3 days in Porto is the perfect number of days to explore this underrated city in Portugal.
I enjoyed my time in Porto, which more than exceeded my expectations. I was surprised by how many things to do in Porto there are and how beautiful the city is.
You can check out the amazing Porto Cathedral, the beautiful tiles inside São Bento Station, and sail down the Douro River admiring the six bridges in the city.
This Porto itinerary will show you all the best places you have to visit, where to stay, what to do and give you many more tips to make the most out of your trip!
Keep scrolling to discover how to visit Porto in 3 days and have a brilliant time!
Table of Contents
3 Days in Porto Itinerary
My Experience in Porto
I was excited to visit Porto, as it’s been a city I’ve wanted to visit for a while. I was expecting a smallish city with a few things to see and do.
Well, when I got to Porto, I realised the city is much bigger than I thought and there is a lot to do here. especially if you include the wider region.
Another thing I wasn’t prepared for was the sheer number of tourists in the city. I visited during the middle of September so wasn’t expecting big crowds. But the city was rammed.
It’s a much more popular destination than I thought and after spending 3 days there I can see why.
Porto has plenty of attractions, with stunning churches, beautiful bridges and even beaches, which you can get to via the metro.
It’s a gritty city, there are a lot of derelict buildings, even in the city centre. But I felt they only added to the character of the city rather than diminished it.
I did find it odd why so many buildings were falling apart or not used, but it didn’t feel like the city was trashy or anything like that. More full of character.
Porto is the perfect city break, you won’t get bored if you spend a long weekend. In fact, you probably won’t want your trip to end!
Here are a few things I liked about Porto and a few things I didn’t during my trip:
- There’s a lot to do in Porto. You can do most of it in three days, but I did struggle to fit everything in, although that’s probably because I was walking between places. You won’t run out of things to do here!
- If you’re travelling solo, Porto is a safe city. I walked the 3 km from the bus station to my hostel with a 55L backpack at night and never felt in danger. I wouldn’t advise everyone to do this, but I never felt unsafe in the city during the day or at night.
- Porto is perfect for a budget trip as it’s not too expensive. Accommodation is likely to be the biggest expense, everything else is reasonably priced.
- Porto is a hilly city, which makes it a challenge to get around. There’s no way of avoiding the hills as a lot of the main attractions, such as Sao Bento Cathedral are on hills. I’m fit so it wasn’t a big issue, but climbing the hills in the heat was tough and I would try and use the metro as much as you can if it’s hot.
- I didn’t mind the derelict buildings, some of them were fun to explore down by the Douro River, but not everyone will feel the same way as me. It’s confusing why so many buildings are empty when the city is booming but don’t let it affect your trip too much.
- If you visit during the summer, the city is going to be heaving. I was shocked by how busy it was in September so I can only imagine what it’s like during the height of summer. Consider visiting in shoulder seasons to avoid the crowds!
What to do in Porto in 3 Days
You won’t struggle to find things to do in Porto. It’s one of the biggest cities in Portugal and there are so many things to see in the historic city center as well as outside of it.
If you’re unsure about what to do in Porto, I’ve listed a few things below that you have to see while you’re in the city and some of the best tours you should do.
You should also consider getting a Porto Card before you visit. You can choose to get one for 1 to 4 days and it gives you unlimited access to the public transport system, free entry to over seven museums and attractions as well as up to 50% discounts at other attractions.
If you’re on a budget, it’s good to get because it will save you money, especially on public transport which can add up during your trip.
- Porto Cathedral – One of the most beautiful buildings in the city. This is a must while you’re in Porto as it’s a stunning building and the views from the square it’s on are spectacular too!
- São Bento train station – The tiles depicting the history of Portugal inside this train station are the reason to visit so you can admire their beauty!
- Bridges – There are six bridges that span the Douro River in Porto. Luis I Bridge is the best of the lot in my opinion. But you should make sure you see as many of them as possible, which you can do on a river cruise!
- Igreja dos Clérigos – One of the most recognisable buildings in Porto, this church is amazing. Plus, there are some excellent views of the surrounding area from the nearby tower too!
Porto Itinerary – Day 1
One of the things I like to do when I get to a new city is drop off my luggage at my accommodation and head off for a wander.
