Alright friends, I’m going to save you some trouble…you should probably drop whatever you’re doing and go ahead and Google flights to Porto, Portugal. Not Lisbon, you ask? Well, Lisbon is all pretty awesome…more on that in the future, but Porto absolutely knocked my socks off. Not only is the city of Porto itself a ton of fun and filled with amazing food (and wine!), but there are so many awesome day trips you can take from the city. Without further ado, here’s my Porto, Portugal itinerary for 3 days. Side note: I’d love to have more time to explore the city and surrounding areas, but for a first trip, 3 days had to do.
Day 1: Canyoning in Peneda- Geres
After sitting on a plane for an entire night and well into the next day, my first full day in Porto absolutely had to be something active. So what to choose? CANYONING! Specifically canyoning in Peneda-Geres National Park, about one hour north of Porto. How to get there, you ask? I went there with the lovely folks at Oporto Adventure Tours. These guys (and gals) have a ton of experience canyoning and made sure someone as clumsy as myself didn’t die while making my way down the beautiful canyon.
To start, you put on a stylish blue wetsuit, yellow boots, and a bright orange helmet…trust me, nobody can pull off this look, but it’s an awesome outfit. The one thing I learned was to “trust in the boots.” These are some seriously magic boots, and have the best grip I’ve ever seen (and they’re waterproof!) My other favorite part of the outfit was what I called the “blue diaper.” It was basically a piece of tarp attached to the back of your harness…it lets you slide down the rocks pretty easily on your butt. Also, please excuse my face in this pic…this was the spot for the “funny jump,” and I didn’t want to lose my contacts, so literally every jumping picture has my eyes closed.
In any case, canyoning involves a combination of making your way from rock to rock, rappelling, zip lining (my fave!), and jumping off cliffs into the water. It was an awesome day, and an excellent introduction to Portugal…100% recommend. Plus, after a full day of canyoning, we stopped at Café Lourido for a freshly made burger which tasted oh so good and capped off a perfect first day in Portugal.
Day 2: Douro Wine Valley
So you’ll probably wake up on day 2 pretty sore from canyoning. That was also possibly just me because I’m not used to hills in Florida. In any case, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Douro Wine Valley with Bago D’Uva. Start the day off at a quaint little café in Amarante (Docaria Mario) and sip on some coffee while enjoying all of the pastries you could ever wish for. I sampled papos d’anjo, lerias, frades, foguetes, and possibly another. Turns out Portuguese isn’t my strong suit, so I lost track after the first four. Also, I was on pastry overload. But trust me when I say they’re all delicious and you should never turn down a Portuguese pastry.
Next up, head to Favaios, which is the capital of moscatel. Not only is the wine delicious, but the views are amazing too. And best of all…they let me stomp the grapes!!! I was pretty excited by this if you can’t tell. Also, your toes do turn purple, so beware.
All that grape stomping works up quite an appetite, so next up is a lovely lunch at Quinta do Buicheiro. The spread included charcuterie, sparkling wine, pumpkin jam, and then a typical meal of rice, meat, and beans. To top it all off, there was flan (and more wine.) You’ll notice that wine and more wine was the theme of the day, and I was definitely on board with that.
After lunch, make your way to D’Origem in Casal do Loivos where…you guessed it, we sipped some more wine. They also produced some tasty olive oil. Our last stop was Quinta Santa Eufemia where we got to see . I learned the difference between Tawny and Ruby; Tawny needs more wood, so goes in smaller barrels, while Ruby needs less wood, so goes in the large barrels. At the winery, there were barrels that could hold up to 36,000 liters. I can personally verify that’s a huuuuuge barrel. Sip some delicious port wine here, and enjoy your nap back to Porto.
Day 3, Part 1: Porto Food Tour
For the third day of your Porto, Portugal itinerary, start the day off right with a food tour with Taste Porto. This lets you see a side of Porto tourists typically don’t see. You get to visit some hole-in-the-wall spots and taste some typical Portuguese fare. Plus, I always feel that the best way to get to know a country is through the food and drink. As a warning, you should wear clothing with plenty of room to expand…no tight pants!
