3 Days in Porto: The Perfect Travel Itinerary
Last updated: 23 October 2020 | Guides, Portugal
Probably you are wondering how many days to spend in Porto and if it would be enough to see everything. Well, speaking from experience I can assure you that 3 days in Porto are the perfect amount of time to spend there.
Although, Porto is one of the biggest cities in Portugal, most of its landmarks are set in close distance. This makes the city pretty easy to explore and probably a pleasant experience for your legs. Why so you ask?! Well, Porto is one of the hilliest cities I have been to and it is quite challenging at times. So, put your comfy shoes on!
To make you trip pleasant, I have created the guide 3 days in Porto in a way, that is not that overwhelming… but still have time for everything.
3 Days in Porto Itinerary Map
Travelling around Porto
If you are going to spend 3 days in Porto you would definitely have to use the public transport at some point. Luckily, Porto has lots of options when it comes to transportation, so you can pick whichever you like.
Travelling around Porto with metro
Personally, for me the best way to go around Porto is by using the metro. It is pretty convenient and it is always on time. Furthermore, Porto’s metro has 6 lines and you can go almost anywhere in the city.
If you plan to use it, make sure to purchase the Andante Azul card. It costs 0.60 EUR and you can buy it along with a ticket from the machines or from the ticket office.
Before you go on your voyage, make sure to check the ticket price of every zone of the metro on its map. For example, if you would like to go to the airport of Porto, the ticket price would be 2 EUR. If you would like to travel around the city center the ticket would be 1.20 EUR.
Last but not least, ALWAYS VALIDATE your card at the validating machines on the metro stations!
Travelling around Porto by Bus
I wouldn’t say that buses in Porto are a very convenient means of transport, but they do the job. If you have the Andante card, you can also use it on the bus. However, the bus ticket is 1.20 EUR and you can go to the nearest beach by using bus 200.
Travelling around Porto by Taxi
3 Days in Porto - Day 1
The Carmo Convent
The first day of your 3 days in Porto trip starts with one of the most notorious landmarks of the city! The Igreja do Carmo or the Carmo Convent, as most people know it, is probably the most famous landmark in the old town of Porto. It is easily distinguished among the other churches around the city by its beautifully tiled facade covered in white and blue tiles.
The Carmo Convent was build in the 18th century and is one of the most beautiful representations of the Baroque architecture in the city. It seems as if its the biggest church in the city, but the truth is, it consists of two churches separated by Portugal’s tinniest house. The story behind the tiny house is that back in the days there was a law forbidding churches to share the same wall. Thus, this tiny house was built to separate the two churches and also the fraternization of nuns and monks.
Next to Carmo’s Convent is the Carmelitas’ church, which was built in the 17th century. Although its exterior is not that rich like Carmo’s, it has one of the most beautiful Baroque interiors with lots of woodcarvings to enjoy.
If you want to enter the churches, it is absolutely free of charge. However, if you would like to visit Portugal’s tinnies house it will cost you 3.50 EUR. Honestly, it was quite an interesting experience to see how tiny the rooms of this house are! Furthermore, you will have the chance to check out the catacombs of Carmo’s church and its tiny corridors leading to the rooms of the church on the second floor. My advice is: GO CHECK IT OUT!
Fonte dos Leões
Exactly next to Carmo and Carmelitas churches you will find the Fonte dos Leões set in a beautiful square surrounded by palm trees. There is not a lot of information related to its building, but it is one of the most beautiful fountains in the city, if not the only one. That is why its beautifully sculpted lions are attracting many who would like to take a picture of the churches from afar.
Furthermore, if you would like to wake the little Harry Potter fan inside of you, go to the University of Porto. There you will see the students with their Traje Académico uniform, which resembles very much the uniforms of the students in Hogwarts.
Please, do not call them Harry Potters, as most of the tourists do. They hate it!
EarthOSea Travel Tips:
📸 Photo Tip: Go to Fonte dos Leões in the afternoon to take a good shot of the Carmo and Carmelitas churches.
Livraria Lello is probably on every tourist’s list. That is no surprise, as this beautiful bookshop resembles a lot the library of Hogwarts with its magical interior. Besides the huge bookshelves, you will be in awe of the masterful woodcarvings that are everywhere there. In addition to that, its red stairs and floor will only add to the magical vibe inside this not so tiny bookshop. In the end, you will also realize that you have been in one of the oldest bookshops in the world, which makes it an even more fascinating place to be!
