28 Best Things to Do in Porto, Portugal | 2024 (with Photos)

Katarina P.

Katarina P. - Travel Writer

Published: October 27, 2023

Hey there! I'm Katarina, a travel enthusiast who loves exploring the hidden gems of Porto, Portugal. In this article, I've curated a list of the top activities and sights to help you make the most of your Porto adventure.

Best Things to Do in Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal's second-largest city, is a charming destination that offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modernity. 

From savoring the world-famous sweet fortified wine to strolling along the banks of the Douro River and visiting historic landmarks, there are plenty of things to do in Porto to keep visitors entertained.

Whether you're an art lover, history buff, or foodie, Porto has something for everyone. In this article, we've rounded up the 28 best things to do in Porto, so you can make the most of your trip to this vibrant and picturesque city.

Most Recommended Thing to Do


Top Choice Hotel

InterContinental Porto - Palacio das Cardosas

Our Top Choice Restaurant

DOP Restaurante.

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Plano B

Best Time to Visit

Spring or fall, mild weather and fewer tourists

Average Temperature

Mild weather with pleasant temperatures in Porto, Portugal.

Transportation Options

trains, buses, trams, taxis, bikes, scooters, walking, ferries

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

In Porto, immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture by wandering through the colorful streets of the Ribeira district, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and soak up the lively atmosphere of its cafes, restaurants, and shops along the Douro River.

For a truly personalized experience, venture off the beaten path and explore the charming neighborhood of Miragaia, where you can delight in the authentic essence of Porto by mingling with locals at traditional taverns, admiring the intricate azulejo tiles adorning the facades, and relishing in the breathtaking views of the city from its picturesque viewpoints.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Comfortable walking shoes.
  2. Appropriate clothing for the weather.
  3. Travel adapter for electrical outlets.
  4. Camera or smartphone for capturing memories.
  5. Guidebook or map of the city.
  6. Portable charger for electronic devices.
  7. Sunscreen and hat for sun protection.
  8. Travel-sized toiletries and medication.
  9. Money in the local currency.
  10. Open mind and enthusiasm for exploring.

What Not to Miss

  1. The historical charm of Ribeira district
  2. Exploring Medieval Porto at Porto Cathedral
  3. Admiring the stunning Livraria Lello bookstore
  4. Enjoying panoramic views from Clerigos Tower
  5. Strolling along the Douro River promenade
  6. Visiting the iconic Dom Luis I Bridge
  7. Indulging in local cuisine at Mercado do Bolhão
  8. Discovering the modern Casa da Música
  9. Unwinding in the beautiful Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
  10. Going on a Port wine tasting tour in Vila Nova de Gaia

What to Avoid

  1. Overpacking: Avoid bringing too many clothes and unnecessary items as it can become a hassle to carry around while exploring the streets of Porto.
  2. Overlooking local cuisine: Don't miss out on trying traditional Portuguese dishes like bacalhau (codfish) or francesinha (a hearty sandwich). It's a great way to immerse yourself in the local food culture.
  3. Skipping the port wine: Porto is famous for its port wine, so make sure to visit one of the port wine cellars and enjoy a tasting session.
  4. Ignoring public transportation: Avoid relying solely on taxis or rental cars and take advantage of the efficient and extensive public transportation system in Porto.
  5. Overlooking local customs and etiquette: Familiarize yourself with basic Portuguese customs and etiquette to show respect to the locals and avoid any unintentional offenses.
  6. Neglecting to explore the neighborhoods outside the city center: Don't limit yourself to just the city center; venture out to areas like Foz do Douro, Matosinhos, or Vila Nova de Gaia to discover hidden gems and experience a different side of Porto.

1. Visit the stunning Porto Cathedral

Porto Cathedral

Porto Cathedral, also known as Sé do Porto, is one of the city's most iconic landmarks and a must-visit attraction for anyone traveling to Porto. 

This Romanesque-style cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century, boasts stunning architecture and intricate detailing that has been preserved over the centuries.

Visitors can admire the cathedral's ornate façade, explore its interior filled with impressive works of art, and climb to the top of its tower for panoramic views of the city.

Whether you're a history enthusiast, an architecture buff, or simply looking for a picturesque spot to take in the views, a visit to Porto Cathedral is sure to be a highlight of your trip to Porto.

2. Explore Porto's historic center

Porto's historic center

The historic center of Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers a glimpse into the city's historical heritage, with its narrow streets, traditional houses, and iconic landmarks.

