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Ultimate 3 Day Porto Itinerary

Porto makes for a perfect long weekend getaway or a stop on your Portugal trip. It has a pretty Portuguese city and it’s close to the beach. With this 3 day Porto itinerary, you’ll be able to experience the best Porto and its surroundings have to offer. 

I spent one whole month in this beautiful city and I put the best things of my time there in this ultimate 3 day Porto itinerary. So you can see the best from Porto in 3 days.

General Information about Porto

Porto is the second largest city in Portugal, it’s located on the Douro River and it’s one of the best places to visit in Northern Portugal. The city center of Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since it’s one of the oldest in Europe. 

3 day Porto itinerary
View of Ribeira and the bridge

Origin of the Name

In Portuguese the city is actually called o Porto and not just Porto, that’s why sometimes you can find the name Oporto in English as well. It literally just means port or harbour. 

You notice the importance of Porto’s role in founding the country in the country’s name. Portugal is derived from Porto. Porto also gave its name to the famous port wine. Visiting a port cellar is on the to-do list of many tourists who come to Porto.

Getting There and Getting Around

If you arrive from outside Porto, you’ll probably arrive at the Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport just outside Porto. This international airport is connected to the city center by underground.

If you’re traveling to Porto from a different Portuguese city, I would recommend the high-speed train. The big train station Campanha is also connected to the city center by underground and bus. For example, the train from Lisbon to Porto arrives at this bus station.

Once you’re in the city centre of Porto, everything is easily accessible on foot. So I personally don’t think it’s worth getting a 24-hour public transport ticket. I just love walking around in a new city, that way you get to see more of the atmosphere of it.

Now let’s get started with this ultimate 3 day Porto itinerary.

Day 1: Explore Porto

The first day of this 3 day Porto itinerary is gonna be very action-packed. We’re gonna pack all the best things to do in Porto into that first day, so we can relax at the beach the next day.

But seeing all the main attractions in one full day isn’t as difficult as it sounds, because everything in Porto is within a short walk from each other.

Visit the Magical Bookshop Livraria Lello

inside the bookshop Livraria Lello
It can get very crowded in the bookshop

There was a rumour that J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, was inspired by the most magical bookshop Porto has to offer, Livraria Lello. This turns out to be wrong, but it’s still a magical place and one of the most beautiful bookstores I’ve ever been to.

It is on the Lonely Planet’s “The world’s greatest bookshops” list and described as “one of the world’s most stunning shops – perhaps of any kind”. So it’s a must for any 3 day Porto itinerary.

inside the bookshop Livraria Lello
Does that not look like out of a Harry Potter movie?

You have to pay to get into it, but your entrance fee is transferred to a voucher for the shop. I recommend buying the ticket online at the official Livraria Lello webpage before going, so you don’t have to queue up that long.

You can get a special edition of a classic novel as a souvenir, they have them in a few different languages.

🤩 Take a walking tour through Porto to see the top highlights and get information about them from your guide.

Go on Top of Clérigos Tower

Clerigos Tower next to some colourful houses

Very close to the Livraria Lello, you can find the Clérigos Church and Clérigos Tower. The tower is one of the most recognisable symbols of Porto and can be seen from many locations in the city. You can even climb the 75-metre-high bell tower to get a great view of the city.

Bronze plaque with city in the background

I really enjoyed the spectacular views from the top and I liked the informational plaques they have. There are some plaques that compare the Clerigos Tower to other towers around the world. And others point to and name the main sights in Porto.

🤩 Don’t fancy walking to the main attractions in Porto? Take this electric bike tour!

Take a Picture with the PORTO Sign

Porto sign in front of city hall
Porto sign in front of city hall

I love a good sign of a city’s name. The Porto sign is located just outside the city hall. You might need to queue up a bit until it is your turn to take a picture but I’m sure you’ll be able to find time for it during this Porto 3 days itinerary.

The good thing about it being a popular photo spot is that there will be other people there who can take a picture of you.

