20 Day Trips From Porto

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Porto in Northern Portugal is famous for the drink that takes its name, “port”. As Portugal’s second city, its history is closely associated with the “Age of Discovery”, when Portugal was one of the European countries that sent ships to many corners of the world. The explorers returned with wealth, having colonised territories on other continents. The wealth and established trade routes resulted in national prosperity and impressive architecture in places such as Porto.

Porto sits on the Atlantic Coast of Portugal, where the Douro River meets the sea. Its climate is best described as mild and wet in the winter and warm and dry in the summer. Such a climate is conducive to tourism throughout the year. Winter days are short, yet there is still plenty to enjoy in those months. Porto is busier in the summer when there are plenty of things to do locally and day trips to visit the surrounding region. Here are some ideas for day trips from Porto to see areas not far from the city.

Porto Day Trips

Top 3 Day Tours

  • Douro Valley Wine Cruise – Spend a fabulous day visiting two wine estates, the town of Amarante and cruising the Douro River.
  • Off-road Buggy Adventure – Explore the mountains surrounding Porto on an off-road adventure in a 4WD buggy.
  • Braga and Guimaraes – Enjoy a full day exploring the Minho region and the historic cities of Braga and Guimaraes.

20 Day Trips From Porto

1- Explore The Douro Valley

day trips from porto to douro valley drone aerial view of s shape bend river in Quinta do Tedo at sunset
One of the best day trips from Porto is to explore the Douro wine valley region. Pictured here is Quinta do Tedo.

This beautiful valley is a great place to travel and relax on a short cruise.

It’s also where you will find estates that produce not only port but Portugal’s famous wines.

You will have time to sample and buy after learning about the process of producing port by adding grape spirit to the fermenting wine.

Visit family-owned estates in Sabrosa and in Pinhão, and board a boat to cruise.

There is a choice of estates in the afternoon, one being part of the Croft/Taylor Group, Quinta da Roeda.

This is a great day out and a chance to learn more about both the history of port and wine. Find out more here.

2- Cruise to Regua

douro valley day trips from porto
A cruise ship at Peso da Regua in the Douro Valley, Portugal.

A popular cruise on the Douro takes you to Peso da Regua, but it’s an early start with breakfast on board as you pass the Carrapatelo and Crestuma-Lever Dams.

Lunch follows before you reach Regua, the centre of “Vine and Wine” and its capital.

The town dates back to the Romans at one time, as well as barbarians.

The Douro has been navigable for centuries, hence its importance for trading and port.

There’s enough time to explore Regua independently before your return trip to Porto, arriving in the evening.

3- Walk The Walkways

day trips from porto portuga
Stretching your legs on the walkways of Ribeira de Quelhas in Central Grande is one of the day trips from Porto for active travellers.

The Arouca 516 is the second-longest suspension pedestrian bridge in the world and the Paiva Walkways are among the most beautiful trails you will encounter anywhere.

The trail is seven kilometres (4.35 miles) long.

On this tour, you can enjoy these two attractions, relax in Aveiro, and cruise its canals.

Aveiro’s old sector has some interesting sites, including Art Nouveau buildings and the fish market.

While there, try a city delicacy, soft eggs.

Add the famous haystacks of Costa Nova and see the fishing village with its colourful wooden houses.

4- Explore Geres National Park

day trips from porto to geres national park
Outdoorsy types will love going on a day trip from Porto to Geres National Park in Portugal.

Geres is Portugal’s only national park; its highlight is the famed Tahiti Waterfalls, where you can swim.

From the Pedra Bela viewpoint, you will get some great views of the surrounding region.

With the help of an experienced guide with local knowledge, you will be able to get deep into the park without having to worry about getting lost.

The park does have defined trails as well as camping options. You might have a picnic, or there is a local restaurant.

The itinerary depends upon the weather and the size of the crowds already there.

If you are a small group with common interests, the guide will cater for that.

5- Visit Lovely Villages

day trips from porto to santiago de compostela
Santiago de Compostela cathedral facade detail. Baroque facade detail. Ancient architecture.

The Spanish border is not far from Porto, so there is a chance to cross that border to visit the pilgrim city of Santiago de Compostela.

It is in the province of Galicia on the way back, drop into Valença do Minho on the return trip to Porto.

Santiago has an 11th-century cathedral, while the Caminhos de Santiago (St. James Way) is the route pilgrims take.

The cathedral was originally purely Romanesque in style, but over the centuries, it has been changed by several influences.

The heart of Santiago is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Valencia is right on the border, with its fortress with two towers and a wall as the main landmark.

6- See Braga And More

day trips from porto by car
For a city day trip from Porto to Braga, you’ll enjoy the historic ambience in Braga’s public squares such as Arcada in Plaza de la Republica.

