12 Awesome Things To Do In Porto [2024 Guide]

Porto, the stunning coastal city located in northwest Portugal! To say I was blown away by this city is an understatement. I visited here after Lisbon and Lagos, I had no intention of coming here prior but I saw an Instagram post and thought it looked pretty! I would feel very silly for missing out on this amazing city, there are so many awesome things to do in Porto!

Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city, boasting a rich history that dates back centuries, with breathtaking architecture, stunning beaches, and a bustling nightlife that will keep you entertained day and night.

This epic guide will give you all you need to know before visiting Porto.

Blog At A Glance

Please note this blog contains affiliate links, if you decide to purchase from one of links I will earn a small commission.

Good To Know Before You Go

Getting To Porto

Flights To Porto

Porto’s airport, Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport is located 18km outside of Porto city. Many budget airlines offer direct routes such as EasyJet, Ryanair and Wizz.

Remember that flight prices can fluctuate, and it’s essential to compare fares across different airlines and booking platforms. I prefer to use Skyscanner so I can compare all airlines, dates and times.

Getting to the city from Porto Airport

The best way to get from the airport is either public transport or private transfer.

Public Transport

The metro line E (violet line) runs from the airport terminal into the city centre. This train goes every 20 – 30 minutes from 05:55am until 00:40am.

The line runs to Trindade station in the centre of Porto. You can transfer to another metro line here but you will likely be able to walk to your hotel from this station due to its central location.

Private Transfer

If you are arriving late or just feel like a super easy journey to your hotel then a private airport transfer is a great alternative. This will cost between €20 and €30.

How To Get Around Porto

The metro system in Porto provides the most efficient means of transportation throughout the city. To use the metro, you will need to purchase an Adante rechargeable card for 60 cents. You can then load passes onto the card, each pass costs €1.20. Alternatively, you can purchase the Adante tour pass, which offers unlimited travel for 24 to 72 hours, costing between €7 and €15.

Additionally, Porto has an excellent public bus network with 75 lines. You can use your Adande metro card on the buses. For those without a pass, single tickets can be purchased onboard at an additional cost of 60 cents.

Where To Stay In Porto

Porto is a walkable city with buses and an underground making it easy to get to all the main sights no matter where you are staying. The main tourist districts are Ribeira, Baixa, and Bolhão, any hotel here will allow you to walk to all the main sights.
Check out my recommendations on where to stay below. Prices are as per the peak season and will be more affordable outside of these months.

Budget ( less than €100)

Seculo Hotel is centrally located on Rua de Santa Catarina – Porto’s most popular shopping street. Facilities include a bar and a rooftop sun terrace. Rooms are large with a seating area and some have a jacuzzi bath

Boavista Guest House is located in the historic centre of Porto, just 100m from the church of São Martinho da Cedofeita. Rooms are cosy with air conditioning and cable TV, some rooms have a balcony. Prices start at €70 per night.

Casual Inca Porto – located just a short walk from the centre of Porto, this hotel features bright, spacious and modern rooms, all with air conditioning. The area has some nice food options, I recommend visiting Oporto Bakery. Prices start at €94 per night.

Midrange ( up to 150 per night)

Chic & Basic Gravity is located in the trendy central district of Baixa, close to many cute cafes and bars. This quirky 4-star hotel includes a restaurant, bar and garden. Rooms are modern and are equipped with a minibar and coffee machine, some rooms have a balcony. Prices start at €111 per night.

Grande Hotel do Porto is a romantic hotel in a 1880s building, don’t worry though it has been renovated! It is in the centre of Porto, only a 5-minute stroll to the Sao Bento train station. The hotel features a 360 rooftop terrace, a restaurant in an old ballroom, a gym and a spa. Rooms are cosy and elegant with a large marble bathroom and satellite TV. Some rooms have a coach. Prices start at €116 per night.

Hotel Carris is located on the picturesque and lively Ribeira, here you will be within walking distance of all the main attractions, close to many bars/restaurants and surrounded by the incredible atmosphere that the Ribeira has. The hotel is in a historical building overlooking the Douro River. Facilities include a gym and two restaurants, Rooms are modern and spacious with a seating area. Prices start at €130 per night.

