How many days should you spend in Porto?
That’s a tough one. In this humble guide’s opinion? You should move here! But i will try to answer it as objective as possible.
How many days should you spend in Porto?
- 3 days if you’re traveling around Portugal and Europe;
- At least a week if you plan to come to Porto and just stay here and explore around the North of Portugal.
- 1 month if you’re planning to move here, either to work or retire, to learn all about the city and the amenities.
Let’s focus on the first choice, spending 3 days in Porto.
Day 1: do the overview of the city
There’s a lot to do and see in 3 days in Porto.
Many of our guests that choose a shorter stay in the city, start by doing one of our tours as an introduction to the city.
Because we go from the Historical centre all the way to the ocean and then back to the city and across the river, our 3 hour tours are a great way to get the lay of the land. To discover all the neighborhoods and choose what to explore in depth later.
Where to walk more and where to choose the tram. Where to go for lunch and for dinner. As we follow along the narrow streets, we’re always pointing to small details, nice local restaurants and Michelin stared ones too.
Day 2: explore the Historical Centre
After the first day and a better sense of the city and a well rested night, we advise: get lost!
Porto’s Historical Centre is small, around a 4 km / 2 mile radius with lots and lots of narrow old streets and alleyways with amazing views and photo ops. Get lost but you won’t go far:)
Many of those streets not even our sidecars can go through, so exploring on foot is the best choice.
Start in Ribeira in the morning. It’s quieter and if you want you can have breakfast overlooking the river at the Pestana Vintage Hotel or the Café do Cais.
Around Ribeira, you can still find the Museum of the City and across the main garden, the Palácio da Bolsa.
Afterwards, start to make your way up the hill.
If you go up through Taipas Street, making your way to Vitória neighborhood, be sure to take a look at the Porto Puppet Museum .
Half way up, to your left you can go to a beautiful viewpoint of the river Douro, at Virtudes Neighborhood. Just follow the cobble stone street, past the Taipas Fountain and strait ahead.
Next you can back track and this continue to go up. At the end of the street you have the Museum of Photography that used to be the prison in Porto. But if you turn right, you ‘ll find yourself next to the S.Bento da Vitória Monastery. Follow that street all the way down to see one of the best viewpoints of the city, Vitória viewpoint.
It’s time to continue up the hill to Clérigos Neighborhood.
Through the Museum of photography you have on your left, the Cordoaria Garden. And in front, in the heart of the neighborhood, the Clérigos Tower, iconic landmark of Porto.
Cross the market rooftop garden to your left and you will find the famous Lello Bookstore.
If you like, you can reverse this route and be by the river just in time to enjoy a nice lunch by the water.
In the afternoon, make your way to the D.Luis I bridge and across to Cais de Gaia, Port wine neighborhood.
There you’ll find almost all the Port wine brands’ old wharehouses, used to age and bottled Port wine, know transformed into Museums and tasting rooms.
We recommend Ferreira at the end of the riverfront, because of it’s rich history.
Afterwards, sit down, have a icecream sitting on the banks of the Douro river and just soak in the view…
It’s the end of day 2, feel free to call us for a lift up to your hotel after all that walking!?
Day 3: go to the beach
Day 3 and if you next destination is the Douro valley to enjoy the amazing peaceful views and the Port Wineries’ five star hotels, enjoy.
If, on the other hand, you ‘re returning home or going to another country and need to stay close to the city, our advice is, head to the beach.
You can follow the road along the river, all the way to the mouth of the river. Half way, check out the beautiful mural at Massarelos Church.
If you don’t want to walk, there’s the 500 bus; the sightseeing bus and the Old Tram, the american car as the locals used to call it. You can catch it in front of S. Francis church.
All of them take you to Passeio Alegre Garden, just cross it and there you have the mouth of Douro.
Just to the right of the mouth of the river, you have the smallest beach in Porto, Lady Shepherds beach. Sandwiched between the piers that protect the entrance of the river.
From there going north, there are about 16 km / 10 miles of costline and many beaches in between. Most of them with the Blue Flag award, a European Enviromental Agency certificate of quality.
We hope this suggestions were helpful to give you an idea of how many days to spend in Porto.
if you need any help and other suggestion, please feel free to contact John, your private guide.
We hope to see you soon in Porto!