The Porto city center is easily accessible on foot, with many of the major attractions within walking distance of each other.

Visitors can explore the Ribeira area along the waterfront, wander through the maze of streets in the neighborhood of Miragaia, or take a stroll across the Dom Luis I Bridge for panoramic views of the city.

Other historic buildings in central Porto include the iconic Clérigos Tower, the São Bento Train Station, and the bustling Bolhão Market.

3. Take a day trip to Vila Nova de Gaia

Vila Nova de Gaia

Vila Nova de Gaia is a charming city located just across the Douro River from Porto. It is best known for its wine cellars, where the world-famous Port wine is aged and bottled.

Visitors can take a tour of the port wine cellars and learn about the history and production of Port wine.

The city also offers stunning views of Porto's historic town and the Douro River, as well as beautiful beaches and many restaurants and cafes serving delicious Portuguese cuisine.

Vila Nova de Gaia and its port wine cellars are a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Porto.

4. Marvel at the modern Casa da Música

Casa da Música

Casa da Música is a modernist architectural marvel that has become a symbol of Porto's cultural and artistic scene.

Designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, the building's striking design is characterized by its asymmetrical shapes, sharp angles, and unconventional use of materials.

Inside, Casa da Música is equally impressive, with state-of-the-art concert halls, a music education center, and a rooftop terrace offering panoramic views of the city.

Visitors can attend a performance or simply take a tour of the building, which provides an excellent opportunity to immerse oneself in Porto's vibrant arts and music scene.

5. Enjoy some Port wine tasting

Wine Tasting Room - Sala de Provas do Porto | ViniPortugal

If you're a wine lover, a trip to Porto wouldn't be complete without a port wine tasting experience. Porto's Douro Valley is the birthplace of port wine and offers some of the world's finest varieties.

One of the best places to go are the port cellars of the historic Vila Nova de Gaia, located just across the Douro River from Porto's city center.

Another port wine-tasting spot is the historic center of Porto, with several wine shops and tasting rooms. This area is also home to several wine festivals and events, such as the Wine Quay Bar, held in the summer months.

6. Admire the tiles at the São Bento Railway Station

São Bento Railway Station

São Bento Railway Station is a magnificent 20th-century Beaux-Arts building located in the heart of Porto. Built on the site of a former convent, the station is renowned for its ornate tilework, which depicts scenes from Portugal's history and daily life.

The station's interior is adorned with stunning azulejo tilework depicting scenes from Portugal's history, culture, and daily life.

This unique feature makes São Bento Train Station one of the most beautiful train stations in the world. Visitors can take a stroll through the station to admire the beautiful artwork or catch a train to other destinations in Portugal.

7. Climb to the top of the Clérigos Tower

Clérigos Tower

The Clérigos Tower in Porto is a landmark that should not be missed by anyone visiting the city, and climbing it is one of many things to do in Porto for lovers of a good view.

This iconic tower was built in the 18th century and stands 76 meters tall, making it one of the tallest structures in Portugal. It is part of the Clérigos Church and Museum, which also houses a collection of sacred art and artifacts.

Visitors can climb to the top of the tower for stunning panoramic views of Porto's historic center and the Douro River. The baroque architecture of the church and the intricate carvings and sculptures inside make it a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in history and architecture.

8. Browse through the stalls at the Bolhão Market

Bolhão Market

The Bolhão Market is a bustling market and one of the major Porto attractions. 

This historic market has been operating for over a century and offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the local culture and taste of Porto.

The market is known for its fresh fruit, seafood, meats, and traditional Portuguese cheese, pastries, and wine.

 As you walk through the market, you will be greeted with vibrant colors, enticing smells, and friendly vendors.

The Bolhão Market is an ideal place to immerse yourself in the local culture, try traditional local dishes, and find unique souvenirs. Visiting this market is one of many things to do in Porto for food lovers.

9. Discover the charm of the historic Ribeira District

Ribeira District

The Ribeira District is one of Porto's most picturesque neighborhoods, located on the bank of the Douro River.

The colorful buildings, narrow streets, and lively atmosphere make it a top spot for anyone planning to visit Porto.

The district is home to a variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars, as well as historical attractions such as Ribeira Square and the Sao Francisco Church.

Visitors can also enjoy a scenic stroll along the riverfront or take a boat tour to see the city from a different perspective.

