Wondering how to spend a weekend in Porto, Portugal? In this Porto city break guide, I’ll show you where to stay, play and eat – from cruising on the Douro River, the Porto Cathedral, where to see the famous azulejos tiles and much more in this 2 day Porto itinerary.
A weekend in Porto? You might be wondering how on earth it’s possible to fit in all of this city’s exciting attractions in just two days. That’s exactly why I’ve developed this Porto travel guide.
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I’ve been wanting to visit Porto for almost a year now after seeing a photo of the mesmerising azulejos tiles. However, most people I spoke to had no idea where Porto was or when they thought of Portugal. They only thought of Lisbon. And it seems everyone and their cat is visiting Lisbon now. Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city, and it comes with all the history, vibrance and allure of Lisbon minus the crowds, and price-gouging.
Not having yet gained the notoriety of other more well-known European cities, it’s not as expensive as Paris or London. And, it’s not as filled with tour groups and tourists in cities like Prague.
So, excitedly after spending hours drooling over beautiful photos of the Ribeira and the Douro Valley, I booked my flight for a weekend in Porto Portugal. After returning, I have to admit that I had such an amazing time there.
Porto won me over with its old-world charm, beautiful buildings, friendly locals and delicious food. Ooh and Port wine, how could I forget the port wine?
It’s a traditional city in comparison with Lisbon, having a slower pace with locals relaxing outside coffee shops and restaurants in the cool evening air, discussing hot topics and current events as the sun sets over the Douro River.
I can’t wait to revisit Porto next year, maybe do a Portugal road trip of sorts. If you’re pondering a trip to the romantic city, or have already purchased your ticket and don’t know where to begin, then I’ve got you covered. With so much history lingering in the cobble-stone streets, and so many gorgeous sights to see, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
If you want to travel smart and make the most of the time on your Porto city break, then you’ll want to have a good idea of where to stay, play and eat. So, read this Porto travel guide, pack your favourite luggage set, and get ready to explore the enchanting city.
Ooh and Port wine, how could I forget the port wine
Where is Porto?
Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city located along the Douro River in northern Portugal. It is one of the oldest European centres and was given World Heritage Site status by UNESCO in 1996.
What Is Porto Famous For?
Porto is known for many things, including its picturesque riverside, charming streets and vibrant culture. However, it comes as no surprise that what this city is most famous for is its port wine.
Porto is known for many things, including its picturesque riverside, charming streets and vibrant culture. However, it comes as no surprise that what this city is most famous for is its port wine.
Interestingly, port wine is neither produced nor stored in Porto. The famous dessert wine is mostly produced in the Douro Valley, just over 300 km away and stored in Gaia, a neighbouring city.
Regardless, the name has stuck, and Porto is still known to serve some of the most indulgent wine on offer. Other attractions synonymous with Porto are the blue tiles (azulejos) which are often used as façade art, the tranquil Douro River and delicious fish dishes. And pastel de nata, how can I forget the fluffy and light pastel de nata!
Porto is loved as a quaint, coastal city in northwest Portugal. Over the past few decades, Porto’s tourism has been flourishing as locals invite foreigners to experience its authentic flavours, beautiful architecture and rich culture.
Tip: If you’re visiting for the first time, check out my comprehensive guide on things to do in Porto.
How Many Days To Spend In Porto?
The beauty of Porto can suck you in, making you question – is 2 days in Porto enough? If you can stay longer, then you can count yourself lucky as you’ll have extra time to kick back, relax and indulge in another pastel de nata.
However, if you’ve only allocated 48 hours in Porto for your itinerary, you’re still in for a treat.
There are plenty of fun things to see in Porto, Portugal, that will quickly fill up your memory bank – and your time.
One day in Porto is simply not enough. Two days is the perfect amount of time to absorb the local energy, without rushing (which is what you’d have to do if you only had one day).
Three days is even better as there are some easy day trips from Porto. There are stunning beaches as close as 15 minutes from the city by bus, and the Douro Valley is a great day trip from Porto.
I visited three beautiful family-owned and operated vineyards on my day trip to the Douro Valley and tasted 40 years old Port wine because I’m sophisticated like that and it is one of my favourite day trips I’ve done thus far.
Tip: If you can stay longer, check out this guide on how many days to spend in Porto.
