Things to do in Porto, Portugal – 3 days itinerary

If you are on a trip to Portugal, reserve at least 3 days to visit the North. Take a look at this very complete itinerary, with everything to do in the city of Porto.

The charming city of Porto is increasingly becoming a reference on the European scene. Not only for the incredible tourist attractions, but also for the international startups that settle here. The lively vibe of the second largest city in the country runs through the old streets, giving new light to the historic center.

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What to do in Porto, Portugal – 3 days itinerary

Once considered dark, the city is full of restored corners that preserve its legacy. Walking around here is to admire examples of various types of architecture, from Gothic to Art Nouveau. In this aspect, Porto is ahead of Lisbon, which is already much more modern. In fact, one of the postcards – Cais da Ribeira – dates back to medieval times.

It is through the arts that Porto expresses its contemporary reality, in unmissable places such as the Serralves Foundation. Undoubtedly cosmopolitan, the city also has a strong rural trait that is mirrored in the Douro River. The perfect setting to taste the famous Port wine, don't you think?

What to do in Porto, Portugal - Day 1

The best views of the city of Porto and the Douro River

Start your day in the heart of the historic center of the city, visiting Terreiro da Sé. The view from here is perfect for you to get your bearings, before taking a stroll along the banks of the Douro River. Do not hesitate to enter Porto Cathedral, classified as a World Heritage Site and one of the oldest religious monuments. By the way, as in most European cities, it is in the churches that you will find the most beautiful examples of architecture from past centuries. And as there is a church in Portugal!

From there, you are just a few steps away from D. Luiz I Bridge, the most famous in the city of Porto. The metallic structure was designed by a disciple of Gustav Eiffel and allows the passage of people, cars and subway. Cross the upper deck on foot and observe the curves of the Douro River opening a path between Porto and Gaia.

On one side, a labyrinth of colorful houses, and on the other, the typical Rabelo boats that transported wine. The famous Port wine is stored on this side, in the cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia. But first, take the opportunity to visit the Mosteiro da serra do pilar, where the bridge ends. This is the best view of the Douro!

  • Ponte Dom Luis – Photo: Flickr (Ingolf)

Port wine tasting

then proceed to the port wine cellars by the river, going down by cable car. There are so many there, that this is the place with the highest concentration of alcohol per square meter in the world. All of them offer guided tours and tastings, a unique experience that can cost as little as 10 euros. When choosing, the most famous are Sandeman, Burmester, Calém, Croft, Ferreira, Offley, Taylor's and Graham's.

Port wine cellars – Photo: Flickr (Victor Cardoso)

After enjoying the famous Portuguese nectar, walk along the Gaia pier towards the bridge. Go through the lower board this time, which ends right at the Cais da Ribeira. This is one of the city's postcards and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take your time exploring the narrow, winding streets typical of medieval times. Note the elderly ladies, peering out of the windows at the movement in the street cafes. It is in this picturesque setting that you will discover the most authentic habits of the Portuguese people.

Cais da Ribeira – Photo: Flickr (someone)

End your tour in the magnificent Palace of the Stock Exchange, one of the best examples of neoclassical architecture in the city. The guided tour goes through several rooms, one more incredible than the other, in a true journey through time. It is also here that heads of state visiting the city are received, in the impressive Arab Hall.

Palácio da Bolsa – Photo: Flickr (Simon Blackley)
  • Address: Rua de Ferreira Borges
  • Hours of guided tours: November to March – 09:00h – 13:00h / 14:00h – 17:30h
  • April to October – 09:00 a.m. – 18:30 p.m.

What to do in Porto, Portugal - Day 2

Unmissable points in the historic center of Porto

As you may have already noticed, the business in the city of Porto is walking. So put on your most comfortable shoes for another busy day. 

The starting point is the The Carmo Church, in the square of the rectory of the University of Porto. The stunning tiled side wall tells the story of the founding of the Carmelite Order in blue and white.

Go down Rua das Carmelitas to the Livraria Lello, where you will likely have a queue to get in. This is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, as the Art Nouveau façade may already suggest. It's worth waiting a while to find out, especially if you're an avid reader.

The wooden interior, floor-to-ceiling books and neo-gothic-style staircase create a magical atmosphere. By the way, if you are a fan of the Harry Potter saga, you will think you are in some corner of Hogwarts. As this is where author JK Rowling was inspired while writing her bestsellers.

Livraria Lello – Photo: Flickr (Michał Huniewicz) – Things to do in Porto Portugal, 3-day itinerary
  • Visit the website of Livraria Lello here
  • Address: Rua das Carmelitas 144 – Open every day from 10 am to 19 pm

Iconic places in downtown Porto

As you leave the bookstore, cross the Jardim das Oliveiras – an iconic Portuguese tree – on the way to the Clérigos Church. It is worth climbing the 240 steps for a wonderful panoramic view of the city. After visiting one of the main points of interest in Porto, it's time to head to the famous Avenida dos Aliados.

