What to see in Porto in 2 days
As I mentioned before, on our road trip through Portugal, we had to visit Porto in two days. It was an amazing visit that we really enjoyed. Below, I’ll recommend the best places to see in Porto in 2 days or more.
1. Santo Ildefonso Church, a must-see place in Porto
The construction of this baroque-style church was completed in 1730. At first it did not have its two bell towers but they were added later, in 1739. The facade has around 11,000 white and blue tiles which were created by Jorge Colaço in 1932, an artist who is also the author of the tiles for the Sao Bento station.
This church was one of the places that I really wanted to visit in Porto, since I had seen it in many photos. I was not disappointed at all, it is unique and beautiful. My hotel was near this church therefore, I was able to see it several times. It is one of the main places to visit in Porto.
– Address: Rua de Santo Ildefonso 238, 4000 Porto.
– Free entrance.
– Hours of Operation: Monday from 3pm to 6pm; Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. On Sundays it is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
2. Sao Bento Station
Sao Bento Station is located in Plaza de Almeida Garrett. You must visit the interior of this station, as it is another incredible work of art by Jorge Colaço. It has around 20,000 tiles. His drawings represent different events in the history of Porto.
On my first visit to Porto, I got confused and didn’t visit the inside of the station. Huge mistake! On my second trip to the city I couldn’t miss seeing the inside of this station. It is a real beauty!
– Address: Plaza de Almeida Garret. 11, 4000 Porto.
3. Stroll through the Ribeira area, the most beautiful activity in Porto
Ribeira is without a doubt the place with the most charming atmosphere in the whole city. It is located next to Duero River. Ribeira neighborhood is ideal for walking and having a drink in one of its many restaurants. Do not forget to appreciate the beautiful colorful buildings facades. You can also enjoy the view of Vila Nova de Gaia, located on the other side of the river.
We went several times because it is incredibly beautiful and has a lovely atmosphere. This area is my favorite in the whole city. I could spend hours and hours sitting next to the Duero.
4. Porto Cathedral
This cathedral was built between the 12th and 13th centuries. It is the most important religious monument in Porto. It is located in the northern area of the city, specifically in the Batalha neighborhood. Due to the numerous reconstructions that it has undergone throughout its history, it mixes a class of styles. If you walk a few meters forward, you can enjoy a very beautiful view of the city.
– Address: Terreiro da Se, Porto.
Views from Porto Cathedral:
5. Luis I Bridge, a must in Porto in 2 days
Next to the Ribeira, is the Luis I Bridge. It was built between 1881 and 1886. This great symbol of Porto has two floors: the upper one at 390 meters and the lower at 174 meters. It can be crossed both below and above. Obviously, I recommend crossing the bridge from above since the views of the Duero and part of the city are incredible.
The view from the top of the bridge towards the Ribeira:
I recommend visiting Luis I Bridge right after you visit Porto Cathedral, since they are located very close fro each other. If you are on the below part of the bridge, you can take a cable car to the above part.
Once you cross the bridge, you will finde a perfect park (Jardim do Morro) to have a little rest before exploring Vila Nova de Gaia. By the way, the view from the other side of the bridge is also stunning:
6. Vila Nova de Gaia, one of the most beautiful views of Porto
If you cross the Luis I bridge, you will get to Vila Nova de Gaia, a town located on the other side of the Duero River. You must visit this place and enjoy the beautiful view of the Ribeira neighborhood. This town is well known for hosting the Oporto’s wine cellars. There are many wineries that offer daily visits, a perfect plan to do in Porto if you are a wine lover!
Views from Vila Nova de Gaia:
If you are in Vila Nova de Gaia, don’t miss the opportunity to meet this famous rabbit. This sculpture is the work of Bordalo II. Bordalo II is known in the country for making works of art like this using street garbage. He has also artwork in Lisbon.
7. Capilla des Almas, a must see in Porto
The Capilla des Almas (Chapel of Souls) is another well-known building in the city and a must-see in Porto. Before 1929, the facade did not have tiles. Currently, it has 15,947 tiles. Eduardo Leche designed the tiles and they represent moments in the lives of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Catherine.
