Looking for how to spend 2 days in Porto? If you’re planning a Porto city break, here’s all the best things to see, do and eat to fill your weekend in Porto itinerary.
Back in 2019 I started an epic solo adventure which took me all around the world, visiting a new country every week with my itinerary based entirely on the cheapest flight each Tuesday. (Yes, it was as hectic as it sounds). Week #13 took me from Hamburg in Germany to Porto in Portugal, flying Ryanair for a grand total of £30 (just under $40USD).
I had visited this colourful city on my last trip to Portugal but I had only managed to spend one day in Porto, and I was excited to extend this Porto city break to a full week for my second visit! One week in Porto meant that I could test out more places to stay, more things to do and more food to eat, to help pull together this detailed 2 day Porto itinerary for you to make the most of your short stay in the city.
With houses all shades of yellow and orange stacked on top of one another looking over the Douro River, incredible eateries serving up classic pastries and hearty sandwiches, and easy access to picture-perfect beaches as well as a thriving wine region, you will soon understand why this absolute gem is one of my favourite cities in Europe.
This 2 day Porto itinerary will suggest the best way to spend 2 days in Porto, where to stay during your Porto city break, activities and experiences you need to do, food you need to try and more. Reckon you want to stay a bit longer? If you’re tossing up how many days in Porto you want, I’ve also got suggestions on Porto itineraries of varying lengths.
Summary of the perfect Porto 2 day itinerary
- Explore the Ribeira neighbourhood, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- See why São Bento railway station is one of the most beautiful train stations in the world
- Admire the view from Dom Luis I Bridge
- Do a tour & tasting at Calem Cellars, a port house that was founded in 1859
- Wrap up the day with a sunset Douro River cruise or grab a glass of port at one of the restaurants or cellars on the river
- Visit the famous tiled churches, Igreja de Santo Ildefonso, Igreja do Carmo and Capela das Almas
- Search for the city’s best pasteis de nata and Francesinha
- Buy a book from the historic Livraria Lello bookstore
- Jump on a river cruise if you didn’t squeeze one in the day before
- Finish the day at the stunning Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
Visiting Porto on a tight budget? If you want to tick off more than a few different tourist spots then it might be worth looking into a 2 day Porto Card, which gives you free public transport and includes free or discounted entry into loads of attractions.
How many days in Porto?
Because Porto’s main sights are quite tightly packed into the city centre, it’s the perfect place for a European city break or a weekend visit. Spending 2 days in Porto will give you enough time to soak up some of the culture, try some amazing food and tick off some bucket list experiences. If you’re considering a weekend in Porto, I guarantee you’ll be able to have an unforgettable trip without needing to take any time off work.
If you can spare a bit more time, spending a week in Porto gives you the opportunity to travel slower and/or add on some additional adventures, like in-depth tours or day trips outside of the city.
Where to stay during your 2 days in Porto
Budget | I LOVE Selina Porto, it’s a hostel chain made for digital nomads and it offers both dorm rooms (pod-style beds with curtains) and private rooms, plus a full kitchen, a courtyard with food trucks and a bar, and a co-working space. Other highly-rated hostel options are Porto Wine Hostel, Being Porto Hostel and the Passenger Hostel.
Luxury | Exmo Hotel, S. Bento Residences and Casa da Companhia are my top picks for affordable luxury options, or if you want to treat yourself to something next level then consider a stay at the 5* Maison Albar Hotels Le Monumental Palace.
Things to do in Porto in 2 days
Wander through the narrow lanes of the Ribeira District
No trip to Porto would be complete without exploring the charming Ribeira neighbourhood. These colourful houses grace calendars, postcards and Lonely Planet guide covers all over the globe, and it’s got to be one of the most beautiful cityscapes in the world.
Ribeira is easily explored by foot if you’re fit, you can make your way through the maze of narrow alleyways, up and down cobbled steps and along the stunning Cais da Ribeira promenade, which is sleepy early in the morning before getting bustling and busy as the day goes on.
