Looking the best day trips from Porto? You just found them!
Porto is a beautiful city in Northern Portugal, and its surroundings are just as picturesque. There are many unique destinations in this part of Portugal that you can visit on a day trip from Porto.
Whether you’re searching for a beach getaway, a day of hiking in nature, or a cultural escape, there’s a Porto day trip destination perfect for you.
In this guide I outlined all the best Porto day trips, and everything you need to know about them.
Including where these day trip destinations are, how fare they are from Porto, the best way to get there, and what to do once there. That way you can decide exactly which day trips to go on while in Porto.
So without further ado, let’s dive in and discover all the best day trips you can take from Porto!
- 1 Best travel modes for these trips around Porto
- 2 13 Best day trips from Porto
- 3 Where to stay for the best Porto day trips
- 4 What to pack for your best Porto day tours
- 5 Do you need travel insurance for these Porto one day trips?
Best travel modes for these trips around Porto
You can travel to these Porto day trip destinations by car, train, bus or with an organised tour. There isn’t one single best transport mode, as it will ultimately depend on the destination you’re heading to.
For example some of the smaller towns or hikes are best visited with a rental car, since they don’t have easy access to public transport and it will give you the most flexibility.
To visit other places, like the Douro Valley or Peneda-Gerês National Park, I instead suggest joining a guided tour, so that you can avoid the long drive and will have a local guide taking you to all the best local spots.
You can also go on lots of day trips from Porto by train or bus, since the bigger destinations like Coimbra have convenient public transport connections.
One thing to take into account if you rent a car is that it’s very hard to find parking in central Porto, so make sure to book your accommodation somewhere with easy access to parking and the highways.
However you choose to travel to these one day trip from Porto destinations, I’m sure you will have a great time! For each destination I have outlined the best ways to get there, so that you can plan accordingly.
13 Best day trips from Porto
I have listed below all the best Porto day trip destinations, starting from the closest one to the one furthest away. However none of these destinations are more than a 2-hour drive, so that you can easily travel there and back in one day.
Vila do Conde
Vila do Conde is a beach town, only 25 km north of Porto. It is easily reachable by car (30 min) or by metro (40 min). It is a cute city characterized by the beach, river, and beautiful architectural heritage.
Vila do Conde is normally seen as a beach destination. During summer it is full of Portuguese that are anxious to lay on the sand and swim in the sea. But although it is a very sought destination by the Portuguese, it remains a hidden gem for outsiders.
Besides the beach, it is a city with a rich historic influence. When you arrive in the city, the first thing you will notice is the Santa Clara Convent and its church.
Located on top of a hill it overlooks the city and is the ideal spot to take photos.
Surrounding the city there is a long Aqueduct that used to be 5 km long. It also has a 16th-century ship replica in the river that was built in Vila do Conde, which you can visit.
Vila do Conde is an ideal summer destination for a day trip from Porto.
– by Claudia & Jorge from Portugal Things
Day trip to Braga from Porto
Located in the far north of Portugal, Braga is the oldest city in Portugal and also the third largest. It is an easy day trip from Porto, and can be reached by train in just one hour from Porto’s São Bento or Campanhã stations.
Braga is a fairly compact city with lots of cute streets and plazas which can be easily explored by foot. As Braga is over 2,000 years old you’ll find many historic buildings. The main highlight is the Sé de Braga, a gorgeous 11th century cathedral (entry €5).
However one of the biggest attractions in Braga is the Bom Jesus do Monte – an 18th century sanctuary and UNESCO World Heritage Site (free entry). It is located 5 km outside the city centre so you will need to take a local bus or a taxi to visit it.
Braga also has a large university, so the city is quite lively with many young students and a great nightlife scene.
– by Caroline, author of CK Travels
Here are some Braga tours that have excellent reviews online.
Half-Day Original Braga City Tour: This tour is perfect if you don’t have long and want to spend the rest of day seeing another place, as it only takes up half a day.
From Porto: Braga & Guimaraes Full-Day Tour with Lunch: This tour is ideal as it includes pick-up and drop-off in Porto, as well as taking you to visit also Guimaraes. There is also a private option with Viator.
Braga: Tuk Tuk City Tour: If you want to do something a bit different, you can explore Braga with a tuk tuk!
Guimaraes is a fairytale medieval village just 60 kms from Porto. You can get there easily by either bus (50 minutes) or train (1 hr 15 minutes).
The best part of visiting Guimaraes is walking around the Old Quarter. It’s tiny, but very picturesque! Walking up and down the narrow streets will transport you to another time.
