What to do and see in Porto

If you’ve visiting Porto and have a really short time there, here’s what to do and see in Porto in 24 hours!

We recently walked the Portuguese route of the Camino de Santiago and we started from Porto! Land of Port, the Douro river and where JK Rowling allegedly wrote the first three chapters of Harry Potter.

This was a short hop through Porto for us on this occasion but we will be back.

If you’re also walking the Camino from Porto, or stopping by for the weekend, we thought our guide to what to do and see in Porto if you have only 24 hours may be useful!

Taste Port In Porto

Port, or Vinho do Porto, has to be this city’s most famous export. On the South side of the river Douro there are a number of Port Lodges where you can sample various different types of Port, from White, Tawny to Ruby. We visited Cockburns (pronounced Coh-burn) and were impressed by the staff expertise (and how much we actually enjoyed the Port we tried). But there are lots of other lodges were you can try small glasses with snacks.

Walk along the river

On a sunny day, it’s hard to beat the feeling of joy created by taking a stroll along the River Douro in Porto. The North side of the river is lined with restaurants and bars, musicians and street performers and features a regular throng of tourists. The South side is where you will find the Port Lodges and other bars specialising in serving Port samples. As the sun sets, you’ll find courting couples gazing out to the river and enjoying the pink tinge of the sun settling on the water. If you follow the river long enough West, you’ll find the Atlantic coast.

How to cross the river? There are lots of options, either one of the large bridges, water taxi or the cable car.

Nibble some Portuguese food

When it comes to what you must see and do in Porto, food is a big part! Portugal has a lot of famous foods, in Porto, we really enjoyed:

  • Pastel de Nata (of course): bought anywhere in cafes or Pastelerias for around 1 Euro
  • Fried salt cod fritter (Pasteis de Bacalhau): tapas type snacks that can be found in restaurants served with a glass of wine
  • Ham and cheese brioche sandwiches: at cafes and sandwich shops for 2 Euro approx. So delicious for breakfast or a late night snack
  • Franceshina: A sandwich made of white bread, sausage, steak, cheese and topped with gravy like sauce. Erm, hello!

Visit the train station in Porto

The train station Sao Bento is in central Porto. It was built in 1877 and remains to this day a stunning building. It’s free to enter and have a quick look around, even just 2 minutes to witness the splendour of the tiled walls and high ceilings. Well worth your time!

Visit the sardine shops in Porto

Sardines are synonymous with Portugal, throughout the city you’ll find stores displaying sardines like candy. Granted, they are tourist traps and charge more than a supermarket would. But, it’s worth a look because they are all so pretty!

Take the tram from Porto to the coast

Of course, there is lots to do and see in Porto centre, but if you want to explore the area this is a great way to do it.

We love a tram! And what’s better than a tram that pootles out of Porto and to the beach?! Nothing I say. Take the tram “Line one” from Porto to the Foz district. It will cost you 3 Euro each way, but you could spend hours enjoying the beach, looking at lighthouses or watching fisherman making their catches of the day. There is a path along the coast if you want to keep walking and exploring the beaches, which become even more deserted as you head North.

Coffee and people watching in Porto’s cafes

Porto has some incredible coffee shops. Whether you’re looking for stunning traditional cafes or hipster joints to enjoy a flat white, Porto has it all. Nothing is better than spending a few hours drinking coffee and taking in your surroundings. We loved all the cafes on Rue Das Flores and some of the smaller coffee places on the stairs from the River back up to town.

Visit the chocolate shop and a wine tasting room

Enjoy a tasting experience! Chocolotaria Equador is a Porto must visit, there are a few different stores throughout the city. You can enjoy delicious chocolate on its own, pure decadence. Or up the ante and try some port with it too!

Take in the Porto Cathedral

The 12th Century Cathedral in central Porto offers spectacular views of the city and is free to enter. For anyone walking the Camino, this is also where you collect your credential and officially start your route!

Our final advice, do NOT take the funicular in Porto. It is pricey and an incredibly short ride. Not worth your money!

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10 responses to “What to do and see in Porto”

  1. Life...One Big Adventure avatar

    A visit to the art deco (or nouveau??) McDonalds in the city centre is also a must. Just for the art/design of course! 🙂

    1. lotuseaters.travel avatar

      Totally! Did a double take when we saw it.

  2. wetanddustyroads avatar

    Oh, you bring back so many wonderful memories. We started our Portuguese Camino from Lisbon, but enjoyed a rest day in Porto … what a beautiful city! The port and those amazing Pastel de Nata – oh my, yummyness in overload! And how did we miss the chocolate shop? Will definitely have to go back! I’m coming back to your blog to read all about your Camino! Best wishes, Corna (South Africa)

    1. lotuseaters.travel avatar

      Interesting, I’m curious when did you do the Camino? We were wondering how much it’s changed over the years.

      1. wetanddustyroads avatar

        We have done the Portuguese Camino in 2018 (March/April) and the Frances in 2017 … so, it’s also a while back (though sometimes it feels like just yesterday) 😉.

      2. lotuseaters.travel avatar

        Wow that’s early in the year to do the Camino. Very impressive!

  3. Reaseaorg avatar

    Nice post, haven’t heard about Porto for a long time …

  4. K.Hartless avatar

    I can tell I’ll be daydreaming a lot reading your posts. Nice to meet you. Cheers. 🍷

  5. skyenatureblog avatar

    I have just returned from Lisbon and Porto is our next destination in the Spring😎

    1. lotuseaters.travel avatar

      Fabulous! Your picking your destinations well!!

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