If you visit at night, you’ll be able to enjoy traditional Portuguese fare sometimes with live music to entertain you as you eat. The more popular restaurants are the ones on the waterfront obviously, but go one block back and you’ll get cheaper prices and cosier environments. My favourite dinner in Porto was at Adega São Nicolau, which I stumbled upon when making my way up from the promenade.
If you want to learn more about this UNESCO World Heritage Site’s history and architecture, this three hour Ancient Ribeira tour has great reviews on Viator, or this 2.5 hour Sandemans tour is another great option.
See the tiles at São Bento Station
Another gem in Porto’s crown, the São Bento Train Station in the heart of the city is an absolute must-visit. The external façade is built in the French Beaux-Arts architectural style, but when you step inside the entrance hall you’ll be blown away by the 20,000 blue and white azulejos tiles that are illustrated with scenes from Portugal’s history.
The train station opened in 1916 after famous azulejo artist Jorge Colaço spent 11 years painting and installing the tiles.
Give yourself some time to soak up the incredible work that went into creating this unique mural.
Walk across Dom Luis I Bridge
Perhaps the most iconic structure in all of Porto, the Dom Luis I Bridge was designed by a student of Gustave Eiffel (as in the tower!) and then built between 1881 and 1886. This metal arch bridge is a double decker, with metro trains and pedestrians crossing the River Douro on the level on top of the arch (60m high) and vehicles plus some pedestrians crossing below the arch.
Wandering over the top level is a must-do for any Porto itinerary, and if you can time it with sunset you’ll be able to witness the sky changing colour over the bright and colourful Ribeira houses.
Taste some port in the Gaia wine cellars
Cross over the Dom Luis I Bridge from Ribeira to head to the other side of the Douro and you’ll find yourself in Vila Nova de Gaia, another historical centre of the city that deserves a visit.
Gaia is most famous for the wine cellars that line the riverfront, where barrels of wine were unloaded after making their way from the Douro Valley to the east, then matured in the port lodges and warehouses that take up much of this side of the river.
There’s loads of different port cellars to choose from if you want a taste, but one of the most popular options is Cálem Cellar, where you can do a cellar tour, visit the interactive port museum and enjoy a tasting.
For another way to experience Gaia, grab a €8 return ticket for the Teleférico de Gaia to get from the top of the bridge to the water’s edge.
Take a river cruise
One of the best ways to see the city of Porto is to jump on an iconic Six Bridges cruise, where a traditional Rabelo Boat takes you from Ribeira or Gaia along the Douro for 50 minutes to teach you about the history and architecture of the six bridges that cross the river.
These cruises are super touristy but for good reason, they offer a brilliant chance to see the city from the eyes of the wine merchants who used to take this route.
You can get tickets for the classic Six Bridges 50 minute cruise from about €15 per person, or for a more bespoke experience you could try this sailing boat tour which is two hours and starts from €40 per person.
Visit the famous blue-tiled buildings
The azulejos that put São Bento Station on the map are not just found in that entrance hall, you can see these blue and white ceramic tiles all over the external facades of churches and shops around the city.
Azulejos were first brought to Portugal from Seville, Spain in the 15th century by King Manuel I, and now they bring colour and vibrancy to many of Porto’s landmarks.
My favourite place to see azulejo tiles in Porto is the magnificent Igreja do Carmo, a baroque church with an intricate façade and a beautifully patterned side wall. Capela das Almas is another photo-friendly option with both the front and side wall covered in tiles, and Igreja de Santo Ildefonso is a free-standing church with tiles all over the front, painted by the same artist who did the train station.
If you want to buy some azulejos to take home as a souvenir of your Porto city break then the best-rated options are AZULIMA, Gazete Azulejos and Fleur de Lis. Tiles, or for an unforgettable experience, consider taking an azulejo painting class and taking home your own work of art.
