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2 Days in Porto – The Perfect Porto Itinerary

A sunset view of the riviera next to the Duoro River

2 Days in Porto – The Perfect Porto Itinerary

Porto, or Oporto in Portuguese, is Portugal’s second largest city after the capital of Lisbon. It’s a historic city with a perfect blend of old-world charm and contemporary style.

A light yellow pastel wall with a minature penny farthing bicycle sculpture mounted and the words "2-Day itinerary Porto" superimposed

Is 2 Days in Porto Enough?

Two days in Porto is enough to explore most of the city, see the main sites, go on a boat trip, and enjoy the local cuisine. This makes it the perfect weekend city break, or a short stay on a longer Portugal trip.

Is Lisbon or Porto Better?

Lisbon and Porto are two of the most beautiful cities in Europe, so choosing between them is difficult. They’re very different cities, each with their unique experiences and atmospheres, and we loved both.

While Lisbon is the larger city, Porto is our personal favorite. Of the two, it has a more hipster vibe, with many amazing restaurants, cafes, and bars, and lots of options for vegans and vegetarians.

Porto

The entire Historic Centre of Porto gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 1996. The city is very compact, with most of the monuments and landmarks within short walking distances of each other. But the steps certainly add up over the two days, so remember to bring a comfy pair of shoes.

This 2 day Porto itinerary will cover the best things to see and do, where to stay, where to eat, and more, so without further ado, let’s get into it!

Porto Itinerary Day 1

One of the most distinct and iconic features common to Porto is the blue tiling used on the buildings known as Azulejo. And we’ll be seeing a few exceptional examples of this on today’s itinerary, starting with the Chapel of Souls.

Chapel of Souls – Capela das Almas

This 18th-century chapel is one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Porto and is a fine example of the detailed Azulejo tiling. The tiles portray stories from the lives of Saint Francis of Assisi and Catherine of Alexandria.

A blue and white azulejo tiled church

Although the gorgeous exterior is the main draw here, the stained glass from inside is also glorious. The chapel is free to enter and opens at 7:30am.

It’s a good idea to head here first thing in the morning, as it can draw quite a crowd of tourists posing for photos later in the day.

São Bento Train Station

A train station might seem like an odd addition to a sightseeing itinerary, and we feel your unease. But hold your judgement until you stand mouth agape inside its ornate vestibule.

The interior of São Bento Railway Station is covered in Porto’s famous blue tiles, more than 20,000 in fact! They depict the legends of battles fought, royal marriages, and noble knights.

This is also best visited in the morning, to avoid the crowds. Attempting to take a decent photo around lunchtime would involve a stepladder or Jedi level photoshop skills.

Torre dos Clerigos – Clerigos Tower

Torre dos Clérigos, also known as Clerigos Tower, is an iconic landmark. This 76-meter-high Baroque tower is a symbol of Porto’s rich architectural heritage.

A stone tower with clockface

As you climb the narrow spiral staircase, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the city’s terracotta rooftops and the picturesque Douro River.

You can book Torre dos Clerigos tickets in advance here.

Lunch at Musubu Café Porto

You wouldn’t be blamed for missing Musubu from the outside, it took us a while to find it, but inside is a pure delight on the senses.

This tiny Japanese kitchen, run by a husband and wife duo, serve the most mouth-watering omusubi (rice ball) dishes as well as soups and sweet treats and it’s so beautifully presented. The teas were delicious and came in cute, traditional Japanese teapots made from cast iron.

Suffice to say, if you like Japanese food and aesthetics, you have to eat here!

Livraria Lello

Livraria Lello is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, and a true gem for book worms and architecture enthusiasts alike.

It’s located in a historic building with an ornate neo-Gothic design and a stunning interior featuring a grand red staircase, detailed wood carving, and exquisite stained glass. It’s no wonder that Livraria Lello is said to have inspired parts of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

Be sure to book Livraria Lello tickets in advance as it’s a very popular tourist spot.

Igreja do Carmo / Igreja dos Carmelitas

Igreja do Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas, two adjacent churches, are renowned for their unique architectural feature: a narrow house sandwiched between them.

A stone and azulejo tiled church

The striking blue and white Azulejo tiles adorning the exteriors are further examples of the city’s rich religious history and the meticulous craftsmanship of the region.

Spend the Evening Exploring Ribeira – The Riverfront

After a hectic day, spend the evening exploring Ribeira, Porto’s charming riverfront district. As the sun sets, the colorful facades of the buildings along the Douro River come alive with the warm glow of streetlights and the bustling atmosphere of restaurants and bars.

A view of the Duoro River from a high bridge through a circle in the fence

Stroll along the cobblestone streets, dine at one of the many restaurants serving local Portuguese cuisine, and enjoy the vibrant nightlife of this historic neighborhood with a glass of port wine.

Porto Itinerary Day 2

We hope you’re feeling well rested because there’s no respite on day 2 of the itinerary, it’s another busy day of steps and sightseeing.

Jardins do Palacio de Cristal – Crystal Palace Gardens

If you’ve ever followed one of our guides, you’ll know we love a city park, and Porto’s Jardins do Palacio de Cristal is no exception. Perched high up on the hills west of the downtown area, it boasts incredible panoramic views of the Duoro valley, river, and its bridges.

A green domed roof in a landscaped garden

They have peacocks patrolling the gardens, and we were lucky to see a mother with little chicks in tow! There are a variety of small gardens like the rose garden and herb garden, statues, fountains, lawns, and large olive trees.

