Dec 14, 2023



Travel Inspiration

6 Exciting Things to Do in Porto, Portugal

Fora Author Fora

The Modern Travel Agency


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Wondering what to do in Porto, Portugal while on vacation? We’re outlining six of our favorite places to see and things to do.

Alternatively, book and plan your trip with Fora for expert travel suggestions that fit your preferences and budget. Curious about the coolest architectural sights? Want to sample the best gastronomy? We can craft you an itinerary that best matches your vision while unlocking cool extras at the top hotels in Porto (or anywhere) and providing you with unwavering one-on-one support.

What is Porto best known for?

It’s hard to narrow down a city’s identity to just one or two things, but Porto’s probably best known for its port wine exports and historic center, which boasts several prominent examples of Old-World architecture and is labeled as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In both cases, Porto earns points toward being one of the best places to visit in Portugal.

(Want to sample the city’s renowned gastronomy? Check out our guide to the best places to eat and drink in Porto.)

How many days are enough to see and enjoy Porto?

Generally, we recommend spending at least 3 days in Porto. You can explore the highlights with less time, but you’ll be able to get a richer experience this way.

6 of the most exciting things to do in Porto, Portugal

Read on for a quick breakdown of our favorite things to do in Porto, Portugal.

Or, connect with Fora to plan and book your trip with suggestions tailored to your interests.

1. Explore Porto’s Ribeira District

Thousands of years old yet lively with shops, great restaurants and street performers, Porto’s Ribeira District is a great place to explore the city’s rich and varied culture, both past and present. 

The district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Porto’s historic center, runs along the northern banks of the Douro River. Throughout storied cobblestone streets, you’ll find examples of medieval and neoclassical architecture alongside traditional Portuguese eateries and cool attractions like the Elevador da Ribeira, which connects the port to a more residential part of the district while offering stellar views of the city and the Douro River. 

(Not sure when to explore Portugal? Our guide to the best time to visit Portugal has answers for every niche.)

2. Go port wine tasting in the city that made it famous

One of Portugal’s chief exports is port wine, and there’s no better place to sample it at its most authentic than in Porto.

Without getting too deep into the mixology, port wine differs from traditional wine in that a neutral grape spirit is added to alter the fermentation process, usually resulting in a sweeter, dessert-friendly wine. For the most part, the grapes are sourced from the nearby Douro Valley and then produced within the city. 

Oenophiles have no shortage of options for sampling fine Portuguese wines in Porto, but there are also many down-to-earth experiences for those who want to dip their toe into wine tasting. Most of the port houses exist across the Douro River, offering excellent views of Porto.

Want to know the best places to go wine tasting in Porto? Plan your trip with Fora.

3. Admire the tiles & architecture at Porto São Bento train station

Built during the 1880s, Porto São Bento train station (a.k.a. Estação de São Bento) is a gorgeous example of 20th-century Portuguese architecture, which is world-renowned for its use of colorful tiles — azulejos in intricate displays.

The train station is still in service, so checking it out can be a fun segue if you’re visiting other destinations in Portugal. It also makes for an excellent starting point if you’re visiting Porto by train (perhaps from Lisbon or the Algarve) because of its central location within the city.

4. Livraria Lello: perhaps the coolest bookstore in Portugal

Of all the things to do in Porto, Portugal, visiting a bookstore might seem comparatively mundane. However, even casual Harry Potter fans won’t want to miss a chance to visit the place said to have inspired the series. If that doesn’t spark your interest, Livraria Lello 's grandiose neo-gothic-slash-art-nouveau design and history — it’s one of the oldest bookstores in the world — are worth the detour from Ribeira.

Something to keep in mind: Livraria Lello is quite popular. You have to purchase a ticket (discounted with the purchase of a book) to enter, and you should probably expect to wait in line to enter.

5. Check out the beaches & trendy promenades of Foz do Douro

Found where the Douro River meets the Atlantic Ocean, Foz do Douro is a fun and trendy section of Porto best known for its beaches and waterfront promenades. The beaches do get a little crowded in the summer (and are more or less empty in winter, when the water discourages most visitors), but the promenades are always fun to check out. There you’ll find a wide variety of Portuguese, European and international cuisine, plus stylish boutiques and upscale retailers. 

Looking for more things to do in Porto, Portugal that involve gorgeous beaches, delectable gastronomy and fun sights? Connect with Fora to plan and book your trip.

(Sidenote: Douro River cruises offer a scenic and unique way to experience Porto from the water.)

6. Take in the sunset at Ponte de Dom Luís I

It’s hard to find a better view of the Douro River than on the Luís I Bridge (Ponte de Dom Luís I). The bridge was constructed to connect Porto with Vila Nove de Gaia with a metro line and road, but there’s also a walkway that runs the entire breadth of the river. 

What makes visiting the Luís I Bridge one of our favorite things to do in Porto, though? The views. Catching the sunset from the bridge’s vantage points is enchanting, and both day- and night-time views of the city are stunning. (It’s fun to watch boats cruise along the river, too.) 

Pro tip: catching the sunset on the Luis I Bridge is magical.

(Curious about day trips from Porto? Read our guide.)

Need more recs for things to do in Porto, Portugal? Plan with Fora

Need more recs for things to do in Porto? Curious about the best things to do in , too? Or perhaps you’re wondering how to get from Lisbon to Porto? We can help with all the above and more. All you have to do is book and plan your trip with Fora

Need more Europe travel inspiration? Check out these guides, too:

This article has been fact checked by Fora Advisor Selena Kirchhoff, an expert on travel to Porto, Portugal.

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