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1 day in Porto itinerary: 10 best things to do

Is 1 day in Porto, Portugal, enough to get to know the city? Thanks to this itinerary, you will get to know the best of the city through a walking tour. Get ready to contemplate beautiful tile-covered facades, get to know one of the most beautiful stations in the world, and marvel at the charming atmosphere that surrounds the Douro River as it passes through the city.

To help you organize your visit, at the end of the article, you will find a map where I have pointed out all the places to see in Porto in one day. You will also find hotel and restaurant recommendations.

Table of contents

1 day in Porto, Portugal

During your 1-day visit to the city, I recommend you visit emblematic places such as the Clérigos Tower, the São Bento Station, and the Cathedral of Porto. Below you will find the complete itinerary, organized by neighborhoods.

You can also book this free tour of Porto, thanks to which you will learn about some of the most interesting places with a guide.

Vitória Neighborhood

torre de los clerigos
Clérigos Tower
libreria lello
Lello Library

1. Clérigos Tower

I suggest you start your visit to the city in the Vitória neighborhood, exactly by the church and the Clérigos Tower.

The visit to the church is free, so don’t hesitate to go inside and take a quick look. On the other hand, going up to the tower costs $9, but the views are very nice, as it is the tallest building in the historic center of Porto. You can buy the entrance to the Clérigos Tower here in advance, so you won’t have to wait in line and you will save some time.

2. Lello Library

Then continue to the Lello e Irmão bookstore, one of the most beautiful in the world. If you want to go inside, it is advisable to buy the ticket in advance on the official library’s website. The entrance ticket costs $5, which is discounted if you buy a book. Even if you already have the ticket, you will have to queue a bit because it is always full of people. Even if you are not going to enter, do not hesitate to come and see its facade.

3. Church of Carmen

things to do in 1 day in Porto Portugal
Church of Carmen

The next and last stop in the Vitória neighborhood is the Church of Carmen, located next to Gomes Teixeira Square, where you can find the Lions Fountain and the University of Porto. This church is one of the most beautiful in the city and stands out for its beautiful side facade, completely covered by white and blue tiles. It is the perfect place to take a picture!

You have to pay to enter the Iglesia del Carmen. It costs $5, and the entrance gives you access to several spaces. I don’t consider it a must-see if you are only spending a day in the city of Porto, but if you are very interested in religious buildings, go ahead. Another option is to enter the Church of the Discalced Carmelites, located right next door. This one is free.

Bolhão Neighborhood

Continue uphill and head towards Bolhão Market and enter the newly renovated market, the first stop in this neighborhood.

Located in the center of Porto, the Bolhão neighborhood is a lively and historically significant area. Renowned for its thriving market, Mercado do Bolhão, which has served as a hub for trade and interpersonal exchange for more than a century, To get there, you just have to cross the Avenida dos Aliados, where city hall is located. 

bolhao market
Bolhão Market
things to do in Porto in 2 days
Chapel of Souls

4. Bolhão Market

This iconic market is the centerpiece of the neighborhood. The market dates back to the late 19th century. Inside, visitors can find a wide variety of fresh produce, meats, seafood, cheese, and other local products. The market also features vendors selling handicrafts, flowers, and traditional Portuguese goods.

Exit through the back door of the market and go to the right until you reach the Chapel of the Souls, whose origin dates back to the early 18th century. It is one of the best places to visit if you’re spending 1 day in Porto, Portugal.

5. The Chapel of Souls

The Chapel of Souls (Capela das Almas) is one of the most iconic landmarks in Porto’s Bolhão neighborhood. This small chapel is renowned for its stunning blue tile work, done in 1929, depicting scenes from the life of Saint Francis of Assisi and the Passion of Christ.

oporto 1 dia
Cafe Majestic
free tours por oporto
The Church of San Ildefonso

Then continue down Rua de Santa Catarina. You will pass by the Fábrica de Nata, where you can eat a delicious pastéi de nata, and Café Majestic, one of the most emblematic of the city. If you detour a little on Rua Formosa, you can see the famous store A Pérola do Bolhão or try the pastéis de nata from Manteigaria, which is also delicious!

6. The Church of San Ildefonso

Situated in the heart of Porto, the Church of São Ildefonso is a must-visit destination for those interested in experiencing the city’s rich architectural and religious heritage. Like the Chapel of Souls, the Church of San Ildefonso has an amazing blue tile exterior. It was built during the first half of the 18th century. The church is the final stop in the Bolhão neighborhood. You can enter the interior for $1.50, but the highlight of this church is its beautiful tile-covered facade.

Porto’s City Center

It’s time to leave Bolhão neighborhood behind to visit some of the most important places in the city center.

Porto’s city center, known as the Porto Baixa, is a vibrant and historic area that serves as the heart of the city. The city center is certain to make an impact, whether you’re strolling around its old streets, dining at a neighborhood restaurant, or just soaking in the breath-taking view of the Douro River.

oporto en un dia
São Bento Station

7. São Bento Station, a must-see if you’re spending 1 day in Porto

Walk down Rua de 31 de Janeiro to São Bento Station, one of the most beautiful in the world. Go inside and marvel at its beauty. São Bento Station is a national monument with both cultural and historical significance. The azulejo tile work inside the station has been preserved and appreciated for many years, and it is regarded as a masterpiece of Portuguese tile art.

