What to see in Porto in one day

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Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Lying on the banks of the Golden River, Porto is there second most visited city in Portugal, immediately after the capital. With a well-preserved medieval center, yellow railroad trams with a vintage soul and an enviable nightlife, Porto is the city of contrasts, saudade and beautiful historic buildings decorated with azulejos.
Undoubtedly full of attractions and postcard views, this city can be easily visited in one day as long as you carefully select the main monuments and the most interesting activities.


  1. One day itinerary in Porto: Morning
  2. One day itinerary in Porto: Afternoon
  3. One day itinerary in Porto: Evening
  4. User questions and comments

One day itinerary in Porto: Morning

1 - Igreja do Carmo, Igreja das Carmelitas

Breakfast from Leitaria Quinta Do Paço, A Parisian-inspired pastry / café that offers sweet and savory éclairs to make aquolina in your mouth (the prices are very reasonable given the quality of the dishes: a normal éclair costs € 1,00, with ice cream € 1,20, ).
After a good meal, it's time to visit Porto's twin churches, la Igreja do Carmo and Igreja das Carmelitas, both of great architectural beauty. The first, in particular, is very famous for the azulejos decorations that embellish the facade and make it one of the most photographed churches in the Instagram world! The second, however, has a more neoclassical and modest style on the outside, while the interior is rich in wood and gold carvings.

2 - Jardim da Cordoaria, Torre dos Clérigos, Livraria Lello

From the twin churches, we descend towards the luxuriant Garden of Cordoaria which is one of the most popular meeting points in the whole city. Near the artificial lake, sit on a bench and take a breath of air in the shade of a tree, before continuing the tour. Next to the garden, stands the Clérigos Church which gives a privileged vantage point to those who have the courage to face one spiral staircase of 225 narrow steps (we can admit it's worth it). In the small square next to it, however, you can enter the library that seems to have inspired the author of Harry Potter, JK Rowling, in the drafting of the first volume: the Livraria Lello it is a neo-gothic masterpiece that you cannot miss. Admission costs € 3,00 but the ticket price will be deducted if you decide to buy a book.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 1 km / 13 min
  • Places visited: Igreja do Carmo, Igreja das Carmelitas, Jardim da Cordoaria, Torre dos Clérigos, Livraria Lello
  • ticket for Torre dos Clérigos
  • Where to have breakfast: Leitaria Quinta Do Paço, Praça Guilherme Gomes Fernandes 47

One day itinerary in Porto: Afternoon

1 - Sao Bento train station, Sé

Around lunchtime, we set off towards Praça da Liberdade. Here, in a small side street, the restaurant is found Flor dos CongregadosFamily-run, with soft lighting and a typically Portuguese menu written on a blackboard. The recommended dishes? The cod, the local cold cuts and cheeses and the Terylene sandwich with marinated pork. Menu for two people with appetizer, main course, dessert, wine and water for a total of about € 40,00.
Not having time for a siesta, the tour continues to the nearby one Sao Bento railway station, considered one of the most beautiful stations in the world. The main atrium of the building is in fact covered with over 20.000 azulejos panels depicting the great battles of Portuguese history. Not far from the station, the Porto cathedral Be, stands proud on the top of a hill from which it watches over the whole city. If you want to attend a religious service, you must return around 19:00 at vespers time or Sunday morning around 11:00.

2 - Praça da Ribeira, Ponte de Dom Luis I, Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar

Remaining in the labyrinth Ribeira district, it is impossible not to stop in its most famous square, the Praça da Ribeira: consisting of small tiled houses and with a beautiful view of the cellars on the other side of the river, it is one of the historic squares of the city. Along the Rio Douro for a short stretch, you can then easily reach the Ponte de Dom Luis I, made by a Belgian pupil of Gustave Eiffel. The upper part of the bridge is dedicated to pedestrians and an underground line, while the lower part is used for road traffic. Beyond the river, the surprises are not over yet: the marvelous awaits you Mosteiro da serra do pilar, accessible with a guided tour (about 40 minutes) from 10: 30-12: 30 and from 14:30 to 17:30. Of note: the golden altar of the church and the beautiful circular cloister.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 3,3 km / 48 min
  • Places visited: Sao Bento train station, Sé, Praça da Ribeira, Ponte de Dom Luis I, Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar
  • Walking tour cruise of the 6 bridges on the Douro river
  • Where to have lunch: Flor dos Congregados, Travessa dos Congregados 11

One day itinerary in Porto: Evening

1 - Dinner and Espaço Porto Cruz

How can you say that you have been to Porto without having tasted good Portuguese wine or a glass of the liqueur of the same name? The right place to enjoy a good glass is this nice little bistro: the Treze And Quinze offers super cheap tapas, accompanied by excellent local wines.
To end the day in style, enter the elegant eighteenth-century building Porto Cruz Space and climb without hesitation on its panoramic terrace: Porto illuminated by the evening lights is even more magical, and from this terrace overlooking the Douro you will enjoy a view that you will not easily forget. Furthermore, in the internal shop, tastings are held at the modest price of € 3,00.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 1,5 km / 19 min
  • Places visited: Espaço Porto Cruz
  • Dinner + Fado show + evening tour
  • Where to dine: Treze E Quinze, Rua Candido dos Reis 13

Before leaving: useful tips

  • Best time: affected by the proximity of the ocean, in Porto the summers are very dry and the winters mild and humid. The best times to visit the city are therefore the end of spring, when the gardens are filled with flowers and the accommodations are still affordable, and the beginning of autumn, when tourists are reduced and it is still warm enough to enjoy a relaxing walk along the riverside.
  • Recommended clothing: "onion". The climate tends to be stable during the day but, in the evening, the cold wind from the Atlantic can pick up. Always better to have a sweater or something behind you to cover up, even in good weather. If you want to get around the city on foot, remember to wear comfortable shoes: Porto, like Lisbon, abounds with rather steep climbs and descents ... Be careful not to slip!
  • means of transport: The most convenient to use are the subway, which however does not reach all the city districts, and the highly sought after vintage trams. However, it is the funicular suspended over the river (which runs from Vila Nova de Gaia to Serra do Pilar) that offers the best view over the city.
  • City Card: the perfect transport card for tourists is the Andante Card: rechargeable at all metro ticket offices, it is valid for one year and will allow you to use the metro, funicular, some bus and tram lines.
  • Living room: if you want to extend your visit and enjoy Porto by night, consult our accommodation offers.

What not to see: the attractions that are better to give up

  1. Infante's House
  2. Jardim da Boavista
  3. Church of Santo Ildefonso
  4. Museu dos Transportes
  5. Institut Wines of Douro and Porto

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