Best Time To Visit Porto
Overall, Porto’s climate is moderate and pleasant year-round. The best time to plan a Porto weekend break is from May to September. During this time, you’ll experience sunny skies, comfortable temperatures and a low chance of rain.
The rainy season starts towards the end of September and continues until April.
Although the rain is unobtrusive regarding indoor activities, it interferes with the many incredible outdoor views and adventures.
The final factor to consider is the size of the crowds. Tourism peaks in July and August, making the cost of travelling in Porto rather pricey, however, the atmosphere is vibrant.
I visited Porto at the end of September (shoulder season) and found that there were fewer crowds, but I still enjoyed the summer temperatures.
Tip: Read my full guide on the best time to visit Porto.
How to get to Porto from London
From London and most of Europe, Porto is easily accessible via flights, and you can find relatively cheap flights on Skyscanner, Easyjet or Ryanair. I got my return on Skyscanner for £57, which is not a bad deal.
Transport Options In Porto
If you ask anyone, they’ll tell you that the best way to get around Porto is to walk. The city is compact, and although it is rather hilly, the views and sightings make up for it.
Just don’t climb a hill only to realise you are going the wrong way, it’s simply torture when you have to walk down it and then climb another hill. Regardless, you still need to get to Porto.
Porto Airport To The City Centre
Porto has a very well-established public transport system that includes the metro, tram, train and bus. The easiest and most affordable way to get to Porto’s city centre after arriving at the airport is on the Metro do Porto.
The ride is about 30-minutes and will cost just over £2. The light-rail system runs from the airport to Trinidad Station every 15 minutes. If you’re a planner, then you can organise your metro ticket before you arrive.
Other transport options from the airport include the Transdev bus company, which offers a more sporadic service. There is also a choice of local bus routes that continue to run even after the metro stops at 00:40. Uber is also great in Porto and downright dirt cheap, compared to London Uber prices.
Travelling To Porto From Lisbon
Visiting Lisbon and wondering how to get to Porto? While Porto and Lisbon are two of the most iconic Portuguese cities, they are located 300 kilometres apart. Luckily, there are several options to get you from one city to the next.
There are regular trains that run from Lisbon to Porto. My advice is to choose a fast train called Alfa Pendular.
It runs every hour, and the trip takes about three hours. A regular ticket will cost you between £22 and £28 one way (depending on when and how you book). Other options include the buses, which are cheaper (around £15 one way) but take slightly longer.
If you’ve chosen to rent a car, make sure that you have plenty of credit available for a deposit. Another option is to rent a private transfer from Lisbon to Porto.
Getting Around Porto, Portugal
Once you’ve arrived in the city for your Porto city break, make sure that you get yourself a transport card. The public transport system in Porto is excellent.
There’s a choice of the metro which runs off six lines, a comprehensive bus network and the vintage-looking trams. This card will be your key to discovering what the city has to offer.
Where To Stay In Porto Portugal
Porto sightseeing is so much more enjoyable when you can rest your head on a comfortable bed in a convenient location. While the city is rather small, it’s still important to choose your spot carefully.
If you want to be in the hub of the city, then central Porto is the place to be. Staying here will give you convenient access to key tourist sights and a festive environment. Other great neighbourhoods include Praça Batalha and Mercado do Bolhão. Both are near Porto’s city centre, making them very convenient.
If the hustle and bustle of constant activity doesn’t tickle your fancy, then Praça da Republica is a great area on the outskirts of the city centre.
Luxury Accommodation: Aparthotel Oporto Batalha
This airy, two-bedroom apartment in the centre of Porto promises to be the ultimate luxurious home base when playing the role of a Porto tourist. The apartment is perfectly located, a few minutes’ walk to key attractions. With tasteful decor and wonderfully restored features, this spot is a real gem.
Mid-Range Accommodation: The Gallery Studios II
This exquisitely decorated art decor-inspired apartment in the Bonfim area is only a 10 minute walk from the Majestic Cafe and Riverfront. This is the apartment I stayed in a while on my Porto weekend trip. Don’t be taken aback by the surrounding buildings.
The property is fully modernised with pin code access to the main entrance and room door. The room was spacious, clean, homely and had unique decorations. The room is big enough to fit three people as it’s a double bedroom with a folded pull-out bed as a side chair.