10. Watch the sunset from the Dom Luis I Bridge

Dom Luis I Bridge

Watching the sunset from the Dom Luis I Bridge in Porto is a truly spectacular experience that should not be missed.

The bridge spans the River Douro, connecting the historic Ribeira district with the Vila Nova de Gaia neighborhood, where the city's famous port wine cellars are located.

Designed by the Belgian engineer Théophile Seyrig, a disciple of Gustave Eiffel, the Dom Luís I Bridge was completed in 1886 and named after King Luís I of Portugal.

A visit to Porto would not be complete without crossing the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge and experiencing its breathtaking views.

11. Visit Livraria Lello, Porto's most beautiful library

Livraria Lello

Livraria Lello is considered to be Porto's most beautiful library, and it's not hard to see why.

The Art Nouveau building dates back to 1906 and features an elaborate facade with intricate carvings and stained-glass windows. Its interior is equally impressive, with a grand staircase, ornate bookshelves, and a stained-glass skylight.

Livraria Lello is also a functioning bookstore with an impressive collection of books, including many titles in English. Livraria Lello is said to have inspired J.K. Rowling while she was writing the Harry Potter series, so Harry Potter fans will definitely want to pay a visit!

12. Take a tour of Palacio da Bolsa

Palacio da Bolsa

Palácio da Bolsa, also known as the Portuguese Stock Exchange Palace, is the most visited monument in northern Portugal.

This 19th-century neoclassical palace in the historic center of the city is renowned for its opulent interior, including the famous Arab Room, decorated in a lavish Moorish Revival style.

A visit to the Palácio da Bolsa and the Arab Room provides a glimpse into the wealth and grandeur of the city's past, and it's a must-visit destination for those interested in architecture, history, and art.

Guided tours are available, and visitors can explore the palace's many rooms and admire its impressive collection of art and artifacts.

13. Try Porto's famous Francesinha at Cafe Santiago

Francesinha at Cafe Santiago

Francesinha is a famous and hearty dish that originated in Porto. Trying it is one of the top things to do in Porto for any foodie visiting the city.

This sandwich is made with layers of different meats, such as ham, sausage, and roast beef, and then covered with melted cheese and a special tomato sauce.

One of the best places to try francesinha is at Cafe Santiago, a Porto landmark and a top spot that has been serving up this iconic dish for over 60 years.

The combination of flavors and textures is truly unique and makes for a satisfying meal that is perfect after a long day of exploring the city.

14. Enjoy traditional Pastel de Nata at Confeitaria do Bolhão

Pastel de Nata at Confeitaria do Bolhão

Confeitaria do Bolhão is a pastry shop in the heart of Porto that has been serving delicious treats for over 150 years.

One of the specialties of this bakery is the famous Portuguese pastry called Pastel de Nata, a flaky, egg custard tart that is a must-try when visiting Portugal.

The pastry shop's version of Pasteis de Nata is widely regarded as one of the best in Porto, with a perfectly crispy crust and creamy, sweet filling.

The cozy and traditional atmosphere of the bakery, combined with the delicious pastries, make it a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.

15. Take a tour of the FC Porto Museum and Stadium

FC Porto Museum and Stadium

If you're a football fan, a visit to the Estádio do Dragão, FC Porto's home stadium, is a must-see. You can also explore the FC Porto Museum, which showcases the history and achievements of one of Portugal's most successful football clubs.

The museum houses a fascinating collection of memorabilia and interactive exhibits. Visitors can explore the club's trophy room, watch videos of famous matches, and even take a tour of the stadium itself, including the players' changing rooms and the pitch.

16. Enjoy a Douro River cruise

Douro River cruise

A river cruise in Porto is a must-do activity that offers breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings.

River tours allow visitors to explore the historic Ribeira district, admire the colorful buildings and bridges, and take in the beauty of the Douro Valley's terraced vineyards.

A leisurely river cruise on the Douro River also gives visitors the opportunity to relax and soak up the laid-back atmosphere of Porto while sipping on some port wine.

With various river tour options available, ranging from one-hour sightseeing cruises to multi-day trips, there is something for everyone to enjoy on a Porto trip by boat.

17. Admire the exquisite exhibits at the Romantic Museum

Romantic Museum

The Romantic Museum, located in the Palácio da Quinta da Macieirinha, offers a glimpse into the aristocratic lifestyle of the 19th century in Porto. Visitors can admire the opulent furnishings, exquisite porcelain, and paintings from the Romantic period.

