I am so excited to show you my favorite city in Portugal with my selection of the best things to do in Porto. Plus, to save you time, I have curated for you the different options of Porto tours, including Porto walking tours, Porto city tours and Wine tasting tours in Porto. This way you can become more intimate with this soulful city!
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About the Best Porto Tours & what to see in Porto
Porto is a vibrant city with a lot of soul and history. No wonder why it made it on the Unesco World Heritage list. Simply walking the streets is fascinating. And I am in love with the Dom Luis Bridge I 🙂 I know I am exaggerating a little bit. But this is not the Port wine talking!
Below I will first share with you my favorite places to see and visit in Porto so that you can create your own Porto Tour.
But if you want to learn more, having a guide on a Porto Tour will allow you to dive into the history and vibe of the city. There are plenty of options that I have curated for you: Porto walking tours, Private Porto city tours, Wine tasting tours and other excursions with unique perspectives such as tiles, street art or food!
Let's start with a short video to get an overview of Porto:
Best Things to do in Porto - Create your own Tour
Want the freedom to explore at your own pace? I understand. In that case, here are some suggestions to create your own Porto itinerary and experience.
Hop on Hop off Bus Tour
The yellow hop on hop off bus stops next to all the great places to see and best views without wasting time in between. The main loop is not too long.
Plus, there are a river cruise and a wine tasting tour included, as well as a second loop that takes you all the way to the beaches and forts.
I don't recommend the Hop on Hop off bus in every city. I think for example it is a waste of money in Lisbon. But in Porto is was really great!
What to see in Porto on your Bus Stops?
Walking around the river
One of my favorite activities in Porto is to just stroll by the Douro river on both sides and to cross the Dom Luis Bridge. The views are fantastic from every angle!
This building is actually composed of 2 churches separated by a tiny 1m wide house: the Carmelite church and the Carmo church.
On its side is a beautiful wall covered with blue Azulejos tiles. And both churches deserve a visit for their rich interiors of Baroque and Rococo styles.
Open since 1906, the library is a fascinating building with a neo-gothic façade.
Inside are beautiful wood and glass decors like entering another world!
If you are a Harry Potter fan, the twisted staircase in the middle of the shop is said to have inspired JK Rowling.
Just buy an entrance ticket across the road before heading to the door, and admire the fascinating decor.
The Clerigos Tower dominates the Skyline of Porto. Built in the mid 18th century in Baroque style, its height reaches 75m (246ft).
At the top is a viewing platform to admire the roofs of Porto. And adjacent are the church and museum in the House of Brotherhood.
I think the Se cathedral was one my favorite locations and one of the best things to do in Porto.
It is situated at the end of the Upper platform of the bridge. Even if you don't have time to visit, you should go to the esplanade in front of it to admire the view.
But if you have time, enter the 13th century cathedral and pay to visit the beautiful cloister with many azulejos tiles and the surprising ceiling of the Chapter House.
In the Lower part of Porto stands the Bolsa Palace. Not my favorite location, but I am listing it because it would be a nice visit for many people.
The building is neo-classic, and some rooms offer unique decors with Arabic influence.
St Francis Church
A little bit hidden by the side of the Bolsa Palace, the St Francis church (Sao Francisco) dates back to the 14th and 15th century.
It is very austere from the outside but once inside, you realize that every inch is covered in baroque decors with gold. Estimations vary between 100 and 300kg of gold used.
No photos allowed inside for visitors.
Serra do Pilar
Now let's move to the other side of the Douro river in Vila Nova de Gaia. Walk up to the Serra do Pilar Monastery. It can be visited. But the best part is the view from the park around (photo above). It was one of my favorite views of Porto.
But the main attractions of Nova Gaia are all the Porto wine caves. There are so many. And all with a title lol: the oldest, the biggest, the oldest in the same family etc etc.
If you don't know which one to visit, The Hop on Hop off bus includes a ticket with a visit to one of the caves. Their choice of partner may change overtime.
When I was there, I visited the Cockburn cave and had a really good time. There was a great atmosphere, the staff were really nice, and my dad was happy with the tasting (I don't drink).
The second bus loop takes you to Foz do Douro with the 2 small forts and the beaches. I recommend stopping at Castelo do Quiejo and enjoying a leisurely walk by the sea all the way to the Sao Jao Baptista Fort before hoping back in the bus
Porto is also home to some good museums:
- Museum of Vinho do Porto to learn more about Port wine
- Museu do Carro Electrico if you are a big fan of trams
- Casa do Infante in the Ribeira neighborhood by the water to visit the House of the Prince
- War history and art museums, especially Saores do Reis if you want to learn more about Portuguese art
There are many things to do in Porto!
Porto Walking Tour & Porto City Tours
Porto has so much history, that I think a guided tour is a fantastic idea to discover the city. This will help you have another perspective on what you are seeing.
Best of Porto Walking Tour
This 4h walking tour has excellent reviews. On foot you will have time to appreciate the vibe of the different neighborhoods and notice the architectural details of the city. You will be able to discover many of the best sights in Porto.
