Porto - Ponte de Dom Luis I
How many days in Porto

Globetrotters – 24 hours in Porto


DAY 1

Morning Downtown
Afternoon Ribeira
Evening Villa Nova de Gaia
Porto - View of Ribeira

Ribeira

Your first glimpse of downtown Porto will most likely be of the São Bento train station, but don’t be in such a rush to get out of there. The station is an attraction in itself with thousands of azulejo ceramic tiles decorating the entrance illustrating the story of Portugal’s history. Perhaps after checking into your hotel return downtown to Avenida des Aliados, the city’s large main square. Spend the morning checking out some of the main sights downtown, such as the Clerigos Tower for great views (if you don’t mind walking up 240 spiral steps). Close by is the Carmo and Carmelitas churches (right next to eachother and seemingly joined). Don’t miss the Livraria Lello bookstore opened in 1906, with an outstanding interior that will make you feel like you’ve just been transported into Oxford, or a Harry Potter film. Head south along Av. Vimara Peres to Porto’s main Cathedral, , before entering the maze of  old residential alleyways in Ribeira. The crumbling yet charismatic streets will lead you down to the waterfront and Praça da Ribeira. There you will see some Barcos rabelos (traditional wine-ferrying boats) and many restaurants along the waters edge, all of which are tourist traps so it’s best to avoid eating there.

Walk across the Ponte de Dom Luis I bridge, which is famous as being designed by one of Gustav Eiffel’s students. Spend the remainder of your day in the Villa Nova de Gaia district sampling some port wine in the many wineries that line the waterfront and that look back onto Ribeira. A favourite for many is Taylor’s, high up on the hill with great views, and accessible via a short walk through some picturesque but steep alleyways.

Porto - Ponte de Dom Luis I

Ponte de Dom Luis I

Vacationers – 48 hours in Porto

Follow the Globetrotters itinerary for Day 1.


DAY 2

Morning Palacio Da Bolsa & São Francisco
Afternoon Santa Catarina Street
Evening Douro / Downtown / Foz
Porto - Majestic Cafe

Majestic Cafe

To start the day head to the Palacio Da Bolsa (former stock exchange market) and go on a tour of the interior, the highlight of which is the intricately decorated Arabic Room. Right behind here is the São Francisco Church with a very impressive all gold interior and museum with relics attached. Head back towards the city to Batalha Square, off which is the Church of Saint Ildefonso and the start of Rua de Santa Catarina, the busiest pedestrianized shopping street in town. You’ll probably recognise many of the big name brands along here, but keep an eye out for Café Majestic and stop for a coffee and cake in it’s charming 1920′s interior. Further along Santa Catarina Street make a brief detour to Mercado Bolhão to get a taste of where the locals get their fresh food from, and a bit further north is Capela das Almas, another church covered in azulejos. Depending on how you’re doing for time and daylight, you could also take a stroll around the Crystal Palace Park.

In the late afternoon, either stay around Santa Catarina St and Avenida des Aliados, or take a Douro river cruise which will give you a good look at Porto’s many impressive bridges. Alternatively you could head out west to the seaside area called Foz, a sophisticated and modern district quite unlike the city center.

Culture Buffs – 72 hours in Porto

Follow the Vacationers itinerary for Days 1-2.

There are many museums in Porto so take your pick of the following which may take your interest to fill a third day in the city:

Art buffs

History buffs

Music buffs

 

Got more time?

If you have the time it’s worth basing yourself in Porto for an extra day or two and taking the train out to visit these nearby cities as day trips:

- Guimarães. One of Portugal’s most historic cities and said to be where the country was born. Wander around the medieval World Heritage city, visit the Guimaraes Castle and the Dukes of Braganza Palace.
- Braga. Portugal’s third largest city which includes many baroque monuments, such as the not-to-be-missed Bom Jesus Sanctuary and the Cathedral.
- Duoro valley Many of the wines you would have tased in Porto come from here, the world’s oldest wine-producing region. Can be explored by taking a cruise from Porto.

Days mapped out

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Ever wondered how long you need to spend in a particular city or place? You can spend hours crawling the web trying to find a well informed answer.

This site aims to answer the question of how long most travelers would need to spend in a particular city or place in a minimum number of days. The idea is to promote discussion on the topic, to help you and other travelers plan for their next adventure.

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