In addition, it has inspired J.K.Rowling to include the main stairs of the bookstore in the Hogwarts school of magic. The author of the Harry Potter saga spent a few months living in the city.

📷 If you are a fan of the saga, book the Harry Potter free tour in Porto.

Harry Potter fan? You have to travel to Edinburgh!.

Practical information for your trip to Porto

Summary of things to do in Porto in 2 or 3 days

1. Douro River, the river banks on both sides, the Luis I Bridge and the spectacular viewpoints.
2. Cathedral of Porto o Sé do Porto
3. São Bento train station
4. Tower of the Clerics
5. Churches and chapels of Porto
6. Bolhão Market
7. Port wines and wineries to visit
8. The viewpoint of the Crystal Palace and its gardens.
9. The beaches of Porto
10. Walking around the city: the Santa Catarina pedestrian street, the Café Majestic and the Lello bookstore.

If you have more days in Porto, you can visit some of the surrounding cities such as Guimarães, Braga or Aveiro. We chose Guimarães.

📷 Book here your day tour to visit Guimaraes and Braga. Includes transportation, entrance fees and guide.

Typical dishes to eat in Oporto

The culinary offer in Porto is wide, ranging from affordable meals to more elaborate dishes.

The star is cod in many of its cooking variants: grilled, in casserole, in dumplings, etc. But also sardines and other river and sea fish.

But we delved into the francesinha, which is a sandwich made of milk bread stuffed with sausages cut in pieces (although sometimes they also include meat or chorizo or bacon), covered in cheese and with a spicy sauce (I don’t like spicy at all, but I liked it). And another variant is that they add a fried egg on top (with this, go prepare the will, it is to explode instantly).


📷 Enjoy a fado show at Casa da Guitarra reserving your ticket here.

Best hotels to stay in Porto

There are many hotels in Porto and although it is best to stay near the historic center, the city has a good metro and streetcar system, so if you are close to a station the better.

Double rooms are available from approximately 30 €, with private bathroom and basic and minimal amenities, and upwards depending on what you are looking for. Three options that we recommend:

  • The Passenger Hostel: ideal for backpackers and young couples, it is a modern hostel with fantastic facilities located inside the São Bento train station.
  • InPatio Guest House: in the middle of the historic center and close to the river bank is a hotel with modern facilities, rooms with elegant details and an excellent breakfast.
  • The House of Sandeman: next to Vila Nova de Gaia and very close to the main wineries, the hotel offers views of the historic center of Oporto from the room, a bar-restaurant and buffet breakfast.

🏨 Do you want to look for other options? Find here the best hotels in Porto.

The best way to get to Porto

From Spain one can go by bus or car, but it also has an international airport. From Madrid, we flew with Ryanair and got the one-way ticket at 54 euros (27 euros each). As we were leaving for Galicia, we did not buy a round trip, but as you will see the prices are very affordable if you get a good deal. You can search for cheap flights to Porto here.

🚊 Buy your Interrail and Eurail pass! This pass is a train ticket with which you can travel on almost all trains in Europe. With it you have access to 40 rail and ferry companies in 33 countries. Absolute freedom to discover Europe at your own rhythm. See our Interrail and Eurail Guide here.

How to get from Porto airport to the city center

There is a train or subway that connects Porto airport with the city center. Because we were in a hurry, we made a mistake when it came to getting the tickets, so be careful. When you add trips to a ticket, you do not add trips for any person but for the ticket holder.

When there are a lot of people to get tickets at the airport machines, the guards usually give away these recharge cards.

📷 Book here your transfer from Porto airport to the city center and don’t worry about anything else..

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Things to do in Porto in 2 or 3 days

We love Porto! There is so much to see! Any other suggestions? Any doubts?

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