After Lisbon, Porto is the second biggest city in Portugal. With its unique architecture, epic views and delicious cuisine, it’s one of the most visited destinations in Portugal, and it’s easy to see why.
If you’re planning to spend one day in Porto, this Porto itinerary is perfect for you! I have outlined all the best things to do in Porto in one day, including a walking itinerary to maximise your time in the city.
This Porto 1-day itinerary also includes information on all the best places to eat in Porto, where to stay in Porto, how to get around the city and more.
So without further ado, let’s dive in and discover how to spend one incredible day in Porto!
- 1 Do you need travel insurance for one day in Porto?
- 2 How to get around Porto
- 3 Great tours for one day in Porto
- 4 1 day in Porto – detailed Porto itinerary
- 4.1 Chapel of Souls
- 4.2 Igreja de Santo Ildefonso
- 4.3 Sao Bento Station
- 4.4 Igreja dos Clerigos
- 4.5 Livraria Lello
- 4.6 Igreja do Carmo & Igreja dos Carmelitas
- 4.7 Jardins do Palacio de Cristal
- 4.8 Miradouro da Vitoria
- 4.9 Rooftop Flores
- 4.10 Porto Cathedral
- 4.11 Explore Ribeira neighbourhood
- 4.12 Do a Douro River cruise
- 4.13 Kittie Rock viewpoint for sunset
- 4.14 Porto by night!
- 5 Is one day in Porto enough?
- 6 Where to stay in Porto
- 7 What to pack for your 1 day in Porto
Do you need travel insurance for one day in Porto?
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!
How to get around Porto
Despite being the second largest city in Portugal, the historical centre of Porto is fairly small. All the attractions in this Porto 1-day itinerary are within easy walking distance of each other.
One thing to bear in mind however is that Porto is a very hilly city, so even though two places might seem very close, there might be a steep uphill or downhill street to get there.
Uber is very affordable, especially if you’re travelling with friends or as a family. Some rides are so cheap it works out cheaper to split an Uber than getting public transport!
Great tours for one day in Porto
As already mentioned Porto is a fairly small city, which you’ll easily be able to walk around and see most of in one day. However if you want to make sure you tick everything off, while also having a great time, you might want to do a tour.
There are lots of great tours that you can do in Porto, both sightseeing tours that will take you to see all the main attractions as well as unique experiences you don’t want to miss.
I listed below some of the most popular and highly rated tours in Porto.
Porto City Highlights 3-Hour Guided Electric Bike Tour – Discover all the most beautiful spots in Porto by bike (they’re electric bikes as well, so they won’t be too tiring)!
Porto: Guided Historical Centre Tuk Tuk Tour – If you don’t want to cycle, this tour is perfect to save energy and still all the beauties of the historical centre of Porto!
Porto Historical Centre Walking Tour – A classic walking tour, where you will learn the history of this gorgeous city.
Porto: Delicious Food and Wine Walking Tour – Because visiting a city is good, but learning about it while tasting the delicious local cuisine is better!
1 day in Porto – detailed Porto itinerary
This Porto 1-day itinerary starts at the Chapel of Souls, as the hotel we were staying at is right next to it. It then follows a walking route that will optimise the ups and downs around the city.
Not going to lie, it’s still a pretty packed Porto itinerary. So get your walking shoes ready, and let’s discover everything that Porto has to offer in one day!
Chapel of Souls
I couldn’t help but start this Porto itinerary with the Chapel of Souls. You might recognise this church from the huge amount of photos that have flooded the Internet in recent years.
The entire exterior of the Chapel of Souls is formed by azulejos, the traditional Portuguese white and blue tiles. The ones on this church display scenes from the lives of saints.
The amount of detail and the beauty of the azulejos tiles will leave you speechless. You can also visit the interior of the chapel if you want to learn more about it, although personally I found the exterior more captivating.
Igreja de Santo Ildefonso
From the Chapel of Souls you can easily walk over the Igreja de Santo Ildefonso. The quickest road there is through Rua de Santa Catarina, a popular shopping street with lots of bars, shops and pastelarias.
Once you reach Igreja de Santo Ildefonso you will be amazed once again by the stunning azulejos façade.
Completed in 1739, it was built in a proto-Baroque style with the azulejo tilework added in 1932 by Italian artist Nicolau Nasoni. From here you also get a great view all the way to Igreja dos Clerigos, one of your next stops.
Sao Bento Station
After visiting Sao Bento Station you will probably be unable to travel by train ever again. No other train station will ever quite live up to it, and I’m only slightly exaggerating.