In addition to its cultural significance, São Bento Station serves as a significant rail hub, offering connections to Lisbon, Braga, and the Douro Valley, among other locations in Portugal.

Porto Cathedral
The Porto Cathedral

8. The Porto Cathedral

The Porto Cathedral, also known as Sé do Porto, is one of the most significant religious and architectural landmarks in Porto.

From the station, walk up to the Cathedral of Porto. From the space surrounding the cathedral, you can enjoy beautiful views of the city. In addition, I recommend you go inside the cathedral, as it only costs $3.50 and you can see its beautiful cloister, decorated with tiles. You can also go up to the tower and appreciate the view from the top.

things to do in 1 day in porto portugal
Largo da Pena Ventosa

After visiting the Cathedral, I recommend going down towards the center, passing by the Mirador of the San Lorenzo dos Grilos Church, one of the best viewpoints in Porto, and Largo da Pena Ventosa, a charming corner. When you get to the bottom, you can look out onto Rua das Flores and stop at Castro, one of the best stores for pastéis de nata. Now it’s time to head towards Ribeira!

Ribeira and Vila Nova de Gaia, part of this 1-day Porto itinerary

The Ribeira is undoubtedly the most charming place in the city. Located on the banks of the Douro River, it stands out for its beautiful, colorful facades and magical atmosphere. You can take a walk, sit and have a drink on one of the terraces, or, if you wish, from here you can embark on the famous six bridges cruise, one of the most popular activities in the city.

1 day in Porto Portugal
Ribeira
vila nova de gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia

9. Dom Luis I Bridge

The Dom Luis I Bridge spans the Douro River, connecting the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. Its strategic location makes it a prominent feature of the Porto skyline and a key element of the city’s landscape.

Cross under the Don Luis I Bridge to get to Vila Nova de Gaia. From there, you can better appreciate the beautiful, picturesque view of Ribeira. This city next to Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia, is known for its wineries, so don’t hesitate to visit one and taste some of Porto’s best wine.

1 day in porto
Bordalo II
Monasterio de la Sierra del Pilar
Sierra del Pilar Monastery

10. “Half Rabbit” by Bordalo II

Don’t miss the famous Bordalo II rabbit mural, either. This piece is part of artist Artur Bordalo’s ongoing series of “Big Trash Animals,” which aims to raise awareness about environmental issues, particularly the impact of waste and pollution on wildlife. It has quickly become one of the most photographed places in Porto. 

To end the day in the best possible way, go up to the Serra do Pilar Monastery to watch the sunset and cross the Bridge of Don Luis I from the top; the views are spectacular! Discover everything you can see and do in Vila Nova de Gaia.

Tips for visiting Porto in 1 day

Here are some tips for spending 1 day in Porto, Portugal:

  • If you prefer to visit the city with a guide, I recommend you book this free tour of Porto, in which you will visit many of the main places of the city. You can combine it with the Bolhão free tour for a very complete visit. Check out the best free tours in Porto in English.
  • One of the foods you can’t miss during your trip is the francesinha, a sandwich with several kinds of sausage, cheese, a fried egg, and sauce. Some of the most famous restaurants where you can eat this specialty are Café Santiago and Lado B.
  • The cheapest option to go from the airport to downtown is the subway, thanks to the E line. It takes a little less than half an hour and costs $3 (one way + Andante card). If you want to know about other options, I recommend you read my article on how to get to the center from Porto airport.
  • The best way to move around the city is on foot. If you find it hard to climb hills, you can use the funicular and the cable car or take an Uber (it’s quite cheap). You can also use public transport, for which you will need the Andante card.
  • You might be interested in getting the Porto Card during your stay in the city, as it gives you free access to some historical buildings and discounts on some of the main attractions of the city. It can also be purchased with transportation included.

Where to stay in Porto

If you are going to spend the night in Porto, don’t forget to book your accommodation as soon as possible to get a good hotel for the best price. If you have many doubts about where to stay, I recommend you read my blog post about the best areas to sleep in Porto. In general, any neighborhood in the historic center is a great option.

During my three trips to the city, I have stayed between the neighborhoods of Bolhão and Sé. Specifically, I have slept in these accommodations: Belas Artes Apartments, Cocorico Luxury House, and Trendy Flats Fontainhas. I liked them all very much.

Here are more hotel options:

Map: 1 day in Porto itinerary

On the following map, you can see marked the itinerary that I recommend doing, with all the main stops to get to know the city. I have also marked the hotels I recommend.

If you have more time in the futuro, check my 2-day Porto itinerary and my 3-day Porto itinerary.

Check out my Portugal travel guide to continue organizing your stay in the country.

I hope this article about what to see in Porto in one day has been very useful for you to organize your trip to this Portuguese city. If you have any questions, you can leave a comment or email me. See you next time!

↠ Book free tours and guided visits on Civitatis or GetYourGuide. I always use these platforms to check what organized activities there are at my destination.

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↠ Check out Booking’s offers, a platform I always use, as I always find very good options thanks to its search engine with filters.

↠ For destinations where I need to rent a car, I always check Discover Cars and Auto Europe search engines. I recommend them!

↠ If you still need to buy flights for your trip, there is no better search engine than Skyscanner (although I always recommend booking the flight on the company’s website).

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