Luxury ( €150+ per night)

PortoBay Teatro is a newly refurbished 4-star hotel located beside Batalha Square and Sao Bento station. The hotel features a highly-rated Italian restaurant onsite, Il Basilico. Rooms have a stunning decor with warm undertones, perfect for relaxing in. Prices start at €152 per night.

d’ALMA Boutique Hotel is a new hotel a few minutes walk from Torre dos Clérigos. Rooms are large with a spacious seating area, some rooms have a kitchenette. Prices start at €180 per night.

Torel Palace Porto is an ultra-luxurious 5-star hotel. This pink palace has an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant and a bar. Rooms are large with a glamorous design, they feature chandeliers, large marble bathroom, and coffee machines and some rooms have a balcony. Prices start at €310 per night.

12 Awesome Things To Do In Porto

1. Visit The Miradouros

Porto’s scenery is stunning and diverse, offering visitors a range of natural and man-made beauty. The city is situated on the banks offering breathtaking views of the Douro River. Lining the riverbanks are bright and colourful buildings. Beyond the river, the city is also home to many picturesque gardens, parks, and beaches.

It comes as no surprise that there are number of incredible miradouros (viewpoints) to take in all this city has to offer. Take a beer, bring a snack and watch the sunset. Many have incredible atmospheres with musicians playing. I recommend you check out the following miradouros:

Miradouro das Fontainhas (my absolute favourite!)
Miradouro da Vitória
Miradouro da Serra do Pilar
Miradouro da Rua das Aldas

2. Fill Up On The Francesinha

Porto’s famous sandwich is not just any ordinary sandwich – it is a true gastronomic delight! Comprised of steak, sausages, and ham that is all sandwiched between two slices of thick fresh bread (and optionally topped with an egg). If all that isn’t enough it is then covered in gooey cheese and drenched in a mouth-watering gravy made of tomato and beer. Served with a generous helping of chips (fries), this meal is a feast fit for a king or a very hungry traveller (that’s you!).

Even if you are not typically a meat lover, you may find yourself enjoying this sandwich due to the amount of rich flavours.

Where to eat a Francesinha in Porto

I enjoyed Dona Francesinha, the cafe was cosy with many different types of Francesinha. I went with the classic and it was delicious! I have listed a few other places to get your Francesinha fix that are highly reviewed:

Santa Francesinha
Ruial Francesinhas
Capa na Baixa
Santiago da Praça
Perto do Cais

3. Wine Tasting

Porto is famous for its delicious Port wine, made exclusively in the Douro Valley and aged in cellars along the river. The city has many wine cellars that you can tour and scenic boat trips that take you to the Douro Valley wineries!

If you want to visit the cellars I would advise booking well in advance, I left it too late unfortunately and was turned away from all the major cellars in the city! Still wanting to get my fix of wine I went to a tasting at PIANO Douro Valley, a small backstreet wine bar. Their tasting menu is extensive, I went for the set menu of 3 Porto wines which was only €10. We also ordered a cheeseboard which ended up being much larger than expected.

Piano Douro Valley is an excellent option for those who left it too late to book a wine cellar or valley tour and for travellers on a budget who want to try the local wines. However, I recommend checking out the Douro Valley Boat Tour, a full-day tour of the valley tasting wines and olive oil. I wanted to do this but there was no availability because I left it too late.

4. Get Lost Exploring The Streets

Porto does not look like a modern city in the best way possible, there are plenty of old buildings giving Porto its charm and character. Walking down the Ribeira you can see lots of topsy turvy terracotta roofed buildings that look like they might collapse (don’t worry they won’t). Walking around the city is so enjoyable.

The streets also have the same charm, in the historical district there are lots of cobbled streets and plenty of winding, up hill paths. Porto has countless of tiled buildings including churches. A regular stroll can feel like you are walking around an outdoor museum.

Consider booking a walking tour with a local expert to find out interesting facts about Porto.

5. Sao Bento Station

São Bento Station is one of the most iconic landmarks in Porto. The building will instantly catch your attention with its intricate blue azulejo tile work, which depicts the history and culture of Portugal. It is a popular photo spot, you will see many boyfriends on the road trying to take the perfect picture.

The interior of the station is equally impressive, with a large central hall featuring a vaulted ceiling and even more stunning tile work.

