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Taking a day trip to Porto from Lisbon is a fantastic way to experience the rich history and vibrant culture of Portugal. Porto, the country’s second-largest city, is renowned for its impressive bridges, colorful architecture, and world-famous Port wine.
I’ve had the privilege of spending a whole month in Porto, so I know all about the best things to do in this beautiful city and I did a lot of research into day trips from Lisbon and Porto, so I could create this thorough post to help you decide if a day trip to Porto is right for you.
Distance from Porto to Lisbon
The distance from Lisbon to Porto is around 314 kilometers (approximately 195 miles). It takes a little bit over 3 hours both by car and by train to get from Lisbon to Porto.
This means a bit more than 6 hours of total travel time for the return journey! That’s a LOT.
So, if possible I recommend spending at least one night in Porto. That way you can break up the travel time a bit and you have one full day to explore Porto, which makes for a more relaxed trip.
How to get to Porto from Lisbon
Tours from Lisbon to Porto
A guided day tour to Porto from Lisbon is a great choice for those who want to explore Porto without the hassle of arranging transportation and creating an itinerary yourself.
These tours offer the convenience of pick-up and drop-off at centrally located points in Lisbon, and you travel in comfort with a knowledgeable guide on board.
The advantage of a tour, besides the hassle-free transportation, is that there’s usually a guided tour through Porto included. You’ll visit the best sights with a guide and don’t have to worry about anything.
Train to Porto from Lisbon
Taking the fast train to Porto from Lisbon is a very convenient way of traveling. The fastest train is the Alfa Pendular train, the train journey takes 3 hours one way.
Trains depart from Lisbon’s Santa Apolonia station or Oriente station multiple times a day, providing flexibility for your travel plans.
I recommend booking your train tickets on the official Portuguese railway website in advance, especially during peak tourist season, to secure your preferred travel time.
In Porto, trains arrive at the Campanha station, from there you can take a bus or metro to get to the city center of Porto.
Bus to Porto from Lisbon
Taking the bus to Porto from Lisbon is the most budget-friendly option. Buses set off from Lisbon’s Sete Rios or Oriente bus station and take between 3 hours 15 minutes and 4 hours one way.
In Porto, most buses arrive at Campanha station, the same as the trains. From there, you can get a bus or metro to the city center of Porto.
I recommend booking the bus tickets in advance so you can get the cheapest price and you can get your preferred time.
Driving from Lisbon to Porto
Renting a car and driving from Lisbon to Porto can be a captivating journey for those with a little extra time on their hands.
The route is full of fascinating stopover points, picturesque towns, and panoramic landscapes that make for an unforgettable road trip. It offers you the freedom to explore at your own pace, take spontaneous detours, and soak in the scenic beauty of Portugal’s countryside.
However, I think driving is not the best choice for a day trip. On a one-day trip to Porto from Lisbon you don’t have time for any stops on the way and the drive is very exhausting.
I simply can’t imagine driving for 3 hours, spending a whole day exploring a new city, and then driving 3 hours back.
That’s why I’d recommend opting for more convenient travel options such as train, bus or a guided tour. This way, you can relax, conserve your energy, and arrive in Porto ready to dive into your adventure.
Best things to do on a day trip to Porto from Lisbon
Porto is known for its UNESCO World Heritage Site historic center, charming cobbled streets, historic architecture, and vibrant gastronomy.
Now let’s talk about the main attractions you can visit in 1 day in Porto.
Livraria Lello is known as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Its grand staircase and ornate woodwork make it a must-visit in Porto.
It was even rumored that Livraria Lello bookshop inspired J. K. Rowling to write the Harry Potter books. This turns out to be wrong, but the bookshop is magical nonetheless.
Livraria Lello is also a great place to get a souvenir from Portugal. The entrance fee is redeemable as against a book purchase and they sell very cool unique editions of classic novels.
For the best views of the city, make sure to climb the 225 steps of the Clérigos Tower. It’s a bit of a workout, but the panoramic views at the top are more than worth it.