EarthOSea Travel Tips:
🎟️ Price: 5 EUR (redeemed if you buy a book)
⌚️ Opening Hours:
Every Day: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM🧐 Tip: It can be quite overcrowded during the high summer season. Thus, it is best to be there early to enjoy the tour.
The Clérigos Tower
Another spot that deserves your attention is the Torre dos Clérigos. Built in the 18th century by an Italian architect, it was considered to be the tallest building at that time in Portugal. Furthermore, it is one of the most captivating examples of the Baroque architecture in Porto.
The Clérigos Tower complex consists of a church, museum and the tower itself. I would advise you to start with the church, that is absolutely mesmerizing and will make your jaw drop for real! The Baroque details, arches and domes are true masterpieces and a must-see. There is also a chance to go to the second floor of the church, so you can get a better view of its ornaments.
Then, you can continue to the museum where you will find lots of Catholic artefacts from the early period of the church. Finally, head straight to the Clérigos Tower to witness one of the best views of Porto’s old town!
EarthOSea Travel Tips:
🎟️ Price: 6 EUR for the museum and tower | Entrance to church is FREE
⌚️ Opening Hours:
Every Day: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
São Bento Railway Station
Probably you wonder why I would suggest you to visit a railway station? Well, the Sao Bento train station is not a random railway station. First of all, it is Porto’s main railway station. Second of all, it is one of the most beautiful railways stations you will ever witness. It is covered in more than 20 thousand tiles depicting Portuguese historic events. Can you imagine?! Third, you can actually catch a train from this station to anywhere in the country and it is exactly in the center. Thus, it is easy to reach it.
Church of Saint Ildefonso
If you would like to see more fascinating Portuguese churches covered with blue and white tiles, head to the church of Saint Ildefonso. Luckily, it is located very near to the Sao Bento train station and takes not more than 10 minutes to get there.
The church of Saint Ildefonso is built in the 18th century over an old chapel. What makes the church so fascinating and a must-see is the fact that it is covered in more than 11 thousand tiles depicting various religious scenes. In addition to that, the church has a quite captivating interior with lots of marble statues on the sides and a huge golden altar in the middle.
3 Days in Porto - Day 2
Miradouro da Vitoria
Miradouro da Vitoria is one of the touristic spots that are always a bit crowded. Although, it provides one of the most captivating views over Ribeira and the old town of Porto.
From this spot, you will be able to see the Porto Cathedral, Ponte de Luís I and Gaia neighbourhood. Thus, if you are a keen photographer, put this spot on your list and make your way to the best shooting spot!
The Cathedral of Porto
The Cathedral of Porto is probably the most important religious building in the city. Its building started around the 12th century and was set on the highest hill of Porto – closer to God.
Nowadays, the Cathedral of Porto fascinates its visitors with its Baroque and Gothic architectural styles combined in such a perfect way. Unlike most of the religious buildings in the city of Porto, the cathedral is not so covered in tiles on the outside. However, that does not make it less captivating and you will realize this, as soon as you enter it.
The cathedral of Porto is astonishingly huge on the inside too. Its ceiling is held by many marble pillars and leads you to an incredibly massive golden altar. Then, on the right inside of the cathedral, you will find a door and can continue to its cloister. This is the only part of the cathedral that is covered in tiles depicting religious scenes from the bible. The cloister of the cathedral can also lead you to the treasure where you will witness one of the cathedral’s most precious artifacts.
EarthOSea Travel Tips:
🎟️ Price: 3 EUR for the cloister | Entrance to cathedral is FREE
⌚️ Opening Hours:
Every Day: 9:00 AM – 6:30 PM
Probably the first picture of Porto that you saw was the one with the colourful houses?! Well, if that is true, you already know what Ribeira looks like.
Well, I will clarify a bit on what Ribeira is and what it means for Porto’s locals. Just to top the importance of Ribeira, it was pronounced a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996 and definitely deserves it. As the oldest neighbourhood of Porto, Ribeira is also the most important for the Porto people. It is their main source of commodities brought to them over the Douro river.