I don’t have a destination in mind and just see where I end up. This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so it’s probably better to do a walking tour if you want to explore the city.
Porto is a bigger city than I thought with a lot of hills, so it’s not the ideal place to go wandering in without an idea of where you’re going.
Booking a walking tour is a great way to get a feel for Porto, find out where everything is, and learn about the city too!
Porto Cathedral is one of the most famous landmarks in Porto and it dominates the city skyline.
It’s not far from the Douro River, although you will have to walk up a steep hill to get there unless you take the metro to Sao Bento station. The building itself is impressive and beautiful.
The cathedral is stunning from the outside and from the inside. I’d take some time to walk around and take everything in because the cathedral really is amazing.
The square outside the cathedral offers some fantastic views of the city too. One interesting thing to note is that the column in the middle of the square marks the spot where criminals used to be hanged in the city.
It’s an interesting fact and a little disconcerting considering the the beauty of the building behind the column.
São Bento Train Station
Just a short walk from the cathedral is São Bento train station, which is the main station in central Porto.
While that might not sound like a reason to visit, and it isn’t, the reason you should check it out is what’s inside one of the most beautiful train stations in Portugal.
Inside, you’ll find ceramic tiles depicting the history of Portugal.
Portugal is famous for its tiles and the way they are used in the train station is fantastic! The images are fascinating and it’s fun to wander around the station and see the various stages in Portugal’s history.
Bear in mind, it gets busy in the station, so unless you visit early in the morning you’ll be grappling with lots of people to get a look at the tiles!
Port wine is the most famous drink from Portugal and it’s produced in the nearby Douro Valley, Porto is the perfect place to try it!
You can take a day trip to the Douro Valley, but this is better left for another day. Instead, you can tour one of the numerous cellars in the city.
This is a good way to learn about the history of Port as well as sampling some yourself.
Booking a tour is a great way to end the first day of your 3 day Porto itinerary and experience some of the local culture drinking wine and more in a beautiful spot!
Porto Itinerary – Day 2
Downtown Porto (Baixa and Bolhao)
The downtown area of Porto is lovely and one of the best places to explore while you’re in the city.
The limits of the downtown area aren’t formally marked out but it includes the Baixa, Bolhao and Cordoaria.
You can walk around these areas without too much difficulty, although there are a few hills involved.
Some of the streets you should check out are Rua de Santa Catarina in Bolhao near the market, which is Porto’s main shopping street.
There’s also Rua de Cedofeita as well as Avenida dos Aliados where you’ll find the impressive town hall building.
Walk Across Dom Luis I Bridge
I love bridges!
Luckily for me, Porto has six of them. But the best one is Dom Luis I, the bridge connects Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia.
It’s an impressive structure and you have two options to walk across you can either walk along the bottom, or you can walk along the top.
The views are better from the top, but there is a tram that goes across the top too. I liked both routes and it’s the perfect place to get a snap of the city!
You can also do a boat tour of the six bridges in the city, which is worth doing if you like bridges as much as I do!
Igreja dos Clérigos
Igreja dos Clérigos is one of the most famous churches in Porto and one you have to check out.
The church was built in the Baroque style and features a 75-metre-high bell tower, which you can climb.
Clérigos Tower is the main reason to visit the church, as the 225 steps to the top offer amazing panoramic views of the city.
The inside of the church is impressive too and shouldn’t be neglected. Make sure you check out the tower and the inside of the church when you visit!
Estádio do Dragão
If you’re not a football fan you can skip this one. I’ve included it because I love football and think it’s a cool place to visit if you like sports.
The Estádio do Dragão is the home of FC Porto, one of the biggest teams in Portugal, and two-time winners of the European Cup.
The stadium is close to Campanhã and is easy to reach on the metro as it has its own stop. You can do a stadium tour and visit the museum, which is well worth doing.
You’ll learn about the history of the club and get to see the stadium up close. If you visit while there’s a match on, you can take in the spectacle and enjoy a game of football during your Porto trip!
Porto Itinerary – Day 3
The third day of the last of your 3 days in Porto starts with checking out the Ribeira area of the city.
This is where I stayed and it’s a lively place with a lot to see and do.
It’s right by the Douro River and there are plenty of colourful houses by the riverbank, which form part of Historic Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the old town.
