Porto City Guide | The Perfect 2 Days Itinerary

Last Updated on 05/10/2022 by secretmoona

City Guide:
Best of Two Days in Porto

Captivated by houses with orange rooftops, I dreamt of visiting Porto for a long time. So, when I took my parents to Lisbon last summer, I knew I had to include Porto in my weekend trip to Madrid. Here I am, a few months later, spending two days in Porto without any real plan but determined to explore the city as much as possible.

Actually, I only finalised the itinerary for my trip to Porto after chatting with my Uber driver on the way to my hotel. When I told Antonio (the driver) that I was in town for just two days, he gave me his top recommendations.
Here’s my itinerary for two days in Porto, wandering through the narrow streets, breathing in the fresh air and loving it.

Things to do in Porto in two days

Explore the city centre

Start your discovery of Porto with a walk. There’s a good chance that your promenade will take you to Rua Santa Catarina, the main street of Porto. This pedestrian street is where you will find high street brands, independent local shops, craft stalls and restaurants like the iconic Café Majestic. This beautiful cafe decorated in the Art Nouveau style is filled with tourists. After all, it has been voted as one of the top 10 most beautiful cafes in the world. Do not hesitate to stop by to admire its beauty and take a coffee break (if you don’t mind the queue).

Port wine shop - 2 days in Porto, Portugal

Have coffee with the locals

Porto is a bit like France in that they like their pastries. It’s easy finding a place with good pastry. To find the perfect tasty treat, either walk inside a bakery shop or look at the counter in a cafe to see the extent of sweets and savoury pastries on offer. If you are in accommodation that doesn’t include breakfast, I suggest you venture to a local cafe and order a coffee with a tart. It’s delicious, cheap and the perfect way to interact with the locals.

Taste the Francesinha, the speciality of Porto

Portugal’s cuisine is as rich and varied as its landscape. Fish, seafood, wine, and delicious pastries; are all parts of Portuguese gastronomy. Bacalhau (cod in English) is so important in Portuguese dishes that it’s nearly on every restaurant’s menu. In addition to cod that you can find anywhere, each region has its speciality. The Porto region produces quality wines like Port wine and the Douro. However, what’s appreciated by the locals is the francesinha.

Francesinha, which means “little Frenchie”, is Porto’s take on the French “croque madame”! The sandwich is layered with pork, smoked sausage, and bacon, topped with beefsteak, a fried egg and covered in a cheesy sauce. If you are vegetarian or cannot eat pork for religious reasons, you can still taste this dish as a vegetarian option.

If you like walking tours and love food, then why not join a Discover the art of azujelos

A sight that you will see everywhere in Portugal is azujelos. This ceramic tilework decorates the interior and exterior of most places like palaces, churches, monasteries, houses, schools, restaurants, shops, and train stations. Azulejos are one of the most prominent features in Portuguese architecture. The tiles applied to walls, ceilings and floors depict scenes from Portuguese history. São Bento and Capela das Almas (on Rua Santa Catarina) are my two recommendations for the beautiful azulejos. While you are in Porto, one cool activity is participating in a tile painting workshop. It is the best way to learn about azulejo and a great activity to do with your significant other or your kids. Alba and Marisa from  Azulejos offer a 2 hours workshop for €25 (to book click here)

Take a walk in the gardens of Palacio de Cristal

Jardins do Palácio de Cristal - 2 days in Porto, Portugal
Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
Porto's Crystal Palace garden - 2 days in Porto, Portugal

The gardens of the Crystal Palace (Jardim do Palácio de Cristal) offer a great view of the Douro River, Porto and Gaia. I dropped by on my way to my hotel but hoped I had spent more time there because the garden is charming and well maintained. My visit coincided with a book fair, so I strolled and checked the different stands. If you have the opportunity to stop by, make sure to visit the rose garden and watch the peacocks.

Take a stroll around the Ribeira neighbourhood

Ribeira orange rooftop houses - 2 days in Porto, Portugal

Ribeira (UNESCO World Heritage Site) is Porto’s most historic and colourful area, and a visit there is a must. Antonio told me that if I had to do one thing in Porto, it was that! What can you do around Ribeira, you may ask? You can stroll around the banks, look at the artisan shops, drink at one of the many restaurants’ terraces or sit on the edge of the river banks and admire the Douro River and beautifully coloured buildings. It is the perfect spot to see the beauty of the town. You can also cross the Luis I bridge to Vila Nova de Gaia (the other side of the river). The area also has several bars and restaurants with a beautiful panoramic view of Porto.

Take a boat trip along the Douro

River cruise boat - 2 days in Porto, Portugal

Porto is famous not only for its rich culture but also for its bridges. After all, the city is known as “the City of bridges”. So, the best way to see and admire the six bridges is by taking a boat cruise along the Douro River. The cruise is done in a typical old boat. Initially used to transport port wines, the boats nowadays are tourist attractions. You can climb on board them on the banks of Ribeira or Gaia. Prices range from €15 to €80 depending on the tour and activities. Once on board, sit back, relax, enjoy the scenery along the estuary, and admire the bridges’ architecture and other landmarks like the Crystal Palace. Consider taking either the Six Bridges cruise or a day trip to the Douro Valley.

Walk the Dom Luis Bridge

Porto port - 2 days in Porto, Portugal

To enjoy the most picturesque views of Porto’s colourful houses and orange rooftops, walk on the Dom Luis Bridge. The bridge connects Ribeiro to Vila Nova de Gaia. It has two levels, and the top level is used by pedestrians and for the metro lines (so be careful and watch out for them). It’s the perfect place to watch Porto from above.