Admire Some Azulejo Tiles

Church in Porto
Chapel of Souls in the middle of the main shopping street in Porto

Azulejos are the traditional Portuguese and Spanish tin-glazed ceramic tiles. You can find them in many different places, most noticeable on the facade of ordinary houses or churches.

The most noticeable churches with Azulejos are the Chapel of Souls in the famous shopping street Rua Santa Catarina, or the Igreja do Carmo. Both those churches are decorated with traditional blue tiles.

Igreja do Carmo generally refers to two churches, the Carmo and Carmelitas churches, which are separated by Porto’s smallest house. This hidden house is only 1.5 meters wide.

Church in Porto
Igreja do Carmo

In the Ribeira district among other places, you can find them in all kinds of colours. Just stroll through the narrow streets and keep your eyes open.

Stroll Around the Ribeira Neighbourhood

colourful houses with some chairs and tables in front
Walking down the Ribeira can’t be missing from your 3 days in Porto itinerary

The Ribeira neighborhood is right next to the Douro River and the iconic Ponte Luis I bridge. You can stroll next to the Douro River on the Ribeira promenade, also known as Cais da Ribeira, and admire the colourful houses and small alleys.

This vibrant neighborhood is so iconic for Porto that even if you only spend a day in Porto, you can’t skip it.

The ideal spot to get a perfect photo of Porto with the colourful houses on the waterfront and the bridge is from the other side of the river or from a boat on the Douro River.

The double-decker bridge Ponte Luis I is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Portuguese National Monument. At its construction in 1886, it was the longest bridge of its kind.

Now the metro crosses the bridge at the top level and cars at the bottom level, you can excess both levels on foot.

🤩 Take a walking tour through Porto to see the top highlights and get information about them from your guide.

Porto Cathedral

The cathedral in Porto is one of the most important Romanesque monuments in the city. It’s located right next to the top level of Ponte Luis I.

I personally didn’t go into the cathedral but it’s supposed to be nice inside. But even just walking up to the cathedral is very nice and it’s close to the city centre anyway. From there you can cross the bridge and wait for sunset.

🤩 Don’t fancy walking to the main attractions in Porto? Take this electric bike tour!

Enjoy the Sunset from Gaia

sunset over a river and a city
Enjoy the sunset

Cross the famous bridge Ponte Luis 1 and you’ll be in the city of Vila Nova de Gaia. The city is known for its many port wine cellars. So if you want to take a port wine tour with port tasting you can choose from many different wine companies.

A lot of people sitting in a park
It can get very crowded for sunset

From Vila Nova de Gaia, or just Gaia, you can also watch a beautiful sunset. The park Jardim do Morro is a great place for it. It can get very crowded for sunset, so arrive early enough if you want a good seat. There are even pop-up stalls next to the park that sell drinks and popcorn for sunset watchers.

Right next to the park is the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar from there you also have amazing panoramic views. I prefer those viewpoints to the famous Miradouro da Vitória.

Go for Some Delicious Vegan Food

If you’re vegan Porto is a great place to be! There are so many delicious vegan restaurants in the city, from traditional Portuguese to international cuisine there’s so much tasty vegan food Porto has to offer.

Porto is absolutely amazing for vegan food, check out all the best vegan restaurants Porto has to offer. In this article, you can also find out my favourite vegan restaurant in Porto.

If you want to try a traditional Portuguese dish, which originated in Porto, try francesinha. It’s a sandwich with cheese on top and then some kind of hot tomato sauce gets poured over it. Most vegan restaurants in Porto offer francesinha, and even some non-vegan restaurants have a vegan version on the menu.

The second very Portuguese dish is the pastry, Pastel de Nata. You can find this custard-filled pastry everywhere, just check if they have vegan versions. I found the cheapest vegan Pastel de Nata Porto has to offer at Pastelaria Tupi. This bakery has a clearly labelled vegan section with different kinds of pastries.