There are also lots of narrow cobbled streets in the interior of the neighbourhood, which you have to explore. They’re hilly, but you’ll find cute cafes and restaurants here, as well as some stunning viewpoints.
Ribeira is also lively at night and is a great place to get something to eat and have a few drinks as the sun sets.
Mercado Bom Sucesso
Mercado Bom Sucesso is one of the main markets in Porto and is the perfect place to visit for a browse and some lunch.
It’s a bit of a walk from the city centre, but it’s not too far and you can always take the metro there too.
When you get there, you’ll find a decent-sized market with a lot of places to eat. There’s almost every type of food here and you can get pastel de nata, the famous Portuguese snack here too!
It’s a good place to go for lunch and there’s also Rotunda da Boavista around the corner, which has a huge monument in the middle of it.
Matosinhos Beach is one of the main beaches in Porto and the perfect place to visit on a sunny day.
I’ve included it here, as you can do the first two things and then spend the rest of the day at the beach.
It’s outside of the city centre, but you can take the tram to get there, which stops at Matosinshos Sur, and it’s only a short walk to the beach from there.
It’s a big beach, so there’s plenty of space for you to relax. Plus, there are numerous cafes and restaurants nearby too, if you’re feeling peckish!
Day Trip to Douro Valley
I’ve included the Douro Valley here, as separate from the other three things to do.
You won’t be able to do all three and visit the Douro Valley, you might be able to do one or two but not all three.
The Douro Valley is the main region where Port is produced and is a must-visit if you want to see how it’s made and do some wine tasting.
It’s also one of the most beautiful parts of Northern Portugal with some stunning views, which you can take in by booking a guided tour around the various wineries!
Other Places to Visit in Porto
- Viewpoints (Miradouros) – There are numerous viewpoints, known as Miradouros in Porto. They offer some fantastic views of the city and the River Douro that runs through it, with Miradouro da Vitória the most well-known. Walking around the city you’ll find loads. You will have to walk up a lot of hills to get to some, but it’s worth it!
- Chapel of Souls – A beautiful blue-tiled church in the heart of the city! Inside, you’ll find white lives with paintings of the lives of various saints!
- Day trip to Braga and Guimaraes – Braga and Guimaraes aren’t far from Porto, so they’re worth checking out if you have more than 3 days, or want to do something different for one of the days. Book Your Tour Now!
- Pastel de Nata cooking class – Learn how to make the famous Portuguese pastry with this fun cooking class! Book Your Place Now!
Discover what else you can do when exploring Porto in 3 days below!
Porto Travel Tips
This section will provide you with useful information to help you with your trip to Porto.
There’s guidance on where to stay, a rough guide to prices in Porto, the best time to visit, and how to get around the city.
Where to stay in Porto
Porto is a popular destination, so you have a whole host of different places you can stay.
There are plenty of hostels, hotels and apartments to choose from. Every traveller will be able to find something to suit their needs.
Most of them are located in the city centre and this is where you want to stay as it’s where the majority of the main tourist sites are.
Unless you’re travelling by car, I wouldn’t advise staying outside of the city centre.
You’ll have to commute to and from your accommodation every day, which adds unnecessary hassle when you can stay in the centre instead.
I’ve listed a few places you should consider staying at during your 3 days in Porto below:
|The Central House Porto Ribeira||Modern hostel in the Ribeira neighbourhood that has fantastic facilities.||Book Now|
|Cats Hostel||If you want to party in Porto, this is the place to stay. The hostel has a rooftop terrace and a kitchen||Book Now|
|Gallery Hostel Porto||Lovely hostel in a central location that has a rooftop terrace, ensuite dorms and a restaurant and bar on site.||Book Now|
Cost of Travel in Porto
Portugal is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, so visiting Porto for 3 days isn’t going to destroy your bank balance!
It’s cheaper than Lisbon, although accommodation can be pricey, and this will probably be your biggest expense.
You should be able to spend 3 days in the city on a budget and still have a bit of money left over.
One thing that will put a hole in your wallet is if you do tours. There are several you can do to places such as the Douro Valley, which can be expensive. As long as you don’t crazy, you’ll be fine!
Eating out can be pricey and it’s a good idea to stay in a hostel with a kitchen if you’re on a budget.