In the Old Quarter you will find a square which showcases the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira, an impressive medieval church. All around are little restaurants with outdoor seating.
Everything in Guimaraes is fairly close by. You can walk from the Old Quarter to Guimaraes Castle and the Palace of the Dukes in just 10 – 15 minutes.
Before you leave, be sure to stop at the garden Largo Republica do Brasil. This long flower garden, which leads up to another medieval church, is one of the most popular photo spots in Guimaraes!
Guimaraes can get quite busy on the weekends, so avoid them if you can! If it’s not possible, be sure to head there first thing in the morning.
– by Celeste, author of Slow Travel Blog
If you want to join a Guimaraes tour, here are some popular options.
Guimaraes Half-Day Tour from Porto: If you want to discover other places close to Porto, this tour is perfect as it only takes up half a day, and allows you to see all the sights in Guimaraes in that time.
From Porto: Braga & Guimaraes Full-Day Tour with Lunch: This tour is ideal as it includes pick-up and drop-off in Porto, as well as taking you to visit also Braga. There is also a private option with Viator.
If you’re looking for a perfect day trip from Porto, look no further than the charming city of Barcelos. Located 60 km from Porto, Barcelos has a fun small-town vibe with an appealing downtown area that is fun to explore.
The city’s most notable feature is the fortified Palace of the Counts of Barcelos (Paço dos Condes de Barcelos).
Now home to the Archeological Museum (Museu Arqueológico), the crumbling remains of this medieval palace overlook the river. Entrance is free. Barcelos is located along the historical pilgrimage route for the Portuguese Camino de Santiago.
This spiritual history is closely tied with the city’s famous symbol, the Rooster of Barcelos (Galo de Barcelo). According to legend, a rooster saved the life of a pilgrim passing through town one day.
The city has firmly embraced this legend and now you can find rooster statues all over town, along with traditional folk art. In 2017, Barcelos was designated as a UNESCO City of Crafts and Folk Arts due to this legacy.
Barcelos is easily accessible from Porto by car, bus or train. The trip is 45 minutes one-way (by car) or one hour (by bus or train).
– by Katy from A Rambling Unicorn
Barcelos: Half-Day Private Tour from Porto: There aren’t many tours from Porto to Barcelos, if you want to join one this private option is the best one.
Aveiro day trip from Porto
Located just a short hour drive away from Porto, you will find the cute town of Aveiro, one of the most popular day trips from Porto.
Positioned along a lagoon called Ria de Aveiro, the town is characterised by canals and wooden boats, which give it the name of the “Venice of Portugal”.
The colourful boats (traditionally called barcos moliceiros), were once used to harvest seaweed, and are now a popular tourist attraction.
You can take a boat tour along the canals of this unique town, learning about its history from a local guide.
You can also spend some time wandering around the streets and canals of Aveiro, admiring the art nouveau buildings of its old town centre, the stunning architecture of the Cathedral of Aveiro, and the Museu de Aveiro.
There are lots of options for tours in Aveiro, both tours that will bring you there from Porto and others that you can join once you’ve made your own way there.
Aveiro: Traditional Moliceiro Boat Tour: This highly rated Aveiro tour will take you cruising along the canals in a traditional Moliceiro Boat, and is perfect if you plan to make your own way to Aveiro.
Aveiro: Guided Tuk Tuk City Tour: This option is perfect if you plan to make your own way to Aveiro, but still want a guided tour of the city.
From Porto: Aveiro Half-Day Tour with 1-Hour Cruise: If you don’t want to have to make your own to Aveiro, this tour is perfect as it includes also transport there and back from Porto.
From Porto: Aveiro, Paiva Walkways and Arouca 516 Footbridge: This tour is a great option since it combines Aveiro with the Paiva walkways and footbridge in Arouca, a unique place to visit near Porto!
From Porto: Aveiro & Coimbra Small Group Tour + River Cruise: If you want to go beyond Aveiro, this highly rated tour will take you also to the famous Coimbra, plus it includes the traditional river cruise!
One of the best day trips from Porto is the iconic fisherman’s village Costa Nova where you can see the picture-perfect cottages painted in colorful stripes either horizontal or vertical.
Make sure you act responsibly and don’t enter the porches of the houses to take pictures. People live there, so it is important to respect private property.
Other than seeing the colorful cottages, make sure you go for a stroll along Costa Nova beach. Next, head to Praia da Barra to visit the highest lighthouse in the country.