– Address: Rua de Santa Catarina 428, 4000-068 Porto.
8. Bolhão Market
If there is a market that everyone must visit it is the Bolhão Market. This market dates back to 1839, when the square was built. The square was reformed until 1914, then the current market building was built. It has two floors and today it looks very decadent. However, it is worth a visit.
– Address: Rua Formosa, Porto.
– Hours: Monday to Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Update: The original market is under construction. A little over a year to go before renovations are completed. They’ve set up a temporary market at Rua de Fernandes Tomás 506/508.
9. Clérigos Tower, the tallest building in Porto
What is most surprising about this tower is that, at 76 meters high, it is the tallest building in Porto. The Clérigos Tower was built between 1754 and 1763. If you want to reach the bell tower, you’ll have to go up 240 steps. We decided to go up to enjoy the view. The view was decent but you can find better views of Porto for free.
– Address: Rua de São Filipe de Nery, 4050, Porto
– Hours of Operation: Monday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
– Price: from €5 to €7.
10. Lello and Irmao Bookstore
This bookstore is a real beauty both inside and out. The building has Neo-Gothic style and was inaugurated in 1906. An interesting fact is that the Harry Potter bookstore Florish & Blotts was inspired by Lello and Irmao. It is one of the main attractions of Porto, which is why you will always find many people lining up outside.
We went before lunch because we were passing by and there was a long line. We decided to take a peek and leave it for a future visit to Porto. If you don’t want to miss it on your trip to Porto, I recommend going a few minutes before they open, so that there are fewer people queuing.
– Address: Rua das Carmelitas, 144.
– Hours of operation: Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; weekends from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
– Price: €5. If you buy a book, these the entrance fee is discounted from the price.
11. Carmo Church, one of the most beautiful facades in Porto
Iglesia do Carmo has a beautiful facade full of tiles. It is located near Lello e Iramo bookstore therefore, don’t hesitate to include this church in your itinerary when you’re visiting Porto in 2 days. The Carmo Church is located in Gomes Teixeira Square. This square tis one of the most beautiful squares in Porto and definitely worth visiting. It is peaceful and has a fountain right in the center where you can sit and relax.
– Address: Praça de Gomes Teixeira 10, 4050-011 Porto.
12. Discover this beautiful square
During my visit in Porto in 2 days, I visited this beautiful square located very close to the Porto Cathedral. Although it is not a well-known spot, it is worth visiting this place on your trip to Porto. It has a special charm thanks to its silence, colorful houses and local atmosphere. There is one cute cafeteria with a very small terrace, a perfect place to rest and enjoy the silence.
You can find this square by going down Rua de Pena Ventosa street, a small and
Podréis encontrar esta plaza bajando por la calle Rua de Pena Ventosa, a small and charming pedestrian street in Porto.
13. Crystal Palace Gardens
I recommend visiting this park as it has different and very beautiful views. You can breathe a breath of fresh air while you relax. It is ideal for a walk through its many gardens. It is a beautiful place worth including in your visit to Porto in 2 days.
– Address: R. de Entre-Quintas 20, 4050-240 Porto.
– Hours of Operation: every day from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
14. Avenida dos Aliados
Avenida dos Aliados is a must-visit place on your next trip to Porto. It is considered the center of the city. It is located next to Praça da Liberdade. The Porto City Hall is located at the end of that street. The building was completed in 1955. Thanks to its good location, it is one of the best places to stay in Porto. You can find many hotels and restaurants in the area.
15. Café Majestic, the most famous coffee shop in the city
Rua Santa Catarina is the most popular shopping street in Porto. Among its shops, restaurants and cafes, the famous Majestic Café is the star attraction. It opened its doors on December 17th, 1921 under the name Elite. At that time, it was visited by many famous people. The name was later changed to Majestic.
In the 1960s there was a recession that affected many businesses in the city. Café Majestic also did not make it through the recession and was abandoned for a total of 15 years. In 1983 it was named a cultural heritage. As a result, a renovation process began until it finally reopened in 1994.