The metro is cheap and the only other big expense is if you buy a lot of travel gifts for friends and family.
I’ve included a rough guide to prices for accommodation, eating out and transport in Porto below
They don’t include prices for extras such as nights out at a bar/pub, club entry fees, souvenirs/clothing purchases, tours. etc.
You will have to budget extra for these purchases as they are ‘non-essential!’
Hostel: Dorm – €10-30; Private – €40-75
Rental Apartment: €100-130
Food and Drink
Takeaway meal: €5-8+
Pint of beer: €3-5
Metro single ticket: €1.25
Day card: $4.20
Bike rental: €15 for the day
Best Time to Visit Porto
Portugal is one of the sunniest countries in Europe. Apart from the winter months, the weather is almost guaranteed to be warm year-round.
Porto is the biggest city in the north, so while it doesn’t get as warm as Lisbon or the Algarve, the temperatures will still reach the high 20s and low 30s.
The result is that most people visit during the summer months to get the best weather.
I visited during the middle of September and found the city was packed full of tourists. It wasn’t too bad, but I can only how busy it gets during summer.
If you want to avoid crowds and potentially get cheaper prices, it’s better to visit during the shoulder season from March to May and September to November.
This has the added bonus of being cooler too, which is a plus when it comes to walking around the hilly city!
Here’s a quick overview of what to expect when you visit Porto during one of the four seasons:
Porto in Spring
A good time to visit Porto if you want to avoid the blazing heat of summer and experience a quieter city. The weather is decent for the most part during this time of the year.
Average temperatures from low to high: 7.8°C – 20.1° C / 46°F – 68.2° F
Porto in Summer
You’re almost guaranteed to get good weather during the summer, but the temperatures are likely to be in advance of 30 degrees most days. This means walking around a hilly city will be tough, and you’ll have to deal with lots of tourists too!
Average temperatures from low to high: 14.5°C – 25.7° C / 58.1°F – 78.3° F
Porto in Autumn
Another good time of the year to visit. The autumn months are cooler than summer and the city gets quieter as you head towards November. I visited Porto during autumn and found it to be a good time to visit.
Average temperatures from low to high: 8.9°C – 24.1° C / 48°F – 75.4° F
Porto in Winter
This will be the quietest time of the year to visit Porto and the weather won’t be as warm during the other months. However, it should still be reasonably warm and the city is quite charming during the winter months.
Average temperatures from low to high: 5.2°C – 15° C / 41.4°F – 59° F
How to Get Around Porto
The first thing to note is that Porto is much bigger than you might imagine.
I didn’t realise how big it was until I walked 3.2 km from the bus station to my accommodation, which I don’t recommend doing!
You can get around on foot, and the narrow streets in the centre mean you’ll have to, but if you want to venture out to the beach, it’s much easier to use the metro.
My advice is to stick to walking around the city centre, which you can easily navigate on foot and use the metro to go further afield.
The only issue with this is that the city is very hilly. You have to walk up and down a lot of hills no matter where you are in the city.
The metro does help, but there are some parts where you have no choice but to go on foot. It will take longer than you think to get around the city, so take this into account when planning your day.
The main station bus station in Porto is Campanhã station, which has a metro station attached to it. So whether you arrive or depart by bus, it’s easy to get to from the city centre.
Porto Airport or Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport is well linked to the city centre if you arrive by plane.
You’ll need to jump on Line E, the purple line to get to and from the city centre. There’s one every 20 to 30 minutes most days, so shouldn’t have issues getting there.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 3 Days Enough in Porto?
3 days is enough time to see everything in the centre of Porto. You may need an extra day if you want to go further afield to the Douro Valley for example.
How Many Days Is Enough in Porto?
3 to 4 days is enough to see Porto. This gives you plenty of time to see the city and plan one or trips outside of the city too.
Is 4 Days Too Long For Porto?
No, 4 days isn’t too long to see Porto. You can see almost everything in 4 days and go on some day trips to see sites close to the city too.
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Tom is a travel addict who first left England to spend a year Down Under. Not satisfied with this, he then went to New Zealand, about as far away from home as he could get. He is now planning his next adventures in Europe and Canada while maintaining this blog. Check out the about me page to learn more!