Even just wandering around the area of the tower is worth it. The tower is one of the landmarks in Porto and it’s surrounded by colorful buildings.
We had to queue up for quite a bit before we could go to the top of the tower. So I recommend booking the tickets beforehand online, if you want to go to the viewing platform, especially if you visit during the busy summer months.
São Bento Train Station
São Bento station isn’t just any ordinary station, but a stunning work of art that truly embodies the city’s rich history and culture.
As soon as you step inside, you’re greeted by a breathtaking display of approximately 20,000 tradition Portuguese azulejo tiles, depicting scenes from Portugal’s history.
The intricate details on the beautiful tiles truly make the station a living museum. So, take a few minutes to have a look inside the train station since you can’t see any of it from the outside.
São Bento is still a working train station, but only for regional trains. Since I spent a whole month in Porto, I was able to do a few day trips from Porto’s São Bento Station to the surrounding area.
The Ribeira district, also known as Porto’s old town, is one of the most beautiful places in the city and it shouldn’t be missing from any Porto itinerary.
Stroll through the narrow, cobbled streets of Porto’s oldest district. It’s packed with colorful houses, small cafés, and stunning views of the Douro River.
Right next to the Ribeira neighborhood, you can find another one of the iconic landmarks of Porto, the Dom Luís I Bridge.
This double-decker iron bridge is a stunning example of 19th-century engineering. You can cross it on foot on both decks. The advantage of crossing at the upper deck is the panoramic view of the city from the bridge.
On the other side of the bridge is Vila Nova de Gaia, the hub of Porto’s famous Port wine cellars.
Port Wine Tasting
No trip to Porto would be complete without tasting its famous port wine, which is named after the city.
This sweet, fortified wine is a regional product, originating from the picturesque Douro Valley, the oldest wine region in the world. The valley is one of the best day trips from Porto. It’s not only home to spectacular landscapes but also the birthplace of this flavorful and robust wine.
In Porto, you can visit one of the many Port wine cellars. There you can learn about the production of the wine and there’s also a port wine tasting included.
You can even combine a port wine tasting with a boat tour on the River Douro. From the boat tour, you have a beautiful view of Porto and its famous bridges. The best way to spend the late afternoon in Porto before heading back to Lisbon.
When in Porto, you should also try the traditional Portuguese cuisine of this region.
The most unique dish from Porto is Francesinha, a sandwich covered in melted cheese and soaked in a rich tomato and beer sauce. While this treat is typically not vegan-friendly, don’t worry, there are plenty of restaurants serving a vegan version.
I had a delicious vegan Francesinha at Kind Kitchen, my favorite vegan restaurant in Porto. By the way, they also have amazing desserts. But unfortunately, they don’t serve Pastel de Nata.
However, you can get the best vegan Pastel de Nata in a vegan bakery in Lisbon anyway, so you don’t need to find it in Porto.
Is Porto worth a day trip from Lisbon?
While it’s definitely possible to do a day trip from Lisbon to Porto using public transport or organized tours, the reality is that a significant portion of your day will be spent on the journey itself.
I highly recommend spending at least one night in Porto. To truly explore the richness of Porto and its surrounding area, I would even say three days in Porto would be best.
However, if a day trip is all your schedule permits, it’s still a great opportunity to experience a change of scenery and experience a different city after you’ve explored Lisbon for a day.
For those seeking an even more drastic change of scenery, a day trip to the Algarve from Lisbon might be an even better option.
Final thoughts: Lisbon to Porto day trip
From its historic neighborhoods and breathtaking views to its culinary delights and world-renowned Port wine, Porto offers a unique mix of experiences that’ll leave you yearning for more.
In a single day it might not be possible to truly explore Portugal’s second-largest city, but you can get a great taste of what this delightful city has to offer.
Here’s hoping that your day trip to Porto not only quenches your desire to explore Portugal further but also sparks a desire to return and explore more of this captivating city.
Read more on what to do in the North of Portugal:
- Ultimate 3 Day Porto Itinerary
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- The 5 Best Douro Valley Wine Tours
- One Day In Porto Portugal: Ultimate Itinerary
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