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The 10 best things to do around Porto, Portugal

There are many great things to do around Porto. However, its surroundings also have a great variety of very interesting places that I recommend visiting. If you are going to spend several days in this area of Portugal, I encourage you to make an excursion from Porto. For this, I bring you 10 places to see near Porto, among which you will find cities, villages, and natural environments.

At the end of the article, you will find a map on which I have marked all the places mentioned below. This will make it easier for you to see the distances from the city to the different destinations.

Table of contents

Things to do around Porto, Portugal

Ready to know the best places to visit close to Porto? Let’s get started!

1. Aveiro and its beautiful Costa Nova

costa nova aveiro
Costa Nova, Aveiro

Aveiro and the famous Costa Nova is one of the most popular places to see near Porto. I myself decided to include it in my first road trip in Portugal after spending 2 days in Porto. The town of Aveiro has its charm. Although what really attracts tourists to this area of Portugal is the Costa Nova neighborhood, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ria de Aveiro. This place stands out for its little houses painted with vertical stripes of color and white.

Before visiting Costa Nova, I advise you to take a walk in Aveiro. In Aveiro I recommend you to walk along the canals, visit the Fish Square and its fish market, the Cathedral of Aveiro, the train station and the Monastery of Jesus.

When you finish visiting this charming town, it’s time to visit the famous Costa Nova houses. Some of the most beautiful and popular ones are located on José Estevão Avenue. In the area, I also recommend you to visit Praia da Barra beach with its lighthouse and Praia da Costa Nova beach. Both beaches are very popular for water sports.

From Porto, it takes about 50 minutes to reach Aveiro by car. If you don’t have a car, the quickest and easiest option is the train. It takes about 45 minutes and costs about 8€, depending on the time. If you prefer, you can book this organized tour to Aveiro and Costa Nova from Porto. It lasts about 4 hours and includes a boat ride.

2. Visit Braga, one of the best things to do around Porto

things to do around porto
Braga

The city of Braga is another ideal destination to visit near Porto, especially if you are going to spend at least 3 days in Porto. It is one of the oldest cities in Portugal and has beautiful places. One of the most beautiful places in Braga is located on the outskirts and is the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary, a must-see!

Other attractions in Braga are the Cathedral of Braga, the Basilica of Our Lady of Sameiro, the Arco da Porta Nova, the Monastery of Tibães, the Garden of Santa Barbara, the Castle of Braga and the Parque da Praia Fluvial de Adaúfe, among many other places. As you can see, Braga has many places of tourist interest.

Located just under 60 km from Porto, it takes approximately 45 minutes to get there by car. If you don’t have private transportation, the best option is the train. Another alternative is to book this organized tour to Braga and Guimarães from Porto. It consists of a 9-hour visit to both locations.

3. Douro region, one of the most beautiful places in Portugal.

douro region
Douro region

One of the most charming places in the north of Portugal is the Douro Region. If you visit this area, you can enjoy beautiful landscapes with the Douro River as the protagonist. The most popular things to see in this region are the wineries, terraced vineyards and small charming villages.

Some of the most interesting places to see in the Douro Region are Peso da Régua, Lamego, the Mateus Palace, Quinta do Vallado, Amarante, Casal de Loivos, Pinhão, Miranda Do Douro, Santar, Viseu… If you have your own car, you can get lost in these corners on the banks of the Douro with total freedom.

Another great option is to book this organized tour to the Douro Region from Porto. The tour starts in the village of Amarante, where you can see the famous São Gonçalo Bridge. The next stop is Galafura, where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Douro. After lunch, you will visit a winery and do a wine tasting. Finally, the tour includes a boat ride on Pinhão.

4. Guimarães, a charming medieval town

Guimarães
Guimarães

Guimarães is another of the most popular places to see near Porto. This Portuguese town stands out for its beautiful historic center, which retains much influence from its medieval times. In addition, in 2001, it was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

It is a perfect place to stroll and get lost among its charms. Among the places to see in Guimarães, do not miss the Castle of Guimarães, the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança, the Church of Our Lady of Oliveira, Largo da Oliveira Square, Citania de Briteiros, or Santa Maria Street.

Guimarães is located about 60 km from Porto. It takes about 45 minutes to get there by car, depending on traffic. By train, it is also very easy to get there. Another option is to book this organized tour to Guimarães from Porto. It consists of a 7-hour tour visiting different places in the old town, including the Castle of Guimarães and the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança.