6. Hop On Gaia Cable Car During Sunset

Cais de Gaia station cable car - best things to do in Porto
Gaia cable car | best things to do in Porto

Gaia cable car travels 562m between Cais de Gaia station and Jardim do Morro station. It is a short journey lasting about 5 minutes but the views are amazing. From the cable car, you will see the ribeira, Dom Luis I bridge and the colourful rooftops that populate the city.

A single ticket for an adult costs €7.50 and €9 for a return. A single ticket for a child costs €3 and €4.50 for a return. Family tickets (2 adults, 2 children) cost €22.50 for a return.

7. A Night At Traditional Portuguese Fado

Fado is a soulful and melancholic music genre that originated in Portugal. It expresses deep emotions and tells stories of love, loss, and longing, often accompanied by the haunting sound of a Portuguese guitar.

If you want to immerse yourself in authentic Portugal culture then experiencing a fado performance is a must. I went to Taberna Real do Fado where I was treated to 3 hours of Fado, a 4-course meal and a bottle of wine in an intimate venue. It was a highlight of my time in Porto, the musicians were incredible as was the food. It cost €40 which I thought was amazing value, you can book this experience via their website.

Here are some other highly rated fado shows in Porto:

8. Eat All The Pasteis de Nata

I am not sure I could write a blog post about Porto without mentioning the delicious pasteis de nata. Eating as many pasteis de nata as physically possible is one of the best things to do in Porto.

Pasteis de nata are puff pastry crusts filled with baked custard, usually served slightly warm. They are extremely delicious and are a great snack to eat while sightseeing. These little pastries are perfectly paired with a coffee.

Where to eat pasteis de nata in Porto

Nata Sweet Nata, Cais da Ribeira 18, 4050-510
Padeirinha Doce, R. de Augusto Rosa 46, 4000-098
Castro – Atelier de Pastéis de Nata, R. de Mouzinho da Silveira 61, 4050-420
Café Soraya, Av. de Ramos Pinto 266 Loja 13, 4400-161
Manteigaria, Rua dos Clérigos nº37, 4050-205

9. C’alma Coffee Room

c'alma coffee in Porto - coffee addicts will love this thing to do

This became my favourite coffee place during my time in Porto, located a 5 minute walk from Church of Saint Ildefonso, C’alma Coffee Room serves speciality coffee. They offer flights or tasting experiences as well as regular European coffee and filtered coffee. Flights are similar to a wine tastings where you receive a small portion of coffee to taste, it is a nice way to learn about new coffees and whether you like them or not!

Not only is the coffee delicious but it is in a beautiful old building!

10. 6 Bridges River Cruise

Hop on a traditional Rabelo boat and see the 6 bridges of Porto; Luís I, Arrábida, Infante, Maria Pia, São João and Freixo. You will see many signs for this boat cruise along the ribeira, they cost approximately €20 per person and last under an hour.

You can also book this cruise online if you would like to reserve a specific time slot.

11. Have A Bite On Praça da Ribeira

Ribeira is one of Porto’s most popular neighbourhoods and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located on the banks of the river Douro and lined with colourful and historic buildings. It truly is beautiful. A highlight of this area is Ribeira Square, one of the best things to do in Porto to experience an incredible atmosphere.

Praça da Ribeira or Ribeira Square is a historical square, it is thought to be one of the oldest places in Porto. The atmosphere here is incredible, there are often musicians playing against the backdrop of Ponte Dom Louis I. Some of the best restaurants are on Praça da Ribeira. The hardest part is choosing which one to go to but also be careful of the tourist traps! Check out my recommendationss below.

Where to eat in Praça da Ribeira

Casario serves traditional Portuguese food with amazing views of Praça da Ribeira
Escondidinho do Barredo has delicious seafood at great prices in a cosy space
Terreirinho Restaurant has a quiet ambience and serves tapas

12. Sunset on Luis Bridge I

watching the sunset on Dom Luis Bridge I is one of the best things to do in Porto

Dom Luis Bridge I was designed by Gustave Eiffel, the guy who designed the Eiffel Tower! Once you know it is kind of easy to see the resemblance.

Come here to watch a beautiful sunset, it tends to be busy with locals and tourists alike. Nearby is Miradouro da Ribeira, which attracts large crowds, nice spot to bring your own drink/snack and chill out for a while, it has a great atmosphere.

Related Posts

Lagos Travel Guide
17 not to miss in lisbon - best things to do
things to know before visiting Lisbon - Travel Tips