The WIFI was also fast and free. The studio contained a little kitchen as well. My host (Dulce) was very helpful in recommending things to do and local restaurants I should try.
Mid-Range Accommodation: Casas De Teatro
This spot offers a funky, quirky space conveniently located in Porto’s city centre; a short walk away from the iconic São Bento Train Station. With modern decor and all the creature comforts that you could hope for, this space offers a fantastic environment to recoup your energy when you visit Porto, Portugal.
Budget Accommodation: Porto Downtown Flats
Budget accommodation in Porto doesn’t mean crumby accommodation. In fact, you can get a really great place for a very good price. This apartment is an example of just that. Located in the heart of the city, this cosy apartment is very homely and comfortable. The units are near various restaurants, and a short walk away from crucial Porto attractions.
2 Days in Porto City Break – Weekend Itinerary
One Day Porto Itinerary | What To Do In Porto
Porto Walking Tour (Old Town and Ribeira)
The city of Porto is incredibly beautiful. One of the best ways to discover its charm and quaint atmosphere is to walk the cobblestone streets with an expert guide.
I did the walking tour of Porto’s Old Town which covered sights like Avenida dos Aliados, Traditional Streets, Miradouros, Clerigos Tower, Sao Bento Train Station, Porto Cathedral, Mediaeval City and Ribeira (Riverside). I know it seems like a lot of places, but all the walking was worth it.
I love doing walking tours when I visit a new city, and this one was no different. I got to see the main tourist attractions, learn about the city’s history, plus get tips from a local on the best restaurants to try.
And, why are there red phone boxes dotted around Porto – like in Londo? I can’t spill the beans. You guys will have to go on a walking tour to find out why Porto has red phone boxes in the city.
Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto)
Porto’s Cathedral is not only grand in design, but is also located on the highest point of the city in Porto’s historic centre. The Cathedral dated back to the 12th century by the initiative of its first bishop, D. Hugo.
It served as a multitude of things from a haven during wars to the site where Kings D. João I and D. Filipa de Lencastre were married. However, for me, one of the main reasons to visit the Cathedral is for the sweeping views over the city of Porto that you’ll see from the terrace outside the Cathedral. It’s one of the best viewpoints in Porto.
Trust me when I say Porto has some of the best viewpoints you’ll ever find in a city of its size from one grand cityscape view to another, dotted all around the city. But the viewpoint from the Cathedral courtyard was my favourite. This is a great place to take in the gorgeous views of the Douro River and Porto’s colourful houses.
You can visit the Cathedral, which is a mix of Gothic and Baroque architectural styles, for free, every day of the week from 9:00 until 12:00, and then from 14:30 until 19:00. If you wish to visit the monastery and courtyard, there is a fee.
Address | Terreiro da Sé, 4050-573 Porto
Explore Ribeira District (Cais da Ribeira)
Riberia (riverside) district, Porto’s Old Town, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some key sights to look out for while waltzing through include São Bento train station and Praça da Ribeira.
Ribeira is considered the liveliest area in Porto. Located along the banks of the Douro River, the Ribeira district is one of the most enchanting places to visit in Porto. This area used to be the centre of commerce during the Middle Ages. As you walk along, you find that the small winding streets all lead towards the water.
Along the riverfront is where you find the brightly painted houses that serve as a backdrop for the bars and restaurants. Take your time to stroll along the long strip of cafés, restaurants and shops that hug the riverside and allow the romantic atmosphere to sweep you off your feet. The Ribeira area is filled with tourists.
However, it’s still beautiful, and a great place to sit and people watch or sit and watch the Rabelo boats filled with port wine coming into the harbour or browse the flea markets and watch the street performers.
Looming above the area is the magnificent Dom Luis bridge, connecting Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia. Gaia is a different city from Porto. From here you’ll also be able to take a river cruise down the Douro River or walk across the Dom Luis I Bridge to the Porto Gaia waterfront.
Top tip: The Ribeira is one of the hotspots to go and watch the sun go down, grab a drink and stare out over the river, enjoying the views of Vila Nova de Gaia on the other side.
6 Bridges Cruise (Cruzeiro Das 6 Pontes)
The Douro River is a stunning river that bisects Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. The river has gorgeous sights on both sides and six majestic bridges crossing over it, one of which is the Luis I Bridge.