5. Capilla do Senhor da Pedra, one of the best places to visit near Porto

things to do around porto
Capilla do Senhor da Pedra 

A very interesting thing to do around Porto is the Chapel of the Lord of the Stones. What is really striking about this chapel is its location, as it is built on a rock, as its name suggests, on the coast of Miramar (Vila Nova de Gaia). Tucked by the waves of the sea, this place is the protagonist of many myths and legends, mysticism that adds to an enchanting natural landscape.

The Chapel of the Lord of the Stone is located half an hour’s drive from Porto. It can also be reached by public transport, thanks to the train. You will have to take a train towards Aveiro and get off at Miramar. Then you only have to walk a few minutes to the coast.

6. Serra da Freita and the Paiva Passages, natural paradise.

Paiva Passages
Source: Joseolgon / CC BY-SA 4.0

If you feel like visiting one of the best natural spots near Porto, I recommend you take a look at the Serra da Freita. It is a region that is home to several municipalities and authentic natural wonders. The Serra da Freita has peaks of over 1,000 meters and is home to one of the highest waterfalls in the Iberian Peninsula, called Frecha da Mizarela.

It is possible to do many routes on foot through very well-marked trails. If you visit this area, don’t miss the Pasadizos do Paiva, located in Arouca, next to the Paiva River. It is an eight-kilometer linear route through nature. You can start in Espiunca or Areinho.

If you do not have private transportation, the best option is to book this organized tour to the Paiva Passages. You can also visit the 516-Arouca Bridge.

7. Castle of Santa Maria da Feira, a journey into Portugal’s past

things to do around porto
Castle of Santa Maria da Feira

For those who love castles, I have the perfect place to visit near Porto. I am talking about the Castle of Santa Maria da Feira. This imposing castle is located in the town of Santa Maria da Feira, belonging to the district of Aveiro, and has a rich history dating back to the 11th century.

Over the years, the castle has been the subject of several military conflicts and has witnessed important historical events. Visitors can explore the interior of the castle, which includes a chapel, a tower and different exhibition rooms.

The easiest way to get there is by car. It takes only half an hour. It is also possible to go by train. First you have to take a train to Espinho and then another train to Vila da Feira.

8. Peneda-Gerês National Park

Peneda-Gerês National Park
Ponte da Misarela

If you feel like visiting a natural destination, a great option is Peneda-Gerês National Park, also known as simply Gerês. It is located 107 kilometers northeast of Porto, bordering Spain. If you visit it, you will find a mountainous landscape full of forests and some small villages.

There are several hiking trails that will take you to stunning viewpoints, many of which overlook the Limia River. Another great attraction of the park are its natural pools and waterfalls, where you can swim during the warmer months. Among the most interesting villages to visit in the Peneda-Gerês National Park are Lindoso and its 13th-century castle, or Soajo and its famous espigueiros.

If you have a car, I recommend you go and get lost in search of its best hidden treasures. If not, the best thing to do is to make an organized visit. Check out this organized tour to Gerês from Porto. It lasts 9 hours.

9. Coimbra, one of the best things to do around Porto

things to do around porto
Day trips from porto

Coimbra is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal and another great option if you are looking for a day trip from Porto. It is located 125 km away. By car, it takes about an hour and a quarter. It is noted for housing the oldest university in the country and for being the birthplace of six Portuguese kings. It is a perfect city to stroll around and discover all its places of interest.

If you visit Coimbra, do not miss the University of Coimbra, the Joanina Library, the Chapel of San Miguel, the National Museum of Machado de Castro, the Monastery of Santa Cruz, the Old Cathedral of Coimbra, the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, the gardens of Quinta das Lágrimas, or the New Cathedral of Coimbra.

If you do not have a car, the best option is the train. Another option is to take an organized tour. Check out this tour to Coimbra and Fátima.

10. Fatima and its sanctuary

fatima portugal
Fátima

A little further from Coimbra is Fatima, 200 km south of Porto. It owes its popularity to the fact that supposedly, during the summer of 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared several times to three shepherds. It has become one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Christianity.

The must-see places in Fatima, especially for the most devout, are the Sanctuary of Fatima, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, the Chapel of Apparitions, and the Basilica of the Holy Trinity. Another interesting place to see near Fátima are the Grutas da Moeda.

You can go by car, by public transport, or join this organized tour to Fatima and Coimbra.

Map of things to do around Porto

In the following map, you can see Oporto marked with the icon of the little red house and the places you can visit from this city marked in blue.

Check out my recommendations for traveling to Porto and my Portugal travel guide to continue preparing your visit to the country.

I hope this article about the best things to do around Porto has been very useful to organize your trip to the second-largest city in Portugal. If you have any doubts or contributions, I encourage you to leave a comment or write me an email. See you next time!

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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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