Ribeira is also the most colourful and authentic neighborhood of Porto. There you can truly enjoy the buzz of all the people gathered around. In addition to that, you can feed your soul with the over-emotional Fado songs playing from every cafe. Be cautious with that, Fado music is a very beautiful one and has no analogue, which makes it even more appealing to the listener. Honestly, the first time I heard Fado, I almost cried, so you better be prepared with napkins.
Dom Luís I Bridge
Dom Luis I bridge is one of the symbols of the city of Porto. The double-decked bridge was built in the end of the 19th century and became the gathering point for many locals. Even today, you will see lots of people gathering at the bridge and sometimes it looks flooded of people.
Although, the Dom Luis I bridge is an architectural masterpiece offering one of the best vistas over the city of Porto. From it you can see the Ribeira neighborhood, the Clérigos Tower and Vila Nova de Gaia. Usually, I go to Dom Luis I bridge just before the sun sets, so I can enjoy the sunset from a higher point.
Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia or Gaia, as the locals simply call it, is located exactly on the opposite side of Ribeira. It is the not so crowded neighborhood of Porto offering way more traditional food options on cheaper prices. Yes, you read that right! Restaurants and cafes in Ribeira are quite overpriced, so if you want to come for a good meal – go to Gaia.
In addition to that, you will get one of the best views of colourful Ribeira in front of you! The view from Gaia is simply incredible and is definitely a must-see.
Last but not least, if you want to try out the best Port wine – Gaia is the place. The neighborhood is full of wine cellars all over and ready to serve you until the last drop. So, don’t waste it!
EarthOSea Travel Tips:
🧐 Tip: Restaurants and cafes offer cheaper meal and drink offers compared to those of Ribeira.
3 Days in Porto - Day 3
Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
Build and designed in the 19th century, the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal is still one of the best green spots in Porto. The beautifully arranged gardens and the tiny ponds create a truly magical vibe. Furthermore, you will witness one of the best views over the Douro river and the rest of Porto. Thus, if you have the time, stop by these magical gardens and enjoy the serenity.
Beaches in Porto
Many people asked me “Is there a beach in Porto?”. Yes, there is. Actually, there are many beaches in Porto and around it. Some of my favourite beaches in Porto are the Praia do Carneiro, which is also a fishing spot for many, the Ingleses Beach and Praia do Molhe. However, I usually would go to the Gondarem beach to watch the sunsets over Porto.
Although it seems a bit far away from the city center, it takes around an hour of walking. However, if you wish to use public transport, take bus 200, which stops right outside at the entrance of the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal.
Garden of Morro
If you have ever wondered where the locals gather, you have found the place! The Jardim do Morro is the place where the youth of Porto is gathering to watch the sunsets. How I know this?! Well, I was lucky enough to live for almost 5 months in Portugal and also spent lots of time in Porto. I was lucky! Now enjoy the beautiful sunset…
Best Places to Stay in Porto
Unlike Lisbon, Porto is not so overcrowded and busy. The city is pretty laid-back and accommodation prices are pretty affordable. Having this in mind, you will easily find the perfect place to stay in Porto. However, there are a couple of neighbourhoods that you might prefer over the others. Like, Ribeira for example or Gaia?
That is why I have prepared a list of the best places to stay in Porto depending on your budget:
Value for Money Accommodation
Porto City Break
There’s lots to do and see in Porto, but you can always opt for a nice city break in Porto. Why not stop for a second and hop on a slightly different trip?
River Douro Cruise: Want to follow the path of the old wine merchants of Portugal? Then, this cruise is definitely for you!
Porto Wine Tour: What is the taste of Porto?! Find out for yourself on this wine tour in Porto 🍷
Fado Concert in Porto: Fado is probably the most emotional musical genre in the whole world. Accompanied by a glass of good wine and stories of winemaking… it becomes even better!
Braga & Guimarães Day Trip: If for some reason you get tired of Porto, opt for this culturally and historically rich trip to the heart of Portugal!
Douro Valley Wine Tour: The Douro Valley is known all over Europe for producing some of the finest wines. Not only that, but it is a very beautiful place to go to and admire. Mother Nature has outdone herself in this valley!
I hope that you have enjoyed these 3 days in Porto Itinerary. Did you visit any of the suggested landmarks?
Which one was your favourite?