If you have time, you should go for a stroll along the Passadiços de Aveiro, one of the most underrated things to do in Aveiro. The boardwalk is built over the beautiful lagoon, Ria de Aveiro, also popular among birdwatchers and cyclists.
To get the 82 km from Porto to Costa Nova you first have to take the train for 1hr15min to Aveiro and from there you can take the bus for 20 minutes to the coast or rent a bike and ride for about 40 minutes.
Trains between Porto and Aveiro are regular. Alternatively, by car it is about 50 minutes to drive and you can easily park along the roads in Costa Nova.
– by Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers
Aveiro & Costa Nova Half Day Tour from Porto with Moliceiro River Cruise: While there are no tours just to Costa Nova, you can join this tour that will take you to explore also Aveiro!
Buçaco National Forest
I didn’t really know much about Buçaco National Forest, and I can confidently say it blew away any expectations I might have had. Buçaco National Forest is one of the most underrated places in Portugal.
Located a 1.5 hour drive away from Porto, this ancient and walled forest is home to some unique ruins, a huge diversity of flora and fauna, and some spectacular views.
There is also a huge neo-Manueline palace, conceived as a retreat for the Portuguese royal family, and later converted to a luxury hotel.
You can easily spend hours wandering around Buçaco National Forest, taking in the ruins of small chapels and astounding greenery of the forest.
There are also a number of viewpoints that allow you to see across the 105 hectares of the national forest, as well as the surrounding countryside. If you want to spend some time in nature, away from the bustling streets of the city, it’s the best day trip you can take from Porto.
From Porto: Coimbra & Buçaco Full-Day Private Tour: Being a fairly off the beaten path destinations in Portugal, there aren’tmany tours to Buçaco. This private tour option will take you to explore also the beautiful city of Coimbra.
Arouca Bridge and Paiva Pathway
The largest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world is located in northern Portugal, just 80 km away from Porto. One can get there by car in less than one hour and a half.
Unfortunately, there’s no public transport from Porto. You have to either drive or join a guided tour.
Arouca Bridge spans 516 meters at 175 meters in the air, connecting the two banks of Paiva River. From the bridge, you’ll get wonderful views over Paiva Gorges and Aguieiras Waterfall.
The number of people allowed at one time on the bridge is limited. You should book in advance the desired day and time. It takes around 20 minutes to cross the bridge both ways.
Right next to Arouca Bridge starts Paiva Pathway with an amazing zig-zag staircase. The eight kilometers long trail crosses a gorgeous canyon, part of the UNESCO Arouca Geopark.
The ticket for the bridge costs 12 euro and includes the access to the pathway. There are parking places at both ends of the path. If you drive there, you’ll either have to return on the same path, which means 16 km in total or take a taxi back.
If you go there on a tour, the driver will most probably leave you at one end of the path and pick you up halfway or at the end of it.
– by Raluca, author of TravelWithASpin
Here are some of the most popular tours to Arouca Bridge and the Paiva Walkways.
From Porto: Aveiro, Paiva Walkways and Arouca 516 Footbridge: This tour is a great option since it includes transfers from Porto, plus it will take you to explore also Aveiro!
Paiva Walkways – Full Day Private Tour | All Inclusive: If you prefer a private tour, here it is!
Located on the banks of the Mondego River, just a 1.5-hour drive away from Porto, you will find Coimbra. Coimbra used to be Portugal’s former capital, and is home to many unique historical sights.
In Coimbra you will find a well preserved medieval old town, the historic University of Coimbra with its baroque library, and countless striking churches, amongst which the 12th Century Romanesque cathedral Sé Velha.
Coimbra is also one of the best day trips from Porto by train, since there are over 28 trains running per day from Porto’s Campanha statin, which take only 1 hour 15 minutes.
That gives you the whole day to wander around Coimbra, taking in the gorgeous architecture and discovering the magical history of this city.
If you drive to Coimbra you can combine your visit with an additional stop in Buçaco National Forest or Aveiro on the way back.
That’s also what most tours do; combine Coimbra with some other iconic sight. Here are the most popular Coimbra tours.
Guided tour of the University and city of Coimbra: If you want to make your own way to Coimbra, but still want a local guide to teach you about the local history of the city, this tour is perfect for you.
From Porto: Aveiro & Coimbra Small Group Tour + River Cruise: Besides Coimbra, this popular tour will take you to explore also the unique town of Aveiro, and also take you on a traditional river cruise!
Fatima and Coimbra Full-Day Tour from Porto: This highly rated tour is a great option for the history lovers, since besides Coimbra it will take you to explore also Fatima.