The exterior doesn’t give anything away, with the true gem hidden in the interior. Built at the start of the 1900s, Sao Bento Station is home to a giant azulejo mural depicting important moments in Portuguese history.
Add to that multi-coloured panels showing rural scenes of various regions, tall arched doors and a white decorated ceiling, and you’ll understand why I added a train station to this Porto city itinerary.
Igreja dos Clerigos
The Igreja dos Clerigos is a Baroque church. It’s the church that you could see from Igreja de Santo Ildefonso, perched on top of a hill and towering over the roofs of Porto.
It’s especially famous for its tall bell tower, the Torre dos Clerigos, which can be seen from almost everywhere in the city and is considered one of the most characteristic symbols of Porto.
You can climb the bell tower for 6 EUR, and enjoy the spectacular views over Porto. It’s open every day between 9:30AM and 5:30PM, and you can purchase tickets online.
This gorgeous library is famous for more than one reason. Established in 1869 (although at the time with a different name) Livraria Lello is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal, and amongst the most beautiful in the world.
The architecture is a mixture of Neo-Gothic and Art Noveau for the exterior, with implied Art Deco elements in the interior. With its colourful skylight and impressive wooden staircase, it feels like stepping in another time.
Besides its beauty, it has become famous more recently for its connection to Harry Potter. They say this bookstore was one of JK Rowling’s inspirations while writing Harry Potter.
I thought it was funny that of all the attractions in this Porto itinerary, Livraria Lello is the only one where we found a queue, and a pretty huge one too!
You need to purchase a 5 EUR ticket online to access the library, which you can then be put towards a book purchase. For the Harry Potter fans, you can also do a Harry Potter inspiration tour!
Igreja do Carmo & Igreja dos Carmelitas
A short walk away from Livraria Lello you will find Igreja do Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas (I promise we’re at the last churches of this Porto itinerary)! Igreja do Carmo is also a Baroque church, famous for its side façade of azulejos.
Besides the azulejos tiles, it’s a noteworthy spot because the two churches are almost exactly side by side, separated only by a narrow 1-metre wide house, known as Casa Escondida.
Access to the church is free, but you will have to pay a fee to enter the museum, catacombs and Casa Escondida.
Jardins do Palacio de Cristal
After so much sightseeing, you might want a break from the city for a moment. In that case, you can head over to Jardins do Palacio de Cristal, a landscaped garden designed in the 19th century with lovely paths and fountains.
You can wander around the gardens for a bit, enjoy the views over the Douro River, sit in the shade and relax before continuing your Porto itinerary.
Miradouro da Vitoria
This viewpoint might not be as fancy as others, as it’s just a fairly bare square, but the views are awesome. From here you can see Porto Cathedral, Ponte Luis and many other iconic sights.
You will get some very picturesque views over the red rooftops of Porto, with the Baroque facades of the churches towering above them.
I loved this viewpoint also because it wasn’t very busy, and you can relax while taking in the view.
As you walk from Miradouro da Vitoria to Porto Cathedral you will come across a bar called Rooftop Flores. The entrance door is quite small and anonymous, don’t make the same mistake we almost did and walk straight ahead!
This lovely bar has only a couple rows of tables with deck chairs, with an incredible view overlooking the rooftops of Porto. After walking around all day you can take a break, taste a pastel de nata and relax while enjoying the view.
Given the view, we were afraid prices would be astronomical but they were actually very sensible. For example one pastel de nata cost us 1.50 EUR, similar to prices at other pastelarias in Portugal.
The Porto Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Church located in the historical centre of Porto. It’s one of the oldest monuments of the city, and an important local Romanesque monument.
It’s open every day from 9AM to 5:30PM (6:30PM in summer) and it costs 3 EUR to enter the cloisters, whilst the cathedral itself is free.
Even if you only have one day in Porto, you can easily squeeze in some time to visit the beautiful interior of this cathedral. From outside the cathedral you will also get some stunning views over Porto and the Douro River.
Explore Ribeira neighbourhood
Ribeira is Porto’s riverside quarter, and one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods. It’s characterised by narrow and cobbled streets, lined with small bars and classic Portuguese eateries.
Cais da Ribeira, the waterfront street, is one of the main spots that you have to see.
From here you can walk along the river with colourful 18th century townhouses on one side, the famous Ponte Luis ahead and tons of traditional Portuguese cafes to chose from.
However I also enjoyed getting lost amongst the smaller side streets. We walked down to Cais da Ribeira from Porto Cathedral, and found ourselves wandering around the most picturesque Ribeira streets.