I did the 6 bridges cruise while in Porto and found it a welcome break and relief from all the walking I was doing. For 50 minutes, I could relax as the boat glided along the river passing one row of colourful houses after another, and the different bridges that make up the 6 Bridges.
The cruise is a 50 minutes boat trip, starting either at Ribeira’s quay (in Porto), or in Vila Nova de Gaia’s quay (depending on the company you choose), and it shows the amazingly beautiful six bridges in Porto.
The six bridges of Porto are (from east to west): Freixo, São João, Maria Pia, Infante D. Henrique, Luís I and Arrábida. As you cruise along the route of the old Rabelo boats, you can discover the beautiful bridges of the area. This is a very special experience that gives travellers a unique view of the quaint city.
If you want to make the most of your day in Porto, why not combine the cruise with some other activities such as a Hop-On Hop-Off city sightseeing bus tour or Port wine cellar visit and City Train tour?
I recommend you book your tickets in advance, as ticket lines can get quite long for the boat cruises. You can buy your skip-the-line tickets here.
Top tip: I recommend you to arrive ten minutes earlier (boats depart around every 30 minutes), to ensure that you are one of the first to enter the boat – this way, you’ll get a spot at the bow, rather than on the inside. This way you can see the colourful houses of Riberia and snap some great photos.
Views From Ponte D. Luis (Dom Luis I Bridge)
Once you’ve had your fill of the Ribeira area make your way across the Dom Luis I Bridge – another iconic Porto landmark that connects the Ribeira area to Vila Nova de Gaia on the opposite side.
The magnificent double-deck metal arch bridge spans across the river and offers a timeless view of the city. The bridge was designed by a protégé of Gustav Eiffel – Théophile Seyrig and was once the longest metallic arch bridge in the world. This has to be one of the biggest things to see in Porto.
As an icon of the area, the scene from the top makes the perfect snapshot moment to remember Porto weekend breaks fondly. From the upper level of the bridge, you have some of the most stunning views of the Douro River and the city of Porto. It is the perfect photo opportunity both day and night.
Strolling across the Dom Luís I bridge to visit the port wine cellars in Gaia is one of those “must-do” things to do in Porto. The view from the bridge at night is particularly beautiful and well worth the visit.
Top tip: Visitors can walk over it, drive over it, or take the train. I walked on both the upper and lower levels. I found views on the top levels of the bridge were better, and I felt much safer walking on the upper levels as there was much more space to walk along the bridge even with the trams running inches away from you.
On the lower deck, the side path to walk is much narrower with tourists and locals squeezing by each other, trying to avoid stepping out into on-coming traffic.
St Francis Church (Igreja De Sao Francisco)
From the outside, St Francisco Church appears as a Gothic building that is eerily intimidating, but once inside you’ll be met with an impressive display of Baroque-style decor.
First built in the 14th century, the church has aged better than Halle Berry and resonates with intricate signs of history and culture.
Opening Hours | July–September: 9:00–20:00; March, June & October: 9:00–19:00; November–February: 9:00–17:30
Entry | Adult: €6 Child: €5 25% off with Porto Card
Address | Monument Church of Saint Francis Rua do Infante D. Henrique, 4050-297 Porto
Wander Around Vila Nova de Gaia
Deep-seated heritage blends with a sense of modern innovation in Vila Nova de Gaia, making the area one of the must-see places when you visit Porto, Portugal. In this area, you can hit the beach, visit the Parque Biológico de Gaia and dive deep into the traditional Portuguese cuisine.
Do A Port Wine Cellars Tour
As one of the most iconic parts of Porto’s reputation, you simply have to spend a bit of time tasting local ports and exploring Porto’s wine cellars. Doing a port wine tasting is one of the top things to do in Porto. Your weekend in Porto just won’t be complete without it.
Ironically all the port cellars are across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia (not Porto) and are where you will find the top port wine houses such as CALEM, Sandeman, Taylor’s, Porto Cruz, and many more.
Port wine is a fortified Portuguese wine that is exclusively produced in the Douro Valley region of northern Portugal. During my two days in Porto, I did a port wine cellar tour at the CALEM cellars in Gaia and enjoyed the enthusiasm and knowledge of the guide. Plus the port was not bad either.