The cities of Braga and Guimarães are both close enough to Porto to combine them in a single-day tour.

Both have a rich history and stunning architecture, and there is time to walk around and enjoy a traditional lunch.

Guimarães comes first and its castle from mediaeval times is a highlight.

The Palace of the Dukes housed royalty over many centuries and your guide will tell you more, covering the national history of the city.

After lunch, you visit the “City of the Archbishops”, Braga, where the cathedral and historic centre are fascinating.

At the top of the mountain is the best sanctuary in Portugal, Bom Jesus do Monte.

7- Take A Pilgrimage to Fatima

best day trips from porto by train
Visiting the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima with Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary catholic church in Fatima can be done as a day trip from Porto.

Religion has always been important in Portugal and the Shrine of Fátima is very important to the Portuguese.

According to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared before three children tending to sheep in 1917.

The Vatican recognised this miracle in 1930, resulting in three popes visiting Fatima.

The stunning Neoclassical Basilica and Sanctuary are very important to Roman Catholics, and it is possible to go to mass in the sanctuary.

One of the oldest European universities is close by in Coimbra.

It was founded in the 13th century on top of a hill from which there are good panoramas over the city.

The centre has a rich history with plenty of landmarks to see as you walk around. Check out this tour.

8- Explore Central Portugal

best day trips from porto
Traditional colourful Moliceiro boats on a canal at the city of Aveiro.

There are several fascinating cities in Portugal, and two can be combined into a day trip from Porto.

Aveiro has a significant amount of Art Décor architecture, an atmospheric old town, and an interesting fish market.

You can walk around and board a colourful moliceiro to enjoy the city by boat.

Coimbra was once the capital of Portugal.

On the way, there are salt ponds, sand dunes and the chance to see nesting storks.

Coimbra has two cathedrals as well as the Royal Palace.

Your guide will tell you about the city’s history as you walk around for a few hours before returning to Porto. Check out this tour.

9- See The Arouca Geopark

day trips from athens porto plati
Serra da Freita Arouca Geopark wind turbines landscape is another day trip from Porto to do.

Arouca Geopark is a little over an hour from Porto but most tours have a full itinerary on a day tour, including crossing Arouca 516, the world’s longest suspension bridge. It crosses the Paiva River at a height of 175 m (576 ft).

You will see old villages where life revolved around agriculture and religion.

The viewpoint of Frecha da Mizarela reveals Portugal’s most impressive waterfall on the Caima River, where the drop is over 60 m (almost 200 feet).

The break for lunch is a great experience, as traditional cuisine is made with fresh, local produce.

10- Head To The Serra da Estrela Region

day trips from porto by train
Exploring the Serra da Estrela region is one of the day trips from Porto to tick off your list.

Another lovely tour involves enjoying the countryside and the traditional skills that villagers have followed over generations.

Serra da Estrela is an impressive mountain with amazing surrounding countryside.

The cheese factory produces creamy cheese that is popular nationwide; yes, you have the chance to taste it.

Another tradition is its bread, Sela, with a local museum explaining how it has been made over the years.

While in the region, you have time to explore and head upwards on the chairlift.

In the winter, this is a place where you can enjoy all the activities relating to snow. Check out this private tour.

11- Explore Viana do Castelo And Ponte Lima

day trips from porto to salamanca viator
Another fantastic day trip from Porto is to visit Viana do Castelo in northern Portugal.

Viana do Castelo sits below a great viewpoint, Santa Luzia and you have an early chance to look down over this historic settlement and the Atlantic Ocean.

Explore Viana do Castelo to wander its streets before going to Portugal’s oldest village, Ponte Lima, at the mouth of the Lima River.

Excavations have shown people lived here well before the time of the Romans.

The Sanctuary of Santa Luzia is the most impressive of several religious buildings.

Your lunch will be traditional Portuguese, seafood being a logical choice as you are on the coast.

12- Sparkle In Bairrada

Bairrada is famous for its sparkling wine, made here since the 10th century.

Two-thirds of Portugal’s sparkling wine comes from here.

This tour is an opportunity to visit two vineyards whose produce all get the DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) label.

They make a great accompaniment to the traditional lunch you will be served.

Roasted piglet is this area’s most famous dish so give it a try.

While here, there are two thermal villages to visit.

Curia is one of the nation’s oldest, tranquil places where stress levels are certain to fall.

The other is Luso, which is used to treat kidney problems and skin diseases with its hot springs.

13- Go Green In Barcelos

Barcelos dates back to Roman times, and today it is known for several things, including its textiles, its pottery and its “green wine.”

The region’s population is around 120,000, with plenty involved in these industries and agriculture in general.