Both the architecture and the interior design make you travel back in time. You can see the menu of Café Majestic by clicking on this link.
– Address: Rua Santa Catarina, 112.
– Opening hours: from Monday to Saturday (9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.).
16. Boat ride on the Duero River
One of the most popular activities in Porto is a boat trip on the Duero River. A favorite amongst tourists is the one that takes you over the 6 bridges of Porto. You will pass through the Arrábida, Don Luis I bridge, the Infante don Enrique bridge, the María Pía bridge, the Sao Joao bridge and the Freixo bridge.
It is a different and very beautiful way to enjoy the city. This tour usually takes about 1 hour on a rabelo which is a traditional boat. You can book it in advance here.
17. Best Viewpoints in Porto
What I like most about Porto are the amount of viewpoints you’ll find simply by strolling through the city. I’ve already shown some of the most beautiful viewpoints in Porto, such as the one located next to the Cathedral or the one in the Crystal Palace Gardens. But there are many more!
I recommend visiting this viewpoint located in Fontainhas (Porto). You’ll see the little rooftops in the neighborhood, the Luis I bridge over the Duero and Vila Nova de Gaia in the background. On the map below, you can see the exact location:
Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar is also a place worth visiting on your 2 day trip to Porto if you want to enjoy a nice view. Cross the top part of the bridge and then turn left to a fairly steep street. I recommend visiting this place at sunset.
Other viewpoints that you can visit are Mirador da Vitória, the terrace at Dom Henrique Hotel and the viewpoint next to Igreja dos Grilos, a little below the Cathedral of Porto:
If you’re interested in knowing more about the history of Porto I recommend taking a guided tour in Porto. This city tour lasts 8 hours and includes hotel pickup and drop-off, transportation, guide in English, visit to a winery, boat trip, lunch at a restaurant and entrance to the cathedral. If you prefer, you can take a 2.5-hour free tour.
If you are going to be in Porto for more than 2 days or you think you have time to see more sites, here are other places to see in Porto: San Francisco Church, Stock Exchange Palace, Serralves Foundation and the Soares dos Reis National Museum.
You’ll find the best places to see in Porto in 2 days marked on the map below. I hope it is useful for you to organize your trip to Porto.
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How to get to Porto from the airport
Porto’s airport is called Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport. The easiest way to get to the city center from the airport is by metro. It is connected directly by the E-line (purple). There are trains every 20-30 minutes.
The ticket costs €2, but you will have to pay an extra 60 cents for the rechargeable card. If you want to go to the airport from the city by metro, I recommend going with plenty of time to spare as the trains leave every 20-30 minutes. You can also take a shuttle bus, taxi or Uber.
Where to eat in Porto
If you are in Porto, there are two things you must try: the francesinha and the pastéis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts). You will find the best Porto cream cakes at Fábrica da Nata and Manteigaria. As for the francesinha, I recommend Café Santiago or Lado B.
In Vila Nova de Gaia I recommend eating at Taberninha do Manel. The food is great but the best thing is the cozy and rustic atmosphere of the restaurant. When I was there, there was a very funny waitress who kept blowing kisses and giving us wine. It was very funny!
If you are looking for affordable places to eat in Porto, I recommend Capela 51 and Duas de Letra. Duas de Letra has vegetarian options. They offer vegetarian francesinha on Thursdays.
Where to stay in Porto
Ribeira, Baixa, Vila Nova de Gaia and Cedofeita are the best areas to stay in Porto. Below you can find some of the hotels in Porto that I recommend.
If you are looking for a hostel, I recommend The Passenger Hostel. If you’re traveling on a budget but you want a private room, I recommend Seculo Hotel. If your budget is high, I recommend the Cocorico Luxury GuestHouse.
On my second visit to Porto, I was lucky enough to stay at Cocorico Luxury GuestHouse and I loved it. Good location, beautiful rooms and very friendly staff. I highly recommend it.
These are the best places to see in Porto in 2 days. If you think I should add more places to this list or you want to ask me any questions, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. Till next time, travelers!