I think one of the best ways to experience these cellars is with a local guide who can share insights on the history and the making of the port wines. There is also the possibility to include a port wine tasting with a cruise, enjoy an evening of Fado in a port wine cellar with tasting, or take a 3-hour port wine walking tour with tastings.
Views From Miradouro Da Serra Do Pilar
Wondering what to see in Porto before closing your eyes on your first night? It’s the view from Serra do Pilar. The World Heritage Site offers a breathtaking view of the city, the famous Luis I Bridge and the Douro River.
Previously a convent in the 16th century, the viewpoint functions as a military barracks today. It’s free to access but gives travellers a priceless moment and a stunning view. From across the river, you get a panoramic view of the Ribeira District with the sun setting in the distance.
Another place to view the sunset is a little park called Jardim Do Morro, immediately after you cross the bridge from Ribeira, where you can relax with a blanket and wine and take some great pictures.
Porto City Break – Day Two
City breaks to Porto, Portugal, are incomplete without ticking off some of these key attractions and activities.
Clerigos Tower (Torre Dos Clérigos)
Start your second day in Porto by visiting one of the city’s most iconic attractions – the Clerigos Tower. After a delicious breakfast, climb the 240 steps to the top of the Bell Tower and enjoy the beauty of a view that meets you at the top.
The Clérigos Church’s history dates back to the 18th century, you can enter the church for free but to climb the tower you’ll need to pay a small fee. The sight from the top offers a captivating, sweeping view of the city and a close-up encounter with neighbouring Igreja dos Clerigos.
There can be queues to climb the tower, but once you have your ticket, you can visit the tower anytime before it closes.
Tip: Start your day off on the right foot and book your Clegos Tower entrance ticket here
Opening Hours | 9:00 to 19:00 daily.
Address | R. de São Filipe de Nery, 4050-546 Porto
Igreja do Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas
The Carmo Church and Carmelite Church are two separate churches that appear as one. Perhaps the most captivating part of the majestic buildings is the narrow, one-metre-wide house that connects the two buildings. This house was built to separate these two churches and to prevent contact between the nuns and the monks who used to reside there.
But that didn’t stop them as apparently there are tunnels underneath that lead from one church to the next. Knowing things makes me like these churches even more. To be a fly in those tunnels.
These beautiful churches are decorated with a finely crafted stonework facade on one side, and an engaging display of the iconic blue tiles that Porto is known for. These churches are where you can live your best Instagram life and where you’ll find people, including me, taking tons of photos for the ‘Gram’.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 – 18:00
Address | R. do Carmo, 4050-164 Porto
Stand in line for Livraria Lello Bookshop
Calling all Harry Potter fans – the Livraria Lello Bookshop is one of the ‘compulsory’ places to visit in Porto, Portugal. The famous bookstore is one of the oldest in Porto, and rumour has it that the bookshop was an inspiration for J.K Rowling when writing the Harry Potter books.
Supposedly, this is where J K Rowling spent a lot of her time while she was in Porto teaching English back in the 90s. In addition to walls of fantastical books, the magical interior architecture is enough to astound any visitor. I will say though that there was an ungodly long queue of people waiting to enter this bookshop.
So, if you don’t mind waiting 30 – 45 minutes to visit a bookshop or a die-hard Harry Potter fan then have at it. But with only two days in Porto, I would rather spend my time doing something more fulfilling, than stand in a queue. But hey that’s just me. If you’re spending a long weekend in Porto, you may have time to visit the bookshop.
I would recommend that you buy your ticket online and save you some waiting time at the ticket office. The ticket’s price of € 5 is deductible when purchasing books at the store.
Address | R. das Carmelitas 144, 4050-161 Porto
Opening hours | Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 19:30; Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 to 19:00 (closed on certain holidays).
Admire the São Bento Train Station
The São Bento Train Station is revered as one of the most beautiful train stations in the world. Opened in the early 1900s, the train station walls are decorated with over 20,000 azulejos tiles in the main hall.
The best part about this beautiful facade is the intricate stories that they tell about Porto’s history. Although you will probably walk past the train station a couple of times during your stay in Porto, make sure that you step inside and marvel at the beauty of the main hall.
The main hall does get a little busy not just with commuters but also with tour groups. But it’s still worth a visit for the stunning sight even with people dashing about.