Do a day trip from Porto
If you’re a speed walker who has managed to see everything on this list in one day in Porto, or if you’ve already visited the city before and want to explore beyond the boundaries, there’s a couple of different day trip options depending on what you’re looking for.
Douro Valley wine tasting is the obvious one, this tour on GetYourGuide is rated 4.9/5 from 115 reviews and it includes three vineyard stops and lunch.
If you want to visit the “Venice of Portugal”, you could do a day tour to Aveiro and Costa Nova beach, including a a boat tour through the canals and plenty of photo opportunities.
For a more cultural experience, book onto a day tour to visit the historical cities of Braga and Guimarães.
Unique things to do in and near Porto
- Go for a speed boat ride down the Douro
- Explore the city by electric bike, tuk tuk or Segway
- Taste test the best of Porto’s food with a three hour food & tasca tour
- Or go all out with a half day port & cheese tasting tour
- Cross the Arouca 516, the world’s longest suspension bridge
- Take a 4WD tour through Gerês National Park
How to get to Porto
Unlike many other European cities, Porto only has one airport, which means that even if you fly the budget airlines you won’t end up an hour away from where you actually want to be! Porto Airport (code OPO) is officially named Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport and it’s only 11km from the central city. A 20 minute taxi will set you back around €23 or a 30 minute metro trip from the airport to Trindade Station (the main hub) costs €2.
If you’re travelling to Porto by train, Porto Campanhã is the main train station that the fast trains arrive and depart from, but all tickets to Porto are also valid for a free transfer to São Bento Station. Trains from Lisbon take between 3-3.5 hours, Faro to Porto takes just less than six hours, and if you’re travelling to or from Spain you could make it in a day if you leave early in the morning. For other European cities you can spend a night in Barcelona or Madrid on the way.
If you need to store luggage when you arrive or before you depart by train, you’ll find luggage lockers at both Porto Campanhã and São Bento Station, or there are companies like Stasher who offer various luggage storage spots around the city.
FlixBus is one of the cheapest ways to travel between European cities without breaking the bank, and other common bus lines in Portugal are ALSA, Gipsyy and Rede Express. I use Omio to check bus and train tickets in Europe.
If you’re planning a Portugal road trip, Porto to Lisbon (or vice versa) will take just under three hours without stops, and Porto to Faro is just under five hours. If you are planning on driving, add these stops to your itinerary:
- Nazare if you’re travelling during big wave season (October to March)
- Coimbra for medieval architecture
- Sintra for stunning palaces
- Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina for incredible coastal scenery
- Lagos for the best beaches in Portugal
How to get around Porto
Porto’s city centre is quite small so it’s fairly easy to get around on foot if you have comfy shoes, and the Ribeira district especially is not particularly transport-friendly so it’s best to walk from A to B.
If you have spots on your 2 day Porto itinerary that are outside of Ribeira, you might want to use the metro system, which is pretty easy to figure out and can take you to all of the major landmarks. You’ll need an Andante card to use the metro, these cards cost €0.60 and are rechargeable, and single tickets are from €1.20 to €2 per trip depending on what zone you’re travelling in. You can also get an Andante 24 card that gives you unlimited travel for 24 hours for €4.15 for Zone 2 (central city) up to €6.40 for Zone 4 (airport).
If you think you want to travel around outside of Zone 2 and also want to tick off some Porto must-dos like museum visits, a cellar tour and a river cruise, consider getting the Porto Card for your visit which also gives you free public transport. There are different Porto Card options depending on how long you’re spending in the city.
If you’re keen to explore above ground and hop on and off at various tourist spots, consider getting a hop-on hop-off bus ticket. You can choose from a 24 hour or 48 hour ticket, and you’ll be able to easily plan an ideal 2 day Porto itinerary.
I hope this list of the best things to do in Porto in 2 days has helped you plan your trip! A Porto city break is such a fun getaway to have and there is SO much to see, do and eat to fill any 2 days in Porto itinerary. If I’ve missed anything important please let me know in the comments!
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