Close this search box.

One Day in Porto: What to Do, See and Eat in 24 Hours in the City

Share Article

Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal, is a charming and historic city that is perfect for a day trip. With its stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and rich cultural heritage, it’s no wonder why Porto is becoming an increasingly popular destination for tourists. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or just looking for a relaxing day out, Porto has something to offer everyone.

If you’re short on time and only have one day to explore Porto, don’t worry! It’s still possible to see many of the city’s top attractions in just 24 hours. Start your day with a stroll along the Ribeira, Porto’s historic waterfront district, and take in the stunning views of the Douro River. From there, head to the iconic Dom Luis I Bridge, which offers panoramic views of the city. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even walk across the bridge to Vila Nova de Gaia, where you’ll find some of the best port wine cellars in the world.

Exploring the Ribeira District

The Ribeira district is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Porto, and it is located in the heart of the old town. As its name suggests, the district is situated on the riverbank and is one of the most picturesque parts of the city. Its colorful and beautifully decorated façades are noteworthy.

Dom Luis I Bridge

One of the most iconic landmarks in Porto is the Dom Luis I Bridge. It is a double-deck metal arch bridge that spans the Douro River, connecting Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia. The bridge offers stunning views of the Ribeira district and the Douro River. Visitors can walk across the top deck of the bridge, which is reserved for pedestrians and offers a breathtaking view of the city.

Porto Cathedral

The Porto Cathedral, also known as the Sé Cathedral, is a Romanesque church located in the heart of the city. The cathedral was built in the 12th century and is one of the oldest and most important monuments in Porto. The cathedral’s cloister is a must-see, with its beautiful azulejo tiles and peaceful atmosphere.

Palacio da Bolsa

The Palacio da Bolsa is a neoclassical building located in the Ribeira district. It was built in the 19th century and was originally used as a stock exchange. Today, the building is open to the public and visitors can take a guided tour of the palace, which includes a visit to the Arab Room, the Noble Room, and the Assembly Room. The palace is also home to the Porto Commercial Association and hosts various cultural events throughout the year.

In summary, exploring the Ribeira district is a must-do when visiting Porto. Visitors can enjoy the stunning views of the Dom Luis I Bridge, visit the Porto Cathedral, and take a guided tour of the Palacio da Bolsa.

Tasting Porto’s Cuisine

When visiting Porto, tasting the local cuisine is a must-do activity. The city is known for its delicious sandwiches, such as the famous Francesinha, and its sweet Port wine. Here are two great ways to experience Porto’s culinary scene in just one day.

Francesinha Tasting

The Francesinha is a sandwich that is unique to Porto. It consists of several layers of bread, ham, sausage, and beef, all covered in melted cheese and a spicy tomato sauce. This sandwich is not for the faint of heart, as it is quite filling and heavy, but it is a must-try for anyone visiting Porto.

There are many restaurants in Porto that serve Francesinhas, but one of the best places to try it is at Café Santiago. This restaurant has been serving Francesinhas for over 50 years and has become a local institution. The sandwich is served with a side of fries and a cold beer, which makes for a perfect meal.

Port Wine Cellars Visit

Port wine is one of Porto’s most famous exports, and there are several Port wine cellars located in Vila Nova de Gaia that offer tours and tastings. One of the most popular cellars is Taylor’s, which has been producing Port wine since 1692.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the cellars, which includes a visit to the aging rooms and a tasting of several different types of Port wine. The tour is informative and entertaining, and it provides a great opportunity to learn about the history and production of Port wine.

Overall, tasting Porto’s cuisine is a great way to experience the city’s culture and history. Whether it’s trying the famous Francesinha sandwich or visiting a Port wine cellar, there are many delicious and interesting options for foodies to explore.

Discovering Porto’s Art and Culture

Porto is a city rich in art and culture, with many museums and galleries to explore. Here are two must-visit destinations for art lovers:

Serralves Museum

The Serralves Museum is a contemporary art museum located in the beautiful Serralves Park. The museum features a collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by Portuguese and international artists. Visitors can also explore the park’s gardens, which are home to a variety of sculptures and installations.

Lello Bookstore

The Lello Bookstore is a must-visit destination for book lovers and fans of architecture. The bookstore was opened in 1906 and is known for its stunning neo-gothic architecture, intricate wooden carvings, and stained glass windows. It is said to have inspired J.K. Rowling’s description of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series. Visitors can browse the store’s extensive collection of books and take in its beautiful design.

