Welcome to Porto, the charming city nestled along the Douro River in northern Portugal.
Porto is known for its rich history, delicious wine and stunning architecture. It’s a must-visit destination for any traveler.
Only have a weekend to explore this vibrant city? This complete two-day itinerary will take you to all the top attractions and secret spots.
From trying some delicious port wine to wandering through the most colorful neighborhoods, this guide will help you make the most of your time in Porto, Portugal.
How To Spend A Weekend In Porto
Porto is a historic coastal city in northern Portugal, renowned for its wine, culture and stunning architecture.
It is the second-largest city in the country and one of the oldest cities in Europe, dating back to the Roman Empire.
Its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features landmarks such as the Sao Bento Station and the Porto Cathedral.
Porto is also famous for its production of port wine. The city has many port wine cellars where visitors can learn about the wine-making process and even do tastings.
The Ribeira neighborhood is a must-visit area in Porto as it is known for its colorful houses, narrow streets and riverfront promenade.
It’s a great place to explore on foot and soak in the local culture.
To help you see everything that Porto has to offer in just 48 hours, we’ve put together a complete 2-day Porto itinerary.
Explore the São Bento Station and its famous tiles
The Sao Bento Station is a must-visit attraction in Porto that features an impressive collection of over 20,000 blue and white ‘azulejo’ tiles.
The tiles cover the station’s walls and depict various events throughout Portugal’s history. They offer a unique glimpse into the country’s past.
You can admire the tiles and learn about their significance whilst also enjoying the station’s architecture.
Visit the Clerigos Tower
Clerigos Tower is one of Porto’s most recognizable landmarks that stands tall in the heart of the city’s historic center.
The tower was built in the 18th century and offers stunning views of the whole of Porto from the top.
It is possible to actually climb the tower’s 225 steps which lead up to the observation deck at the top. Beware, it’s a tough climb!
The climb is worth it though as, from the top, you get to enjoy panoramic views of Porto’s picturesque streets and red-tiled roofs.
Discover the Ribeira neighborhood
The Ribeira neighborhood is located along the Douro riverfront. It’s one of Porto’s most vibrant areas which makes it one of the best things to do in Porto.
It is known for its colorful houses, narrow streets, street performers and lively atmosphere.
You can explore the area on foot, take a stroll along the promenade or enjoy the many restaurants, cafes and shops that line its streets.
Ribeira also offers pretty impressive views of the river itself so you can sit back and relax as you watch the boats passing by.
Cross the Dom Luís I Bridge to Vila Nova de Gaia
It’s hard to miss the Dom Luís I Bridge as it’s pretty huge and stands tall in the center of the city.
This iconic landmark connects Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, two charming cities that showcase the best of Portuguese culture.
Crossing the bridge offers breathtaking views of the Douro River and the city of Porto itself making it a must-do activity.
As you walk across the top of the bridge, you can feel the rush of the wind and the sway of the structure which adds to the excitement.
When you get to the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the bridge, you’ll find many renowned wineries and cellars that produce some of the world’s best port wines.
You’ll also find many delightful restaurants, cafes and shops.
Visit a port wine cellar and do a tasting
Visiting a port wine cellar and doing a tasting in Porto is an excellent way to discover the history behind one of the most iconic wines in the world.
During these experiences, visitors get to learn about the traditional methods that are used to produce port wine like grape harvesting and barrel aging.
They will also learn about the process that gives port wine its unique flavors and aromas.
The tasting sessions also allow you to try out a range of port wines including ruby, tawny, vintage and white.
Dinner at a local restaurant
As the day draws to a close, it’s a great idea to head over to an authentic restaurant to try out some of Portugal’s best dishes.
Portuguese cuisine contains a lot of fresh seafood, grilled meats and hearty stews.
Here’s some of Porto’s must-try dishes:
– Bacalhau: salted cod
– Francesinha: a sandwich with meat, cheese and a beer-based sauce
– Caldo verde: kale and potato soup
To complement the meal, you can also enjoy some of the region’s finest wines, such as Vinho Verde, Douro, and, of course, port wine.
Some must-try local restaurants in Porto include Tasco, Brasao Foz and Restaurante Chama.
Insider Tip: Portuguese people tend to have dinner from 9PM onwards so restaurants will be very quiet before this time. Most restaurants still open at around 7PM.
Visit the Palácio da Bolsa
Palácio da Bolsa is a stunning 19th-century building located close to the vibrant Ribeira neighborhood.
The palace was originally built to be the city’s stock exchange and is now used for official ceremonies and cultural events.
One of the most impressive features of the Palácio da Bolsa is its Arab Room. This room is decorated with intricate Moorish-style designs.
It is actually considered to be one of the most beautiful rooms in Portugal so is worth adding to your 2 day Porto itinerary.
Visitors can book onto a guided tour of the palace to see it in all its glory and learn more about its history.
Relax in the beautiful gardens of Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
Jardins do Palácio de Cristal is a beautiful park that features landscaped gardens, fountains and stunning views of the Douro River.
There’s so much to explore including a turret which you can climb and an old church. There’s also tons of wildlife including various birds, chickens and even peacocks!
You are also able to explore the crystal palace which is a striking 19th-century building that hosts exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events throughout the year.
It’s the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic or enjoy the views.
Stop for lunch at Majestic Café
Majestic Café in Porto is a historic coffeehouse that’s actually over 100 years old and still retains many of its original features.
The café, which opened in 1921, is known for its Art Nouveau architecture and elegant interior decor.
Over the years, the café has attracted a wide range of notable visitors including writers, artists and politicians.
One must-try dish is the French toast. It is really sweet as it’s covered in a delicious custard and topped with cinnamon.
Take a look inside Livraria Lello
Livraria Lello is a beautiful bookstore that is over 100 years old. It is often considered to be one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.
The bookstore, which opened in 1906, is famous for its stunning Art Nouveau architecture, red central staircase and intricate wooden details.
Many people will tell you that J.K. Rowling once visited the bookstore when she lived in Porto and was so inspired that she based Hogwarts on it.
Unfortunately, this has proven to be false as J.K. Rowling dispelled the rumor herself on Twitter. She did admit to visiting the Majestic Café and writing some of Harry Potter in there though.
Visit Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar for views of the city
Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar is a beautiful 16th-century monastery located in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the Douro River from Porto.
The monastery is famous for its circular cloister and stunning panoramic views of the city of Porto and the Douro River.
Today the monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is open to visitors who want to learn more about its history.
The best time to visit the monastery is at sunset when you’ll get to see the sun setting behind the stunning Douro River.
It’s pretty magical as the whole of Porto becomes illuminated by golden light.
Attend a Fado show at a local venue
Attending a Fado show in Porto is a unique cultural experience that provides a glimpse into the soul of Portuguese music.
Fado is a traditional style of Portuguese music characterized by sad lyrics, haunting melodies and passionate vocals. It’s very unique in sound.
Many restaurants and music venues in Porto offer Fado shows. Visitors can enjoy a meal or a drink whilst listening to the talented musicians performing this captivating music.
We hope this weekend guide to Porto, Portugal has inspired you to visit this beautiful city and explore its rich history, culture and cuisine.
With its stunning architecture, charming streets and lively atmosphere, Porto offers something for every type of traveler.