If you’re planning a weekend trip to Porto, this guide is for you. Here I share the ultimate 3-Day Porto itinerary, including where to stay and where to eat, plus all of my top tips for visiting.
Porto is quickly becoming one of the most acclaimed cities in Europe. With its impressive architecture, world-famous wine and cuisine, and budget-friendly prices, it’s easy to see why.
We recently spent a couple of days in Porto on our road trip through Portugal. We aren’t usually city people, but we came away from Porto feeling grateful that we took the time to visit.
But with all that said, let’s get into it. Here is our tried and tested 3-Day Porto Weekend itinerary.
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Is 3 Days in Porto Enough?
Three days is plenty of time to spend in Porto. This allows enough time to explore the different areas of Porto without rushing around.
If you wanted to, it’s possible to see the best of Porto in a day or 2. But this itinerary allows an extra day for a day trip or to explore some of the city’s hidden gems.
First-timers to the city will benefit from following at least the first 2 days of this Porto weekend itinerary. These days concentrate on the sightseeing hotspots and getting to know the city.
The 3rd day, as mentioned above, is somewhat of a bonus. On this day, I recommend either a day trip or visiting some of the city’s lesser-known spots.
You can, of course, pick and choose from the recommendations below to curate your own Porto itinerary. Either way, you are sure to love what this unique and picturesque city has to offer.
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Tips for a Weekend Trip to Porto
Regardless of whether you’re visiting Porto solo, in a group, or as a couple, you will find it easy to navigate the city and have a good time.
That said, it’s always handy to get some advice from those who’ve been before. So here are my tips and tricks for making the very best of your trip.
- Save money on public transport, attractions, and restaurants with a Porto Card.
- Book a hotel or hostel here or check out these awesome Air Bnbs in Porto.
- Stay connected in Porto with a portable wifi hotspot or e-sim.
- Get to know the city on a best-selling Porto Tour.
- Don’t forget travel insurance – check out our favoured providers.
Best Time to Visit Porto
The best time of year to visit Porto will come down to personal preference. Generally speaking, April, May, September and October are favourable months to consider.
During these times, the weather should be fairly warm and dry, but you will be avoiding the peak of summer when the crowds come in the masses.
Of course, this is a city, so you can expect it to be busy all year round, especially on weekends. But I can assure you it will be a much more pleasurable experience if you avoid the height of summer.
On the other hand, Porto is also a good choice for a winter city break in Europe if you don’t mind the cold.
The city hosts lots of festivities for Christmas and New Year, and it’s undoubtedly one of the quietest and cheapest times of year to visit.
Getting Around in Porto
While Porto is a large city (the second largest city in Portugal, in fact), most of the tourist hotspots concentrate in a relatively small area.
This makes Porto easy to navigate on foot, which is my favourite way to explore a city.
Walking around a new city allows you to really immerse yourself in the energy and culture while leading you to corners you might not have seen otherwise.
Some of our favourite sights in Porto were away from the tourist areas, where we stumbled upon them by accident.
They were the quaint cobbled backstreets and charming local eateries or watching the sunset from a secret viewpoint way above the city.
It’s worth noting that Porto is pretty hilly, especially as you make your way down to the river. It’s also lots of cobblestone streets, so be sure to wear sensible walking shoes.
For anything that isn’t accessible on foot, the public transport system is reliable and reasonably easy to use. The metro system is most commonly used with various routes to most corners of the city.
If you prefer to avoid public transport, taxis are easy to come by at taxi stands, metro stations, and the airport. Taxi apps like Uber are also in operation.
Where to Stay in Porto
Unsurprisingly, there is plenty of accommodation options when planning your trip to Porto. Whether it’s a hostel, hotel, or apartment that you’re after, there’s plenty to choose from.
If you’re spending 3 days in Porto or less, you may prefer to base yourself around the Ribeira or Centro-Baixa areas. Both are very central and conveniently located.
Mind you, I wouldn’t worry too much about location. With the well-connected public transport system, you can easily navigate your way around the city.
We were campervanning in Portugal at the time and found ourselves a park & ride on the outskirts of the city. We could be in the centre in 20 minutes by metro, so it’s very convenient.
For those travelling by campervan, here is the location of the Park & Ride. It was free to park here, and you could sleep overnight. It also has some basic services like a dump station and water refill.
Weekend in Porto Budget
One of the things I love most about Porto is how budget-friendly it is. You can usually expect to pay over the odds in a big city, but we found it cheaper than The Algarve.
Of course, it’s easy to splurge if you want to. Porto has plenty of luxury hotels, expensive tours, and fine-dining restaurants.
At the same time, it’s just as easy to visit on a budget. Here are some affordable ways to enjoy your weekend in Porto.
- Go during the low season: October to April
- Book accommodation outside of the city centre.
- Check out some of the free things to do around Porto.
- Visit restaurants and bars away from touristy areas, such as the riverside.
