Three Days in the Vibrant Coastal City of Porto
Arts & Culture
Digital Nomad Travel
Food & Wine
Beautiful Porto is the second largest city in Lisbon. A wonderful city for art, history and (of course) Port wine lovers! Get lost in the medieval streets, enjoy the amazing cuisine and taste the fortified wine that takes its name from the city itself. A visit to Porto is not complete without a day trip to the Duoro Valley, an enchanting region where Port wine is made.
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Where to stay
Luxe wine hotel built into the hillside above Vila Nova de Gaia, with 82 rooms and gorgeous Douro River views.
Complimentary Breakfast Buffet daily for two guests per bedroom
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Luxury meets history at this five-star palatial hotel located in Porto's city center.
Pestana Palácio do Freixo
Set along the Douro River in Porto, this palatial stay boasts elegant rooms, a refined restaurant and a full-service spa with a hammam.
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Day 1: Sightseeing around Porto
Today you will be exploring the city center, a Unesco World Heritage Site. All of the main sights are within walking distance, but get ready to get those steps in.
The Lello Library is known as the place that inspired the Hogwarts library in the Harry Potter series. Spoiler alert: it did not. But the library is absolutely gorgeous, so if you want to go, make sure you buy tickets in advance. Get there early and in line, it gets quite busy, but you only need about 30 minutes in the library.
Head over to the Torre Dos Clerigos, the Baroque-style church with a 75-meter tower. Get ready to climb the steps to witness the most beautiful sights of Porto. It’s a steep and narrow climb - you’ve been warned! It is absolutely worth it.
After you’ve caught your breath, walk down to the Bolsa Palace, the 19th-century Stock Exchange Palace. You can admire the beauty outside or head in for a guided tour.
Keep going toward the river and enjoy the Cais da Ribera, Porto's riverfront Promenade. Enjoy the little shops, tons of restaurants and the gorgeous Duoro River as you stroll under the Ponte Luis I toward the Funicular dos Gindais. Take that up and keep walking to Sé de Porto, the cathedral which was built in the 12th century, but don’t stop there. Make sure to visit The Cloisters within the Cathedral.
Finish a day of sightseeing with a peek at the São Bento Station, where you can marvel at the murals representing important moments in the country’s history.
Last but not least, walk up toward the Igreja de San Idelfonso to admire its tile facade.
Day 2: Cultural exploration in Porto
Start your second day by visiting the Bolhao market, the marketplace where you can savor produce and prepared meals.
Continue with a stroll down the Avenida de Aliados and enjoy the architecture as you wander toward the river.
Cross the Ponte Luis I which connects Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia, a hub for the port wine industry.
Next, head to the riverwalk and enjoy a Port tasting at one of the many cellars, Caves Calem is one of the most famous.
For the culturally curious, head over to the WOW Center, a cultural district with museums, restaurants and shops to learn about Porto’s history.
If you’re hungry, walk back down to the river and go to the Mercado de Beira Rio to indulge in a Franchesina, one of Porto’s famous foods.
Your visit to Vila Nova de Gaia is not complete without taking in the views from Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar. A 15th-century church and cloisters.
Finish your day by walking over to the Jardim do Morro, grab a drink and enjoy the sun set over beautiful Porto.
Day 3: Day trip to the Douro Valley
I highly recommend taking a day tour of the Douro Valley region, especially if you happen to be there around late August or September during the grape harvest season.
Located about 90 minutes from Porto, the Douro Valley Wine Region is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. You will not regret taking the time to see the landscapes, enjoy the gastronomy and yes, keep sipping and learning all about Port wine.
You cannot get away with a half-day trip for this one, so make sure you are allocating some time for this gorgeous place. Trust me, you won't want to leave!
Need to Know
A note on hotels:
The Yeatman: Perfect for the wine lover, it boasts amazing views of Porto and has its own Michelin-star restaurant. For those who are excited about Port tastings, you can join one of their daily wine tastings.
Hote lnfante Sagres Porto: Luxury meets history at this property, as the first five-star hotel in Porto. Located in the city center, within walking distance of all important sights. You can enjoy the luxury furnishings made with the finest materials, staying here is like staying in a palace
Pestana Palacio do Freixo: Stay here if you want to relax a bit farther away from the vibrant city center and want to enjoy the relaxing views of the Duoro River. Don't worry about traveling to the city center, they have shuttles running all day, so you can enjoy the best Porto has to offer. After a day wandering around the city, make sure to relax in the indoor pool or Turkish baths.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Portugal.