Do a Douro River cruise
After so much walking around and so many churches, you probably want to see something a little different. Why not go for a Douro River cruise and experience Porto from a different perspective?
As you explore Cais da Ribeira you will see many boats anchored along the docks, offering tours on the river. For the ultimate Porto experience, make sure to tour in a typical Rabelo boat.
These cruises usually last around a couple hours, and will take you to see the six bridges of Porto. You can admire the architecture of the bridges and colourful townhouses, while sipping on your port wine tasting.
Kittie Rock viewpoint for sunset
As you approach the end of the day, I couldn’t help but add a sunset viewpoint to end the day. You’ve probably realised by now how much I love a good viewpoint, add to that a sunset, and you can sign me up!
Most people head to Miradouro da Ribeira for a view of Porto, the iconic Ponte Luis and the Douro River.
While I’m sure the view from here is nice, as we were walking along the bridge we saw the huge crowd gathered there for sunset and decided to find somewhere quieter.
That’s how we found Kittie Rock. Kittie Rock probably isn’t its official name, but it’s what it has been nicknamed online thanks to the nearby cat colony. You will find it if you search for “kittie rock point” on Google Maps.
Just walk left off Ponte Luis and along Rua do Casino da Ponte, below the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar. You will walk along a dirt road with several spots that could be viewpoints, but keep heading for the huge rock at the end.
There are a couple of planks and a rope to help you climb on top. It’s a bit of a wild spot, but with considerably less people and gorgeous views of Porto. It’s the perfect place to sit, relax and take in the sunset.
Porto by night!
Once the sun goes down, it’s time to enjoy a bit of Porto nightlife! Porto is a very young and lively city, with lots of things going on every night of the week, especially in summer when there are many tourists.
If you head back to Ribeira or the riverside you will find loads of restaurants and bars. Here you can find restaurants for every taste and budget, where you can eat both local Portuguese food and foreign delicacies.
Of course, no visit to Porto would be complete without trying some Porto! Port wine is very local of the Douro Valley, and you will find pretty much all the restaurants have it on the menu.
You can also do a port tasting at one of the many historical port houses along the river. You could also do a night tour of Porto, which usually includes dinner, port wine tasting and even a traditional fado show!
After dinner you can walk along the river, enjoying the colourful city lights reflected in the water, a simply magical ending to your day!
Is one day in Porto enough?
While the locals will always say that one day is never enough to see a city, I found that one day in Porto is enough to see all the main attractions and get a vibe for this beautiful Portuguese city.
If you’re spending longer in Portugal this is also a good option, as it gives you more time to really experience the Porto atmosphere by night, but also without spending too many days in Porto and still seeing other places in Portugal.
This Porto walking itinerary is the exact route that I followed when I explored Porto in one day. It’s a tight itinerary with lots of walking, but it will allow you to see everything Porto has to offer in one day.
Where to stay in Porto
Even if you’re only spending one day in Porto, you will likely be spending a night there either before or after your adventuring.
Or if you’re using Porto as a base to explore the area like we did, you’ll want a nice base in the city to relax after all the driving. I listed below some great places to stay in Porto for every budget.
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 night, 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 1 day in Porto
Like most cities, in Porto you will find loads of shops selling pretty much anything you need in case you were to forget something. However, besides the usual travel essentials, here are a couple things I recommend you pack!
Comfortable walking shoes – Along with my Sintra day trip, this day in Porto is one of the days I walked the most in Portugal. You want to be sure you have comfortable enough shoes for all the walking in this itinerary!
Power bank – While you’ll want to live in the moment when you’re exploring Porto, you’ll still need your phone to map your way around the city or to take photos. You don’t want it running out of battery half way through the day!
Camera – If you want to capture the best Porto memories, make sure to bring a good camera along with you!
Final thoughts on this Porto 1-day itinerary
There you have it, the ultimate Porto itinerary! If you’re looking to spend one day in Porto, this Porto 1-day itinerary and walking route will take you to all the highlights of the city.
With its beautiful churches with azulejos façades, the gorgeous viewpoints and picturesque streets, Porto is a must-see on any Portugal itinerary. The city itself has plenty to offer, as well being great for day trips.
Many travellers only stay in Lisbon, and go on day trips from Lisbon to places like Nazaré, Evora, Obidos or Ericeira, but not making it out of Lisbon and exploring Porto and the north of Portugal is a mistake in my opinion.
I hope you find this Porto itinerary useful in planning your day in Porto! If you have any questions about Porto just let me know in the comments below!
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