3-Day Porto Itinerary Options – Classic, Food + Active

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Porto, on the northwest coast of Portugal, is a city best known for its port wine production and this, combined with the excellent food on offer, makes the city a gastronomic paradise. However, there are also historical sites, amazing bridges cathedrals, churches and museums to discover, as well as many outdoor activities to enjoy.

Porto has a good climate with hot summers, warm springs and autumns, and mild but wet winters, so it is, in effect, a year-round destination. Take a cruise on The Douro River during the heat of the summer or cool down tubing on the Paiva River. Visit the historical sites when it’s less hot in the spring and autumn and escape the rain in the winter in one of the museums or art galleries. Whether you are looking for a sightseeing holiday, want to enjoy local food and wine, or like action, Porto has something to offer.

Porto Itinerary Options

Porto Itinerary Tips

Best Places To Stay

Portugal Old Town On The Douro River
Enjoy Portugal Old Town on a 2-day Porto itinerary.

One of the most popular places to stay in Porto is Ribeira, which is perfectly positioned along the riverfront.

It is a beautiful part of the city with plenty of historic architecture and a lively food and drink scene.

However, it does get busy and accommodation is booked up months in advance, so book early.

It is expensive compared to most of the other districts, so if you are looking for somewhere more reasonably priced, go up the hill to Baixa.


It is central and has beautiful churches to visit, as well as great nightlife,

Another popular district is Aliados which is in the centre of the city.

There are plenty of restaurants and accommodations in this neighbourhood but book early to ensure that you get your preferred hotel.

If you’re on a very tight budget, stay in Bonfim, to the east of Baixa.

There aren’t any tourist attractions there, but you can reach most places in around 15 minutes on foot.

For a seaside vibe, head to Foz do Douro which is near to some beautiful Atlantic beaches.

It is easy to get to the centre of the city from here by either bus or tram.

Best Ways To Get Around Porto

Driving in Porto isn’t easy and is not recommended unless you are a seasoned driver.

There are many narrow streets and lots of traffic in the city, hills and pedestrians to negotiate, and a lack of parking spaces.

If you are arriving by car, park on the outskirts and get the metro in.

It is much easier to negotiate the city with public transport as it is very efficient.

There are buses, trams, a funicular, and six metro lines that not only link neighbourhoods but go to the beach and to the airport.

To save time and money, get an Andante card for 60 cents and load it with credit to use on buses and the metro.

It works out cheaper than getting single tickets every time.

When it comes to the tram or the funicular you have to purchase tickets on board.

If you plan to use public transportation and visit attractions as well, purchase a Porto card which includes transportation and 150 discounts to Porto’s sights.

How To Pay

Most restaurants and shops take credit cards but there are still some that don’t, so always make sure that you have some euros with you.

Also, some places will only accept a card for a minimum amount, such as 10 or 20 euros,

Regarding tipping, some locals don’t tip, but in tourism-oriented establishments, a 10% tip is normal.

Cash is usually preferred when tipping.

I have thought of three itineraries, each for three days in Porto.

One is suitable for those wanting to visit historical sites, the next for those enthusiastic about the cuisine of the city, and finally, one for people wanting an active holiday.

Hopefully, there is something for everybody here.

Classic Porto Itinerary

DAY 1 – Churches and Fado

Clerigos Tower In Porto Portugal
Clerigos Tower is a must-see on your Porto itinerary.

Get to know Porto on a historical walking tour that takes you to the mediaeval part of the city, known as Se.

You will wander down narrow cobbled streets and see many highlights of the city including Clerigos Tower and Lello Bookshop, one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal.

At the end of the tour, you can opt to have a picnic lunch in the beautiful Virtudes Gardens.

The meal includes cheese, ham, bread, fruit, pastries and a bottle of wine.

After enjoying lunch in the park, climb the 240 steps to the top of the Clerigos Tower for fantastic views of the city.

The tower is the bell tower of the stunning Baroque church, Clerigos Church.

Both were built in the mid-1700s, and the bell tower is the tallest in Portugal, standing at 76 metres (249 ft).

The spiral staircase is narrow so it’s not the easiest of climbs, but the 360-degree views are worth the effort.

You can see both the city and the Douro River from the summit.

Take a look around the church while you are here.

It’s free to get in but it costs 6 euros to climb the tower and visit the museum.

The tower is very popular so get a skip-the-line ticket.

Clerigos Church and Tower are at R, de Sao Filipe de Nery, 4050-546, Porto.

In the evening, enjoy an evening of traditional Portuguese music, Fado, with its songs of love and heartbreak.

Precede the meal with a Portuguese dinner at a traditional tavern.

Recommended: Semi Private Oporto Fado Show with Dinner.

DAY 2 – Porto Cathedral

Porto Cathedral Roman Catholic Church
Make sure to include the Porto Cathedral on your Porto itinerary.

Start the day off by visiting Porto Cathedral, locally known as Se do Porto.

It is an enormous Catholic church and the most important religious building in the city, as well as one of the oldest.

It was originally built in the 12th century but has been renovated several times.

It is a spectacular mix of Gothic, Romanesque, and Baroque styles.

The cathedral is free to enter while the 14th-century Gothic cloister costs three euros to visit.

It is well worth going into the cloister as it is decorated with beautiful azulejos tiles showing biblical scenes.

Porto Cathedral is at Terreiro da Sé, 4050-573, Porto.

After visiting the cathedral, walk across the Ponte Luis I bridge, which joins Porto with the town of Vila Nova de Gaia.

When it was completed in 1886, it was the longest-spanning metal bridge in the world.

It has an upper walkway which gives some of the best views in the area.

The upper level has a metro line and a pedestrian walkway while the lower level is for cars and pedestrians.

When you reach Vila Nova de Gaia, be sure to check out one of the spectacular miradouros or viewpoints.

One of the best is the Miradouro da Serra do Pilar, which is situated on the terrace of a 15th-century monastery.

Visit the monastery’s church to see stunning woodwork, beautiful tile panels, and amazing frescoes.

The Monastery da Serra Do Polar is at Largo Aviz, Vila Nova de Gaia.

In the afternoon, head to the Serralves Museum, considered to be the best museum in Porto.

It is set in beautiful Serralves Park and houses a spectacular permanent display of contemporary art with visiting exhibitions.

The art represents both Portuguese and international artists.

You may also be lucky enough to catch a music or dance show.

The Serralves Museum is at r. Dom Joao de Castrio 210, 4150-417.


Cityscape Of Porto
Admire the cityscape of Oporto on a Porto itinerary (3 days).

In the evening, take a sunset sailboat cruise on the Douro River.

The sunset will be incredible, with a mixture of reds, oranges, and golds.

You will be told about the history of Porto by the crew while enjoying a glass of Port.

Sali past Robeira and Gaia towards the estuary where you might even be lucky enough to see dolphins in the ocean.

Recommended tours: Porto: Daytime or Sunset Sailboat Cruise on the Douro River.

DAY 3 – World of Discoveries

Colorful Houses Of Porto Ribeira
You’ll want to spend time in Ribeira on your Porto Portugal itinerary.

Find out more about Portugal’s history in the World of Discoveries exhibition.

It tells stories about former Portuguese explorers such as Ferdinand Magellan Vasco da Gama, and Bartholomew Dias.

There are 20 permanent themed areas to explore.

Recommended tours: Porto: World of Discoveries Entry Ticket.

In the afternoon, go on a Cockburn’s Port Lodge tour at Cockburn’s Lodge which is the largest port cellar in Vila Nova de Gaia.

Where better to try port than in the region where it is produced? You will learn about the 200-year history of Cockburn’s port, watch the coopers disassemble and reassemble barrels for cleaning, and explore the museum.

The highlight is a tasting of three different Port wines.

Recommended tours: Porto: Cockburn’s Port Lodge Tour and Tasting.

Spend the evening in the Ribeira district, the cultural centre of Porto.

Listen to the street musicians, shop ‘til you drop, and have dinner and drinks overlooking the Douro River.

Foodie Itinerary In Porto

DAY 1 – Port

Calem Winery In Gaia In The City Of Porto
Port is a highlight of any Lisbon to Porto itinerary.

Get acquainted with the gastronomic scene of Porto on a food and wine tour of the Old Town.

The tour begins with a Portuguese coffee, accompanied by a cinnamon pastel de nata, the delicious and traditional custard tart.

You will try different dishes throughout the tour, such as bifana, a spicy pork sandwich, which is accompanied by a glass of beer, and bacalhau, salted cod, paired with a glass of wine.

End the tour in a wine bar, tasting three different Port wines.

In the afternoon, pay a visit to Bolhao Market, Porto’s oldest and most renowned market, established in 1914.

It is a meeting place for locals so you will be enveloped in Portuguese life during your visit.

On the ground floor, you will find fresh fruit and vegetable stands, as well as cheeses, fish and meat.

Sample some of the wares and visit the unusual vendors, such as wild mushroom growers and spice sellers.

There are restaurants on the first floor, and as the market is open until 8 p.m., you could have an early dinner here before hitting the bars and clubs in Ribeira.

Bolhao Market is at R. Formosa 322, 4000-248.

DAY 2 – Duoro River

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Take a full day’s wine tour in the Douro Valley, with lunch, tastings, and a river cruise.

You will visit two wine estates for the tastings and have lunch at one of them.

The meal is paired with red and white Douro wines.

End the afternoon with a cruise on the Douro River, sailing by beautiful vineyards.

In the evening, enjoy a moonlight walk in Porto with dinner, accompanied by traditional Fado music.

This music is melancholic, the singers often lamenting lost loves, but it is compelling and gives a glimpse into Portuguese tradition.

The dinner includes wine, a starter, a main course, dessert, Port wine and coffee.

DAY 3 – Markets

Mercado Do Bolhao Porto
Bolhao Market is a must-visit for foodies on a Porto itinerary 2 days is enough.