Day 2: Relax at the Beach

On the second day of our 3 day Porto itinerary we’ll go to the beach. There are quite a few beautiful beaches near Porto. If you’re only in Porto for 3 days, I would recommend a beach in Foz.

Foz is the name of the area where the River Douro enters the Atlantic Ocean. It’s the shortest distance to a beach from Porto and the way you can get there is a sight on its own.

Take the Historic Tram to the Beach

Inside the historic tram
Inside the historic tram

A ride in the heritage tram in Porto is on many to-do lists, but instead of aimlessly riding the tram just for the sake of it, why not take it to get to the beach? The tram sets off at Infante, close to palácio da bolsa.

You need to buy a special ticket for the historic tram in the tram itself, the general public transport ticket for Porto is not valid. I recommend getting a one-way ticket, so you are more flexible with getting back by bus or underground. Ride the tram until the final stop and enjoy the view on the way.

Find Your Favourite Beach

Once you get out of the historic tram, keep walking straight until you reach the ocean. You can check out the lighthouse at the end of the pier or find your favourite spot to lie down right away. There’s one beach after another if you walk north, just find the one you like best.

In the course of the day, I would recommend making your way all the way to Matosinhos. You’ll walk past the picturesque Pérgola da Foz and the Fort of Leça da Palmeira. There you can enjoy a lovely sunset and go for some vegan food in Matosinhos afterwards.

Day 3: Go for a Day Trip

On the third day of our 3 day Porto itinerary take a day trip. Porto has the perfect location for many day trips. You can just choose the one which fits best for you. Most day trips can be reached by the very cheap, urban train.

Set Off at the Beautiful São Bento Train Station

inside a train station in Porto
São Bento train station

For most day trips from Porto, you can catch the urban train from São Bento station. This train station is on almost every what-to-see in Porto list because of the beautiful Azulejo tiles inside.

When I entered the São Bento railway station for the first time, I immediately thought how cool would it be to actually catch a train from there. And then I did catch a train from there, it was very cool 😉

Pick the Best Day Trip for You

There are numerous day trip opportunities from Porto to pick from. I did different day trips so you can just pick the one that seems most suited to your interests for your last day of the Porto 3 day itinerary.

Wine Tour at Douro Valley

Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage listed region outside of Porto. It’s the perfect place for a port tasting since that’s the region where the famous port wine is being produced.

The best way to discover the beautiful Douro Valley is with a guided tour that way you can see all the best places in one full day. And it would be very difficult to see this stunning countryside with public transportation.

Top Pick
Boats with barrels on them on river Douro in Porto


Authentic Douro Wine Tour Including Lunch and River Cruise

✅ River cruise included

✅ Visit 2 wineries

✅ Knowledgable guide

✅ Lunch included

✅ Experience Award winner

Portugal’s Birthplace: Guimarães

Castle of Guimaraes behind some bushes
The first king of Portugal was born in Guimaraes

Guimarães is considered to be the birthplace of Portugal since Portugal’s first king was born there. You can visit the historic castle and palace. Or stroll through the city centre, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Find out more about my day trip to Guimarães.

🤩 See Guimarães and Braga on one day trip from Porto! I like this tour because the admission tickets are included.

Portugal’s Venice: Aveiro

Two boats on a canal next to a palm tree in Aveiro Portugal
Aveiro is Portugal’s Venice

Did you know that Portugal has its own version of Venice? I didn’t know that before I visited. In Aveiro, you can find multiple canals and you can take a boat ride on a gondola-looking boat. If that sounds like your kind of thing, Aveiro is worth a day trip.

After you stroll through the city, you can marvel at the colourful striped houses in Costa Nova and relax at the beach.

In my opinion, there are not that many must-see sights in Aveiro but the town is very picturesque and it’s nice to just stroll through the town and enjoy the atmosphere.

🤩 Check prices and availability of a tour from Porto to Aveiro!

One of the Oldest University towns: Coimbra

View of Coimbra from a bridge
Coimbra is home to one of the oldest universities in the world

One of the oldest universities in the world is located in Coimbra, it’s a UNESCO world heritage site. You can visit one of the most beautiful libraries, I’ve ever seen, there. The first king of Portugal is buried in Coimbra and you can see his tomb.