Whether you’re interested in contemporary art or historic architecture, Porto has something to offer. Don’t miss these two must-visit destinations during your one day in Porto.

Enjoying the Douro River

Visiting Porto is not complete without experiencing the beauty of the Douro River. There are several ways to enjoy the river, but the two most popular ones are by taking a boat tour or strolling along the riverside.

Boat Tour

One of the best ways to see the city from a different perspective is by taking a boat tour. There are several options available, ranging from short 50-minute tours to full-day cruises.

The six bridges Douro River Day Cruise is a popular option that takes visitors under all six of Porto’s bridges and offers stunning views of the city’s skyline. Another great option is the Douro Valley Tour, which takes visitors to the Douro Valley wine region and includes a boat ride along the river.

Riverside Walk

For those who prefer to stay on land, a stroll along the riverside is a must. The Ribeira district is the perfect place to start, with its colorful buildings and lively atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk while taking in the sights and sounds of the city.

There are several restaurants and cafes along the riverfront, making it easy to stop for a drink or a bite to eat. For those who want to explore further, the riverside walkway continues along the river to the Foz district, where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Overall, enjoying the Douro River is a must-do when visiting Porto. Whether by boat or on foot, visitors are sure to be enchanted by the beauty of the river and the city that surrounds it.

Shopping and Leisure

Mercado do Bolhão

Mercado do Bolhão is a traditional market located in the heart of Porto. It is a great place to visit if you are looking for fresh produce, meat, fish, and other local products. The market has been in operation since the early 19th century and has become a popular tourist attraction. The market is open from Monday to Saturday, from 7 am to 5 pm.

Inside the market, you will find a wide variety of stalls selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to flowers and handicrafts. The atmosphere is lively and bustling, with vendors shouting out their prices and customers haggling for the best deals. Make sure to try the local specialties like the famous Francesinha sandwich and the traditional pastries.

Rua de Santa Catarina

Rua de Santa Catarina is one of the main shopping streets in Porto. It is a pedestrian street lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants. The street is famous for its Art Nouveau buildings and the iconic Majestic Cafe, which has been in operation since 1921.

The street is a great place to shop for souvenirs, clothing, and accessories. You will find a mix of local and international brands, as well as small independent shops selling unique handmade items. The street is also a great place to relax and people-watch, with plenty of outdoor seating areas and street performers.

Overall, Mercado do Bolhão and Rua de Santa Catarina are two must-visit destinations in Porto for shopping and leisure. Whether you are looking for fresh produce, local specialties, or unique souvenirs, these two locations have something for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top attractions to visit in Porto during a short stay?

Porto is a city full of history, culture, and stunning architecture. If you only have a short time in the city, there are a few places that you shouldn’t miss. The top attractions include the Ribeira district, the Dom Luis I Bridge, the Clérigos Tower, and the Lello Bookstore. These places offer an excellent introduction to the city’s history and culture and are easily accessible on foot.

How can I make the most of a family day out in Porto?

Porto is a great destination for families with kids. The city has several attractions that are perfect for children, including the Sea Life Porto, the World of Discoveries, and the Serralves Museum. The city also has several parks and gardens where families can relax and enjoy a picnic.

Can you recommend a good itinerary for a walking tour in Porto?

A walking tour is a great way to explore the city and soak up its unique atmosphere. A good itinerary for a walking tour in Porto should include the Ribeira district, the Dom Luis I Bridge, the Clérigos Tower, and the Lello Bookstore. The tour should also include a visit to the Porto Cathedral and the São Bento Railway Station.

What’s the best way to spend 24 hours in Porto?

If you only have 24 hours in Porto, you should focus on the city’s top attractions. Start your day with a visit to the Ribeira district, then cross the Dom Luis I Bridge to visit the Port Wine Cellars. After lunch, head to the Clérigos Tower and the Lello Bookstore. Finish your day with a stroll through the city’s parks and gardens.

Are there any must-see places within a day’s reach of Porto?

If you have some extra time to spare, there are several must-see places within a day’s reach of Porto. These include the Douro Valley, the city of Braga, and the medieval town of Guimarães. All of these places offer a unique glimpse into Portugal’s rich history and culture.

Is it practical to consider a day trip to Porto while staying in Lisbon?

While it is possible to take a day trip to Porto from Lisbon, it is not practical. The journey takes around three hours each way, which means that you would only have a few hours to explore the city. It is recommended that you spend at least one night in Porto to fully appreciate everything that the city has to offer.

You might also like