Vegan Francesinhas at Kind Kitchen

For any vegans and vegetarians out there, this is one not to miss! The main dish of Porto is the Francesinha: a hearty sandwich filled with sausage, cheese, and eggs, covered in a spicy tomato sauce.

Porto has a huge vegetarian and vegan scene, probably owing to its smaller town, hipster vibe. So, for the non-meat eaters out there, you’re in luck. We found a few places serving vegan Francesinhas, but Kind Kitchen was the best.

Miradouro da Vitoria

A panoramic view of the red rooftops in Porto

Miradouro da Vitória, offers another stunning view of the city, including the iconic Ribeira district and the Douro River. This elevated vantage point is a perfect spot to capture the beauty of Porto through your lens.

Bolsa Palace

Bolsa Palace, or Palácio da Bolsa, is a neoclassical building that once served as Porto’s stock exchange. Built in the 19th century, it’s part of the historical center of the city.

Its opulent architecture and ornate rooms, including the jaw-dropping Arabian Hall, make it a great place to explore. The palace is a testament to Porto’s historical significance as a trading hub.

Porto Cathedral

Porto Cathedral, or Sé do Porto in Portuguese, is a magnificent Romanesque-style cathedral that stands as one of the oldest and most significant religious landmarks in Porto.

The original cathedral dates back to the 12th century but had major additions and renovations until as late as the 18th century. During the later years Gothic and Baroque elements were added, and the cathedral is now a unique blend of these styles.

The exterior is adorned with intricate stonework and imposing twin towers, while the interior features vaulted ceilings, ornate altars, and beautiful stained-glass windows.

Luis I Bridge

The Luis I Bridge is an iconic double-deck iron bridge that spans the Douro River and connects Porto to the city of Vila Nova de Gaia on the south side. Designed by Gustave Eiffel (yes, that Eiffel!), it’s a remarkable feat of engineering and a symbol of Porto.

An iron bridge with criss-cross beams

Whether you stroll on the upper deck or take a tram across the lower deck, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the river and the city. If you have time, why not do both?

Douro River Cruise

The 6 Bridges Douro River cruise is a delightful way to experience Porto from a different perspective.

These cruises take you on a leisurely journey along the Douro River, with the opportunity to admire the city’s skyline, the scenic vineyards of the Douro Valley, and the historic bridges that span the river. It’s a relaxing way to explore the region and the perfect end to a 2-day trip.

Some trips sell out, particularly during busy seasons, so it’s best to book cruise tickets in advance.

How to Get to Porto

Porto is easy to visit by air, bus, and car so it all depends on what suits your plan better.

Flying to Porto

Porto has a small, but well-connected international airport. If you’re coming from the UK or mainland Europe, direct flights should be available. If not, then Lisbon is a great option because it’s easy to travel between the two, more on that later.

From Porto Airport into the city center, you have a few options. The most affordable is either the metro (Line E) or bus (Route 601) which both cost around €2-€3 for a ticket. You can use contactless on the public transport here, which is very convenient. To find the quickest option for you, use the public transport option on Google Maps direct to your hotel. If you’d prefer a taxi, then Uber and Bolt both operate in Porto. The journey should cost around €12-€18 depending on where you’re staying.

A geometric street art painting in light blues, red, and grey

Bus to Porto

If you’re travelling from Lisbon, or other nearby cities, one of the best ways to get to Porto is by Flixbus. They run very frequently (multiple times an hour) and if you book in advance, they’re really cheap. We’ve seen it as low as €5 one way, but the average price is around €12-€20.

Driving to Porto

If you’re planning a road trip around Portugal or from Spain, then arriving in Porto by car is a good option. The center of the city has a lot of small streets and congestion plus there aren’t many options for parking. So, we’d recommend finding accommodation with parking and leaving the car parked up for the 2 days you’re in Porto.

How to Get Around Porto

The best way to get around most of Porto is on foot because many of the landmarks are within walking distance of each other. There is also an extensive public transport system including trams, metros, and buses.

It couldn’t be any easier to use a public transport system than it is in Porto. Everything is on Google Maps in real time and you simply get on and scan a contactless card or use Apple Pay/Google Wallet.

Porto FAQs

What is Porto famous for?

Porto is famous for its historic wine cellars – particularly for their fortified wine (port), stunning Douro River views, and the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge.

What is the best month to visit Porto?

The best month to visit Porto is in late spring (May and June) or early autumn (September) for pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

Is Porto expensive to eat and drink?

Porto can be affordable for dining and drinking, especially in local eateries. It offers a range of budget-friendly options.

Is it safe to walk in Porto at night?

Porto is generally safe to walk at night, but it’s advisable to stick to well-lit, populated areas and take common safety precautions.

Is it cheaper to go to Lisbon or Porto?

Porto is often more budget-friendly than Lisbon, offering a similar Portuguese experience at a lower cost.

Is 3 nights in Porto too much?

Three nights in Porto can be a perfect duration to explore the city’s attractions, enjoy its cuisine, and relax by the river.

Is Porto a walkable city?

Porto is a walkable city, with many attractions, restaurants, and shops within walking distance, making it convenient for visitors.

Is Porto safe?

Porto is considered a safe city for tourists, but like any place, it’s wise to be cautious and aware of your surroundings.

Is there a beach in Porto?

Yes, Porto has a beach called Matosinhos Beach, which is easily accessible from the city center.

Do they speak English in Porto?

Many people in Porto, especially in the tourism industry, speak English, so communication should not be a significant issue for visitors.

Is Porto good for a city break?

Porto is an excellent choice for a city break, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious food and wine, making it a rewarding destination for a short trip.

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