Porto, also known as Oporto, is a picturesque city in northwest Portugal. Known for its historic architecture, delicious wine, and stunning views of the Douro River, Porto is a must-visit destination for any traveler.
The city’s historic center, Ribeira, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to many of the city’s most popular attractions, including the Torre dos Clérigos, a baroque tower that offers panoramic views of the city, and the São Francisco Church, a gothic masterpiece.
Visitors can also take a boat ride on the Douro River and sample the famous Port wine. From delicious seafood to vibrant nightlife, Porto has something to offer everyone. This guide will explore the best things to see and do in this charming city and help you plan the perfect trip to Porto.
Check out our guided tours from Porto to see the variety of places we like to take visitors to highlight extraordinary Portuguese food, wine, history, and scenery. If you have any questions about our region tours, please get in touch.
The best times to visit Porto are typically from late spring to early autumn, specifically from May to September.
During these months, the weather is warm and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the low 60s to the mid-70s Fahrenheit. The city is also at its most colorful and vibrant during these months, as the streets are filled with blooming flowers, and the terraces of the cafes and restaurants are full of people enjoying the sunshine.
Additionally, many of the city’s festivals and events take place during these months, including the Festa de São João do Porto. This lively festival takes place in June and features traditional music, dancing, and fireworks.
That being said, Porto can be visited throughout the year. Just remember that the weather can be unpredictable in the winter. However, the Christmas lights and decorations make the city cozy and charming during this period, more than making up for the occasional rain shower.
If you’re looking to avoid the crowds and find lower prices, you may want to consider visiting Porto during the shoulder seasons (April or October). During this period, the weather is still pleasant but there are fewer tourists.
When packing for a trip to Porto, there are a few key items to keep in mind:
There are several ways to get around Porto:
Walking: Porto is a very walkable city, with many main sights and attractions in the historic center. Walking is the best way to explore the city and take in the sights and sounds of the local neighborhoods.
Public transportation: Porto has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, trams, and the metro. The metro is the most efficient way to get around the city and covers most major tourist areas.
Taxis: Taxis are widely available in Porto and are generally reasonably priced. It’s a good idea to have the address of your destination written down in Portuguese, as some taxi drivers may not speak English.
Bicycles: You can rent bicycles to explore the city. Several bike-sharing companies in the city offer easy and affordable rentals.
Car rental: If you want to explore the surrounding area, you can rent a car. Remember that traffic in Porto can be heavy, and parking can be difficult.
Boat rides: Taking a boat ride on the Douro River is a great way to see the city from a different perspective and enjoy the scenery.
It’s worth noting that the city center is a restricted-traffic zone, and cars are not allowed, so walking or biking is the best options for exploring the city center. The public transportation network is well-connected, efficient, and affordable. It’s a great option for moving around the city and nearby towns.
The cost of a visit to Porto can vary greatly depending on your travel style and the activities you plan to do while there.
However, as a rough estimate, you should budget around $70-$150 USD per day for accommodation, food, and transportation, in addition to any activities or excursions you plan to do. Keep in mind that prices for accommodation and food can be lower or higher depending on the season.
Here is a list of must-see sights in Porto:
Porto, being the city where the famous Port wine is made and aged, there are many options to try Port wine while visiting the city. Here are a few places where you can try Port wine in Porto:
Vila Nova de Gaia is the city across the river from Porto, where most of the port wine cellars are located. Many famous port wine houses, such as Taylor’s, Sandeman, and Croft, have tasting rooms and tours here.
Porto Wine Institute: Located in Vila Nova de Gaia, it’s a public institution that promotes and certifies the quality of Port wine; they offer tastings and classes to learn more about Port wine.
Wine Bars: Porto has many wine bars that specialize in Port wine. These bars often have a wide variety of Ports to choose from and knowledgeable staff who can help you select the perfect one to try.
Restaurants: Many restaurants in Porto offer Port wine on their menu, and some even have a sommelier who can help you select the perfect Port to pair with your meal.
Port Wine Lodges: Some of the Port wine houses also have “lodges” where you can book a stay, have meals, and participate in tastings and tours.
It’s worth noting that Port wine should be stored and served at the right temperature and conditions, so it’s recommended to go for a reputable place.
If you’ve ever had the privilege of trying Portuguese cuisine, you’ll know it’s extraordinary. There’s plenty to choose from, whether Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tarts) or Arroz de Pato (duck rice).
Here are two restaurants to get you started when in Porto…
Taberna Dos Mercadores is a classic Portuguese restaurant that proves it doesn’t always have to be quality versus quantity. Sometimes you can have both!
Relax in their laid-back setting and browse their extensive wine range, which decorates the walls. If you’re unsure what to go for food-wise: we recommend our regional dish, the “Arouquesa” meat pot.
Check out their Instagram!
If you want a fine dining experience, then Le Monument Restaurant is your place in Porto. This Michelin-starred restaurant that specializes in contemporary Mediterranean cuisine is, predictably, pricey, but it’s certainly worth it for the experience!
Make sure you try their raw seabass with horseradish and dill, and – for the vegetarians – you mustn’t miss their green asparagus from Guimarães scented with mint.
Check out their Instagram!
The Douro Valley is a picturesque wine region located about an hour and a half east of Porto. It is known for its terraced vineyards, picturesque villages, and its production of Port wine. Here are a few ways to visit the Douro Valley from Porto:
Once in the Douro valley, you can visit the wine estates, enjoy the beautiful landscapes, admire the charming villages and try the local cuisine.
For a truly local experience, check out our all-inclusive Porto Private Tour.
On this tour, we will try Porto wine in our very own wine caves and enjoy a delightful traditional lunch.
You’ll leave having embraced our food, wine, and culture all while enjoying the views of Porto.