Colorful Porto: Discover Porto in three days! Photographer and blogger Marion Payr from thetravelblog.at flew with LEVEL to the magical city in northern Portugal. For flylevel.blog she created her personal 3 day guide.
3 days in colorful Porto
May is the perfect month to visit Portugal’s second largest city – colorful, eclectic Porto. We spent 3 days in the picturesque city with it’s myriads of tiles, narrow alleys and countless seagulls. In this blogpost we share what’s there to see, do and taste during a 3 day visit in Porto.
No Porto visit is complete without chasing tiles – as seen here on the wonderful Capela das Almas.
Our itinerary for 3 days in Porto
We dedicated our 3 days to 3 very different explorations of Porto.
We spent the first day in the city exploring our neighbourhood – the Ribeira and Se districts with all their staircases leading up to countless lookout spots over the city, called “Miradouros” in Portugal. We saw the most important sights within walking distance, from churches to cathedrals and of course all the tiles!
The second day was a Tuesday and therefore we could experience a local Fado night in a small bar at the river banks of the river Douro. Before this very authentic experience we researched some of the city’s best shopping and food – like the “Francescinha”, a local specialty.
And the third day brought us to the other side of the city. After crossing the Luís I bridge we strolled around “Vila Nova de Gaia” between all the local Port wine manufactures. And of course we also attended one of the imperative tours of a Port winery (including a tasting). The highlight was a sunset sailing cruise from the marina in Afurada all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and back.
But let us share our full 3 day Porto itinerary in more detail now.
Day 1 in Porto
After taking an early flight to the city check into your hotel or guesthouse. We stayed at the “Casa dos Lóios Boutique Guesthouse”, which has the perfect central location and small, but beautiful rooms with modern amenities and antiquities, that add to the local flair.
After check in we recommend to grab lunch in the neighbourhood. We tested the local vegetarian restaurant called “Da Terra”, which offers a lunch buffet with many different options from salads to quiches, olive tapenade and homemade bread.
Then it’s time to walk around the Ribeira and Sé districts, which are both boasting with the most important sights of the city – plus incredible views of the Douro river and across the other side to the wineries of Vila Nova de Gaia (which we will also visit on Day 3).
Things to see during day 1:
Miradouro da Vitoria
Miradouro da Rua das Aldas
Sé do Porto
Igreja do Carmo
Porto Sao Bento Train Station
Capela das Almas
Igreja Paroquial de Santo Ildefonso
Here is the complete list of sights for day 1 that you can copy and paste into your itinerary:
- Miradouro da Vitoria, R. de São Bento da Vitória 11, 4050-292 Porto, Portugal
- Miradouro da Rua das Aldas, R. das Aldas 1, 4050-026 Porto, Portugal
- Sé do Porto, Terreiro da Sé, 4050-573 Porto, Portugal
- Kirche von Carmo, R. do Carmo, 4050-164 Porto, Portugal
- Porto Sao Bento Bahnhof, Praça Almeida Garrett, 4000-069 Porto, Portugal
- Capela das Almas, Rua de Santa Catarina 428, 4000-124 Porto, Portugal
- Pfarrkirche Santo Ildefonso, R. de Santo Ildefonso 11, 4000-542 Porto, Portugal
After a sunset from one of the Miradouros (we recommend the one up at the Sé do Porto) you can sit down for dinner in one of the many restaurants in the neighbourhood. We really loved “Portugues de Gema” and “Faiz” restaurant.
Day 2 in Porto
One of the first things we did at Day 2 in Porto was to climb up the (super narrow) spiral staircase at the city’s landmark “Torre dos Clérigos”. Once we made it to the top we enjoyed a 360 degree panorama of Porto. Be aware, that this isn’t for people who are afraid of heights or narrow spaces, as the staircase is quite adventurous. The view makes it worth the climb though!
After this we decided that it was time to shop for some local handcrafts and souvenirs. Luckily there are many options right in the vicinity of the Torre dos Clérigos – the most impressive being “A Vida Portuguesa” with a wonderful selection of Portuguese delicacies and handcrafts from tiles to fabrics and wood carved objects.
A Vida Portuguesa Souvenir Shop
If you prefer a more modern take on Souvenirs we recommend bringing locally manufactured linen wear from “Mr. Wood” or woolen products from “Burel Mountain Originals”.
Mr. Mood Linenwear, handmade in Portugal
No Porto visit would be complete without trying out the local trademark dish called “Franceshina”. This cheese sandwich is usually filled with plenty of meat, but luckily the folks at “Lado B” had the glorious idea to offer a vegetarian version with tofu sausages. It’s a seriously hearty and calory-rich dish, that you probably either love or hate – we definitely loved it!
After our “light” lunch we made our way to the famous “Majestic Café”, which is just minutes away from Lado B. Here you can get the obligatory fix of “Pastel de Nata” and a cup of coffee in decadent style. People watching is a must here (just bear in mind, that you might have to stand in line to get in – that’s how popular it is).
In the afternoon we recommend to check out the “Jardin de palacio cristal”, which offers wonderful views of the city and lush gardens filled with fountains, ponds and roses and the occasional peacock wandering around in between.From here on you can go for some more shopping, as there are a quite a handful of interesting design and popup stores in the vicinity. We especially recommend “Earlyday” with it’s very current selection of upcoming designer clothes.
Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
If it’s a Tuesday (like it was for us) you’re now in for a treat. Take an Uber (or taxi if you will) to go to the small bar called “Adega Rio Douro” at the banks of the Douro river. Every Tuesday this little bar becomes a hotspot for locals (especially for the elder generation) to meet up for an evening of Fado, the world renown melancholic music (originally coming from Lisbon). Our tip: Come early around 5pm, order a wine at the bar and grab a seat inside for the best way to experience the music & atmosphere.
Fado Night im Adega Rio Douro Porto
Just before the sun sets you should now travel over the bridge to get to the marina of “Alfurada”, the fishermen’s village just across the river. From here on you can enjoy a sunset sailing tour, that brings you all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and back, drinks and a snacks included. We booked our tour with a small local company called “Rodani” and loved the personal service of Tomaz and his wife on the boat. Our tip: Bring a light jacket and scarf, because it does get cold once you’re out on the ocean.
After this wonderful experience you can enjoy dinner back in the city or go to bed directly, because the snacks on the boat are quite plentiful. If you opt for dinner we can highly recommend “Raiz” – especially the upstairs dining room is lovely.
Day 3 in Porto
Our last day in Porto was dedicated to the other side of the river. Once you crossed the Douro river you’re technically not in Porto anymore, but that doesn’t stop anyone from a visit. Here you can get a taste of the famous Port wine, which originates from this part of the city called “Vila Nova de Gaia”. There are countless wineries lined up next to each other here, so it’s not easy to choose where to take a tour and try out a couple of the wines.
We ended up choosing a tour of “Croft” including 3 different Port wines to taste and can absolutely recommend it.
In this short tour you’ll learn the basics about Port wine and see with your own eyes how they are still stored the old school way in huge wooden barrels. We promise you’ll go home with at least one bottle as a souvenir 😉
Port wine tasting at the “Croft” in the Vila Nova de Gaia
If you already crossed the river you can either rent bikes and discover the fishing village of Alfurada (with it’s fabulous open air laundry)
Experience local life in Afurada
or walk around the neighbourhood until you reach the lookout spot up at the “Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar”.
Enjoy the view of Porto from “Miradouro da Serra do Pilar”
If you’re too tired to walk uphill all the time we recommend to take the cable car “Teleférico de Gaia” from the riverside station called “Estação Cais de Gaia”. You’ll thank us later! (This city does have many many stairs…) 🙂
Thanks to LEVEL for bringing us to Porto!