- Save money on public transport, attractions, and restaurants with a Porto Card.
- Grab a picnic to enjoy in a local park or along the riverfront.
Some might say that taking a guided tour is the best way to experience Porto.
We always use Get Your Guide when we book tours. They have an endless selection of tours in locations worldwide, including Porto. Check them out!
Save Time and Book a Tour
For a more local experience, we recommend checking out the guided tours on Get Your Guide:
3-Days in Porto Weekend Itinerary
Porto is a diverse and picturesque city with plenty to see and do.
From its rich Portuguese architecture and historical sights to the colourful Ribeira district and riverside views, it’s hard not to be impressed by everything Porto has to offer.
Below are my suggestions for spending 3 days in Porto. Feel free to follow this guide precisely or pick and choose what stands out to you.
In the meantime, here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect from each day.
Day 1: Eat, drink, and marvel your way around the Ribeira, Baixa, and Bolhão districts.
Day 2: Take a sightseeing boat cruise, port tasting and ride the historical tram to Foz.
Day 3: Enjoy a day trip to Douro Valley or check out some of Porto’s hidden gems.
Weekend in Porto: Day 1
Eat, drink, and marvel your way around the Ribeira, Baixa, and Bolhão districts.
I don’t know about you, but I like to spend the first day in any city walking around and ticking off a majority of the sightseeing hotspots.
It’s these places that tend to be the busiest and for obvious reasons. But crowds can send my stress levels to an all-time high.
By getting these spots out of the way first, I can spend the remainder of my time taking it easy and enjoying a slower pace in quieter areas of the city.
First Stop... Breakfast!
If you want to kick off your weekend in Porto in the most traditional way possible, head to a bakery for some coffee and local pastries.
Pastel de Nata is the local delicacy – a small yet delightful little package of deliciousness that consists of creamy egg custard in a flakey pastry tart and topped with a light sprinkle of cinnamon.
I died and went to pastry heaven the first time I sunk my teeth into these bad boys. It was in Porto, ironically, at Confeitaria do Bolhao, which I highly recommend.
Morning - Explore Bolhão and Baixa
Bolhão and Baixa are Porto’s historical districts. You’ll find many of the city’s oldest and most famous landmarks in these parts.
To explore them, you might want to take a free walking tour like this one. This way, you get to cover all the best sights while also learning about the history from a local guide.
If you prefer to explore at your own pace, below is a list of places that I recommend checking out.
You could easily spend most of the day meandering these areas. But take as long as you like before heading down to the lively Ribeira district for late afternoon and evening.
- Clérigos Tower – A Baroque church with a 75-metre bell tower. Climb to the top for unrivalled views over the city.
- Livaria Lello – A Neo-Gothic style book store built in the early 1900s and said to be one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. It’s also rumoured to have inspired JK Rowling’s Hogwarts.
- Porto Cathedral – A 12th-century monument and one of Porto’s most important religious buildings.
- São Bento Station – Easily one of the most impressive train stations in Europe thanks to its magical artwork. 20,000 azulejo (traditional painted tiles) grace the entrance depicting centuries of Portuguese history.
- Capela Das Almas (Chapel of Souls) – Another example of striking azulejo tiles.
- Miradouro da Vitória – One of the best viewpoints in the city overlooking the Douro river, Porto Cathedral, and the iconic terracotta rooftops of the city.
- Mercado do Bolhão – Porto’s historic market where you can enjoy a variety of local produce. A great spot to grab some lunch!
Afternoon - Explore Ribeira
When you’re done sightseeing, make your way to the lively yet far less demanding Ribeira district.
Ribeira is Porto’s riverside district. Nestled beside the Douro river, here it’s less about rushing around and spotting landmarks and more about leisurely strolls and soaking in the atmosphere.
The riverfront is, of course, the most famous area. Boasting views of the Dom Luis bridge and lined with iconic colourful houses, it’s truly a sight to behold.
A realm of bars and restaurants adds to its character, while local street performers delight passers-by with their various acts.
It’s easy to get carried away with the vibe and while away the entire afternoon here. And if you feel like it, why not! But keep in mind that there’s plenty left to see.
The backstreets of Ribeira, for example, are a labyrinth of quaint cobbled streets lined with charming local eateries and bars.
You’ll pay far less in these places than you will in the touristy spots along the river, and you’re sure to get a more authentic experience.
If you have the energy for more sightseeing, you might check out Bolsa Palace and the Monument Church of St Francis.
Evening - Watch Sunset & Go for Dinner
For sunset, climb the steps to the top of Dom Luis I bridge. This is a popular sunset viewpoint in Porto, so you certainly won’t be alone.
We found an even better and secluded viewpoint by crossing the bridge and taking an immediate left down a gravel track. A short but sketchy climb led us to this incredible view.
Please take care if you choose to visit this viewpoint as a wrong step could be very dangerous.