Peneda-Gerês National Park
One of the most beautiful day trips from Porto is to Portugal’s only national park. It’s only about an hour and a half away (100 km), but there’s no public transport to get you around, so you’ll need your own wheels.
Although Peneda-Gerês would be better enjoyed staying overnight to have time to fully explore it, in a day you can see the main highlights.
Start with an easy walk down to the Rabagão river to see Misarela –the Devil’s bridge. If you want to keep the hiking light, then head to Pincães waterfall, or to Fecha de Barjas if you’d rather a more demanding trek.
The next stop should be Pedra Bela, arguably the most beautiful viewpoint of the park. Recharge energies with a stroll around the village of Gerês, and finish the day exploring a magnificent oak forest, the Mata da Albergaria.
Along the way you’ll see locals selling fruits, honey and –most importantly– the famous Portuguese Vinho Verde (green wine). Portugal is one of the best wine destinations around the world for a reason, so make sure you give it a try!
– by Coni from Experiencing the Globe
Being a bit of a complicated destination to reach alone, you will find loads of organised day trips to Peneda-Gerês from Porto. Here are some of the ones with best reviews.
From Porto: Hiking and Swimming in Gerês National Park: If you want to go beyond just hiking and sightseeing, this tour also includes swimming in some of the most beautiful spots of the national park!
Peneda-Gerês National Park: Kayak & Waterfall Trek w/Lunch: If you love a bit of adventure, this is the perfect tour for you! Why limit yourself to hiking and sightseeing, when you can also kayak and explore gorgeous waterfalls!
Sistelo is a small but beautiful village located in the north of Portugal in Arcos de Valdevez.
It is located 120km from Porto, easily reachable by car, taking 1h30 min. However, it is very hard to reach the village by public transportation, as it is quite a remote village near Peneda Geres National Park.
Sistelo was nicknamed “little Portuguese Tibet” due to its terraces spread all over the mountain. The terraces were created for agriculture purposes in order to optimize the few available arable lands. The scenery is simply breathtaking.
Besides enjoying the view and exploring the village and its castle, one of the coolest things to do is hiking Ecovia do Vez. Ecovia do Vez is a stunning hike that goes from Sistelo to another iconic village Arcos de Valdevez.
You will catch fantastic views of the terraces of Sistelo and be mesmerized by the beauty of the Vez River. With 32km the complete hike is quite long and impossible to do in one day, but you can always hike back to Sistelo or take a cab.
– by Claudia & Jorge from Travel Drafts
Discovering Sistelo – Hiking Tour: If you don’t feel like venturing into the Portuguese countryside and hiking alone, this tour is a great option since it will take you to both Sistelo and hiking!
Hiking in the Douro Valley
Sistelo and Peneda Geres National Park aren’t the only the only Porto day trip destinations for a day out in nature and epic hikes. Located approximately 100km from Porto, you will find the stunning Douro Valley.
The Douro is the same river that flows through Porto, and further upriver it’s home to some of the most famous vineyards in Portugal, as well as some incredibly scenic viewpoints.
The vineyards, green rolling hills and slow flowing river make for a beautiful hiking backdrop. Dotted all over the valley you will find some fun hiking trails of all lengths and difficulties.
Exactly where in the Douro Valley you need to go to will ultimately depend on the hike you want to do. The length of the journey will also change depending on that.
If you choose to do the same trail make sure to bring water and snacks with you, as there are no bars or restaurants close to the trailhead! It’s a tough trail, but the views are well worth it!
The easiest way to go hiking in the Douro Valley is to drive or join an organised tour from Porto. While there is public transport to the main towns in the valley, this won’t necessarily go to the smaller towns or trailheads.
If, like me, you don’t drive, then joining a tour is perfect. That way you can sit back and enjoy the view during the journey, and have a local guide take you exactly to the trailhead.
Some tours also include wine tasting after the hiking! Here are some of the most popular Douro Valley hiking tours.
Porto: Douro Valley Hiking Tour & Boat Cruise with Brunch: This tour is a great choice as it not only includes the transfer and hike, but also food and another Douro iconic activity; cruising on the river!
Valenca do Douro Walking Tour: If you want to do a tour focused only on hiking, this one is a great option.
Wine tour in the Douro Valley
If you’re looking to sample some famous Portuguese wine on your day trip from Porto, you definitely need to join a Douro Valley wine tour from Porto!
It’s one of the easiest and fun day trips from Porto, since all you need to do is sit back and relax as your guide drives you to several Douro vineyards and wineries.