Visit the Bolhão market.

I love going to markets. Perhaps I grew up in France, where markets have a significant role in people’s daily life, but I enjoy walking around in them. People go to Bolhão market to get high-quality fish, fruit, vegetables, or anything they like. You can grab ingredients for an improvised picnic and eat by the river banks.

Take a day trip from Porto.

Have you seen all the things you wanted to see and still have some time for more discoveries? Why not consider a day or two trips from Porto? Porto is the perfect location for exploring the northern part of the country and Spain.

Portugal and neighbouring Spain are both incredible. Getting from one country to another is easy, especially from Porto. You can just jump on a bus or train. If you are wondering which country – Spain vs Portugal – is to your liking, why not visit Galicia?

Colourful fishermen houses in Costa Nova - 2 days in Porto, Portugal
Costa Nova Beach, Aveiro
  • Coimbra – Visit one of the oldest universities in Europe and most fascinating towns in Portugal.
  • Aveiro – Check out the Venice of Portugal and colourful houses.
  • Vigo – Cross the border to Galicia. Vigo is a historic town as well as an important fishing port so finding delicious fresh seafood will not be a problem.

More than 2 days in Porto?

Two days in Porto is a short time to see most attractions. I wish I had more time to do some of the interests below:

Visit the cellars and enjoy a good port – Some would say that it’s unthinkable to leave Porto without tasting the sweet wine it is named after. You can arrange a wine tasting session in one of the Vila Nova de Gaia cellars.

Livraria Lello – This beautiful bookstore inspired J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter, so the bookstore is packed with fans. Expect a long queue.

Climb the 240 steps of the Torre dos Clérigos for a rewarding panoramic view over the historic centre. Get your ticket here.

Visit the free exhibitions of the Center Português de Fotografia.

Preparing your trip

Getting to Porto

By air: Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport is about 20 km from the city centre. It is well connected to the city centre of Porto and Gaia with the Metro line E. You can reach the city centre for about 20 to 25 € by taxi ride or cheaper with an Uber.  Checkout Skyscanner for the best deals!

Commuter train - 2 days in Porto, Portugal

By train: If you are travelling by train, two options are available: Campanhã station: Porto’s central station connects to Lisbon and Madrid (or Spain in general). You can reach the station with metro lines A, B, C, E and F. The other station, Sao Bento station, connects to the north of Portugal. It has beautiful architecture and is a great place to see azulejos. For more details, please check here.

When to visit Porto

People in Porto are lucky because the city has nice weather (warm summers and mild winters) and enjoys warm, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The air is pure with the ocean and river at the city’s doorstep. For that reason, the best time to visit Porto is between spring and Autumn (March to October)

Getting around

The best way to get around Porto if you only have two days in the city is on foot. If you want to take public transport, note that they are only a few metro stations in the city centre.

Where to stay for 2 days in Porto

Plan your stay in Porto


For my stay in Porto, I booked Crowne Plaza Porto, an upscale hotel in the Boavista area, about a 15-minute taxi ride from Porto’s historic centre. Although it was a little far from Ribeira, it was easily accessible by metro or bus.

Standard bed in Crowne Plaza Porto - 2 days in Porto, Portugal

The hotel has an excellent restaurant with an impressive breakfast buffet and a bar with an outdoor patio. The spacious rooms with aromatherapy sleep sprays make your night even more enjoyable. The staff were professional, warm and accommodating. They even made my restaurant reservation at the famous Bacalhau. Although Crowne Plaza is considered a business hotel, it caters to all needs, whether you are a business traveller or a city-breaks fan.
If you prefer to stay in central, there are plenty of accommodation options in Porto to choose from

How would you spend 2 days in Porto?


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Hi there! I'm Mayi. Welcome to my blog SecretMoona! I hope to share with you the hidden secret of places I visit.

18 thoughts on “Porto City Guide | The Perfect 2 Days Itinerary

    1. Thanks Marissa! I understand, francesinha is not to everyone’s taste.
      I would love to take a longer trip along the Douro too some day.

  1. Hi Mayi! I absolutely LOVED reading and following you on your two-day journey throughout Porto as this beautiful city as well as Lisbon is on my list to visit! Jardins do Palácio de Cristal offers great landscape scenery and I wouldn’t mind taking a boat ride on along The Douro. The orange-covered rooftops are so appealing and adds the just amount of colonial landscape to Porto. Thanks for sharing!


  2. I love that you asked your Uber driver. I got recommendations from our server, and I loved the insider perspective. I don’t know how you could only spend 2 days here. It looks stunning!

  3. Ribeira sounds like the kind of area I would want to spend most of the day in. Hadn’t heard a lot about Porto so this post was very informative and interesting. Looks definitely worth a few days!

  4. We loved our stay in Porto. How great that your Uber driver gave you some local tips on places not to miss. We certainly ask the locals for great coffee and tart shops. I am sorry we missed the Palacio de Cristal. A good one for a return visit. And who can ever get enough of the beautiful tile work in Porto! A good reminder about day trips to Aveiro and Vigo which we missed last time.

    1. Thanks Linda. I love chatting to cab drivers and on this occasion, he turned to be very enthusiastic about his city. If not for him, I wouldn’t have gone to neither Coimbra nor Aveiro. Vigo is next on my list!

  5. Porto is such a great city. I loved it there. I wish I would have tried the Francesinha when I was there. It sounds delicious! The azujelos tiles are gorgeous. I loved seeing them on the outside of building and in the train station.

  6. Porto is one of my favorite cities in Portugal and you covered it so well, great guide with all the necessary information. Makes me want to go back!!

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