You might be organising a day trip to Porto from Lisbon, Coimbra or other Portuguese / Spanish city. Or you have a flight connection in Porto and hence have a few hours to spend in the city.
It doesn’t matter. Whatever the reasons are for you to spend one day in Porto, welcome! Here you’ll find my one day itineraries in the city.
What to do in one day in Porto?
What you decide to do on a single day in a city really depends to your pace, to your travelling profile and also to whom you’re travelling with. Therefore, I wrote three day itineraries in Porto: one for families with kids, another one for couples and another ones for middle age / senior citizens.
Before you read my dedicated one day itineraries in Porto, please keep something in mind: Downtown Porto is very hilly. The distances to cover are very short, as the city are quite small, but you might find them hard to cover due to the natural inclination of the soil.
I honestly don’t notice it anymore, but people complain about it all the time (even my friends do!), so please don’t forget about this when you’re making your planning how to spend your day in Porto.
One day in Porto: itinerary for Couples
What you find romantic is not necessarily what I find romantic (for instance, I find visiting old bookstores with my boyfriend very romantic!), so please keep an open mind when reading this suggestion 😉
|10am||Walk in the Crystal Palace Gardens|
|11.30am||Visit the best Porto’s art galleries @ Rua Miguel Bombarda|
|1pm||Lunch at Centro Comercial Bombarda / BUGO|
|2pm||Walk in the city centre|
|5pm||Walk the upper deck of Luiz I bridge|
|6pm||Watch the sunset at Serra do Pilar|
If I had one day in Porto with my boyfriend, I’ll definitely start with a morning walk at the Crystal Palace gardens. It’s a peaceful garden, very close to the city centre and free of charge.
There, you can go for a walk, sit quietly by the lake, feed the peacocks, visit the roses’ garden and even take a quick nap. It’s perfect 🙂
Afterwards, I suggest you to walk in Rua Miguel Bombarda, where most part of the art galleries in Porto are located. On this street, as well as on a perpendicular one called Rua do Rosário, you can also find some really beautiful concept stores, second hand stores and cute restaurants.
I suggest you to visit these beautiful places without a rush, and then go for lunch. A place where I really enjoy going to is Centro Comercial Bombarda – it’s this cool, modern shopping mall with stunning concept stores and two nice restaurants. Go to a restaurant called “Sobres & Açores”, as it has really nice Azorian – inspired dishes at very affordable prices.
In the afternoon you can continue your walk towards the city centre. There’s plenty monuments to see there – Lello bookstore, Clérigos tower, Allies Avenue, São Bento train station, the cathedral of Porto… whatever you end up doing, it’s almost mandatory to end the day by crossing the upper deck of Luiz I bridge by foot and watch the sunset at Serra do Pilar. It’s so, so romantic! <3
One day in Porto: itinerary for >50 years old
From my perception, usually middle aged and seniors prefer to do slow tourism, as they don’t feel the rush to see everything but would rather enjoy what they really want to see at their own pace. I suggest the following itinerary:
|10am||Visit to a Port wine lodge|
|11.30am||6 bridges cruise / Visit to a second Port wine lodge|
|1pm||Lunch at Mercado Beira Rio|
|2pm||Cable car to the city centre|
|3pm – 5pm||Walk in the city centre: Cathedral of Porto, São Bento train station, Avenida dos Aliados|
If you only have one day in Porto, then I suggest you to start it with a visit to a Port wine lodge. Usually the lodges by the riverfront are very crowded and very fast, as there are many tours going on, so I suggest you to pick a lodge on the hills: Graham’s, Croft or Churchill’s. At the end of the tour you’ll have a Port wine tasting – if you’re already familiar with Port wine, I recommend you to go for a premium tasting.
From there, you just need to walk down to the riverside, where you can get the 6 bridges cruise. This is a relaxed cruise in Douro river that will allow you to enjoy the fantastic views of both Porto and Gaia, on the other side of the river.