In the morning, head to the Mercado Bom Sucesso market, which was renovated in 2021 and mixes the old with the new, catering to many tastes.

The foods on offer include suckling pig, risotto, sushi, pizza and tapas.

In addition, you can sip a cocktail, enjoy a glass of wine, or indulge in a Port wine.

Enjoy lunch here before heading to a workshop to learn how to make the custard tart, pastel de nata.

You make three custard tarts which you can then enjoy with a glass of Port wine

The Mercado Bom Sucesso market is at Barraca do Bom Sucesso 74 – 80, 4150-145, Porto

Recommended tour: Porto: Pastel de Nata Pastry-Making Workshop.

In the evening, go to Cafe Santiago for a franceshina which is a sandwich not for the faint of heart.

It is made up of two pieces of bread filled with two types of sausage, steak, mortadella and ham.

Cheese is melted on top by pouring over a tomato-beer sauce.

You can have a fried egg on top and it is served with fries.

You probably won’t want a dessert after this feast.

Cafe Santiago is at R. De Passos Manuel 226, 40000-382, Porto.

Active Itinerary In Porto

DAY 1 – Bikes and Buggies

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Rent a bike and discover the places in Porto that cars can’t reach.

If you’re a little nervous about exploring a foreign town on a bicycle on your own, there is an organised tour that you can take which will give you an idea of where all the sights are and where you would like to spend more time.

The tour lasts for three hours and takes you to the Old Town, to City Park, which has cycle lanes, and close to the sandy beach of Matosinhos.

Spot birds in Calern Garden, and then arrive at the mouth of the Douro River where you will be able to see the Douro Estuary Natural Reserve.

Recommended tours: Porto: 3-Hour Bike Tour.

In the afternoon, have fun on an off-road buggy tour for three hours.

Don’t worry if you’re a first-timer because you will have a safety briefing and will travel with a well-trained and experienced guide.

The landscapes you will travel through are beautiful.

You will skirt the mountains of Porto, enjoy views of the Serras do Porto Natural Park, and enjoy rocky paths, pushing your buggies to the limit.

You can stop for photographic opportunities, visit the Castro Mazinho Roman ruins, and go to the lovely village of Quintandona.

Recommended tours: From Porto: Off-Road Buggy Adventure.

In the evening, head to the Ribeira district for dinner and to experience the nightlife.

It’s always lively and the setting by the river is beautiful.

DAY 2 – River Adventure

Continue your exciting adventure in Porto with river tubing on the rapids of the Paiva River.

Your adrenaline will rush as you tube through the rapids and then you will float along quieter waters enjoying the scenery around you.

A traditional Portuguese lunch is included in the experience.

In the evening, have fun on a pub crawl with a local guide who will get you involved in drinking games and entertain you with stories about the drinking culture in Porto.

You will visit three different bars to enjoy different shots.

The final stop is a nightclub where you will be able to drink as much beer as you want for an hour.

Smart casual wear is the dress code for the nightclub.

DAY 3 – Tower Climb

Climb the 240 steps to the top of the Clerigos Tower, an impressive bell tower measuring 76 metres (249 ft) high.

It has a steep spiral staircase, but it is worth the climb for the amazing views of the city and the Douro River.

The Clerigos Tower is at R. de São Filipe de Nery, 4050 – 546, Porto.

After climbing the tower, discover the city in a different and fun way with a smartphone treasure hunt.

You divide into two groups and compete to get the most points.

During the hunt, you will see different landmarks and take part in tasks.

If you finish first, you get extra points.

The game is just for fun but perhaps the losing team should buy drinks for the winning team.

In the afternoon, go on a 4 x 4 jeep mountain tour with an experienced guide who will tell you about the Roman gold mines and other interesting facts about the area surrounding Porto.

You will visit a rural mountain village which looks out towards the city, giving great photographic opportunities.

Recommended tours: Porto: 4×4 Mountain Tour.

End your exciting and jam-packed three-day adventure in Porto with an evening ghost walk.

You will be chilled with stories of hauntings and personal experiences by your experienced and knowledgeable guide.

Learn about the witchcraft trials in the city, major crimes committed over the years, and tales about the old city prison.

Other spine-tingling tales surround the hospital where visitors feel as if they are being suffocated and the ghost of a woman wakes the patients up.

You will no doubt feel a little nervous walking back to your hotel after this experience.

Looking for more itineraries? Try these:

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Irena Nieslony
Irena Nieslony was born in Windsor, England but now lives on the island of Crete, Greece, in a small village called Modi near the city of Chania. She has visited 32 countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa. Her favourite country is Tanzania as she loves wildlife and was lucky enough to see ‘The Big Five”. She also loves Egypt, as ancient history intrigues her, the southern states of the US and the cities of Memphis, Nashville, and New Orleans for music. She has a B.A. Honours degree in English and Drama from Westfield College, University of London. She has been writing for over 13 years and has 13 novels, 7 short stories and thousands of articles published.