Address | Praça Almeida Garrett, 4000-069 Porto
Stroll Up Rua Das Flores
The street that leads to São Bento Train Station is fast becoming as iconic as the station itself. The narrow street is lined with traditional businesses and houses that promise to sweep you up in an atmosphere of nostalgia.
The street has been newly renovated, making it a great street to go and visit. Take a break from your stroll and pop into one of the many coffee shops and soak up the city’s historical ambience.
Igreja De Santo Ildefonso
As you can see, Porto has no shortage of stunning churches, but each one is worth a dedicated visit. The Parish Church of Santo Ildefonso is a beautiful demonstration of Baroque architecture at its finest.
Completed in the 18th century, its eye-catching facade is covered in the iconic blue and white azulejo tiles depicting scenes from the life of St Ildefonsus. The distinctive azulejo tile facade is one of the most distinctive features of the church, making a stop well worth the effort. It’s also a fully functioning church where you can go for mass.
Opening Times: Tuesday – Sunday: 10:00 – 13:00, 15:00 – 18:00
Address | R. de Santo Ildefonso 11, 4000-542 Porto
Take A Tram – Tram No. 1 Or Tram No. 22
The trams in Porto are not only a historical mode of transport in the city, but also an iconic experience for travellers visiting.
Tram No. 1 is the most iconic route since it runs along the banks of the Douro River (to the Foz district) and it’s probably the most popular ride (I waited an hour for a tram). I recommend taking the tram later in the day around 4 pm when there are fewer people.
Tram No. 22 which takes you on the sightseeing route in Porto and is great for first-time visitors wanting to see most of the tourist attractions in Porto. Before jumping on the tram, make sure that you get yourself a ticket. You can buy these tickets at any of the side stores, trams or the metro.
Tram 1 Hours | Every 30 minutes from 9:30 to 20:00
Tram 2 Hours | Every 30 minutes from 10:00 to 19:00
Best Restaurants In Porto For Your 2 Day Trip
Portuguese food is a favourite around the world. And where better to tease your taste buds than in Portugal itself? Portugal has tons of iconic dishes such as Francesinha, a classic Portuguese sandwich that originated from Porto.
Chances are, you’ll be left wondering where to eat in Porto. Not because there are no restaurants, but rather because there are so many tantalising spots to choose from. So I’ve narrowed it down for you.
Here are some of the best foodie spots in Porto:
Majestic Café Bar
One of the most stunning and authentic cafés in Porto is hands down Majestic Café. If you’re looking for the perfect place to taste the notorious pastel de nata – then this is the spot. I use the word “notorious” because the creamy, pastry treat is so good that it’s bad.
Walking through the doors will take you back in time to a romantic era decorated with carved wood, mirrors and chandeliers. As you can imagine, the beauty of this heritage café makes your coffee taste that much richer, and your pastries that much more decadent.
Just be warned that due to the notoriety of this cafe, there tends to be a queue outside and the coffee and treats are slightly more expensive than other cafes in the area.
Address: | Rua Santa Catarina 112, 4000-442 Porto, Portugal
Bacalhau is not to be confused with Bacalhau (the Portuguese word for dried and salted cod).
It would be a sin to go on your first Porto city break and not enjoy a meal by the riverside. With that in mind, you must add Bacalhau to your list of places to visit in Porto.
Serving fantastic Mediterranean and Portuguese food, this spot is a favourite among travellers and locals alike.
In addition to delicious food and excellent wine, Bacalhau boasts one of the most exquisite views of the city’s famous river.
Casa da Horta
If you’re looking to enjoy an authentic Portuguese meal in the iconic wine cellar environment, then Casa da Horta ticks all your boxes.
The food, service, atmosphere and value for money come highly rated and promise a memorable experience.
One of the unique selling points of this spot is that they serve excellent vegan and vegetarian dishes, making it an excellent spot for a group with more restrictive dietary preferences.
Address | R. de São Francisco 12, 4050-253 Porto, Portugal
Yes, that’s one artery-clogging sandwich!
Before heading to Poto, I read everywhere that I had to visit Cafe Santiago, a Porto institution and try their famous Francesinha. A multi-meat sandwich is covered in melted cheese and a tomato beer sauce, with a side of fries to soak up the flavourful liquid.
Yes, that’s one artery-clogging sandwich!