The museum is dedicated to the memory of the Portuguese King Carlos Alberto de Sardenha, who resided in the palace for a time.

It is a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the grandeur and romanticism of a bygone era in Porto. Anyone interested in history and the decorative arts should not miss a visit to this fascinating museum.

18. Enjoy a ride on the Funicular dos Guindais

Funicular dos Guindais

The Funicular dos Guindais is a historic cable car that connects Batalha Square to Cais da Ribeira, providing visitors with a scenic ride and a unique perspective of the city.

The cable car was originally built in the late 19th century but was renovated and reopened in 2004.

Riding the Funicular dos Guindais is a quick and convenient way to avoid climbing the steep hills and also offers a glimpse into the city's history and architecture.

Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the Douro River and Cais da Ribeira while experiencing the charm of this traditional mode of transportation.

19. See Casa de Serralves at the Serralves Foundation

Casa de Serralves

The Serralves Foundation is an incredible cultural institution, located in the beautiful Serralves Park, just a short drive from Porto Airport.

It is dedicated to promoting contemporary art and culture through exhibitions, performances, and educational programs.

Visitors can explore the Casa de Serralves, a 1930s Art Deco villa. The Serralves Contemporary Art Museum showcases some of the most exciting and innovative works of art from around the world.

Whether you're a seasoned art enthusiast or simply curious about contemporary art, a visit to the Serralves Foundation is sure to be an enriching and inspiring experience.

20. Walk down the Rua de Santa Catarina

Rua de Santa Catarina

The Rua de Santa Catarina is a pedestrian-friendly avenue that stretches for over a kilometer.

Whether you're looking for souvenirs, fashion, or local delicacies, you'll find it all here. Rua de Santa Catarina is always buzzing with street performers and musicians adding to the ambiance.

Highlights of the Rua Santa Catarina street include the iconic Majestic Cafe, a beautifully preserved Art Nouveau gem that has been a Porto institution since 1921, and the historic Capela das Almas, a stunning church with a façade covered in blue and white tiles.

21. See the beautiful Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar

Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar

Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar is a beautiful monastery and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the city of Porto.

This 16th-century circular monastery is perched on a hill overlooking the Douro River, and it offers stunning panoramic views of the city and its surroundings.

The monastery is famous for its impressive architecture, including a beautiful octagonal cloister and a dome-shaped chapel with a stunning baroque altar.

During the 19th century, it was used as a military barracks and played a role in the defense of the city.

22. Take a stroll around Foz do Douro

Foz do Douro

Foz do Douro is a charming and upscale neighborhood located at the mouth of the Douro River in Porto.

One of the most popular attractions in Foz do Douro is the Pergola da Foz, a beautiful wooden boardwalk that stretches along the coast for over 250 meters.

Visitors can also enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, such as swimming, surfing, or sunbathing at the beach. Additionally, the area offers a variety of cultural and historical attractions, including the Castelo do Queijo (Cheese Castle) and the Farol Molhe do Douro lighthouse.

23. Go on a Porto food tour

Porto food tour

A Porto food tour is a great way to try some of the most delicious and authentic dishes that Porto has to offer.

Porto is known for its fresh seafood, hearty stews, and sweet desserts, and a food tour is a great opportunity to sample a wide variety of dishes and learn about the city's food culture.

During a food tour, you'll visit local markets, cafes, and restaurants, and try a variety of dishes like the famous Francesinha sandwich, codfish cakes, and the traditional Tripas à Moda do Porto stew.

You'll also learn about Portuguese food and culture of Porto, and get insider tips on the best places to eat and drink in the city.

24. Take a stroll around the Crystal Palace Gardens

Crystal Palace Gardens

Crystal Palace Gardens, located in the heart of Porto, is a stunning public park that is definitely worth a visit. The park is named after the Crystal Palace that once stood on the site, which was sadly destroyed in the early 20th century.

Today, the gardens offer visitors breathtaking views of the city and the Douro River, as well as a variety of plants and flowers that bloom throughout the year.

Visitors can enjoy a stroll along the park's many paths and terraces, admire the ornate fountains and statues, or simply relax and take in the peaceful surroundings.

25. Spend some time in Parque da Cidade do Porto

Parque da Cidade do Porto

Parque da Cidade do Porto is one of the largest parks in northern Portugal, and a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists.