If you enjoy Port wine very much, you can skip the 6 bridges cruise and simply go for a second visit at another Port wine lodge. In that case, just skip the tour – you won’t learn much more that on the previous one! -, and simply go for tasting.
After these activities, you can grab a bite at Mercado Beira Rio, where you’ll find plenty of food options – including a vegetarian one, cheese boards and amazing burgers.
Afterwards, simply take the cable car from Cais de Gaia (where you just had lunch to the top of Luiz I bridge, the famous iron bridge from Porto. From there, it is a short and easy walk to the city centre.
Once you arrive in the centre, there are some very nice monuments for you to see: the cathedral of Porto, the stunning São Bento train station, Avenida dos Aliados (the Allies’ avenue), and Lello bookstore. You should also go to the Clérigos church – don’t get discouraged by the long queue, that is for the TOWER, not the church itself (which is stunning and free of charge, by the way! 😉
Alternative plan for those who don’t want to go to the Port wine lodges:
|10am||Walk in the city centre: Cathedral of Porto, São Bento train station, Avenida dos Aliados|
|1pm||Lunch in the city centre|
|2.30pm||6 bridges cruise|
|4pm||Take the tram line #1 riverside|
|5pm||Go for a coffee at Tavi / for a savoury snack at Casa de Pasto da Palmeira|
If you’re not so keen on Port wine, then just substitute it with a nice tram ride followed by a coffee at a splendid pastry shop. How does that sound?! 😉
If you’re enjoying this article, don’t forget to pin it for later:
One day in Porto: itinerary Families with kids
Only parents know how challenging it can be to travel with kids. They get easily distracted / cranky / tired and it can be quite an adventure to make them eat anything.
One thing that I’ve learn after taking many families on my tours in Porto is that kids can be a really good travel companion if 1) you engaged them on the activity you’re taking them to and 2) you give them choices of different activities.
Therefore, I wrote a loose one day itinerary in Porto with a few alternatives – my suggestion is for you to ask your little ones what they would prefer to do! 🙂
|10am||Walk in the city centre / Take the hop on hop off bus tour|
|1pm||Lunch at one of the best family museums in Porto|
|2pm||Go for one of the best museums in Porto: Biodiversity Gallery or Serralves|
If I had one day in Porto with my kids, I’d spend the morning in the city centre, and then do a more kid – friendly activity in the afternoon.
In the morning, you can either take a walk to visit the main monuments: Rua de Santa Catarina (a commercial pedestrian street in Porto), Avenida dos Aliados, São Bento train station, Lello bookstore and the Clérigos tower.
If you feel that it would be too long of a walk for the kids, you can take the hop on hop off bus tour. This can be interesting as you’ll pretty much cover the city centre without walking.
However, I definitely recommend you to read about the monuments you’ll see on the itineraries of the hop off bus tour in Porto, so that you can explain your kids something about the things they’ll see. Try to learn some fun facts about the places & monuments, and ask the kids – they’ll engage much more with the city this way! 🙂
Then, you can go for lunch at one of the best family restaurants in Porto.
In the afternoon, I most definitely recommend you to visit the Biodiversity Gallery, one of the best family museums in Porto, or to visit Serralves Contemporary Museum. Both these museums have very interactive exhibitions and are surrounded by beautiful gardens that you can explore with the kids.
One day in Porto: itinerary for Solo travellers
One thing you don’t know about me is that I’d rather travel on my own most part of the times. Yes, I have people I can travel with, but I simply enjoy the freedom of not having to compromise on my trips, and the likelihood of meeting new people is much higher. It’s addictive once you start doing it, so I totally understand your urge to do it! 🙂
Unlike the other groups I’ve written about here, I don’t think it makes sense to write an itinerary of one day in Porto for solo travellers because you can pretty much do whatever you want.
Nonetheless, I’d like to give you a few links that I think that you might like: