There are so many things to do in Porto, Portugal that our list could be endless. However, we’ve decided to share only our very favorite things you could totally be doing on your visit to Porto. Whether you’re joining us on our Portugal trip or going at it alone make your next adventure one for the record books.
Be sure to go through the entire list, because the best ones aren’t necessarily at the very top. 😏
1. Take a Porto Walking Tour
As always I recommend that you start your trip off with a free walking tour of the city. This is great because you get a good overview of the area so you know what you may want to do and what to avoid before your trip really gets started.
We recommend joining Porto Walkers for your tour: https://www.portowalkers.pt/
2. Take a walk along the water
Obviously part of Porto’s charm is its location on the Douro River which will, in turn, take you to the Douro Valley or the Atlantic ocean. Make sure to give the Douro river a walk. If I were you I would block out a whole afternoon and see how far west or east you can go on foot before turning home.
3. Take a break from wine for a cocktail at Royal Cocktail Bar
There’s plenty of wine in Porto. Odds are you probably want to visit Porto because of this. But anyone that likes a good adult bev knows that you need a break from wine every now and again to enjoy a fine cocktail. The Royal Cocktail bar is the place to go!
Trust us, this place makes the best cocktails in town and you will be thanking us later. There is no bad cocktail here so get whatever kind of liquor you enjoy most.
Where to find it: Rua da Fábrica 105, 4050-247 Porto, Portugal
4. Enjoy breakfast or lunch at BOP Café
Caroline and I discovered this place one gloomy weekend morning when we were craving a good hearty (dare I say American-style) breakfast. Perhaps our inner American was showing or something.
What we ended up getting was perhaps one of the best breakfast spreads of my life that was your classic breakfast you’d get in the states with unique spins that clearly translated into deliciousness.
That unique spin being prosciutto bacon. OMG. We went back three times. 🤷♂️
The kicker? Not only is the restaurant themed around records, but they also switch the records out from their wall of what could only be hundreds of records every so often while you dine.
5. Enjoy a wine tasting from our friend Rafael
If you join us on our Portugal trip you’ll be seeing plenty of this guy. We have partnered with him to host one hell of a wine trip here in Portugal. He makes wine tastings fun and an environment where you’ll actually learn something.
You can find his wine tasting here
6. Order the Francesinha
Oh my, the Francesinha. It’s perhaps one of the most iconic Porto specific menu items. Have a heart condition? Afraid of clogging up your arteries?
Well then stay far away because this dish is going to leave you the good kind of hurt.
This dish has ham, sausage and steak basking in a tomato sauce and shielded by the most delicious melted cheese. I have to say, it’s quite the meal and you must try it once.
Where we tried it: Restaurante Arco Iris
7. Explore the Douro Valley
A Unesco World Heritage site since 2001, it’s hard to go to Porto and not explore the Douro Valley. It’s the producer of the Port wines that this region is known for. Whether you take a boat ride or van ride to the Douro region, be sure to have time to take in the valley. This is typically a day trip.
8. Visit Livraria Lello
I have to be honest, we don’t visit this library just because the lines are so very long.
It’s what some may say, overrun with tourists. If you are a Harry Potter fan then this is a MUST. It’s a beautiful library, but not worth waiting in a line that could be hours long.
9. Get the espresso, not drip coffee
Okay, this isn’t groundbreaking but when in Porto it’s not the place to get drip coffee. Espresso is the go-to coffee drink and so try it out if you’re used to the more Americanized drip coffee back home.
Be warned though, once you go espresso it’s hard to go back.
10. Spend a day for the shops
Porto is filled with a bunch of small locally ran and some not so locally ran shops.
Put on your absolute best walking shoes and get ready for a day filled with ups and downs literally. It’s worth it though to see all the fun shops in various corners of this beautiful city.
PRO TIP: Try to choose a day where it may be overcast or not super hot. Going up and down hills can really ware on you so it’s best to get your walk on when it’s tame outside.
11. Try Port wine
Port wine is a Portuguese thing. You HAVE to try it. Port wine is known for being a sweeter wine that is made from many varieties of Portugues specific grapes. It is often served as a dessert wine.
If you want to learn more about Port wine I suggest reading this article.
12. See the azulejo tiles of the São Bento train station
All-around you will see azulejo tiles. The São Bento train station is a great place to see these up close.
13. Get dressed up and go have a photoshoot around the city
Porto is 100% photogenic. Sometimes it feels as if it is a city built out of a storybook.
Every alleyway, river walk, and cafe stop is picturesque.
If you’re looking for a great date activity to do with your partner, I would recommend booking an Airbnb photoshoot and wear something nice and let the photographer get you and your partner’s best side in this beautiful city.
Selfies are so overrated anyway. 😉
14. Go for a run 😂 🏃♀️
I put this on the list because I thought it’d be a fun challenge for those that are runners.
Porto is a city not for the faint of heart. Most of the city is on an incline so going for a morning run may well be a challenge. If you are an active person this will be a fun challenge to take on.
If you do end up running, please send us a message with how many miles (or kilometers) you ran and your route we’d love to hear from you!
15. Eat a Pastéis de Nata
One of my fondest memories of our first time in Porto was checking into our Airbnb only to find a batch of fresh Nata’s from the downstairs bakery and espresso pods waiting for us in the kitchen. I’m a pastry addict and the moment I bit into one of these I think I cried a little from pure joy.
These fluffy buttery layered pastries are filled with an egg custard that, if done right, is the perfect sweet creamy taste you’ve always dreamed of.
As I was writing this article, I tried making my own. Trust me, leave it to the experts in Porto!
My suggestion is to get them from São Jorge Padaria e Pastelaria (St. George Bakery and Pastry). It may be a little hike from downtown Porto, but these are fairly priced and quite delicious. Try to avoid the over-hyped tourist nata traps.
16. Have a Portuguese Hotdog or two, or three
There are few things more beautiful and delicious than a Portuguese hotdog. Made of what I believe to be the most delicious sausage ever, garlic, butter, and cheese, you would think this is just like any other dog. BUT YOU ARE WRONG.
I had a few too many and ended up trying to make them in the states when I got home. While they were never as garlicky and buttery as the ones in Porto, they scratched my hearty meal affliction.
17. Walk the Luís I Bridge
It’s nearly impossible to go to Porto and not walk the Luís I Bridge. It’s the epicenter that separates the city so you’ll have to take it at some point. It’s silly how beautiful Porto is and being on the bridge gives you one of the best (read: free) views of the city’s riverside.
PS… Caroline is going to kill me for using this photo.
18. See the street performer man with chickens
I can’t help myself. This is one of my favorite quirky parts of Porto. This man with a few chickens dancing to his music.
I honestly have a range of emotions when I stand and listen to this man play. Since witnessing this I have gone down the rabbit hole to try and discover what his story is. What led him to do this? Why? What is the unique look in his eye as he performs each day?
It’s one of those mysteries I think is better kept a mystery.
20. Eat a Casa Guedes Pork Sandwich
I’m not sure you can get more authentically Porto than with a Casa Guedes sandwich. If you’re going there don’t get intimidated by the long line, it moves pretty quick.
Their original location is a small shop so be ready to order, take your number and then wait outside for your sandwiches.
21. Give Tripe a chance
Okay, just stick with me here. So Portugal holds no reservations for not being the vegetarian capital of the world. In-fact pork and meat run through this country’s heritage. So what better place to push the bounds of your meat-eating experiences than to venture into some of the lesser tried products like Tripe.
For the uninitiated, it’s stomach lining. How did I try it? In a tripe stew of course. If you’re given the opportunity, give it a try because food after all is the portal into any true travel experience.
22. Join us for an adventure
I know what you’re saying, Ian why do I need you?
Well to have a good time in Porto you most certainly do not need me. But to have a great time, I think you might.
If you’re looking to take your trip to the next level and explore not only the other side of Porto with our friend Rafael, but also learn wine by joining us in harvesting grapes in north Portugal you’ll want to ponder joining us on our trip.