Spanning over 83 hectares, the park is located in the heart of Porto and offers a wealth of outdoor activities for locals and travelers visiting Porto.

From stunning lakes and sprawling green spaces to its well-manicured gardens and winding paths, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Visitors can take a leisurely stroll or bike ride through the park's various trails, enjoy a picnic with friends and family, or even try their hand at a game of tennis or mini-golf.

26. Visit São Francisco Church

São Francisco Church

The São Francisco Church in Porto is a must for those interested in history, architecture, and religious art.

Built in the 14th century, the church has undergone many transformations, with the current Baroque-style interior dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries.

The church's gold leaf interior, intricate wood carvings, and beautiful frescoes are a sight to behold. The church also houses a vast collection of religious art, including sculptures and paintings from Portuguese artists Nicolau Nasoni and Francisco Vieira.

What makes the São Francisco Church truly unique is its catacombs, which house the remains of wealthy Porto families.

27. Explore the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis

Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis

The Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis is a must-visit attraction in Porto, Portugal. It is dedicated to the life and works of António Soares dos Reis, a renowned Portuguese sculptor who lived in the 19th century.

The museum boasts a vast collection of over 5,000 paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and textiles. 

Art lovers can admire some of the most famous works of Soares dos Reis, such as the Bust of D. Antónia Adelaide Ferreira or the Tomb of D. Pedro IV.

The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, making it a dynamic and ever-changing cultural space.

28. Take a day trip to nearby Matosinhos


Matosinhos is a coastal town located just a few kilometers north of Porto, making it an ideal destination for a day trip. The town is renowned for its long sandy beaches, fresh seafood, and beautiful promenade.

Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the promenade and indulge in some of the freshest seafood at one of the restaurants that line the seafront.

The town also has several museums and art galleries showcasing local art and history. Whether you're looking to relax on the beach or explore the town's cultural offerings, Matosinhos is a top spot when visiting Porto.

FAQs: The Best Things to Do in Porto, Portugal

In this section, we provide answers to common questions about the best things to do in Porto.

Are 2 days enough in Porto?

Yes, two days in Porto can give you a glimpse of the city's main attractions, such as the historic Ribeira district, the impressive Porto Cathedral, São Bento station, and the famous port cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia.

However, if you want to immerse yourself more deeply in the city's culture, history, and food scene, you may want to consider spending an extra day or two.

Are 3 days in Porto too much?

Not at all! Three days in Porto will give you plenty of time to see the city's main attractions and landmarks, explore some of the lesser-known neighborhoods, sample the local cuisine, and enjoy wine tastings.

It also allows you to take a day trip to nearby destinations like Braga, Guimarães, or the Douro Valley. Three days is an excellent amount of time to fully experience what Porto has to offer.

What is Porto, Portugal best known for?

Porto is known for its historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its narrow cobbled streets, colorful houses, and beautiful architecture.

Porto region is also famous for its Douro Valley, producing excellent port wine, the traditional pastry ''pastel de nata'', and the Francesinha, a sandwich with ham, sausage, and steak covered with melted cheese.

Other popular attractions include the Ribeira riverside, the Dom Luis I Bridge, Palacio da Bolsa (with the famous Arab Room), the São Bento train station, and the modern Casa da Música concert hall. Livraria Lello is also a famous bookshop that has been drawing Harry Potter fans for years.

How many days should you spend in Porto?

The amount of time you should spend in Porto depends on your interests and travel style. If you want to see the main attractions and landmarks and get a feel for the city's culture and history, 2-3 days should be enough.

However, if you want to take day trips to nearby destinations, enjoy the local cuisine and wine, or have a more leisurely pace, you may want to stay for 4-5 days or longer.

Summing Up: The Best Things to Do in Porto

As you can see, there is no shortage of incredible things to do in Porto. This really is a vibrant city full of history, culture, and charm.

From the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge and Sao Bento train station to the stunning Livraria Lello and lovely restaurants serving delicious local treats, there are endless attractions to explore.

Exploring the port cellars and enjoying a wine tasting in the Douro Valley, where the River Douro runs through the vineyards, is sure to impress and delight wine lovers, while history buffs can enjoy a stroll in the historic city center and visit some of Porto's major attractions within walking distance to each other.

So, if you haven't visited Porto, book your tickets and get ready to experience its charm for yourself.