If you prefer to watch the sunset with the comfort of a drink in hand, Miradouro Ignez should be your first point of call. Although, in the busier months, you’ll want to arrive early to secure a table.
Once you’re done watching the sunset, it will be time to eat. Take your pick from these best restaurants in Porto, or roam around and find a place that takes your fancy.
Weekend in Porto: Day 2
Take a sightseeing boat cruise, port tasting and ride the historical tram to Foz.
OK, we got our crazy manic day of sightseeing out the way, so for day 2 of this Porto weekend itinerary, we will take it a little bit easier.
We’ll still be covering some of the best things to do in Porto, but at a much slower pace and (fingers crossed) without the crowds.
First things First… Breakfast
Does breakfast with a view sound good? Then you cannot miss My Coffee Porto – a speciality coffee shop serving delicious breakfasts and even better coffee.
There’s nothing fancy about this charming little cafe which is reflected in the affordable prices. But when it comes to the view, you’ll struggle to find better.
My only advice is to arrive early if you want to snag a good seat. The patio seats are limited, and while there is seating indoors, you don’t get the view.
Morning - Sightseeing Boat Cruise
After breakfast, while your coffee and croissants digest, take a relaxing sightseeing boat cruise along the Douro River.
Arguably, this is one of the best ways to take in the sights of this picturesque city. Many significant landmarks sit upon the banks of the Douro River, not to mention the city’s iconic bridges.
When it comes to choosing a river cruise, there is no shortage of options. The banks of the Douro are lined with vendors waiting to sell you the ‘Best Douro River Cruise’.
In our experience, however, booking in advance and online is the cheapest. Get your Guide offers a variety of tours, so it’s worth checking them out and comparing them with local vendors.
Either way, you can expect to cruise past remarkable places such as the historic centre of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. If you’re lucky, maybe with a glass of port in hand!
Afternoon - Port Tasting in Vila Nova de Gaia
You cannot visit Porto without tasting some local port wine. Port production in the Douro valley dates back to the 17th century and, to this day, remains Porto’s most famous export.
The most prestigious port cellars are on the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the river. And the very best of them are set up in the hills overlooking breathtaking views of Porto.
I would start your port-tasting escapade, however, at Espaco Porto Cruz – a 5-story building celebrating Porto’s wine culture and history.
Move through the different floors enjoying interactive exhibits, get started with some wine tasting, and certainly check out the terrace bar, which boasts panoramic views over the city.
After that, head to one of the plentiful wine cellars. Most offer tours and tastings for visitors, where you can sample the house wine and learn more about its production process.
Evening: Ride the Historical Tram to Foz
To round off your relaxing, albeit slightly boozy, day in the city, I suggest riding the historical tram over to Foz.
Foz is the district where the Douro River meets the Atlantic Ocean. Expect rugged beaches, picturesque promenades, and a treasure trove of delightful restaurants.
The tram ride itself is an unforgettable Porto experience. Not only does it follow a scenic route along the banks of the Douro River, but you’ll get to ride in a historical tram from days gone by.
The Porto trams look like they belong in a museum! With wooden interiors and brass trimmings, it’s no wonder they are considered a heritage landmark of the city.
To catch the tram to Foz, you’ll need the historic Line 1 tram from Riberia, and a return ticket will cost approximately €6.
When you get to Foz, it will be the perfect time to stroll along the promenade. The prom that runs along the Avenida do Brasil is full of cafes, bars, and restaurants.
If you time it right, it’s also a fantastic location to watch the sunset.
Weekend in Porto: Day 3
Enjoy a day trip to Douro Valley or check out some of Porto’s hidden gems.
For the final day of your weekend in Porto, I highly recommend taking a day trip to the nearby Douro Valley. By now, you’ve covered all the main attractions in the city, so it’s the perfect opportunity to try something new.
The Douro Valley is widely considered one of the most beautiful regions in all of Portugal. With its sprawling terraced vineyards and enchanting mountainous landscapes, it’s not too difficult to see why.
Located just 100km east of Porto, many vineyards and wineries that produce port wine can be found here. It’s also home to charming villages, excellent hiking opportunities, and endless breathtaking vistas.
It is possible (and perhaps favourable) to visit this world heritage site on your own, where you can take your time and plan your own itinerary. However, with such limited time in Porto, I recommend taking an organised tour such as this one.
The full-day tour includes:
- Transport to and from the Douro Valley.
- A visit to various unique and picturesque locations.
- A 1-hour cruise along the Douro Valley.
- A traditional Portuguese lunch.
- Wine tastings.
If a day trip is out of your budget, or you’d prefer to spend another day around the city, you could check out some of Porto’s hidden gems instead.
Enjoy your Weekend in Porto!
I hope this 3-Day Porto weekend itinerary has you excited about your trip! It’s the perfect destination for anyone who loves exploring big bustling cities.
If you’ve already been to Porto and have something you’d add to this itinerary, let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
Stay adventurous and Happy travels.