The Douro Valley is Portugal’s most famous wine region, and there are countless wine estates (or “quintas”) for you to visit, but the great thing about joining a wine tour day trip is that you’ll get to visit a variety of them – from traditional quintas where the grapes are still picked by hand, to huge, commercial wineries supplying wine to countries all over the world!
On a Douro Valley wine tour you get to not only learn about and sample the world-famous wine produced here, but also visit some of the most beautiful viewpoints in the Douro.
– by Ella, author of Many More Maps
Here are some of the most popular Douro Valley wine tours. They have been trial and tested by countless travellers before you, so you know that they really are the best on the market!
From Porto: Douro Valley w/ Boat Tour, Wine Tasting & Lunch: This highly rated tour is the most popular wine tasting tour of the Douro Valley. With this tour you know you can’t go wrong!
Porto: Douro Valley Tour with Wine Tasting, Cruise & Lunch: This tour is very similar to the above, just with less reviews. If you’re visiting Portugal in summer, you might have to book this one if the most popular is full.
Best of Douro Valley – Douro Valley Wine Tour – Private Tour: If you’re going on this Porto day trip for a special occasion, you might want to do so on a private tour, instead of sharing with other people.
Where to stay for the best Porto day trips
For example, if you plan on spending some time also exploring Porto and will travel to your day trips by train, you should stay in the centre close to the bus and train stations.
Whilst if you plan on driving to all these destinations, you might be better off being slightly outside the centre of Porto, so that you won’t struggle with finding parking and in getting in and out of the city.
Either way, I have listed below some accommodation options for every budget and need.
Budget – Hotel Do Norte: The rooms in this hotel are a bit tiny, but when you look outside the window and see the azulejos of the Chapel of Souls you’ll easily forget that! And for the price, it’s a great bargain.
Mid-range – Vera Cruz Porto Downtown Hotel – This modern hotel is perfect for those who want something nice, without breaking the bank. Centrally located, it has an epic terrace with Porto views.
Luxury – Oporto Home – River Front: If you want to treat yourself, this wonderful apartment is the place to do so. The huge windows provide plenty of light, as well as epic views over the river and Porto.
What to pack for your best Porto day tours
Besides the usual travel essentials, I listed below some things you want to make sure you pack before heading off on these fun Porto outings!
Camera – Given how beautiful these Portuguese destinations are, you want to make sure you capture them in all their beauty!
Reusable water bottle – I always suggest bringing one of these. You save money and use less plastic, it’s a win all round!
Walking shoes – You will probably do a lot of walking in all of these day trip destinations, especially if you go hiking in the Douro Valley, so make sure you have comfortable shoes on hand!
Power bank – Especially if you’re driving to these places yourself, you’ll need your phone to map your way around, and probably to take photos. You don’t want it running out of battery half way through the day!
Do you need travel insurance for these Porto one day trips?
After my personal experience spending two nights in a private hospital in Tenerife, and having to pay for it out of pocket (it wasn’t cheap), I always recommend getting travel insurance.
You might not end up needing it, but for a small fee you can travel without worries. Personally, I suggest getting your travel insurance with Heymondo.
Heymondo offers tailor made travel insurance, providing the best value for money for your specific trip. You can also buy it once you’re already abroad and have forgotten about it before flying (which, if you’re anything like me, is quite likely).
Besides the usual cancellation, medical expenses, luggage coverage and general travel insurance services, Heymondo also has a 24/7 doctor chat and instant assistance through their app.
Plus, as a Greta’s Travels reader, you get 5% off your Heymondo travel insurance!
Final thoughts on the best day tours from Porto
There you have it, the ultimate compilation of the best Porto day trips! Have you been on a day trip from Porto? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!
During my Portugal itinerary I was able to visit many beautiful sights close to Porto.
However since the main focus of our itinerary were Lisbon, its surroundings (you can take lots of epic day trips also from Lisbon – such as Nazaré, Ericeira and Obidos), the Algarve and its beaches, I didn’t get to see as much of Porto’s surrounding as I would have liked.
Which is why, to put together this guide to the best day trips from Porto, I paired with other amazing travel bloggers who shared their experiences with you. The tips of multiple travel bloggers are better than one!
What I personally loved about Portugal is the variety. Even if you don’t go on a road trip and base yourself in Porto, you’ll still be able to see so much variety by going on these epic Porto day tours.
From the green vineyards of the Douro Valley to the history of the University and cathedrals of Coimbra, or from the ruins in Buçaco National Forest to the canals of Aveiro, there are interesting Porto day trips for every traveller.
I hope you have found this guide useful in planning your Porto day trips! If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments below!