But you only live once, right? I ordered my Francesinha, and once it arrived, I was very nervous. I’m not a big cheese fan or like having my sandwich doused with sauce. But I was willing to try it because of FOMO and all.
I was not a fan of the sandwich, I know a lot of people have raved about it, but it was just not my thing. I think the meat on the inside of the sandwich was fresh, seasoned perfectly and well cooked.
But the whole sandwich could have been done without the cheese on the outside as there was melted cheese on the inside of the sandwich. One layer of cheese is enough for any sandwich. I’m glad I tried it, but I don’t think I would order it again.
But hey, maybe you’ll feel differently. If you’re in Porto and love cheese and want to try a Francesinha then head to Cafe Santiago, the meat in their sandwich is the freshest. Plus this cafe was also recommended by the Portuguese owner of the apartment I was staying in, as the best place to try a Francesinha.
Address | R. Passos Manuel, 226 4000-382 Porto Portugal
I dream about the pastel de nata even to this day 🙂
Mantergaria is one of the best places to try a Pastel De Nata when you’re in Porto. There is a Mantergaria on Rua dos Clérigos just outside the Clérigos Tower. Once you taste the warm crisp pastry with its thick creamy custard, one of their pastel de nata won’t be enough.
I dream about the pastel de nata even to this day. You can have the pastry cold or warm and have coffee or some Port to go with it. You can even watch as the pastel de nata are being made in the shop as the oven is visible behind the glass doors.
Address | Rua dos Clérigos nº37, 4050-205 Porto, Portugal
I stumbled upon this little gem of a restaurant because it was near the apartment I was staying in. This place serves tasty, authentic Portuguese dishes including a traditional bean stew, ribs, cod fritters, and chicken gizzards, but with a modern twist.
Their bread starter with the orangey butter is a winner and don’t leave without grabbing dessert, get the homemade cake with the orange ice cream. The staff are warm and friendly, the restaurant is cash only, but there is an ATM just 2 minutes away from the restaurant.
Address | Passeio de São Lázaro n 27, 4000-507 Porto, Portugal
Day Trips From Porto
Short breaks to Porto will leave you with a full itinerary. However, if you can fit in an extra day for a day trip, then I recommend that you do.
It’s challenging to pick the best part about a day trip to Douro Valley. From the breathtaking landscapes, the beautiful port wines and smooth olive oil, you’ll be ‘hard-pressed’ to pick a highlight moment.
This day trip allows you to experience the best of Douro River in a comfortable and convenient way. Enjoy wine tastings, learn about local vineyards, local cuisine and a cruise along the Douro River lines with rolling hills and lush green trees, before returning to Porto.
If you’re looking to get a panoramic view along the Douro River, it is one of the best ways to enjoy short breaks in Porto.
Day trip to Gerês National Park
A day trip to Gerês National Park promises a fun day out for the adventurous traveller. As the only national park in Portugal, Gerês National Park offers a unique and exceptional experience.
The experience includes an opportunity to marvel at beautiful views of the landscape from Pedra Bela’s viewpoint and swim in the famous Tahiti waterfalls.
Day trip to Guimarães and Braga
Portugal’s history is fascinating and enthralling. Guimarães and Braga highlight the mediaeval atmosphere that is still prevalent in Portugal today. A popular day trip from Porto takes travellers to this area where you can explore the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, the cathedral of Braga and the Bom Jesus Sanctuary.
A day trip to Guimarães and Braga is an excellent option for history-lovers with an interest in the mediaeval era and Portuguese history.
Hopefully, you’re no longer wandering, “Where is Porto?” Or “What to do in Porto?’. But, rather start looking at booking your flights to Porto with a clear idea of the best things to do during your first visit.
The beautiful, hilly city is full of both culture and adventure and is simply waiting for your visit. All you need to do now is pack your bags, and hand luggage essentials, then prepare for the trip of a lifetime.
You won’t regret it I promise. Hopefully, this Porto city break review has inspired you to get your trip going. This city break in Porto itinerary is full of wonderful experiences that you’ll want to remember forever. With this in mind, make sure that you’ve packed your camera (and the charger).
Regardless of how many days in Porto you’ve planned, make sure that you savour every moment – and every morsel of delicious pastel de nata so that you can encourage others to visit this incredible city with your positive experiences.