This is where the locals celebrate the victories of Futebol Clube do Porto and where the traditional Queima das Fitas ends, next to the City Hall. Several imposing buildings mark the historic center, such as the São Bento Station. Be sure to go inside to admire the beautiful tiles on the walls, illustrating scenes from Portuguese life.

How about a little break for a cup of coffee? Do as the locals do and ask for a “cimbalino” in the Cafe Majestic, a classic from the city of Porto. Inspired by the French Belle Époque, personalities from Porto's culture once gathered here. Resume your walk in Baixa, strolling through the shops in Rua de Santa Catarina.

This is one of the best places to shop in Porto, it has several stores like Zara and other more original ones like Flying Tiger. On one of the street corners is another beautiful church covered in tiles, the Chapel of Souls. Finally, visit the emblematic Bolhão Market, a fun place for the enthusiasm with which sellers advertise their products.

Bolhão Market

  • Open Monday to Friday from 7am to 17pm and Saturday from 7am to 13pm
  • Address: Rua Formosa 214

What to do in Porto, Portugal - Day 3

Visiting the cultural places of Porto

How about starting your third day in the city of Porto discovering where the Douro River ends? Go to Jardim do Passeio Alegre in full Foz do Douro, one of the noble neighborhoods of the city.

If the waves are not too strong, walk along the pier to the Felgueiras Lighthouse. From there you will be able to see some of the best beaches in Porto. If it's summer, take the opportunity to sunbathe or take a walk to the romantic Pérgola da Foz viewpoint.

Foz do Douro – Photo: Flickr (lilivanili) – What to do in Porto Portugal, 3-day itinerary

The pillars of culture in Porto

Another great point of interest in the city of Porto is the Serralves Foundation. It is an incredible place to get lost in the gardens, where great cultural events such as Serralves em Festa take place.

There you will discover the Serralves House and the Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by architect Siza Vieira. In addition to the wonderful national and international exhibitions, also check out the shop and library.

Serralves Foundation Garden – Photo: Flickr (Miguel Vieira) – What to do in Porto Portugal, 3-day itinerary
  • Visit the website of Serralves Foundation here
  • Open daily from 10 am to 19 pm
  • Address: Rua Dom João de Castro 210

When lunch time arrives, take the opportunity to discover the Bom Sucesso Market, near the Rotunda da Boavista. Recently refurbished, it has several stalls selling typical Portuguese dishes. A great option for those who want to try a little bit of everything! On the opposite side of the Rotunda da Boavista is the Music House, symbol of modern Porto.

It is worth taking the guided tour, to understand the futuristic architecture and the eclectic artistic program. You pay 10 euros but the good news is that the amount is deducted when purchasing tickets. From orchestras to jazz concerts, Casa da Música is sure to win you over. And what better way to end the day than with live music?

Casa da Música – Photo: Flickr (jamp_2_foto) – Things to do in Porto Portugal, 3-day itinerary
  • Visit the website of Music House here
  • Address: Avenida da Boavista
  • Guided tour times: Daily at 11 am and 16 pm

And you already know, with so much what to do in Porto, the important thing is not to forget comfortable shoes!

Discounted hotels in Porto, Portugal

Did you know that it is mandatory to take out insurance when traveling to Europe?

If you were thinking about traveling to Europe without travel insurance, be aware that this can become a problem at the time of immigration. So it is good to note a very important tip for those who are planning a trip there: Travel Insurance for any destination in Europe is mandatory.

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Receive a SIM card at your home in España and use unlimited Internet in Portugal and throughout Europe

Are you also tired of only being able to use your cell phone at points that you find Wi-Fi free during the trip? And having to pay per day to be able to use a GPS in the rental car on the trip?

We couldn't take it anymore, especially because we wanted to post real-time photos of our trip on social media. In addition, Google is a great ally to find what we need while on vacation, such as information and places, and you can't just use it where you have Wi-Fi.

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Write it down: The company sends an international Chip to your home in Spain. When you're on the plane, just change your Brazilian SIM card for this international one. You will arrive in Portugal with unlimited internet, using your cell phone at will, as you use in España.

Arriving in Portugal, you can use it all day, anywhere in Europe. You'll save on GPS rentals, Skype credits, and you'll still be able to use social networks, Google, or search for anything on the internet all day. In addition, you can still call your home to send travel news as many times as you want via WhatsApp or Facetime.

Read more:

  • Cell Phone Chip in Portugal – Where to Buy?
  • Itinerary Portugal – 10 places you can’t miss
  • Best time to go to Portugal – Travel tips for each season
  • The 20 main tourist attractions in Portugal to put on your itinerary
  • Where to Eat Well and Cheaply in Porto, Portugal
  • Where to stay in Porto in Portugal
  • What is the best travel insurance for Europe?

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