The following itinerary of Porto is the perfect circuit for a weekend break. It’s based on the assumption that you land in Porto Friday afternoon and leave Sunday evening. You can also use it on other week days, but you’ll have to check the opening hours of each museum and landmark (many of which close on Monday).
You probably won’t have time to visit any of Porto’s museums or monuments upon arrival, so we recommend you spend your first evening strolling through the city center and discover some of its stand-out neighborhoods.
The Avenida dos Aliados is an important boulevard in the heart of Porto and a great area to head to from your hotel. The thoroughfare is packed with Modernist buildings, including the imposing marble and granite City Hall.
Strolling past the City Hall, along the Avenue, you’ll get to Praça da Liberdade. This large square is one of Porto’s main plazas with an equestrian statue of King Peter IV.
When you get to the bottom of the square turn left and you’ll come upon São Bento Railway Station, one of the city’s most beautiful treasures. Its main hall is decorated with over 20,000 hand painted Portuguese tiles that reflect the country’s history.
After visiting the train station, walk down Rúa de Mousinho da Silveira and then keep going straight along Rúa da Alfándega until you get to the Douro riverbank.
Ribeira offers magnificent views of the Dom Luís I Bridge and Gaia, a charming city on the other side of the Douro River.
After dinner you can discover the city’s nightlife or head in for an early night.
After breakfast head to the Clérigos Church (you should get there around 10am). The most famous part of the Baroque Church is its emblematic bell tower, the Clérigos Tower. When you’ve visited the temple, we recommend walking up its 200 steps and admiring the impressive panoramic views of the city center.
Once you get back down, turn right in Rúa San Filipe de Nery and at the end of the street, turn left down Rúa das Carmelitas. One of the world’s most spellbinding bookstores is situated in Rúa das Carmelitas, 144. The Livraria Lello & Irmão was used for inspiration by Harry Potter’s bestselling author. It is definitely worth visiting its interior.
Continue along Rúa das Carmelitas until you get to Rúa do Carmo. Here take the vintage tram nº 22, which runs past the beautiful Carmo Church.
The tram’s last stop is Praça da Batalha. Get off here and head to the eighteenth-century Igreja de Santo Ildefonso with its peculiar façade adorned with thousands of white and blue tiles.
Leave Rúa 31 de Janeiro on your left and head to Rúa Santa Catarina, one of Porto’s main shopping streets. Stroll down the street while you enjoy the colorful window displays and stop at the Majestic Café, an elegant “Belle époque” coffee house. Step inside this unique café for something to eat if you’re feeling a little hungry.
Next, stroll a little further along Rúa Santa Catarina and you’ll see a remarkable shrine called Chapel of Souls, completely decorated with blue and white hand painted “azulejos”.
Take the street Rúa de Fernándes Tomás that houses the Bolhão Market, a nostalgic building were locals come to sell fresh produce including fruit, meat and vegetables.
Leave the Mercado and walk down Rúa Formosa to Avenida dos Aliados. Stroll down the Avenue, Praça da Liberdade and Rúa de Mousinho da Silveira until you come across Rúa da Bolsa. We strongly suggest you take a guided tour of the Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace) to discover its fascinating history.
Turn the corner and step into the Church of São Francisco and admire its Baroque inner decoration and catacombs.
If it is still early, why not visit Porto Cathedral? The best way to get to this stunning Romanesque temple is to ride on the funicular up to Cais da Ribeira.
For dinner, we recommend you either head back to Ribeira, as it is one of the liveliest areas in Porto. If you want to try something new, the Carmo area is another great option (where you took tram 22).
If you didn’t see the Cathedral on day 1, we recommend you start the day by visiting it. The Sé do Porto opens its doors at 9am, so you can get there relatively early. Adter you visit the Cathedral and the cloister and taking photos of the city from above, the Funicular dos Guindais will guide you to Ribeira.
Parallel to the river runs Avenida de Diogo Leite. Along the boulevard are several stands that sell different cruises on the Douro. Sometimes, the entrance ticket also includes a free visit to one of Porto’s renowned wine cellars.
After a pleasant cruise down one of the major rivers of the Peninsula, it is the perfect moment to visit some of Porto’s wineries. Ferreira, Sandeman and Ramos Pinto (it has a great museum) are the most-visited wine cellars and all offer very interesting tours and wine tastings.
There are plenty of other attractions and museums to visit if you’re planning on staying in Porto for over 2 days such as: the Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis, the Museu do Carro Eléctrico and the Igreja dos Grilos.