The only downside is, that it’s the longest train journey and you cannot set off at São Bento station. Read my full description of my day trip to Coimbra.

🤩 Combine a visit to Coimbra and Aveiro on this epic day tour!

The pilgrimage site: Braga

stairs leading up to a church
Bom Jesus de Monte in Braga

The main sight in Braga is the pilgrimage site Bom Jesus do Monte. This sanctuary is a UNESCO world heritage site. And the stairs leading up to this church make for a spectacular view. Find out what else you can see and do in Braga.

🤩 This day tour to Guimarães and Braga is great because you get exclusive access to some parts of Braga Cathedral!

Where to Stay in Porto?

There are multiple great accommodation options in the old town of Porto which is the best area to stay at.

I prefer to stay in apartments rather than hotels that way I have more space and I can make myself some snacks if I’m not in the mood for going out for food. One of the highest-rated apartments in Porto with an amazing central location is Mouzinho da Silveira Unique Apartments.

If you prefer Hotels, the Porto Suites do Marquês is an excellent option. Some of the rooms even come with their own balcony.

Best time to visit Porto

The best time to visit Porto is definitely in the summer months that way you can take advantage of the close-by ocean.

If you don’t want to swim in the ocean spring or autumn might be a better time to visit Porto since it can get very hot in summer.

Other things to do in Portugal

If you have more time to explore Portugal, you can visit Portugal’s capital Lisbon. You can explore Lisbon for 3 days or head even further south and discover the beautiful Algarve region with this comprehensive Algarve itinerary.

Another great way to spend more time near Porto is in a Surf and Yoga retreat. You can learn to surf and do yoga in the same retreat.

FAQ about 3 day itinerary Porto

Is 3 days too long in Porto?

I think 3 days in Porto is the perfect amount of time. You can get everything of interest in Porto and even one day trip into your 3-day Porto itinerary.

How many days is ideal for Porto?

If you want to explore Porto and maybe do one day trip, which is highly recommended, 3 days are ideal. But if you just want to see Porto 2 days will suffice.

Is Porto less touristy than Lisbon?

In general, Porto is considered less touristy than Lisbon, but don’t let that fool you. There are a lot of tourists in Porto and since the old part of Porto is quite compressed, there are a lot of people in the same area.

Is Porto or Lisbon more walkable?

Since Porto is smaller than Lisbon it’s also more walkable. During my visit to Porto, I always walked everywhere, I only took public transport to get to the beach.

Is Porto an expensive city?

I would say Porto is average expensive compared to other European cities. You’ll find many more expensive cities but also many cheaper cities.

How many days in Porto?

I think 3 days in Porto Portugal is the ideal amount of time to explore the city and get a glimpse of its surroundings.

Porto what to do in 3 days?

You can make the perfect Porto three day itinerary by exploring the city on one day, relaxing at the beach on another and doing a day trip on the third day.

How many days to spend in Porto?

You should spend at least 2 days in Porto but it’s best to spend 3 days in Porto.

How many days do you need in Porto?

2 days in Porto is enough time if you only want to see the city if you’re interested in its surroundings as well you should visit for at least 3 days.

How many days in Porto is enough?

Just to see the city of Porto 2 days are enough, but if you stay 3 days you have time to do an amazing day trip as well.

How many nights in Porto?

You should spend at least two nights in Porto.

Final Thoughts: Porto itinerary 3 days

Porto is a charming city in Portugal close to the coast. I really enjoyed my time in the city and with this 3 day itinerary Porto shows itself from its best side.

So, weather you visit Porto on a larger Portugal holiday or you visit the city on a long weekend and make a weekend Porto itinerary out of it, Porto is worth visiting.

🤩 Take a walking tour through Porto to see the top highlights of the city

Read more on what to do in the North of Portugal:

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What to Do in Porto for 3 Days

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