The city is within the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Before heading for a traditional lunch, you will learn more about its wine production.

The region’s cuisine is also famous so you will certainly enjoy lunch.

Afterwards, it is time to visit pottery artisans and try to produce something simple yourself.

Before you return to Porto, there is a range of green wines to sample. Try this ‘green wine’ tour.

14- Remember Prince Henry

Nicknamed Henry the Navigator, Dom Henrique, Duke of Viseu, was the man who was the leading player that saw Portugal become famous explorers through the 15th and 16th centuries.

He was born in Porto, and after seeing where he was born, you’ll visit a lovely fishing village for lunch to eat freshly grilled fish that had been swimming in the sea earlier in the day.

The village is where you can see a replica of Henry’s ship and a customs house dated back to the 15th century.

The route you take is stunning, with views of the Atlantic and Northern Portugal’s white sandy beaches. Read more about it here.

15- Have A Glass At Monção

day trips to porto from lisbon
Vineyard at Moncao in the Minho region, Portugal.

A day trip north from Porto to Moncao is a great experience as the environment is lovely, with much of the land given over to vineyards.

Palácio da Brejoeira, built in the early 19th C, was home to Luís Pereira Velho de Moscoso, who was a member of the Royal House and Knight of the Order of Christ.

Moncao has been producing wine for almost half a century and although the family no longer owns the business, traditional methods are still in place.

You will visit the palace and its old cellars and taste its wine.

The range includes dessert wines and brandy. Lunch is served later with traditional dishes on offer.

16- Go To Amarante

day trips from porto, portugal drone aerial view
Amarante, with its beautiful church and bridge, is a fabulous day trip from Porto to do.

Amarante in the Tâmega e Sousa in northern Portugal is listed under the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, music being what UNESCO has recognised.

The region’s architecture is mainly Romanesque, and anyone interested in architecture and religious buildings will love this day trip.

Several important monasteries include Travanca, Gondar and Freixo de Baixo and several churches.

They include Mancelos Telões and Gatão. Amarante has been the birthplace of many famous Portuguese artists, while the surrounding area has excellent walking and cycling trails.

You can combine a Douro Valley cruise and an exploration of the wine region with a visit to Amarante. Here’s a tour you may like.

17- Head To The Beach

day trips from lisbon to porto thatched umbrellas and people
Spending time on the beach in Cascais is a relaxing day trip from Porto.

Matosinhos in northern Porto is great for learning how to surf in Portugal as there are no strong currents or rocks.

Matosinhos is both a port and a fishing town, but its beach is the largest locally and is just 15 minutes from the town centre. Book your surfing experience online here.

You can hire equipment and get surfing tuition if you are a novice.

Relax on the Atlantic coast if you want a quiet day away from the popular tourist landmarks.

If you can spare more than a couple of days in Porto, there should be time to relax with the climate good enough to enjoy beaches for many months of the year.

18- Get Up Early For Lisbon

Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, is around three hours south of Porto.

It does call for a very early start, but there is no reason why you cannot have several hours on a day trip from Porto.

The itinerary takes a bit of research and planning to make the best of your day.

The drive is enjoyable before reaching Lisbon, where the highlights are all accessible on a hop-on, hop-off facility.

The historic neighbourhood of Alfama with its narrow streets, is charming to explore.

Lisbon is hilly, so there are plenty of excellent viewpoints offering panoramas.

Wear comfortable shoes because you will have some walking to do, with the drive back to Porto a chance to relax after a busy day.

19- Explore The Hinterland In A Buggy

If you want some action, one option is to take an adventure tour near Porto in a buggy or 4×4.

Several places of interest can be on your route, including the ruins of Castro de Monte Mozinho and the Museu da Broa.

You’ll see a typical Portuguese village and watch the daily activities there as well.

Of course, there will always be time for some traditional food and snacks. Local honey is excellent, and Portuguese desserts are a “must” if you have a sweet tooth.

20- Head Out Into The Atlantic

If you look at the fish on offer at a typical Portuguese restaurant, you will realise that the Atlantic is rich in a range of species, some seasonal of course.

Take a charter out into the Atlantic and try your luck.

You may want to cruise on the sea, perhaps sunbathe or snorkel.

Whatever your pleasure, a trip out to sea for the day is a fantastic way to relax.

Those visiting in a group might even get a boat to themselves with an experienced captain who knows the best places to go.

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Steve Smith is a widely travelled man who has lived on the South West Coast of Turkey since 2008. He hails from North East England where he lived most of his life but has been to every continent of the world, with a particular love for Southern Africa and its wildlife. He lists Argentina, India, and Vietnam as other favourite places that he enjoyed greatly while sport is also a passion, cricket and golf as a participant, rugby union and soccer as a spectator.