First up is Mercearia Do Bolhao where you’ll taste folar, a bread with chourico and presunto baked in, paired with delicious goat cheese and jam. Next up is Confeitaria Ateneia; I enjoyed some delicious chocolate while sipping on coffee. One thing I learned was that coffee seemed to be part of every meal there. Also, there coffee is very strong, so for any non coffee connoisseurs…take it slow.
Another thing Porto is known for is their fish. Loja Das Conservas specializes in canned fish (wayyyy better than it sounds, I promise.) It tastes even better when you pair it with wine. At this point, I was starting to fill up, but the tour was far from over…cue loosening the belt a notch.
Tasco may have been my favorite stop; we snacked on codfish patanisca and a game meat sausage, paired with…you guessed it, more wine! We also stopped at Confeitaria Alianca for traditional egg tarts, and Taxca for a cured pork sandwich and possibly my favorite wine of the day. It was sparkling!
Last but not least, we had a surprise extra stop added…Touriga. There, we did my favorite thing…sip on wines. And that wrapped up the food tour portion of my morning. Yes, you will feel like you gained 20 pounds, but yes, it is oh so worth it. Turns out Portuguese food is fantastic, and you know I’d never turn down a glass of wine.
Day 3, Part 2: Explore Porto
Ok, so you’re going to want a nap, but you need to power through the afternoon to see some of Porto’s highlights. Honestly, this was definitely not enough time, and I would have loved another day to get to spend in the city, but you know how it is…work can get in the way. So here are some of the sights I’d recommend if you’re short on time:
Capela das Almas: A beautiful church and a perfect example of the beautiful tile in Portugal.
Sao Bento Train Station: Hands down, the prettiest train station I’ve ever seen. Also, I’m such a sucker for the pretty blue tiles. Bonus points if you can find the tiles that are out of place in the station…I found 3!
Lello Bookstore: Sorry, but had to nerd out here. This was J.K. Rowling’s inspiration for the Hogwarts library in HARRY POTTER! I’m still upset I never received my Hogwarts letter…
Clerigos Tower: Climb to the top for beautiful views of the city!
Miragaia & Baixa Neighborhoods: They’re great to stroll through, grab a bite to eat, and just see a typical neighborhood.
Porto from across the river: Walk across the bridge and take in the stunning sights of beautiful Porto.
Church of Saint Ildefonso: Another church, more pretty blue tile…still worth a stop in my opinion.
With Extra Time…
I could have easily used an extra day (or five!) in Porto…I would have loved more time to explore the city and the nightlife, or even taken another day trip. If you have more time in Porto, here are some additional suggestions:
- Take a walking tour through the city to get acquainted!
- Take a day trip to Guimares and Braga to explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Guimares and the beautiful old city of Braga.
- Catch a traditional fado show and discover the charms of Porto after dark.
- Head over to Aveiro and Costa Nova. Aveiro is Portugal’s version of Venice, and Costa Nova is known for its brightly colored houses.
- Take a day trip to Fátima and Coimbra to experience one of Portugal’s oldest pilgrimage sites and see Coimbra, home to one of Europe’s oldest universities.
- If you’re into an experience with less walking, check out the hop-on, hop-off bus with panoramic views of Porto.
- Last but not least, you can never go wrong with a Porto pub crawl!
Last but not least, make sure to check out my lovely guide on the best day trips from Lisbon!
Cheap flights: I’d recommend checking out Momondo. They scan tons of different travel discount sites and let you filter by cheapest, best, and shortest.
Where to stay in Porto, Portugal: I personally opted for an Airbnb. (Use my link for savings on your first stay!) I was able to get a reasonably priced room walking distance to the city center and absolutely loved it. Bonus points since my Airbnb had a Bernese Mountain puppy that was so darn cute. For those looking for the social atmosphere of a hostel, check out Yes! Porto hostel. I’ve stayed at this chain before in Lisbon, and trust me when I say it’s an awesome hostel…super clean, social, and family dinners every night! Another good option for a hotel is Pensao Favorita, located in a restored building in the Porto city center.
And there you have it, my suggestion for your Porto, Portugal itinerary! Have you been to Porto? What was your favorite thing to do?
P.S. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own. I’ve found these products/services useful during my travels and highly recommended to you from yours truly!