Full Day Porto Private Tour
Just sit back and relax on this full day Porto private tour. No need to look for the place, the guide will take you to the best locations in Porto and all the way to the beaches of Foz. Having someone guide you to pick the best food is also great, and lunch is included.
Douro River Bridge Cruise
Another way to get a different perspective of a city is from the water. If you did not take the hop on hop off which includes a small cruise, you can book a special cruise in one of the traditional boats.
During the 50min you will discover the many bridges above the Douro River and learn more about the history of Porto.
Porto tours are also available with different means of transportation, depending on what you like 🙂
Porto Bike Tour
Porto Segway Tour
Porto Vespa Tour
Original Porto Tours
Those were the 'classic' Porto Tours where you learn about the history of the city and its general architecture. But you might be interested in one specific aspect of Porto, and I have found original tours of Porto for you:
Porto Tiles Tours
This is a tour I wish I had done. The Azulejos tiles are everywhere and are stunning. I would have really loved to learn more about their history and fabrication.
This 3-hour walking tour will take you to some of the best displays in the city, as well as the museum and some depots and stores.
Porto Napoleon Tour
Want to learn more about how Porto resisted the attacks of Napoleon and the French soldiers? A special tour with a history teacher.
Porto Street Art Tour
Discover the work of Local and foreign artists on the walls of Porto. This is a great way to discover off the beaten path Porto, away from the tourists
Fado and Night lights Tour of Porto
Porto is beautiful during the day, but it is also sparkling during the night!
Porto Football Tour
Football fan? This tour takes you to the FC Porto Museum and Stadium
Porto Wine Tasting Tours
Self-Tour with your hop on hop off
If you opted for the Hop on Hop off bus, check if they still offer a visit to their current partner cave and enjoy a wine tasting.
3-hour Porto Wine Tasting Tour
However, if you want a more in-depth experience, opt of a dedicated Porto Wine tasting tour.
There are not that many ways to organize a wine tasting Tour, so they are all similar. They take you to 2 or 3 cellars for visits and tasting.
I have found for you a Tour with 3 visits, several tastings and really good reviews:
And if you are looking for a very UNIQUE experience with wine in Porto, you can also enjoy a bath in wine!!! Intrigued? Read this article about the Porto wine spa by Travel Bliss now, to learn more about Vinothérapie®.
Porto Food Tours
Porto has a great food culture. There are these small eateries with set menus which are very tasty and offer a great atmosphere. Want to learn more about gastronomy in Porto and Portugal? Discover the 3 different options of Porto Food Tours.
Food Walk Tour
Wow, I have rarely seen a food tour program with so much tasting planned. This sounds tasty! Coffee, pastries, cheese, sausage, wine, olive oils, spices... You might be an expert by the end of the tour LOL.
Porto Tascas Tour
As I told you, there are a lot of small eateries, but it can be difficult to attempt a visit when you are by yourself. This guided tour, will take you to the world of the Tascas (the local pubs) where locals meet to eat and discuss
And finally, learn to cook Portuguese specialties with a workshop-lunch!
Porto Tours Douro Valley and Beyond
There are also many fantastic day trips from Porto to architectural and historical wonders as well and nature ones.
One of the most famous is the Douro Valley Porto Tour to discover where the grapes grow in a gorgeous setting.
There are many organized tours offered. This one with 2 wine tasting included has great reviews!
Where to stay in Porto
While you enjoy the best Porto has to offer, you might need a place to stay 🙂
Here are some suggestions I have collected for you.
Where I Stayed
I stayed in a really great apartment perfectly located called Go2oporto Apartment rentals. They have a several rentals.
The same rental agency also has amazing rentals on Booking.com with a direct view on the Douro River:
- LUXURY - Located along the Douro River, the Pestana Vintage Porto Hotel is established in a 16th century building - History, heritage and style - Check out photos and book
- BOUTIQUE HOTEL - Right in the heart of the Ribeira, the Descobertas Boutique Hotel is decorated with a lot of taste and provides a fantastic breakfast - Check out photos and book
- GOOD VALUE FOR MONEY - Porto de Rio is centrally located by the Douro River and the studios have really nice design - Check out photos and book
- HOSTEL - Only 50m from the Clerigos Tower, the Yes! Porto Hostel has a very friendly staff and great facilities - Check out photos and book
How to get to Porto
The Porto airport is quite active and there are many flights to arrive directly in the capital of North Portugal.
To facilitate your arrival, you can book you private transfer right now.
And, if your budget is tighter, no worries. You can also book a shared transfer.
Porto is easily accessible from Lisbon by Train.
It will take you between 2h35 and 3h depending on the train.
One of the best way to visit a country is on a road trip 🙂 - So rent a car and explore more of Portugal.
Or just drive from Lisbon to Porto on the Motorway. It will take you 3 hours.
You can compare rental prices on rentalcars.com
By day trip from Lisbon
It is quite a long drive for a day trip, but if you are staying in Lisbon and absolutely want to have an overview of Porto, you can book a private day tour. Check out the program and Book.
Want to see more of PORTUGAL?
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